ZIMBABWE: A STRANGER IN MY
HOMELAND - Presented by the Starlight Productions as part of the WA
Fringe Festival - Chloe Traicos tells the story of her family and how,
after 100 years farming in Zimbabwe, they have been forced to leave.
Through these stories we are told the real story of what is happening in
Zimbabwe. - Season commences 31 January 2003, Subiaco Theatre
dates are : Friday Jan 31st, Sat Feb 1, Wed Feb 5, Thur Feb 6, Fri Feb
7th, Sat Feb 8 2003 Subiaco Studio,180 Hamersley road. Subiaco. All
shows start at 7. http://www.chloe-traicos.cjb.net/ __________________________________ The
Refugees recall a different Zimbabwe By Penny
Brown January 13, 2003 ``WHAT I want people to see is that what is
happening in Zimbabwe is bordering on genocide - not only with Mugabe
killing the white farmers but also with him killing all the black
people who will not support him," says actor Chloe Traicos.
set the record straight, Traicos has produced a one-hour
documentary, Stranger in My Homeland, which will screen at the Perth
International Arts Festival from January 31. It is comprised of
interviews with seven Zimbabweans - white and black - now living in
Perth after recently fleeing their homes.
Through their personal
stories the documentary reveals "just how bad things are" in Zimbabwe,
"The things that people tell you, you don't read
about it anywhere; it's not on the Internet or anything. They actually
give you graphic details of how horrific things are . . . One of the
people was an eyewitness to the Matabele massacres of the early
Another person interviewed by Traicos describes the climate
of fear in Zimbabwe: "Here [in Australia] if someone threatens to kill
you, you at least know that they may be afraid of the law and not do it
because they don't want to go to jail. There, the law is against you,
so if someone threatens to kill you, you just pray that they are kind
enough to have mercy and not do it."
Traicos grew up in Zimbabwe
but fled to Perth with her family - in 1998, following Robert Mugabe's
edict on the seizure of white-owned farms. Although not a farming
family, her parents were alarmed by Mugabe's stance - alarmed enough to
leave their home and emigrate to Australia.
The land seizures
started in March 2000, after Mugabe lost a referendum on changing the
constitution to allow for the compulsory acquisition of land from
commercial farmers. Since then, the socioeconomic situation
has deteriorated rapidly as the hundreds of thousands of rural workers
who were forced to relocate also face drought and
Although Traicos says the Zimbabwean community in Perth is
growing, she says many, newly arrived and still traumatised by their
experiences, were reluctant or afraid to speak with her.
documentary has been 12 months in the making, and carries the same
name as her first play, which was staged at Perth's Blue Room in 2000
and told the story of a white farming family in Zimbabwe who are run
off their land.
In this work, Traicos draws parallels between the
situation in Zimbabwe and Nazi Germany. "Hitler used the Jews, a
wealthy minority group, as a scapegoat in the same way Mugabe has used
the whites. Hitler told the starving Germans that it was the Jews'
fault they were all starving. In exactly the same way, Mugabe has
blamed the starvation of the blacks on the whites."
finds it hard to reconcile the reality of Zimbabwe today with
the images of her childhood: "It was an ideal place to grow up. There
never was any racial tension there when I was growing up. It was newly
The documentary, she hopes, will show Australians
that "these people are refugees - a lot of them can't go back, they
don't have a