Running on the roof – by Cathy Buckle

via Running on the roof – by Cathy Buckle June 6, 2014

Dear Family and Friends,

Early every winter a little tree squirrel arrives on my roof and goes into a frenzy of activity. He snacks voraciously on seeds put out for birds, attracting considerable feathered abuse in the process; he collects pieces of lichen, leaves and grass to make his winter nest and then he parades on the roof which seems to be his prime position for attracting a partner. He looks stunning in the early mornings as his fur shimmers golden as it catches the first rays of the sun. Once he’s warmed up, the squirrel is off on a frenzied, confusing circuit: strutting on the roof, flicking his tail seductively; bounding onto trees and running along the tops of walls. Up and down, round and round the little squirrel goes until you get dizzy watching him.

The confusion and dizziness that results from watching the antics of our fast dwindling suburban wildlife sums up the way of most things about life in Zimbabwe. It’s now nearly a year since the 2013 elections which left a nonagenarian and his party in charge again but we still have no clear path forward and seem to be going round in backward spirals. Companies continue to close, employees continue to be laid off while services and prices creep ever upwards making the lives of ordinary people more and more difficult. As tired as we are of living in the never ending decline, so our long time friends and supporters have grown tired of hearing about them.

“Struggle fatigue,” is the term Zimbabwean economist and writer Vince Musewe uses to describe the feeling in civil society after fourteen years of striving for change. Vince writes: “Unfortunately most adult Zimbabweans who have lived through terror and loss have run out of energy and motivation to fight.”

Confusion, resignation and weary head shaking are the most common responses to events in Zimbabwe. The front page of a leading daily newspaper this week carried a shocking photograph of an estimated one hundred Zanu PF youths (men in their 20’s) heading to an Apostolic shrine on the outskirts of Harare. “Zanu PF Youths burn Vapostori shrine,” read the headlines. Running with the pack of ‘youths’ was a policeman in uniform, smiling broadly. This mob of civilians, on the warpath and accompanied by a policeman, came as the result of incidents which had started with Apostolic sect members attacking police and journalists and later being arrested. Then came allegations that the arrested sect members had been tortured and denied food in custody. How or why Zanu PF ‘youths’ then got involved isn’t clear but Zimbabwe’s Lawyers for Human Rights immediately issued a press statement cautioning against what they describe as ‘mob justice.’

We saw this ‘mob justice’ in the years of farm takeovers and again throughout the years of opposition rallies and elections. They are as chilling now as they were then and the perpetrators get away with it now, just as they did then. The difference now is that the voices of condemnation, both at home and abroad have grown very quiet. Until next time, thanks for reading, love cathy. 6th June 2014. Copyright © Cathy Buckle.

For information on my latest book: “CAN YOU HEAR THE DRUMS,”  or my other books about Zimbabwe: “Innocent Victims,”  “African Tears,” “Beyond Tears” and “IMIRE,” or to subscribe/unsubscribe to this letter, please visit my website or contact



  • comment-avatar
    Ria Schot 9 years ago

    Dear Cathy, ever since the start of the Zim.situation website I have been a follower/fan of your regular newsletters and so admire your optimism in your writings, despite the often depressing news (to put it mildly). I am Dutch by birth, lived in Zim for 25yrs and feel just as rooted as you do. I so admire your positive attitude despite the almost impossible means of trying to live a normal life. Especially your description of life of the flora and fauna around you puts things in perspective. Thank you for informing us of daily life and keeping us up to date.

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    I do not understand the suggestion that Zimbabwe has ‘long time supporters’,…. which ones? As far as we can recall, no one stood up to help Zimbabweans through the 34 difficult years of ZANU PF rule. The western world looked the other way and only voiced one or few non-committal statements whenever elections were rigged or there was mob violence in Zimbabwe. They now say they want to engage ZANU pf government, as indicated by recent European voices. Who is deceiving who? Zimbabweans will survive despite all this treachery from our so-called ‘long time supporters’ from the African continent and from around the globe, especially from Europe.

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      Kevin Watson 9 years ago

      The rest of the world feel that Zimbabweans should take responsibility for their own predicament. As the Egyptians did, as the Libyans did, as the Tunisians did. What they have seen is a diaspora, Zimbabweans have simply fled the corrupt, dictatorial mess that Zimbabwe has become and sit in foreign lands (largely South Africa) bleating about how the World should rid them of Mugabe. At the same time they send back billions of dollars in remittances which are then used by the regime to help maintain power in the hands of a corrupt few. As for supporters Zimbabwe has few. The Zambian president, former Malawian President and the ANC Government in South Africa are firmly behind the ZANU PF regime. Only President Khama in Botswana has stood up for honest elections and human rights in Zimbabwe. The bunch of corrupt frauds who make up the African Union couldn’t tie their shoelaces with out help from foreign governments. Look at the fiasco in Nigeria over the kidnapped schoolgirls. Zimbabweans need to deal with their own problems.

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        Cde Chooks 9 years ago

        Very true: The bleating sheep will continue to bleat…even as they are being led to the slaughter.

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      Stewart 9 years ago

      Perhaps Zimbabweans will finally stand up for themselves and take action against the dictatorship instead of sitting on their hands and demanding that other countries sort out the mess. This is why the world has lost sympathy for Zimbabwean’s troubles and has grown weary of the constant demands from Zimbabwe to put everything right and provide large sums of money to replace that stolen by Zimbabweans.

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    Isu Zvedu 9 years ago

    I too feel bad if I miss reading any of your articles Cathy. You inspire many people, many Zimbabweans. You also inform us of the reality at home, around you. And yes you remind me about my childhood, those times when I took everything for granted.

    Its sad, very very sad, to read that Zanu PF was so quick to put together its violent and murderous team of youth to go and destroy. I am sadly reminded about Operation Murambatsvina and how one Chinx Chingaira climbed to the roof of his house hoping it would be spared.

    Ladies and gentlemen, this incident is a clear reminder that the monster might take a nap here and there, but can attack and destroy any time. Then when people cry – no rule of law, then we get branded sellouts.

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      anne wellsted 8 years ago

      Dear Cathy,
      I am writing this letter via this program since I do not seem to be able to get access to you by any other way. We would be so glad to hear from you to hear aboutyou and the family.

  • comment-avatar

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