White Zim minister: Racism persists

2012-11-02 22:09

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.

  • henk.tredoux.7 - 2012-11-02 22:26

    Mr Coltart...... Grab your bags and run! Are you trying to be a martyr?

      harry.boesman - 2012-11-02 23:30

      Errrmmm... tsotsibay, I seem to think that it must be somewhat less than 170 years since the 1st white settlers ventured into Zimbabwe. Where, exactly, do you get that figure of 743 years from, and how, exactly, does it relate to Zim?

      harry.boesman - 2012-11-02 23:38

      @tsotsibaby: And how, exactly, does a survey on discrimination against a (marginalised) minority in the USA apply to the majority (and, may I add, a majority in actual power) in South Africa? Grow up, for Heaven's sake, and stop being a cry baby. Or else, move to Zimbabwe, where logic seems to hold no place.

      Nigel - 2012-11-03 06:18

      Ah the copy & paste baby is back. This gadget has no clue what it's talking about - just copy & paste. Just ignore this racist gadget.

      Havokreeka - 2012-11-03 08:56

      @ PUNUNGWE "Land Apportionment Act of 1930 which allocated most of fertile Zimbabwe to whites. Land Apportionment Act of 1930 which allocated most of fertile Zimbabwe to whites." So how much of the land is fertile since the blacks took it back?

      parys.fotograaf - 2012-11-03 09:09

      TsotiB, BBEE and AA might be legal but if measured against the common law, it is unlawful as it strips humans of their born in human rights. As atrue lover of freedom, we should thus all never support such an unlawful statute, but act to have it removed.

      andrez.kolesky - 2012-11-03 09:11

      Many Zimbabweans today are not happy! They're not happy in Zimbabwe . So, where are they happy? They're Very happy in Australia ... They’re happy in New Zealand. They're happy in the UK . They're happy in Canada . They're happy in the US . They're happy in France . They're happy in Germany ... They're happy in Italy . They're happy in Sweden . They're happy in Denmark . They're happy in Norway . They're happy in South Africa So, they're happy in every country that is not Zimbabwe. And who do they blame? Not Zimbabwe Not their leadership. Not themselves. NO!!! THEY BLAME THE WESTERN COUNTRIES THEY ARE HAPPY IN! AND THEY WANT TO CHANGE THEM TO BE LIKE THE COUNTRY THEY JUST FRIGGIN CAME FROM? WHERE THEY WERE UNHAPPY ?. Well Bugger Me, have I missed something here??

      stephanie.sutherland41 - 2012-11-03 09:54

      Punungwe - and now they struggle to feed their children and beg the very West they so hate to save them. That is hilarious on so many levels. When you inflict starvation on your own country by means of distruction of farms, no matter the reason, then one must expect the West to hesitate to assist. The more Africa destroys itself the less help the public of the West is going to be willing to give. THe Wests attitude towards Africa in general is changing rapidly. I hope that South Africa protects its food suppliers to avoid starving millions just to cause a civil war. It won't turn out well for anyone.

      hjkavdkah - 2012-11-03 11:54

      BIG Chief - Can you please send me your home address!!!

  • matthew.service - 2012-11-02 22:49

    God I am just so over Africa, Africans and their petty self enriching short sighted ignorant rankings about racism and 'colonial' eras. Because of course we all know that you can only be a colonial if u were white and came by boat as opposed to black and by foot ... Right? And I'm sure there were 12 million blacks in Zimbabwe when the first English settlers arrived ? No? Go and get help... Oh wait... The rest Of the world couldn't care less ! So then continue to live in poverty, aggression, ignorance for all we care... Continue thinking in your small minded way that it ok for a majority to oppress a minority .... Yes ... That's much better than a minority oppressing a majority Fools. You are headed back to the dark ages. You seem to forget all the good colonial settlement brought. So be it.

  • henk.tredoux.7 - 2012-11-02 23:01 must be slow, stupid or both!? So what the colonials did was wrong but when a black "disadvantaged" person does the same, he is totally entitled to do so??? Huh? Are you sitting on a rock or crawling from under it? Racism 101?

      Nigel - 2012-11-03 06:25

      Don't get cross Isaac the idiot. It's not your fault you were born a moron. It's OK, we understand.

  • harry.boesman - 2012-11-02 23:12

    Both points of view quoted in the article are correct: They don't stand in opposition, but rather paint a very sad picture of a failed campaign for reconciliation. The main difference between Zim, the RSA and Namibia is the way that its supreme leader upon liberation practised this concept. In the RSA and Namibia, the liberation President embraced all those who could - and were willing to - make a contribution towards nation-building and prosperity. It worked perfectly. In Zim, it merely centered around "indigenisation", as it still does today. Mugabe chants and re-chants the skin-colour thing, ad nauseam. Which causes the whites to retreat into their Laagers. So, dear Bob, how do you call a rabbit out of the hole into which YOU frightened it in the 1st place? The person who chose to perpetuate the division was YOU, not the whites. They only ran into hiding when YOU declared them the enemy. As we say in Afrikaans: Gogga maak vir Baba bang. And if you control Gogga, you also control Baba!

  • TheSingingHorse - 2012-11-03 05:27

    The article confirms what is already known.Generally speaking blacks hate whites.Sure there is a small percentage that do fall into this category. Racisms blacks on white is very much alive.It is rife in SA , Zim and goodness were else. But hey ...we should not be saying such things.

      simon.sinimoni - 2012-11-03 06:57

      I am black ,I do not hate whites,my wife does not hate whites ,her family does not hate whites,my family does not hate whites,my workmates do not hate whites.are we all wierd? Fact is most ordinary Zimbabweans do not give a sh..t about skin colour until you start behaving 'black' or 'white'.

      mshiniboys - 2012-11-03 19:31

      The only person with a problem in the whole country is you and your steriotypes.people hate people everywhere there are back who hate blacks and whites who hate whites.some people are friends with people of other races.if you give a negative vibe expect to receive the same in return.

  • danie.smit.587 - 2012-11-03 05:45

    Yes black people was vote-less , delegated to use second class services like in Apartheid SA. The question is did the standard of living, access to work, education,and medical services,remain static , deteriorate or improve in the 30 years of black rule? Was Zimbabwe not a nett exporter of food, Africa's, bread basket, self sufficient for their power requirements during the white rule, and strict world wide sanctions except SA? And now after 30 years of black rule, Are they not begging money from SA and the world to pay civil servants, and SA supply free power to them? Did a large % of their poor black population prefer to rather leave family and country to work in SA after 30 years of black rule? During Smiths time, did one Zim dollar not cost more than 1 rand, and now, how much zim dollars will you get for one rand 1 000 or 1 000 000? The big question remain did the ordinary black zimbaweans do better during the white rule or now under a black government?

  • punungwe - 2012-11-03 07:15

    What happened in after 2000 IS NOT ethnic cleansing. The people who did it were not trying to get rid of whites. They sincerely believed they were righting colonial wrongs. They were reclaiming what was violently, forcibly and brutally taken from blacks. The same kind of bitterness that Mr Coltart says whites feel now, is nothing compared to the bitterness and helplessness that blacks felt in the 1930s when they were being forced into 'native reserves' (maruzevha) under such laws as the Land Apportionment Act of 1930 which allocated most of fertile Zimbabwe to whites. White actions were entirely driven by greed, selfishness and complete disdain of other races. The actions of 2000 are attempts to restore some semblance of fairness.

      bornwell.dennison - 2012-11-05 15:01

      Punungwe there is an old saying,two wrongs dont make a right,what the Colonialists did back then was barberic to say the least,you correctly say they were driven by greed etc.Racism whether by whites or blacks is still inhuman we mustnt carry bitterness from generations and generations it is a worst of energy,time and emotion.The that you so fondly attribute to,the best has gone to the elite and people like you and me get whatever the elite dont need and tell me where is fairness in that.I think we should strive for bettering our lives,improving the country,reconciling and moving forward,sharing resoruces together then will be freed from the bondages of hatred,racism,tribalism,sexism,and intolerance for one another and all these unhealth tendencies.

  • thomasj.dawson.75 - 2012-11-03 07:41

    Wrong In South Africa, Any Non-White With An European Sounding Surname, Are Being CURB-STONED. In South Africa It Is Disgraceful How The Country's Constitution Is Being RAPED.

  • parys.fotograaf - 2012-11-03 09:07

    How about making some recordings of these incidents and placing it on Youtube....I am sure those idiots will get lots of unwanted attention.

  • simon.mwando - 2012-11-03 09:29

    Mr Coltarts please grab your bag and run! Don't be a crying baby.

  • isaac.tapfumaneyi.5 - 2012-11-03 10:37

    mr coltart just go to sa were whites reign supreme.

  • isaac.tapfumaneyi.5 - 2012-11-03 10:41

    cry baby

  • isaac.tapfumaneyi.5 - 2012-11-03 10:42

    which part of you are living in their country dont you get david.

  • tiaan.vanderberg.75 - 2012-11-03 12:23

    Z ero I ntellegence M ainly B ecause A stute B lacks & W hites E migrated

  • mshiniboys - 2012-11-03 19:23

    Why are they keeping this spy in their the idiot!

  • Ouklip - 2012-11-03 19:33

    @tsotsibaby - "A recent study in the US found that job applicants with white sounding names" The majority of blacks in the US has white sounding names. Jessie Jackson, Susan Rice, and millios more. So that statement is rubbish. Big corporations try to keep their employment racial makeup to look like the US. Smaller businesses employ the best available.

  • peace.ofmymind.7 - 2012-11-03 21:06

    peace.ofmymind.7 2012/11/03 08:40:11 PM\r\nDavid is correct, racism still persists in zim. From\r\nboth whites and blacks. However as a non white\r\nzimbo in sa having come to get an education\r\nhere - \\r\\n\\r\\nEducated - I can say that in the\r\nnew generation, i.e. 20 to 30 young\r\nprofessionals race is not so much an issue and\r\npeople are moving past it. I feel change is\r\nhappening MAINLY in that group as these\r\nindividuals are educated enough to realise - let's\r\nget on with life. Most under 20 are still in the\r\nprocess of being educated. A lot over 30 still feel\r\nthe effects of the past, which is expected, its not\r\nan over night process.\\r\\n\\r\\nThere are then\r\nthe uneducated masses. I was blessed to get an\r\neducation, but the reality is that racism becomes\r\na default in sa without education. Priorities -\r\nbuild a fancy toll gate or build a school - sorry\r\nfor mentioning that, its a whole other can of\r\nworms.\\r\\n\\r\\nThen you have a separate\r\ngroup, regardless of age. Politics. politics\r\nactually pokes the racial beast, even if its\r\nsleeping one day. Saying to it - \\wake up we\r\nneed you\\ and uses the uneducated to feed it.\r\nthey do an awesome job of this. \\r\\n\\r\\nI have\r\nnot seen this blend back home, although in my\r\nyoung days I felt less racial tension across\r\neducated and uneducated on average then I do\r\nhere. But Mr Coltart is right, I'm not so sure we\r\nhave this educated people getting along vibe or\r\nwill. I hope when I return we can also follow suit.\r\n\\r\\n\\r\\nLastly to the racism comments the\r\nfamous chap I made, he is probably back\r\nhome watching reality tv instead of working. thank you guys for\r\nreplying to his comments for surely he has no\r\njob, you've given him something to do.

  • donald.perumal - 2012-11-07 13:22

    The honourable minister should resign immediately.Racism is not about white and black:"racial slurs against whites at the highest political level continue to show "a gross level of intolerance" " Its is an issue of respect and acceptance for ALL race groups :it cannot be seen in that context alone!

  • judah.moyo - 2012-11-09 15:28

    To begin with, most if not all Zimbabweans in the diaspora are not happy to be where they are. They are there because they are either political or economic refugees. Most of these people wish to be home and most of them do not hate whites. I agree that the whites treated Blacks badly during the colonial era. That was then, now the people who are discriminating against Whites are only a few Blacks who have something to gain by so doing. A vast majority of Black Zimbabweans do not hate Whites. Its only that nobody cares about the opinions of these many backs. People take what poloticians say and confuse it with the majority view. Politicians say what they think and what they like not what the majority of Black Zimbabweans think and like.

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