Zimbabwe

White Zim minister: Racism persists

2012-11-02 22:09
David Coltart (Picture: AFP)

David Coltart (Picture: AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Special Report

Mugabe's wife Grace completes PhD in 3 months
Mugabe's wife Grace completes PhD in 3 months

Soon after being shoe-horned into the top ranks of Zimbabwe's ruling party, the wife of ageing leader Robert Mugabe has gained a PhD in orphanages, seen as the latest sign that she may be destined for the high office.

Harare - Zimbabwe's only white government minister has said racial slurs against whites at the highest political level continue to show "a gross level of intolerance" in the southern African nation.

Education Minister David Coltart said if he made similar insults about blacks he would "rightly be branded as a sympathiser of the Nazis and the Klu Klux Klan."

Ministerial colleagues sometimes seemed to forget he was in the same room when they made "shocking" remarks about whites, even at Cabinet meetings, he said on his Facebook page.

Debate on lingering prejudices in Zimbabwe has raged since allegations of racism in soccer have re-emerged in Europe.

A weekly newspaper run by loyalists of President Robert Mugabe charged on Friday that racism by whites has endured three decades since the end of colonial-era rule.

The Patriot newspaper said since independence in 1980 Zimbabweans have been giving each other "plastic smiles" that tried to conceal the deeply-rooted brutality of past white rule.

It said the tiny white minority of about 30 000 does not want to mix with blacks or respect the majority population of 12 million people.

It said racial polarisation was shown at a writers' gathering in Harare last month addressed by white and black best-selling authors.

It said Alexandra Fuller, author of Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight an account of growing up as a white child in colonial times, dodged questions on "white assumptions" about black Africans.

Coltart, a lawyer, longtime human rights activist and a politician of the former opposition now in the coalition government, said white attitudes had often been hardened by racist hate speech in media controlled by Mugabe loyalists and "ethnic cleansing" by Mugabe militants since 2000, the start of an often violent campaign to seize thousands of white-owned commercial farms and a black empowerment program to take control of 51% of white and foreign-owned businesses.

That "entrenched bitterness in the minds of many whites," Coltart said.

He said he was glad the "important debate" was now being aired openly.

In 1980, after a guerrilla war swept him to power, Mugabe announced a policy of reconciliation toward his former white foes and said he would allow the descendants of British settlers to keep their place in the sun.

Coltart noted no independent truth commission was held in Zimbabwe after white rule ended and so whites never had to face up to the realities of the past.

In neighbouring South Africa, many apartheid era crimes were investigated and heard by a truth and reconciliation commission.

Coltart said "deeply offensive" generalisations on race were frequently used by all groups in Zimbabwe.

"As always, it is wrong to paint any race or ethnic group with a single, broad brush. There are remarkable white people out there who are deeply committed to the concept of a multiracial, truly democratic Zimbabwe," he said.

"Sadly, we all make generalisations which would be unacceptable in all genuine democracies," he said.

- AP

NEXT ON NEWS24X

SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
62 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Pre-order your iPhone 6 at kalahari.com

Hurry and pre-order your own iPhone 6 now at SA’s favourite online store!

Bargain box – 60% off

Reduced prices, very limited stock. While stocks last. Hurry and shop now!

Mind blow low prices on electronics

Get either the Prestigio multiphone or Proline tablet 7” tablet for only R699. Offers valid while stocks last. Shop now!

30% off Barbie toys

Save 30% on all Barbie toys and accessories. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Baby extravanganza month at kalahari.com

Celebrate baby month with a wide range of awesome baby products. Offers valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Mind power dominates and can help you to uncover things from a deeper level, but it can also create entanglements if you let your...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.