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White farmers receive eviction notices despite Mugabe pledge

The Telegraph

By Peta Thornycroft in Harare
(Filed: 26/06/2006)

      The Zimbabwe government is reneging on a pledge to invite exiled white
farmers back to work the land and is moving to evict the few hundred who
survived President Robert Mugabe's six-year ethnic purge.

      Scores of eviction notices were either delivered or were on their way
to productive white farmers last week. The farmers will have 90 days to
leave their homes and abandon their businesses.

      In an indication that the government is launching a final push against
the farmers, Didymus Mutasa, the lands and security minister, told Western
diplomats this week that he did not care if Zimbabwe's land remained
unproductive "as long we [blacks] own it".

      Four months ago Mr Mugabe asked white farmers to stay. It was a
spectacular admission that his 20 million-acre land grab had failed and that
the expulsion of more than 4,000 white farmers had wrecked the economy.

      "Productivity must return to the land," Gideon Gono, the governor of
the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, said at the time.

      Mr Mugabe even invited some who had fled their farms to return home
and apply for 99-year leases for their properties, which were all
nationalised last year.

      About 900 existing and former white farmers applied for leases, half
of them through the Commercial Farmers' Union, but none has been processed.

      "We were hopeful this would kick-start better production" said Trevor
Gifford, a CFU official. "What is happening now is very disappointing."

      David Drury, a Harare solicitor, is preparing to go to court to
challenge a batch of flimsy eviction notices.

      "This is demonstrably an abuse of process, from a policy point of view
and a legal point of view," he said. But his hopes cannot be high.

      The last time eviction notices were flowing was three years ago in the
heat of the land invasions when white farmers were being killed or beaten up
and imprisoned for refusing to abandon their homes.

      Many remaining white farmers, trying to keep a low profile, are still
regularly tormented by gangs and are often humiliated by the police when
they beg for help.

      "It is extremely painful. I don't know how we endure this, but we have
nowhere to go and no other way of earning our living," said a farmer who had
been under pressure from thugs who have surrounded his homestead for the
last two weeks on behalf of a ruling Zanu PF heavyweight.

      John Worsley-Worswick, spokesman for the pressure group Justice for
Agriculture, said: "It is torture for farmers still out there. When they are
evicted, they, their families and thousands of skilled farm workers and
their families will be destitute."

      Most surviving white farmers, who have been forced to donate two
thirds of their properties to the state, are tutoring the "new farmers" who
were allocated their land.

      Few "new farmers" have equipment or any agricultural skills. "It is in
my interests that they are successful and want me around," said one farmer.

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Deadline looms for Zimbabwe's banks

Business Report

June 26, 2006

By Godfrey Marawanyika

Harare - Zimbabwean banks are struggling to raise a minimum capitalisation
of US$10 million (R75 million) by September in line with a central bank
order, fuelling fears that many will have to close or merge.

Banks operating in Zimbabwe's inflation-ridden economy were given the
deadline last year to raise base capital of Z$1 trillion (R75 million) or
shut down.

The country's financial sector has been ailing since 2004 when it suffered
its worst crisis, which left seven banks under judicial administration and
three financial institutions liquidated.

Three banks that were closed in 2004 reopened in January last year as part
of a new umbrella grouping that the central bank hoped would help revive the
troubled financial sector.

The Zimbabwe Allied Banking Group brought together the Royal, Trust and
Barbican banks and planned to take in more distressed banks. But it has not
really taken off.

The September deadline is giving bank officials sleepless nights.

"Most banks are unlikely to meet the September 30 deadline for the minimum
capital requirements," the Bankers' Employers' Association warned in a
letter to a union of bank workers after they demanded a 1 600 percent salary

"Thus, some banks may actually be forced to close or merge with other banks
if they are to survive and retain workers."

While most banks performed well last year year, the environment "has
deteriorated significantly" in the first five months of 2006, with the
majority posting heavy losses, the association said.

Only five of Zimbabwe's 18 registered commercial banks have so far raised
the minimum amount required. - Sapa-AFP

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Mobile phone boom eludes Zimbabwe as crisis bites


Mon Jun 26, 2006 4:38 AM IST
By MacDonald Dzirutwe

HARARE (Reuters) - It is a cold winter night in central Harare, but 100
people are willing to queue on the pavement until the shops open in the

The glittering prize? A mobile phone SIM card.

"I had no choice, this was the only way of securing a SIM card at a
reasonable price," said Sam Takavada, emerging from a local dealer for
Zimbabwe's largest mobile phone operator, Econet, after a night in the

Takavada considers himself lucky after paying 3 million Zimbabwe dollars
($30) for a pay-as-you-go card that will link him to a mobile phone network
and comes with airtime. Most are forced to buy SIM cards on a thriving black
market, where prices climb to 25 million Zimbabwe dollars.

Zimbabwe offers a sharp contrast to the rest of Africa, where mobile phone
use is spreading rapidly as an alternative to unreliable and expensive fixed

But foreign currency shortages have hamstrung network expansion and growth
in Zimbabwe's mobile phone sector, capping penetration at around 5 percent
of the population, compared to 70 percent in South Africa or around 40
percent in Namibia.

Middle Eastern, South African and European firms are scrambling for a
foothold on the rest of continent, with South Africa's MTN recently offering
$5.53 billion for Dubai-based Investcom.

But Zimbabwe, crippled by economic crisis, is different. The country has
three mobile operators, Econet Wireless, state-owned Net*One and Telecel
Zimbabwe, majority-owned by Orascom Telecom's Telecel International.

The government has failed to attract foreign investors to pump money into
debt-saddled Net*One and fixed-line operator TelOne.

Dakarayi Matanga, spokesman at Econet Wireless, Zimbabwe's biggest cellphone
operator, said about 95 percent of the company's key components were sourced

"Therefore any significant network expansion can only take place if and when
the company can access enough hard currency to import network equipment," he


In the last five years, Zimbabwe has witnessed a rise in black market
trading across all sectors of the economy as many struggle to eke out a
living in a country grappling with its worst economic crisis since
independence from Britain in 1980.

Inflation exceeds 1,000 percent, the highest in the world, unemployment has
topped 70 percent and the national currency is losing value faster than any

Newspaper classified sections are packed with advertisements from unlicensed
dealers offering mobile phone lines that are unavailable from operators or
their dealers.

Speculators buy lines when they are released by the three mobile phone
operators and resell them at anything from 15 to 25 million Zimbabwe dollars
on the black market.

"It is a little easier when you have contacts at these companies because you
can get a large order for SIM cards ... since we are not dealers for any of
the companies we do not have restrictions on the price mark-up," said Justin
Marowa, a manager at Cell Link, which sells cellphones and accessories.

"Now people say lines are expensive but there will always be someone who is
willing to buy it for 25 million (Zimbabwe) dollars," he added.

Unlike in neighbouring South Africa, Botswana or Namibia where a customer
buys a SIM card over the counter, Zimbabweans have to wait for months before
SIM cards come on the market, always resulting in a stampede.

Most of Zimbabwe's users are on the pay-as-you-go system, too poor to
qualify for contract services.

Econet has the most subscribers at 412,197 and hopes to increase the figure
to 500,000 by the end of this month. Net*One has 240,000 while Telecel
Zimbabwe has fewer than 140,000 users.

Net*One Chief Executive Reward Kangai said recently his company was planning
to expand the network and hoped new lines would be available soon, but
analysts doubt it will be able to meet huge pent-up demand from Zimbabweans.

"The year 2006 comes with a lot of promise for all customers ... potential
customers should also look forward to the release of lines which should
fulfil demand," he said.

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Slavery, colonialism, world cup: an African reflection

      By Bill Saidi

      HARARE - FIVE hours without electricity can turn you into a cranky old
man - if you had never lived in an environment where there was never any
electricity to speak of, such as in the village during colonialism.

      You can start developing a homicidal mania, or a mania for
destruction. In a small way, it makes you feel like breaking something:
someone's   head, their car, their house or their office furniture.

      The period of darkness can also induce in you a time for deep
reflection on your country. There was a time, you will remember, when you
never had to worry about electricity - because it was always there.

      If you are old, you can trace this period to colonialism, when the
paternalism of the colonialist ensured that you had everything. I lived
during that period, when they paid your rent in the township, paid for your
water, paid for everything.

      It meant, in reality, that your pay was peanuts. You hated the
paternalism and you hated the peanuts pay. Which was one reason why, when
someone pointed out to you this was not  a dignified  way to live, you
agreed with them and then  joined them in condemning  colonialism and
destroying  it.

      I was born during colonialism, but before slavery, of which I have no
personal memories.
      President Robert Mugabe was born in 1924, a year after the British
government decided to grant "self-government" to the clique set up by the
British South Africa Company which had "occupied" most of what was then
Southern Rhodesia after 1890.

      You could say then that his gripe against colonialism was probably
deeper than mine. You would be wrong. I felt just as hard done by as he was.

      Mugabe must also have only the vaguest memories of  African slavery.
Both of us, though, can relate to a recent visit to The Gambia, by an
Englishman who desired to make a public apology to the Africans for his
ancestors' role in the slave trade in Africa.

      Most Africans have always tried to understand why their continent was
chosen, first for slavery, and then for the Scramble for Africa, during
which the Europeans sat around a table and decided who would "own" which
piece of Africa - as if there were no people who owned the continent.

      For most of us, the answer is quite simple: these people were greedy,
corrupt, bloodthirsty and cruel. They would kill human beings for no other
reason than that they resisted their campaign to conquer their countries.

      So, is it any wonder that, eventually, the Africans fought against the
colonialists, killed some of them and reclaimed their birthright?
      Today, most of the people of the piece of land previously pilloried as
The Dark Continent are free and relatively enlightened.

      What must cause many of them constant headaches is the nagging
suspicion that this freedom they enjoy is not total. It may not be as
horrible as the atrocious conditions they endured under colonialism. It may
not rival the persecution they suffered in the slave trade, as so
graphically portrayed in the film Roots.

      To put it very mildly, most of them could conclude they were sold a
bum steer, as the saying goes. Or someone conned them, tricked them, sold
them fool's gold or fake diamonds.

      In other words, the whole package that resulted from their struggle
for independence was phony, counterfeit, a sham, full of useless newspaper
cuttings, and not the sparkling emeralds they had been promised.

      Obviously, this is an exaggeration. There are nuggets of success here
and there. In Zimbabwe, not even the most rabid critic of the corrupt,
greedy institution that is Zanu PF could fault the government's success in
the sphere of education.

      Yet there are so many causes for people to gripe that for most of them
any reference to the crudities and cruelties of colonialism and slavery are
utterly absurd.

      To anyone subjected to the brutality and savagery of Murambatsvina,
the reality of independence becomes obscure, a hazy, indistinct mirage, as
unattainable as Nirvana.

      For the journalist, the persecution of the fraternity is as intense
and indiscriminate as it was during colonial times.

      Among colleagues I know to have died as a consequence of their
disenchantment with their governments' treatment of their profession are
Willie Musarurwa in Zimbabwe and Kelvin Mlenga in Zambia.

      I joined them at The African Daily News in 1957. Others there at the
time - and still alive today - are Nathan Shamuarira and Lawrence Vambe.

      Richard Chikosi, who had gone into public relations by the time I
returned to Zimbabwe in 1980, died a few years later. Harvey Mlanga, who had
also worked for African Newspapers, publishers of other newspapers, apart
from The African Daily News, died in Malawi, a disappointed man.

      Many others all over the continent, men and women who had supported
with the pen the struggle against colonialism that others had waged with the
gun died, their hearts filled with the bitterness of not seeing the dream of
independence realized during their lifetime.
      Most African leaders today have a clear vision of why independence on
the continent has not brought the fruits of true nationhood that the people
were promised. There is greed and corruption among the leaders.

      Their antidote for this feeling of guilt is to blame it all on the
West. Their argument is: the West never really bought into the independence
of their former colonies. They too are obsessed with greed, for they still
covet the natural resources they so freely exploited when they "owned" the

      They will do anything and everything to ensure that the new African
owners do not reap the same rich benefits from their natural resources that
the colonialists did.

      Do they want to recolonize the African countries? In Zimbabwe, the
answer is a resounding YES.

      What is the truth? It's in the darkness of a small room in Glen Norah
or Glenview: There is no power; the family cannot afford firewood or
candles - inflation is now nearly 2 000 percent. They have to wait for four
hours before they can start doing anything at all. They can't even watch the
World Cup match scheduled for live screening that evening.

      The previous night, when the power was available, they watched Ghana
qualify for the last 16. It was an unbelievable achievement for Africa -
among the l6 best football nations in the world, for the first time in the
history of the World Cup.

      Zimbabwe had failed to make it to the World Cup. This was punishment
from God, one of the children said. The parents could not believe such words
coming from the mouth of a six-year-old.
      In response to their furious stares at him, the tyke said: "That's
what our Sunday schoolteacher said."

      In the bigger world, the world of adults, Zimbabweans continue to ask
themselves if their country is truly cursed, and if the curse is from God or
from the men and women who fought in the so-called First Chimurenga.

      Is it conceivable that Mbuya Nehanda and Sekuru Kaguvi, wherever they
are today, are so livid with the present leadership they too have joined the
rest of the population in praying, in their own peculiar way, for the end of
the regime?

      They too, even without having experienced the magic of electricity in
their lifetime, somehow know that its constant absence in Zimbabwe is caused
by a leadership so wrapped up in its own importance the welfare of ordinary
is not a priority.

      Apparently, they too now appreciate why this disregard for the people
is worse than the colonialists'.

      Meanwhile, to the Zanu PF slogan Zimbabwe Will Never Be A Colony
Again, someone has replaced Colony with Country.

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Zimbabweans in the UK remember torture victims

      By a Correspondent

      LONDON - ZIMBABWEANS living in the United Kingdom will today mark the
United Nations International Day in Support of Victims of Torture by
attending a church service at the St Martins-in-the-Fields church, in
Trafalgar Square to remember victims of torture and violence in their

      Organised by the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum in association with
organisations such as the Zimbabwe Association, Redress and the Zimbabwe
Benefit Fund, the day will begin with a meeting at the House of Lords where
Arnold Tsunga, the Director of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, and
Ahmed Motala, the executive director of the Centre of the Study of Violence
and Reconciliation in South Africa, will speak on organised violence and
torture in Zimbabwe, among other issues.

      Tsunga will provide the meeting with an update on organised violence
and torture in Zimbabwe and will also report on legal cases in the country
that are in pursuit of justice for the victims while Motala will talk on the
incidence and provide a profile of Zimbabwean refugees and torture victims
that have sought refuge in South Africa.

      The church service starts at 1730 hours.

      This year's event specifically brings together Zimbabwean and Sudanese
organisations in an attempt to put the incidence of torture into a wider
African context. The event will be marked by the service at St
Martins-in-the-Fields, where torture survivors will share their experiences.

      These include human rights lawyer Gabriel Shumba, who is now based in
South Africa and Tsunga. They are expected to give the congregation an
insight into human rights violations and efforts to prevent and highlight
any further abuses.

      The service will seek to highlight the cases of torture in Zimbabwe
and Sudan and offer support and solidarity to those that have suffered and
continue to suffer, a spokesperson for the NGO forum told

      According to the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum in Zimbabwe alone in
2005 there were 136 reported cases of torture and more than 4000 cases
amounting to degrading and inhumane treatment - the range from assault,
attempted murder, displacement and unlawful arrest.

      Just before the church service there would be the laying of flowers at
the Sudanese embassy at 1700hours in commemoration of those suffering in

      Commemorative pieces of music and cultural performances will come from
Paul Lunga, Qabuka among many others. At the end of the service there will
be a procession to Zimbabwe House where a wreath of flowers will be laid in
commemorating the victims of torture.

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Help us solve crisis, Mugabe calls out to the church

      By Taurai Nyasha

      HARARE - PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe yesterday led Zimbabwe in a
controversial prayer day where he urged churches to help state efforts to
revive the country's ruined economy, warned church leaders off politics and
attacked some white Zimbabweans whom he says have not repented following the
reconciliation policy of 1980.

      Amongst some of the specific targets of the prayers was the media. The
media featured in prayers at the day of prayer, which Mugabe hinted could
soon be declared a national day. Prayers were made for the media to report
in a "responsible manner".

      The independent and international media have for some time now been a
thorn in the flesh for the ruling Zanu PF party resulting in the
promulgation of oppressive media laws such as the Access to Information and
Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA). Under the draconian law, over 50
journalists have been arrested with media houses like the Associated
Newspapers of Zimbabwe (ANZ) group, publishers of the popular Daily News and
its sister publication, The Daily News on Sunday, being forced to close

      At the Glamis Stadium, where the MDC leadership was notably absent,
Mugabe, a Catholic, warned that priests who dabbled in politics could face a
"vicious" backlash.

      "When the church leaders start being political, we regard them as
political creatures and we are vicious in that area," he told the

      Mugabe personally prayed for divine intervention in Zimbabwe "as we
work for its turnaround in every way to reach the goal of its being the
jewel among the nations".

      He asked God to pardon Zimbabwe for sins that she committed resulting
in the problems that the nation faces today. He did not elaborate on the

      Known critics of Mugabe's policies were among those involved in the
organisation of the prayer day, chief among them, Bishop Trevor Manhanga and
colleagues who refused to attend claim they are being used by Mugabe through
his divide and rule tactics.

      The issue of the national prayer day has divided the church in
Zimbabwe with Archbishop Pius Ncube of the Roman Catholic Church saying
going to prayer with Mugabe was a betrayal of those who are suffering
because of his policies.

      Said Mugabe: "We cannot do without each other as the church and the
state," Mugabe told thousands who gathered at a stadium outside the capital,
Harare, to pray for an end to Zimbabwe's deepening economic and political

      "Let the church come in and point out where there are shortcomings,
sins of commission or omission. We must combine our strengths in rebuilding
our economy deriving wisdom from the Lord Almighty so that our country can

      "On this day too, we remind ourselves of that oneness and the need for
unity," Mugabe said.

      In apparent reference to Pius Ncube his arch-critic, Mugabe said he
knew that the Archbishop was praying for his death. He warned church leaders
to confine themselves to religion.

      Ncube says the suffering in Zimbabwe has been a result of bad
governance by Mugabe and his government over the last 26 years.
      Zimbabwe has been faced by massive economic and political problems
since the rejection of the government's draft constitution ahead of the 2000
parliamentary elections.

      There are chronic shortages of basic goods, fuel, foreign currency and
the unemployment rate is skyrocketing along with rising crime levels.

      At least 80 percent of the country's 13 million people live below the
poverty datum line and Mugabe blames the economic recession on sanctions
imposed on him and members of his inner circle by the United States and the
European Union after controversial presidential polls in 2002, while his
critics attribute it to mismanagement and corruption.

      The prayer meeting came weeks after a delegation of church leaders met
with Mugabe to express their concern at the country's mounting economic and
political woes.

      Only one former Zanu PF politician, who has just announced the birth
of his own political party, Dainel Shumba (Opposition United Peoples' Party
(UPP)) was present at the prayer day.

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Government deploys teams to assess wheat planting

      June 26, 2006

      By ANDnetwork .com

      The Government of Zimbabwe has for the second time in three weeks
deployed high-powered teams to farming areas in the provinces to assess
progress on winter wheat production.

       This follows reports that planting was still in progress in some
areas when the teams, which included Cabinet ministers, were deployed for
the first time.

      A spokesman of the teams and Minister of Economic Development, Cde
Rugare Gumbo, told The Sunday Mail that the teams had gone back to their
respective provinces to assess winter planting as more work needed to be
done before a comprehensive report was compiled.

      "The teams have gone back to their respective provinces for further
assessment. We will be in a position to give out a comprehensive report
after the second visit,'' said Cde Gumbo last week.

      The Government last month appointed high-level provincial monitoring
teams that include Cabinet ministers and captains of industry to assess
progress on the winter wheat programme as part of efforts to turn around the
economy under the National Economic Development Priority Programme (NEDPP)

      The teams, which are working closely with provincial governors, are
working in all the eight farming provinces to assess progress on inputs
distribution, availability of seed and fertiliser, chemicals, fuel and
tillage capacity.

      During the first visit, it was noted that most farmers are facing a
serious shortage of tillage services in all the provinces although seed,
fertiliser and other inputs were made available on time through the Grain
Marketing Board (GMB).

      The teams are expected to establish the exact hectarage planted by
confirming the figures province by province and district by district.

      They are also expected to verify the utilisation of institutional land
under Operation Maguta as well as the Agricultural and Rural Development

      "The teams will also examine cases of reported disruptions on
individual and corporate farms under winter wheat production,'' said Cde

      It was established during the first visit that so far 80 000 hectares
have been put under the crop out of the targeted 110 000 hectares. Of that,
5 038 hectares are under Operation Maguta.

      Source : Zimbabwean Sunday Mail

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Meet Britain's other black farmer

From The Guardian (UK), 26 June

When David Cameron announced his 'A-list' of Tory candidates, it supposedly
included the country's only black farmer. But there is at least one more. On
the outskirts of London, Zimbabwean-born David Mwanaka is raising a fine
crop of maize. He talks to Laura Smith.

Last month, it was announced that Wilfred Emmanuel-Jones was among the 100
candidates on David Cameron's so-called "A-list" of Tory candidates.
Emmanuel-Jones was described by the press, as he has been many times before,
as "Britain's only black farmer". But actually there's at least one other
black farmer in Britain today - and his name is David Mwanaka. Mwanaka was
living near Tottenham football club in north London when he began growing
white maize on a small plot of his landlord's back garden. It was a long way
from the cool mountains of eastern Zimbabwe where he had once helped his
father grow cabbages and potatoes, but somehow it felt like coming home.
Today, he is a fully fledged farmer with 20 acres in Enfield, north London,
another six in Salisbury, and customers the length and breadth of the
country. He has the curious distinction of not only being one of the two
black farmers in Britain (so far as we know), but of being the only producer
of white maize in the country. Mwanaka, who worked as a journalist before
coming to Britain, admits it has not been an easy career choice. He says it
took him six years of experimentation to produce a successful crop, and even
then he didn't have the customers to sell it to. "When I started I didn't
know how it was going to turn out," he says, perched on the sofa of his
house in Tilbury, Essex. "It's just like walking in a dark tunnel, you
simply don't know what is going to be at the end. But I really love seeing
plants grow, so I kept at it."

The first year was a disaster. The wide-leafed plants grew tall but never
produced the plump, white corn Mwanaka had craved since arriving in England.
But the 40-year-old was undeterred. Working as a traffic warden during the
day to make ends meet, he ignored the advice of the experts who said the
African crop could not be grown in a British climate. "I never saw him,"
says his wife, Brenda. "It used to annoy me! He would come home, say hi, hi,
hi. I'd ask him if he wanted a cup of tea and he'd just go straight out into
the garden." The family moved, this time to a house with its own garden, and
Mwanaka's experiments continued. The plants finally grew to over 6ft tall
but still there was no crop. Then finally, after six years of evenings spent
planting and digging, Mwanaka's passion paid off. He had his white maize.
Although he grew up in Nyanga, a rural part of Zimbabwe where both his
father and uncles worked on the land, farming was the last thing on
Mwanaka's mind when he came to England in 1991. A long-standing writer of
poetry, plays and short stories, he had been a journalist for an adult
literacy magazine for a year when he decided it was time to leave his home

"There was no freedom of the press in Zimbabwe," he says, his clipped,
precise southern African accent still in evidence. "You can never be
objective, you can never write the truth. So many journalists were
imprisoned. I worked for a magazine covering trade-union and political
issues, so we were not always on the government's side. I was never detained
but there was always that fear that the secret agents were behind you." When
he joined his brother, who had moved to London in the 1980s, he assumed he
would continue with his career as a writer. "I did a diploma at the London
School of Journalism. After that I thought, yeah, well, now I can get a job.
But I couldn't get a job," he says. "Then I did a degree in politics and
sociology and still I couldn't get a job. I tried most of the newspapers. I
can't blame them. Suppose you were to move to Zimbabwe and you were going
for a job at a newspaper, you probably wouldn't get it." He did a succession
of jobs: in a factory, as a chef, as a parking attendant. "I thought when I
applied for the parking attendant job that I wouldn't tell them I was a
journalist because they would think I was undercover." He laughs a loud
laugh. "I did a lot of jobs and I didn't like any of them. It was hard, it
was frustrating. I thought, why am I doing this? I should be doing something
better." And so the garden, and achieving his dream of growing white maize,
became an outlet for his frustrations.

Finally, having successfully raised the crop, it was time to find some land.
He began by knocking on the doors of farmhouses on the outskirts of London
and asking farmers whether they had any acres to let. "I bet none of them
ever thought I was serious," he says. "They all thought no, he's up to
something. I mean, if someone comes round to your door asking if you have
any land to grow white maize, which you've never even heard of . . . it's
very suspicious." The family's luck changed when they put an advert for
farmland in classifieds paper Loot and were contacted by a journalist
wanting to do a story. "After the article appeared, two people approached
us. One was in Wales, which was too far, and one in Enfield. We went for
Enfield." Mwanaka is delighted to have proved his critics wrong. He is even
more delighted to have a ready supply of his favourite food, fresh from the
fields in the summer and straight from the freezer in winter. The couple now
also advertise on television, newspapers and their website, and have list of
regular customers. They make deliveries to shops and restaurants from
Birmingham to Southend, and many places in between.

Brenda says it isn't the future she expected. "When I came to England, I
thought I would have an office job. If you had told me we would be farming,
I don't think I would have agreed. But going into the field, seeing things
grow, being outside . . . it's more refreshing than being in an office." For
the couple, who have three children aged between three and eight, the only
thing missing is their own farm, where they can work the land without
travelling to the fields they rent. They say they would have no qualms about
leaving their Essex home to move further into the countryside - even though
they will stand out there more than they already do. Mwanaka has not met
Emmanuel-Jones, the other black farmer, but he did speak to him on the phone
after seeing his name in an article. "When I saw him in the paper, I just
wanted to phone him and say 'hi'; for him to know there was another black
farmer out there," he says. "At first he was happy that I called and said we
could visit his place. I called him again to arrange a time but he never got
back to us. I would definitely like to go, though, if he invites us again".

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