Leading Zimbabwean economist says Africans have benefited immeasurably from white people and continue to benefit from white people. Even though white people are evil “racists.”
Despite the above, the older generation of Zimbabweans appreciates how the ‘murungu’ was organized. Wages were always paid on time, properties and roads well maintained or developed, infrastructure worked, medicines were available, street lights always on, rubbish was collected on time every time, drinking water was safe and so on. It stops there, because there is nothing sweeter than freedom and liberty even without the comforts of the colonialist.
We must admit though, that whites are more organized, good at planning and management, and they also have the technology that we need to develop our country, something we cannot take away from them. All you have to do to prove this today, in Zimbabwe, is to visit a black managed farm and compare it to a white managed one. It’s chalk and cheese, as they say.
There is a tendency among some of us to detest all whites, because of our history. This is more evident among those blacks who suffered terribly under colonialism and the liberation struggle. Those black Zimbabweans who participated in the liberation struggle bore the brunt of white hate and violence. I am therefore, the least qualified to judge how they feel today. Speaking to some of them, they still hate whites to this day, because of suffering they caused in order to protect white economic advantage. I understand where my brothers and sisters are coming from.
That granted, I think they, however, still acknowledge that whites certainly did have a hand in developing Zimbabwe, albeit to their selfish ends. There was absolutely no justification for their selfishness. In my opinion, Rhodesian whites were rather slow to react to a changed environment after independence, and did not acknowledge blacks as equal partners by incorporating them in the economy, especially the agricultural sector. It was a case of separate but equal development. This has afforded our erstwhile politicians, an excuse to take radical steps, which have been catastrophic for everyone. South African whites in the agricultural sector must learn from this. The quicker South African blacks are incorporated into this sector as owners and not mere workers, the better off everyone will be in the long term.
Zimbabwean blacks benefited tremendously from education provided by white missionaries, but Rhodesian education policy towards blacks was racist and can never be defended. I have learnt, for example, that it was most difficult to become a black doctor. This was simply because the Smith regime would not accept that. Instead, the British assisted a significant number of blacks to become doctors, by providing them with scholarships to study abroad. Therein lays the dilemma: Rhodesian whites were crudely racist, while the British were more accommodating towards the aspirations of black Zimbabweans. Despite their colonial baggage, the British were therefore “better” whites than white Rhodesians. But is there a term such as a better racist? Hmm I wonder.
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