Dignity in Zimbabwe – Eddie Cross

via At least now they have their dignity Nehanda Radio  Apr 29, 2014 By Eddie Cross

Those who are fortunate enough to live in Africa and regard Africa as home, share April as a special time. The veld is still green, temperatures moderate and the skies clear and a deep hue of blue. Rivers are running and the bush is starting to turn into its winter colours – the grass is thick and yellow and the light, especially in the late afternoon is very special. 

Other places are as beautiful – even spectacular but no places on earth can hold a candle to Africa in April. I love Washington DC and have seen it in all its phases – deep snow, then in the spring when the trees come out it is spectacular, but apart from the pollen count and temperatures with humidity at levels where you can see the atmosphere. The Rockies and the Alps – stunning but still do not hold the same mystique as the unique blend of elements that come together at this time here in Zimbabwe.

We were out in the Matobo Hills at the weekend – the air was clear, humidity near zero, 25 degrees c. Streams running clear and sweet, grass that golden hue and the trees and shrubs in every colour you can imagine. Then late in the afternoon as the sun sinks, the sudden emergence of that light that seems to enhance every colour and illuminates the granite and the tree trunks. If you painted that it would look unreal to all who have not seen it for themselves.

Last week one of the Committees of Parliament – the Public Accounts Committee, held a four day workshop at Leopard Rock – a small hotel in the Vumba Mountains. We worked hard starting at 08.00 hrs and running to 17.00 hrs or later in the evening and I thought our time was very productive. The Committee is a sort of Audit Committee for the State and we supervise over 200 State Departments and agencies.

But those of you who have been to the hotel will be interested to know it has been taken over by a group of young businessmen who have refurbished it and jacked up the management – a similar arrangement now applies at the Montclair in Nyanga. The hotel was superb – food was excellent and the service great. The golf course is one of the best in Africa and they now have a wild life area next door where the coffee plantations used to be with a wide variety of plains game including Giraffe, Eland, Kudu, Impala, Wildebeest and Nyala. The gardens were in great condition and the winter aloe flowers starting to show.

We have our problems, many of them, but these are the compensations. An American tourist – travelling through Africa and just arrived from South Africa, said to me on a walk in the hotel grounds that when she crossed the border into Zimbabwe she immediately felt that she was in a different country. I know that feeling well, I always feel it when I get into the departure lounge at Heathrow Airport on the way home or at Beitbridge. Our people are friendly and courteous and this tourist said that she has felt safe while travelling around Zimbabwe – something she did not feel in South Africa.

The young businessmen who have bought the hotel are Zimbabweans, the Manager was an attractive middle aged woman who was clearly in charge and making things happen. To me this is hugely encouraging and shows that if we can do it in a hotel operation, we do it across the country and even the continent. It just takes time.

In 1975 under a programme mounted by the South African government, a number of long term political detainees were released in an effort to try and find a solution to the Rhodesian crisis and end the war. Ndabaningi Sithole was among them and after his release he travelled to Lusaka in Zambia to see President Kaunda. He was picked up at Salisbury Airport by private Jet and then taken to State House by helicopter. All the staff and crews were black. After the trip he returned to Salisbury and came to talk to the Council of Churches in the City. I was a member and attended.

He talked about the way forward and the outcome of his discussions with Kaunda and then described his feelings about being taken on his trip by a totally black crew – first in the Jet and then the helicopter. One elderly Pastor asked at the end of the talk, “What qualifications does a person have to have to become a pilot?” Ndabaningi responded “Umdala, Independence!” I have never forgotten that brilliant reply; it summed it all up.

Now when I see bright, well educated and confident young people in offices, in banks, in hotels; all doing a great job and showing no hint of feeling inferior or less than adequate, I remember those words again – it could not have happened without Independence. It is sad but true, when we, the white Africans were in charge, we did not create the conditions for black people to flourish and thrive in the environment of a modern economy. It is astonishing how rapid the changes have been taking place and how quickly the new generations – the “born free’s” have found their feet in this new society, this new world.

Sure we have failed in many ways – the country has become deeply corrupt, we are poorer and our society is less equal. The roads have potholes and we have problems that were not there before, but ask any young black Zimbabwean if they would go back to the old days and the answer is no. At least now they have their dignity and opportunity and the right to make mistakes and slowly they are discovering how to make things work. We are not killing each other (yet) and have begun to forge a new alliance and society and eventually, a new economy.

But many things have stayed the same – the weather, the open veld, the smell of the first rains on the dry earth, our people – generally hard working and pleasant and always ready with a smile and a wave. The other things we can and will fix, but we could never create what is already ours in the continent we have adopted as home.


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39 comments on “Dignity in Zimbabwe – Eddie Cross
  1. Joe says:

    I like this peace dear Eddie, unlike your other pieces which at times make you sound like a roving racist.

    Yes, black people are doing the best they can. One day, when the new generation of born frees takes over, the world will no longer cast us as backward.

    We, however, do not forget the sacrifices that those who won us Independence made.

  2. pati says:

    How I wish all this was as obvious to Tambudzai, born and bred in some remote village near Chendambuya. Never been to any big Zimbabwean city. Her biggest town she has ever been to is Rusape where she had to go and enquire about her cheque for the five bags of maize she harvested last year and is yet to be paid despite the the ever unfulfilled promises to. I sincerely hope all this great climate could be enjoyed by Senzeni who passes by Matopos everytime, oblivious of its beauty because hunger pangs do not allow her that luxury. I wish I could convince Terence the economics graduate from the University of Zimbabwe, that all the two years he has been hunting for a job have not been wasted. He must stay put. The grass is green enough in Zimbabwe. There’s no need for him to work up so early in the morning and waste his days queuing at the passport office. I just hope all could see and enjoy the future right now.

  3. roving ambassador. says:

    Thanks for the very positive out look. I agree whole heartedly about attitude towards work and hospitality by the general populace, unparalleled .
    The problem is leadership, we have a bunch of made people who have slowly but surely killed the country. Now they are destroying the spirit.

  4. Nimrod Mupanesengende says:

    This piece by Eddie Cross is brilliant. It reminded me of the iddle tallent that most of our white brothers and sisters possess, which could be tapped to the country’s advantage. It is time we all realised that those who used such tallent to denigrate, demonize and paint the country black were actually digging graves for all of us, themselves included. I used to be allegic, rabidly so, if I may add, to all white people and what they stood for but I think this piece by Eddie Cross and another one by a gentleman who wrote to Obama recently, urging him to lift the US ban on our elephant trophies made me change my mind. Let us have more of such tallent being used for the good of our country, the only one we all have, If I may add!!!

    • NBS says:

      Well Nimrod. I like your total honesty about your feelings but why paint with a broad brush? We all make that mistake at some time. Every race has is good and its no so good!

  5. NBS says:

    Lots and lots of positive and encouragement but the deep suffering and despair remain. For now! Something just has to change. Every Zimbabwean must wake up to the truth and each one of us must ask ourselves, “Have I or am I playing any part in the downfall of my country. Do I lie? Do I steal? Am I greedy and corrupt and taking and giving bribes? have I got hatred, unforgiveness and bitterness in my heart? Am I a racialist or tribalist? Have I been violent or have I shed blood? Am I a taker and not a giver and do I care for those less fortunate than myself? Have I trampled on the heads of the poor and needy? Am I guilty of coveting and have I taken something that I have not worked for.” The church should lead in this followed closely by the leaders. What example have they set for a nation? God’s judgment rests upon this nation. repentance is sorely needed. No repentance! No restoration? Where are the church leaders who should be preaching this message? Revival NEVER came before repentance!

  6. Mlimo says:

    Audit committee for the state? 200 State departments? So if that is the committee and they sat for a week what conclusion did you come to. Massive corruption bankrupt agencies and a system of looting state coffers? I bet it was productive – how to join the gravy train? Where next to loot? Upmarket resort while your fellow Zimbabweans wallow in poverty? Maybe Eddie should take a move over to zanupf at least then he is guaranteed a snort at the trough.

  7. Stay Well says:

    Good comment NBS, but its not very easy to see change when its dark but morning is coming for sure. Play yo part Zimbabwean and everone else on this soil and i play myn, it will happen soon.

  8. CD says:

    How unusual for Cross to say anything positive about Zimbabwe as a nation. After a string of negative publications recently, the C10 must have crossed Eddie’s path and pulled his ears.

  9. nyoni says:

    My question to you Eddie and all the other academia is” what is the goal of any truly elected Government by the people”

  10. Cde Chooks says:

    If Sithole were alive today he would most certainly recognize that Zimbabwe has become the Zambia that he visited nearly 40 years ago…potholes, authoritarian dictator, corrupt parastatal executives and all! Thanks to Independence, Zimbabwe has been able to regress to the point where primary education is a privilege and living beyond 40 a luxury. Your rhetoric is lovely, Eddie, but if you love Zimbabwe so much, why not pick up a weapon and fight for change?

  11. Frankie Laine says:

    Total and utter rubbish Eddie.
    There are many black people who yearn for the “old days” before Zimbabwe. You cannot eat freedom, you cannot wrap freedom around your shivering starved shoulders.Take your rose coloured politician’s glasses off and smell the roses. You have been blind from young Eddie and you have still not found the cure for this blidness. You belong in the land that you so yearned for. Enjoy it comrade, enjoy it!

  12. Sometimes even if you have differences of opinions you will go off the topic and just take time to reflect how similar you are. God in his wisdom did not want to make what he made in his image the same so we were made with different tastes and likes and dislikes. I would never change my values which I obviously picked up because of those who communities live around me. What makes us unique as Zimbabweans is the ability to associate with each other when we meet even if we don’t know each other. Someone will star a conversation on the bus and sudden everyone joins in. At the end of the journey everyone is shaking hands like they know each other. I have most of the time had differences with Nimrod Mupanesengende when we are on other topics but on this one I have to like the way he put his comment forward. Eddie Cross is a Politician. On his other articles he has put it as he sees it. Other Politicians put it as their leaders put it.

  13. GNC says:

    It can only be God who make people think the way Eddie thinks. There are white people who will never think like Eddie cross – they just don’t think like that.

    • NBS says:

      You would be surprised

    • Guti says:

      You got to be kidding me. You do you realise that your words puts you in exactly the same caliber of people that you are commenting on. One comment like this degrades all the many thought provoking ones that are becoming the norm on this site. I have to fight to get back the good spirit that all the previous ones allowed me and you know what this time I succeeded.

  14. Gomogranny says:

    Interesting article – and exactly why does your committee have to meet at the most expensive hotel in the Eastern Highlands Eddie?

    Now let me guess….

  15. DubboZimbo says:

    What if the election had not been stolen from Muzorewa. It would have resulted in a free and just Zimbabwe, with ZANU a ghost of the past.

  16. The Oracle says:

    You know, some of our comments can be down right silly. And I am being courteous.

    This is one of the best articles about Zimbabwe I have read in years. Not only well written but so very true. Zimbabwe is one of the most beautiful countries in the world and it is when I read such articles that I become proud to be a native of this land. Take time to visit world’s view in Matopo Game Park and look around you for few moments, I promise you, the serenity and beauty that’ll envelop you is out of this world! A job well done, Eddie.

    • Kevin White says:

      I enjoyed reading your comments Oracle, in fact I found them quite uplifting in these troubled times. Sometimes people are indeed blind to what they have surrounding them. I hope one day to visit Matopo as you suggest, and I hope one day Zimbabwe finds what it is searching for.

  17. Reza says:

    As a Non African who has never experienced the racist rules and hash insulting regulations, and a a person whose some of hid best friends have been and are Africans, I urge the young generation to spend as much as possible for education, mass media and mass communication. Do not be so happy with what you are gaining now, it is nothing in regards to all the great wealth Africa owns, work double shifts to enhance your own ways of freedom and real Independence, do not sell all your raw minerals , buy yourself new technologies and learn to be better than the day before, respect your elderly even if they are too traditional , if you fool them , you will be fooled by the next generation . Love yourself so you can love others , regardless of religion, color and nationality.Keep your heads up , Africa can do better than now.

  18. John Thomas says:

    This article is certainly on a more positive note than is usual in our time. Lets hope we will have reasons see more of this positivity as time passes. In the mean time it is good to be reminded of what we can be thankful for.

  19. Charles Dovi says:

    thanx cde cross! Who finally opened yuor racist eyes?

  20. Mixed Race says:

    I have tried not to comment on these cheap political articles and concentrate on technological comments on other websites ,but my regional mp has forced me to break my silence.
    Mr Cross-Have you visited our Mpilo Hospital recently to see the poor conditions there?Sir, you take a committee of many people to a resort place to discuss issues which can be dealt with in our city of parliament, when the country is facing serious financial problems.How many 4×4 vehicles had to go there,and at what cost,since Vumba is so far from Harare and other cities?Your committee is supposed to deal with careful government expenditure but its not setting a good example.
    The way you describe your time at this hotel tells it all that it was not business alone but a full time holiday at our expense.It looks like you like outdoor trips like visiting Matobo area which is beyond the ordinary person due to financial constraints,but you can afford it easily.I am not against your trips as long as they do not cost the tax payers.It is the duty of all those we elected to take us from this current economic decline by being systematical in their actions.
    Zimbabweans must read articles carefully not to be easily fooled to give praise where its not due.Read between the lines and sentences before making empty praises.Sir, do not justify costly trips by adding irrelevant sweetening items-Who does not know that we Zimbabweans are very pleasant and kind people?

    • Gomogranny says:

      Thank you MIXED RACE….TO everybody who is grateful for a positive article. Go sit at Leopard Rock Hotel for four days (PAID FOR BY SOMEBODY ELSE) and you will find just how easy it is to be positive.

      These politicians are unbearable burden to our nation. THE WHOLE LOT OF THEM.

  21. Hutu says:

    Sorry mixed race. You have missed what others are saying. Cross is trying to make life sound normal in Zimbabwe. When he speaks he seeks to try to do a dream state like the Aborigines do. I also do this. There is something there I try to capture.Or should I say recapture. You are putting the blame on the wrong person.Mpilo hospital is the failure of Zanu pf and Zanu pf only. Mpilo Hospital. My sons life was saved there in 1999. The 4×4 vehicles that go to that area Eddie speaks of are people that are connected. Mostly to Zanu. The few that can also afford are the higher earners so at least Eddie is telling people that there are these two worlds. I hope you wont say he is advantaged because he stole money, or is connected to Zanu.

  22. @Mixed race I doubt Eddie in his particular position would be allowed a holiday at our expense. Unless of course Zanu is gone totally Bonkers? Angikolwa???

  23. Mlimo says:

    You all got it wrong ,Eddie stayed on in Zimbabwe AFTER zanupf won in 1980. He KNEW the elections then were rigged. He stayed on and per a previous article of his to make Zimbabwe work. HE help zanupf get established in the early years! When all the rest of us left under threats from Mugabe I ask why didn’t he get that threat? Then his last string of articles are about crime and poverty and corruption and the state of the government and then in this article talks about Vumba and Matopos and his journeys there in self indulgent glory. This man changes his coat to suit his predicament – when he’s not included in feeding at the trough he finds nothing right with Zimbabwe and when he’s indulging he finds nothing wrong. He is a flip flop politician. If he had any gumption he would have taken up a gun. But he’s played both sides all his life for his own betterment.

  24. Mixed Race says:

    What matters to me is that our mps particularly those who represent my region should meet our local expectations and if each region does monitor their representatives things would improve.It does not matter to me which political party he represents because he/she was elected by the masses so they should look after them by improving their area of control.The head of state cannot be every where to monitor state institutions when he has mps who are paid from state funds and not from political parties funds.Does this answer you @Hutu about Mpilo Hospital current status?The line/floor manager is responsible for the day to day running of the factory’s operations not the CEO.CEO’s duties is to give company’s guidelines and policies to his subordinates and defend these policies to the outside world.Therefore,I expect results from my mps and local councilors not from the CEO directly.

    • Gomogranny says:

      The problem is the MPS did not take the job in order to meet anybody’s expectations except their own….in particular the expectations of their personal pockets.
      The CEO and his line managers are only stripping the factory of it’s assets….not interested in making that factory something that produces goods…..


      • Kevin White says:

        Your comment about MPS is so true, it is just the same over here in the UK. They may be a little more covert about it but they still only serve their own self interest. Very sad state of affairs.

        • Gomogranny says:

          It is a sad fact that Democracy may be a sweet idea but the job description for MP’s cannot but attract the majority of the wrong type of people. Democracy fails because of it.

          • Kevin White says:

            Our voting system is rigged such that only one of two parties can get in. For that reason alone we do not live in a democracy, it is closer to a dictatorship in reality.

    • That’s if Zanu will let them operate. Why do we all make like we don’t know that in Zimbabwe it’s up Zanu weather you do things or not.

    • Hutu says:

      The Ministry of health is allocated fund s for that so no it does not answer me. Do you think an MP can improve Mpilo with stones? No.

  25. Mixed Race says:

    @Hutu-How do you intend to ensure that your area gets what is allocated, if you do not exert pressure to the relevant minister? Remember fire burns very effectively from the bottom ,so mps can really exert proper pressure to their colleagues who happen to be ministers.Those mps who are effective are seen by the developments in their areas,the opposite is true with the useless ones.This is the only known method of evaluating the mps’ performance unless you have a better method.

  26. ntaba says:

    There are other more sobering facts about Independence we also need to remember when we put on our rose coloured spectacles.
    1. A 20 000 person genocide
    2. An exodus of 3 million emigrants – assumedly “citizens.”
    3. A 14 year agrarian reform success story under the brilliant mentorship of Professor Scoones.
    4. A world class RBZ Governor that put the country into the ama trillionaire category – truly remarkable level of inflation and theft by printing press.
    5. Wholesale destruction of industry and the banking system unless you are a member of the Zanu elite.
    6. Wholesale theft, assault, rape, murder and arson of “opposition” (be they perceived or real) in a Zanu enrichment programme.
    7. The embracement and endorsement of this sort of leadership and behaviour by none other than The Vatican and the Pope. Zimbabwe’s Independence has put all of the above actions on the who’s who in the Catholic Best Practice agenda by inviting the paramount chief from Kutama to take communion at the Vatican. Brilliant this Independence stuff, truly brilliant.

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