Lord Plunket, a fighter of racial discrimination - Zimbabwe Situation

Lord Plunket, a fighter of racial discrimination

via Lord Plunket, a fighter of racial discrimination Sunday, 19 January 2014 by Tyrone Plunket SundayMail

Captain Robin Rathmore Plunket, eighth Baron Plunket, who had lived in Chimanimani for over half a century, died peacefully in London on the 16th November 2013 aged 87. Lord Plunket was descended from a long line of distinguished Irishmen, including the Blessed St Oliver Plunket and later more archbishops, bishops, diplomats and the first Lord Plunket (1827), Lord Chancellor of Ireland.

Lord and Lady Plunket emigrated to Chimanimani in 1957 where they spent the next 56 years developing the family forestry estate, Rathmore, and also actively working to break down the colonial barriers between blacks and whites, promoting peace, reconciliation, democracy and the development of a proud new Zimbabwe.

Lord Plunket was also a strong supporter of the twin pillars of trade and friendship of equals between Great Britain and the new independent Zimbabwe.

The Plunkets joined the UK branch of the Capricorn Africa Society in London in 1956, an organisation formed to fight racial discrimination in Southern and Eastern Africa.

Capricorn had members both black and white in Africa, including the late Herbert and Victoria Chitepo, Leopold and Sunny Takawira, Josiah Chinamano as well as the writers Lawrence Vambe and Stanlake Samkange. All of these were Plunket friends and often stayed at Rathmore.

Leopold Takawira made Lord and Lady Plunket honorary members of the newly formed National Democratic Party in 1960 and they subsequently refused to join the Smith regime’s security services and actively campaigned in Chimanimani and Chipinge to get Africans onto the voters’ roll.

They fought racial injustice because they agreed with their friend Leopold Takawira who wrote to Lady Plunket from Harare remand prison in 1970 some months before his untimely death that “racial politics poison the mind and poison the good taste, a racial politician only has to appeal to man at his worst”.
In 1960, Lord Plunket was chairman of the committee that set up Zimbabwe, the only truly multi-racial organisation of its kind at the time, and in 1961 Lady Plunket at the urging of several Capricorn members, including Lord Plunket, founded the Capricorn mobile unit to set up women’s clubs to help African women take their rightful and productive places in society, teaching them modern home craft and community service.

In the 1970s, Lord Plunket made several speeches in the House of Lords in favour of the UK government, taking strong measures to bring down the illegal Ian Smith regime. In 1976 he joined a delegation to the Geneva Conference to lobby for a just settlement to bring about independence.

Lord Plunket was pleasantly surprised in 1980 at a party to celebrate Zimbabwe’s independence at State House when His Excellency, President Robert Mugabe, personally thanked both Lord and Lady Plunket for their gifts of food and books to the many imprisoned nationalist prisoners such as their friends Leopold Takawira and Herbert Chitepo as the President himself had been a beneficiary whilst he was a prisoner, as all the nationalists shared everything they received from their supporters.

After independence Lord Plunket kept himself abreast of Zimbabwe’s political landscape but withdrew from political campaigning, focusing his efforts instead on supporting the vital though sometimes fraught alliance between Great Britain and Zimbabwe, and locally the Chimanimani community where he financed numerous school and university careers, donated thousands of up-to-date school books to all the local Government schools and in helping Lady Plunket oversee, as she does to this day as Life President, the Capricorn mobile units women’s clubs in Manicaland, which in its heyday had 70 women’s clubs with thousands of women members.

Lord Plunket’s last wish was for his ashes to be scattered at Rathmore in Chimanimani, the Plunket’s family home for the last 50 years.

Lord Plunket is succeeded by his nephew, Tyrone Plunket, the ninth Baron Plunket who continues to live in Chimanimani.

 

COMMENTS

WORDPRESS: 22
  • comment-avatar
    CLIVE SUTHERLAND 4 years

    lord Plunket along side Judith Todd and all the other misguided do gooders, must surely see today that they backed the wrong horse politically.

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    Tambara 4 years

    Clive Sutherland. Unlike the ZANU PF goofer thugs and the Rhodesian Front bigots, people such as Judith Todd and the Plunkets had a noble heart and, like Nelson Mandela and the Reverend Martin Luther King, Junior, refrained from judging people by the colour of their skin but by their deeds. Had the Rhodesian Front and the white electorate listened to liberals like Garfield Todd, reasonable, moderate, humane white and black nationalists like Joshua Nkomo would have become the leaders of a progressive, non-racial Zimbabwe, and most likely things would not have turned out the way they did. With their reasonable political demands for one man one vote denied, black nationalists became more radical and resorted to the armed struggle. The tragic result, apart from the loss of thousands of lives, black and white, was the emergence of RGM, who has, singly handedly, wrecked a once prosperous country, impoverished and brutarized its people, and created a culture of corruption, vice and greed.

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      CLIVE SUTHERLAND 4 years

      I agree with you on several points, but what is done is done, if the world had given Bishop Muzawera a chance we would also now be in a better place!

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    Harper 4 years

    The wrong horse, yes, but not necessarily the wrong course. Soames imposed Mugabe as the alternative was return to war. In private he referred to Mugabe as the biggest bully. (source: his close protection officer). History has proved Soames’ early opinion of Mugabe.
    Nkomo was unacceptable to the US, UK and SA as it was feared with him in power his backers, the Cubans, would have a free run to Beit Bridge.

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    John Weeks 4 years

    I once met Lord Plunket while working on his sawmill in Chimanimani. I greeted him “hello Mr Plunket” .. He looked down his nose at me and replied “You will address me as Lord Plunket” I replied “Yes Mr Plunket” I never had much time for British Pomp & Ceremony and don’t till this day!

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      Tawanda 4 years

      So what? Does that make you a better person than he was? Nxaa.

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        Nkiwane (M'kiwa) 4 years

        @Tawanda – No, I don’t think this gentleman, John Weekes, is saying that. What he’s saying is that a lot of these British upper class have an unearned and undeserved sense of superiority and try to force it onto others.

        Think about it. He may have a title in England, but what the hell does that have to do with Zimbabwe? Nothing! Zimbabwe doesn’t recognise such rubbish.

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          Nkiwane (M'kiwa) 4 years

          It is similar to saying, “I’m better than you because,…. I’m white/black/brown/Shona/Ndebele/a man/ etc., etc.

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          Tawanda 4 years

          Fair enough, but I don’t think that’s what he was saying either. He was talking about himself and his little historical moment.

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    Angela Wigmore 4 years

    How come, if ”Mr Plunket” loved the idea of ‘one-man one-vote’ so much, he died in England, not Zimbabwe. Was he, perchance, invaded and pushed off his beloved Rathmore in Chimanimani by the very people he championed? That would be Karma!

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    John Thomas 4 years

    May The Lord kiss hiss own ass wherever it is that he has gone to

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    Tyrone Plunket 4 years

    How sad is it that a piece to honour a man renowned for his passion for fair play, justice, friendship and 62 year love for his Wife, whose friends here both black and white were not titled or privileged or politically connected and who spent his whole life running a tiny sawmill that supported financially many people including the likes of John Weeks,shame on you particularly! Robin was friends and always supported through business your father Jack, you and young John for 25 years. He was always putting more into the community than he ever got back, he was a staunch Anglican and lay preacher in Chimanimani for 40 years including the trauma of the Kunonga times and it’s left to John, Nkiwane, Angela (no, whilst the land was nationalised we remain on the farm and he died in hospital in London whilst being treated for cancer) and the pathetically anonymous John Thomas to criticise him.

    If any of you armchair critics would like to list and compare to my Uncle your life times selfless good deeds for both a country and your local communities….

    • comment-avatar
      Tawanda 4 years

      Well said

    • comment-avatar
      Nkiwane (M'kiwa) 4 years

      Fair enough. But no one is superior to anyone else. We are all equal.

    • comment-avatar

      It should be noted that the First Baron Plunket was much of the same disposition towards discrimination as the Eighth. He was William Conyngham Plunket and he lived at Old Connaught House, outside Bray in County Dublin. The House was built in 1785. He was a supporter of Catholic Emancipation and a respected friend of Daniel O’Connell, a man central to the freedom of Ireland.
      Welcome to the history of Ireland.

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      Anita 1 year

      He was a great man. He did a lot for Zimbabwe with love.if people ain’t sure who he was then it’s nice not to comment bad things.l would have lived to meet people of such great honour. If we address doctors as Doctor Z or B,then what’s wrong in saying Lord Plunket coz he was a Lord. Let’s focus on the good things he left and move forward.

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    Morris 4 years

    Surely, Lord is a tittle just like Pastor, Bishop, Cardinal, Mr. Professor, Doctor etc. Some people treasure their titles and that they do so does not mean they consider themselves more than others. They most probably consider the title deserved and prefer to be addressed by that title. To insinuate otherwise maybe to stretch it a bit.

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    Nkiwane (M'kiwa) 4 years

    Maybe Morris. I have nothing against people having titles. But that said, there is no need to demean others by forcing them to recognise something conferred upon their family by the British Head of State. Especially not in Africa.

    This is the sort of attitude which caused problems in the first place.

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    He kept his farm. That is enough for me to know he was not to be trusted. Racist traitor naive gullible like bryden black. Saw his buddies destroy our cuntry. Mate of criminal Joshua sacco. Treason is punishable by……….

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      Tawanda 4 years

      Better you take the meds and stop swearing,wena.