Starving White Zimbabweans and the Bulawayo Help Network

I came across this video a week ago and I must admit that watching it got me a little hot under the collar. The way in which the video was put together got to me and some of the topics that got me upset included:
– mention of needing assistance for rent
– mention of not having eaten meat in a few weeks
– having access to a doctor who offers his services for free and provides them with medication (just to name a few). Part way through I literally yelled “WHAT ABOUT THE BLACK ZIMBABWEANS!?” and I started thinking about the millions who are facing starvation, a number of whom have no shelter and are unable to get medical treatment. “What about the black majority, where were they mentioned in the video?” that was on big question I had and I labelled the video as being racist. Yes, the elderly white people in the video may be in need of help but what about making it more inclusive? Yes, elderly white people are human and have the right to and should be provided with the necessities required to sustain life. Every one is entitled to that. I took offence to the way in which the video was presented and think it could have been presented in a better way and the idea of it being racist kept swirling in my mind.
I started a thread on a forum (click here) to see what people thought about the video and there were a number of people who were clearly quite upset about it and thought that the elderly white people were getting what they deserved. Some even went as far as to say they were getting off lightly and deserved a whole lot worse. There were some people who had different opinions and one that really caught my attention was a person who has tried to help people in the Mashonaland region. He stated that when he has tried to assist in non-white circles has had his efforts viewed upon with a lot of suspicion and had been told he was trying to subvert the people. This doesn’t make reaching certain groups easy for white people who are then not really left with much of a choice but to channel their efforts to where they are effective and appreciated. He went on to say that it is not all blacks who are like that because there are those who welcome aid openly.
A comment that someone else made was a lot of people regardless of colour would be starving were it not for outside support and that in African cultures, children support their parents and less fortunate family members, a practise not common in the Eurocentric culture. The elderly white people may be getting ignored by their children which leaves them in the same boat as many of the Zimbabweans who have nothing.
Text at the end of the video stated that, “hunger in Africa has always been a concern. A problem being addressed for the masses by donor organizations, government help programs and NGO institutions. There is a group of people that fell through the cracks, and do not receive ANY of this help or funding. They are the elderly white people living in Zimbabwe. Life is hunger, destitution and being forgotten if you are old and white living in Zimbabwe.” In my original state, that was something I did not pay attention to on the day I first watched the video. That has played a part in changing the way I view Catherine Sargant and the people of the Bulawayo Help Network. All they are trying to is help people which is commendable and I do need to apologise to Catherine for abusive comments I made.
The comments made by people who were supportive of the efforts of the Bulawayo Help Network also played a part in changing my perceptions. Being Black, White, Coloured, Indian or whatever does not make you immune to the crisis in Zimbabwe. What the network is trying to do is help a group of people who happen to be white and there is nothing wrong with that. If they don’t get help they too will become a statistic of a government that doesn’t have the interests of its people at heart. The anger that I felt may have been a lot of misdirected anger. During the past week I have been thinking about how things in Zimbabwe would be if people were willing to and able to change their perceptions which may be otherwise distorted?
If you feel inclined to help the Bulawayo Help Network, do whatever you can to do so:
Bulawayo Help Network
phone/fax +263 965 383
phone +263 928 1340
mobile +263 116 302 04
email: byohelp[at]netconnect[dot]co[dot]zw, southcom[at]netconnect[dot]co[dot]zw

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15 Responses to Starving White Zimbabweans and the Bulawayo Help Network

  1. Taka August 12, 2008 at 7:34 pm #

    Sad! I have been hoping everyday that those guys would come up with an agreement to end all this crisis in Zimbabwe.

    Seems that’s our only hope for economic recovery in the country.

    But ‘Power’ corrupts people and they don’t want to let go.

  2. Anonymous January 25, 2009 at 1:43 am #

    South Africa is soon to be in the same boat with reverse racism and corruption within Govt. Thats why I have moved to New Zealand

  3. nikki April 17, 2012 at 12:35 pm #

    This is the Black man’s land. The White elderlty should go back to england or any other parts of europe. Black people around the world are experiencing racism at some or another. So what is a few white elderly people in Zimbabwe? Unless they are Black or Asian, I could careless. Blacks in Africa have been struggle in this world dued to the White man’s greed.

    • Dean April 18, 2012 at 5:42 pm #

      Jeez, no need to be racist Nikki, we are all human beings born in the image of Christ. Shame on you! I really hope the good lord has mercy on your soul for your cruel words.

  4. Clayton April 19, 2012 at 1:49 am #

    i had the same reaction as you and at times i struggle with us having to label each other according to race. Hunger is hunger with colour boundaries.

  5. martha April 19, 2012 at 9:50 am #

    First,this is old old video. We use US dollars now & hv everything in stores.

    Second, this generation of White Rhodesians presided over the most crual & racist crimes against Black Zimbabwe

  6. martha April 19, 2012 at 9:52 am #

    First,this is old old video. We use US dollars now & hv everything in stores.

    Second, this generation of White Rhodesians presided over the most cruel & racist crimes against against Black Zimbabweans. They benefitted & lived lavishly at the expense of Zimbabweans…they propably deserveZimbabwe

  7. martha April 19, 2012 at 9:57 am #

    First, this video is old. We use USA $ now & shops are full of food & meds.

    Second, this generation of Rhodesians presided over the cruelest & most racist period in history against blacks. They also unfairly benefitted and lived lavishly at the expense of blacks.

    Pay back is a bitch!

  8. Andrew Martin August 24, 2012 at 1:28 am #

    What’s so racist about white people complaining about the problems, idiot? Whites have been the victim of extreme racism in Zimbabwe. Whites were targetted in a state-supported persecution having their properties confiscated without re-embursement as well as hundreds of thousands of black workers who are now destitute so a few of mugabe’s buddies could have some free property. Whites arrived in Zimbabe in the 1890s, only 60 years after the “indigneous” Matabele who are from South Africa. And if you want to meet the real indigenous Zimbabweans, go to the Kalahari and meet the San.
    The racist treatment of whites in your country is why all of you have suffered as your industries of agriculture and tourism collapsed. The period of hyperinflation was squarely due to these factors. Most White Zimbabweans are not racist, and those who have stayed have tried to better their country.
    The only reason your shops are full of food is that you are riding on the back of the US economy

  9. Martha August 24, 2012 at 6:58 am #

    How are we ‘riding US economy’? You need a lesson in finance. Using anyone’s currency like USA doesnt lead to assistance. We are trading OUR natural resources & putting OUR US dollars in OUR pockets.

    Your ppl were very very racist. We were not even allowed to ne citizens in our own home.

    You also need a history lesson. Original Zims are Karangas. There for 100s of years before you lot arrived to oppress people.

    Fact: Like every young country, we have our struggles. UK did. uS did.

    So what, at least we are FREE.

  10. Dennis Grey August 24, 2012 at 8:09 am #

    The way we lived in pre-independence wasn’t fair, but that doesn’t mean we should return the favor, the only way we can progress in Zimbabwe is to learn from the last, take the elements which once made Zimbabwe/Rhodesia a bread busket and utilize them together as one nation. I believe in a strong beautiful Zimbabwe, we now have diamonds, 2nd largest platinum and chrome reserves, gold, nickel the list is endless, but greed is the downfall of our beautiful nation, wether u r black, white or Asian we’re zimbos.

  11. martha August 24, 2012 at 7:45 pm #

    Rhodesia was never a “bread basket” because only a minority could eat the damn bread & it was based on stolen land & slavery. We do have a choice to return the favour or not…we choose to return it…it’s therapeutic to us. Whether you see it or not, Zimbabwe IS beautiful!!

  12. Andrew Martin August 26, 2012 at 12:36 am #

    I am not disputing that Zimbabwe is beautiful. I was there on holidays only a few weeks ago and it is truly beautiful. What was also apparent to me as an Australian was the derelict state of agriculture there and the plethora of police road blocks fishing for bribes.

    Martha, you talk of stolen land…those farmers were all Zimbabweans and had their land illegally stolen by Mugabe and his cronies with no compensation – much like the Jews of Hitler’s Germany. Moreover at least a million workers lost their jobs with impoverishment of them and their families. It is no mistake that this triggered the crash od Zimbabwe’s agricultural and tourist industries simultaneously in the early 2000s resulting in starvation of poor Zimbabweans. You cannot use past wrongs to justify exploitation of people who for the most part had nothing to do with past wrongs and carry Zimbabwe passports. If we in Australia started dispossessing all Zimbabweans living here of their homes there would be international outcry. The farm takeovers were nothing more than jealousy and greed giving the white minority a “yellow star”. This vitriolic state-sponsored racism is resonant with the Gukuharundi massacres of Matabele in the 1980s and Mugabe’s bulldozing of an Harare suburb who didn’t want him as president. I sincerely feel for all Zimbabweans who have suffered this tyranny. The ostrich buries its head in the sand.

  13. Andrew Martin August 26, 2012 at 12:52 am #

    And for the record Martha, maybe some of you supporters of Zanu-PF are “free”. I don’t think Joshua Nkomo was “free” when he got taken out by a rocket which just happened to be travelling in his direction. I don’t think Morgan Tsvangirai was “free” when he got bashed up by the secret police. I don’t think Roy Bennett (MP) was free when he got locked up on trumped up charges with a state-controlled judicial system; or the countless others who have suffered at the hands of your regime.

    To quote Animal Farm: “All are equal but some are more equal than others”

  14. ally August 26, 2012 at 2:07 am #

    I am very sorry for pain our fellow Zim man are feeling regardless of colour .
    It is very unfair to pay a wrong by a wrong those who love to biker too much where were they the time we were enslaved at the hands of their forefathers ! They must be paid, Yes, who should do that!

    Let our madala the president go and those he used to remain in power for our benefit we miss home!Our land, our Zimbabwe!

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