I met some old friends from Zimbabwe the weekend before last. It was nice to catch up on friends and family. But also it was a poignant meeting. I've known Farai since 1978 and the liberation struggle against White Rule in Zimbabwe. The feelings of exitement and joy we had in 1980 when Zanu won the general election. Then meeting them again in 1987 when I went to teach there for 2 years. The feelings of optimism that things were getting better.
Now Zimbabwe has the lowest life expectancy in the world, it's been halved since the 1980's because of poverty and AIDs, millions have fled the chaos and thousands are trying to do every week. Inflation is between 5-10,000%, or prices doubling every week. It's estimated it will reach a million % by the end of the year.
But I will never side with the reactionaries who say that this is the inevitable result of black majority rule. The problem in Zimbabwe, like many other African countries is the sheer poverty of the countries and the extremes of wealth and poverty there. The rich, whatever skin colour, will attempt to hang onto their privileges. If you are rich with access to foreign currency in Zimbabwe, even today, life is comfortable. If there are huge queues for petrol and food you just pay someone to queue for you. This is what is happening now. The people who really suffer are ordinary people, many millions, who are literally starving.
Who knows what will happen, maybe the military will kick Mugabe out, maybe there will be an uprising of people who feel that they have nothing else to lose.
In Zimbabwe there is unfinished business - Pamberi ne chimurenga!