A Small Town in Africa


by Hannes Wessels


US presidential candidate Bernie Sanders recently lashed out on the campaign trail thus: “We have a racist society from top to bottom impacting health care, housing, criminal justice, education — you name it,” he proclaimed. This, despite massive efforts to bridge the racial divide in America through billions spent on social and educational development, affirmative action programmes and countless political initiatives at every level of the power spectrum.

Simmering resentment is sweeping Western Europe as the natives struggle to deal with the real consequences of multi-culturalism which are turning out to be at variance with the optimistic blandishments they have been hearing for decades from their politicians.

The Germans, too cowed by their past to be too openly anti-immigration, were recently shocked by the news that over 70,000 women in the country have been subjected to female genital mutilation and 17,000 teenage girls are presently at risk of suffering the same fate.

In the UK, crime is rising, prisons are overflowing, inner-cities are becoming crime-ridden slums, the National Health System is floundering under the weight of non-contributing members and at least 30,000 potential Islamic terrorists stalk the streets of British cities.

It seems the harder Westerners and their leaders try to make multi-culturalism the social miracle they proclaim it to be, the more divisive and fractious the Western world becomes; and underlying most of the problems besetting these countries is the issue of race.

The picture that presents is a disturbing one that leaves me struggling for understanding and my search for answers takes me back over 40 years in time to the little Rhodesian border town of Umtali where I grew up.

At that time there were no more than 8,000 Europeans, about 1,000 Indians, and roughly 350,000 Africans resident in the town and environs. Any white American urbanite looking at these numbers would almost certainly assume, that being outnumbered by more than 40:1 we whites were under siege but that was very far from reality. Black on white violence was almost unheard of, as was the converse, rapes were rare, crime rates were ridiculously low, and the police were unarmed. Our home was never locked, there were no fences and as children, our parents cared little about our whereabouts because they knew we were safe. Education was divided along racial lines, but every child was at school. My best friend and mentor was the big black man who looked after our garden and on weekends walked me into the surrounding mountains in search of wild animals.

Materially, most whites were better off but there was little resentment from the black populace because they were acutely aware of how much their standard of living had improved and in so short a time under a white administration, using white expertise and capital. The town was divided along racial lines but the main football stadium and some of the best amenities were outside the white area. When the British Royal Family visited the town, they were shown around the African residential area by the white mayor of the town who glowed with pride.

In an early form of ‘affirmative action’, whites were forbidden to operate commercial enterprises in areas set aside for blacks in a bid to enrich and empower blacks, grow their own economy and encourage black entrepreneurship. One of the richest men I knew as a teenager was a black bus-owner who flourished under the protection afforded him by a ‘racist’ government.

Few whites were very poor, most were comfortably middle-class and only a very small minority were relatively rich; when I use the word ‘rich’, they could afford a Mercedes Benz and had a big house and a boat on the Mozambique coast. So successful was the system, many of the blacks were prosperous enough to eschew formal employment, creating a labour shortage in a rapidly growing economy which had to be filled through the importation of migrant labour from neighbouring countries already impoverished having been recently ‘liberated’ from white rule.

My father was a medical doctor who cared deeply for all his patients, who would probably be disbarred and criminalised if he were practising today because he ran two separate surgeries; one for Europeans and Indians and another, at a separate location, for Africans; a perfect fit for a racist. But it was a system based on pragmatism and realism; he needed to position a facility closer to where the Africans lived, and he charged them a much lower fee for his services. Everyone was happy.

At the government hospital where he worked, there was a European wing and a separate African wing. It would be condemned today. I remember the African Hospital well because at Christmas, we, as a family would celebrate some of the day there with the African patients who were wheeled out on to the breezy verandas to enjoy the festivities. The Prisons Band played in the shade under the purple Jacarandas and the patients sang while we children delivered presents to them. When my father died black people travelled from afar, many on foot, to bid him farewell.

Of course, the town described above, no longer exists, it has been destroyed by powerfully backed political opportunists, but I look back on this place and time and wonder why it was so successful an exercise in creating a harmonious, multi-racial society?

Human behaviour changes little over so short a period so this tranquil town could only have happened if some important fundamentals were imbued in the citizenry. I can only think these were predicated on the general acceptance of the fact that while we are all equal, we are certainly not the same; mutual respect between different racial groups, recognising innate and inherent differences and wanting to be separate is not sinful; and there is an immediate danger when integrating groups of diverse people of varying ethnicities, religions and histories because cultures ultimately collide and then societies collapse. I fear this is what beckons for Europe and America.





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45 comments on “A Small Town in Africa

  1. Thank you for sharing your memories. We, who grew up in Rhodesia, were truly blessed!
    Rhodesians may be the only people on Earth who understand that being equal does not
    depend on being the same. Black or white. Male or female. Doctor or farmer. We are all equal
    but, thank goodness, we will never be the same!

  2. I have often pondered how a society – supposedly so divided and disparate – could’ve flourished the way ours did.
    Sadly, the liberal left (backed by ambitious Russia and China) came in and fomented discontent. Enormous changes needed to be made, obviously, but my overriding emotion is one of sadness when I reflect upon how ALL invested-Rhodesians/Zimbabweans were robbed of opportunities to evolve at their own, anomalous pace.
    Bravo, Hannes!

  3. We went to UJS and UGHS and there were only white kids at those achools. We didn’t know black people other than servants. We didn’t speak their language. And we didn’t notice that, As long as the (nice) horse boy spoke English,

    UDI and the war came because our parents had chucked out Garfield Todd and voted for Boss Lilford’s Ian Smith.
    That horrible war didn’t need to happen. It did no one any good except money changers.
    Sensible whites left the country.
    A few stayed on but Rhodesian traitors and South African saboteurs made sure it would all be pretty difficult.

    And there was and is corruption.

    And only a few thousand whites including kids and pensioners, remain.

    End of story.

  4. When I look back now, my father and mother had five children, and I imagine the hardship they had bringing us up. I suppose we were middle class, and as you say Our childhoods were amazing and crime free and a lot of freedom.When you look at the 1960 constituion, the blacks did not want sharing they wanted majority rule straight away , so there was no chance of gradual transition with them. Ian Smith tried the gradual way to get a educated Gvt. but unfortunately could not pull it off.In the sixties when doing my apprenticeship , we had blacks, Indians , coloureds and whites. By about 1975 there were big changes every where , for every one. I still think if the blacks had taken over in 1960 or 63 etc the out come would still be the same as it is now, just sooner. I think Ian Smith took a big gamble to give everyone a chance. But it makes me wonder , that with the black population explosion that by now or say 2010 , the country would be stuffed because of the high population , everything unsustainable. A very good article thank you.

  5. great article that sadly looks at only the good side of white governance. You state clearly that education was along racial lines and seem to accept this as ok. that in itself is the veiled contempt and patronizing that epitomizes many white rhodesian. you had to be a black man living on the other side to see the Imbalances. no amount of development and good governance should justify minority oppressive rule

    • Nothing wrong with Black school classes in Black areas and White school classes in white ares. I went to a Catholic boarding school and providing they paid the fee Black pupils were not discouraged.

      Its astonishing that this fact – expressed by world champ boxer Muhamed Ali (Casius Clay) is the elephant in the room yet its just common sense: “Everyone prefers to live with their own. Black people prefer to live with Black people. Whites with White. Birds like to live with their own kind but they are all birds! Blue birds live with Blue birds. Hawks with Hawks.”

      Mohamed Ali was being interviewed by Michael Parkinson on the BBC who was attempting to manipulate Ali into promoting mixed racial partners. Instead Ali disagreed totally and called Parkinson a race traitor!. Ali said there was no one he would prefer to be with than his Black woman just as Chinese men prefer Chinese women etc.

      This meme pathogen that ‘its racist to prefer to be with your own race/culture/society’ is a useful tool employed by marxist fanatics and the marxstream media. Only be destroying the essential pillars of White culture/society can they hope to move the first world (which is more or less ‘the White world’) into their intended World Communist Dictatorship (controlled though, by the international money power who fund and promote communism as a stepping stone).

      It is the FRUITS of the successful first world that the 3rd world invaders covet. They arrive and prefer to live amongst their own, creating ghettos and gangs and no-man’s lands. But the social benefits – freebies – quality standard of living is what they desire.

      Why? Because in their own third world post-colonial nations the deterioration of the infrastructure (running water, sewerage systems, roads, hospitals etc) has been left to collapse. Why? Because the concept of ‘maintenenance’ is alien and because finances contributed are always pilfered in corrupted nations.

      That is why you see the absurd reality that, in southern Africa, Blacks chant mindlessly “Africa for the Africans” and want Whites gone (to take their ‘stuff’) yet at the same time you see Blacks leaving their decrepit nations and flooding into Europe and Britain which are ethnic-Europeans’ ancient Homelands.

      • AnnE-“Nothing wrong with Black school classes in Black areas and White school classes in white ares. I went to a Catholic boarding school and providing they paid the fee Black pupils were not discouraged.”
        This excerpt from your opening statement seems to suggest that Roman Catholic schools only accepted black students if they could pay the fees. While you are right, they similarly accepted white students who could pay the fees. Whites were not entitled to a Catholic education in Rhodesia. It was given to all races.

        • I’m afraid I don’t really understand your point?

          I was saying that I went to a private school and anyone, Black, White or Yellow, who paid the fees could attend. It was not racially segregated.

  6. I have questions and facts that i would like to ask
    Anywhere anytime anyone
    To have answered to understand peoples opinion/views
    Which i never see or hear asked/ answered although i do see some of them in thie article reading between the lines
    However publicly is not the right place
    It should be but i cannot as i will be labelled
    Irrespective …
    They are old questions yer one does not bring them up publicly
    Thank You

  7. Great contribution, Hannes. Thank you for the concise and accurate documentations you periodically circulate.

  8. Very well written. Journalist by any chance? If you haven’t read them yet, may I suggest two books by Douglas Murray: ‘The Strange Death of Europe’, as well as his latest ‘The Madness of Crowds’ an eloquent and brilliant description of the toxicity of social justice politics in the social media age. Your Dad would have been a contemporary of Gert and Theunis du Plessis, am I right?

  9. In response to Sinclair Roberts’ posting, some points of which have merit, I think the following often overlooked points are pertinent and they frustrate me no end:-

    We live in an imperfect and very often completely dysfunctional world, and, although I can understand his unhappiness about “the inequalities that existed for other races”, if only Rhodesia had been allowed to address these problems in its own time, I believe race inequalities and issues would eventually have been sorted out by civilized means and this endeavour is proveable by Rhodesian government documents, press articles and other that this was the case, but no, they were having none of it, and there was a frenzied cry for everything to happen yesterday. Black emancipation in the United States was achieved through activism, but the call to rally for a full blown, bloody bush war to bring down a generally happy, unbelievably prosperous and stable country was nothing short of ludicrous. The Rhodesian government was by no means perfect and if only people like Sinclair could have had the foresight (and perhaps he did) to see what the consequences of the so-called “War of Liberation” would be, for so insiginficant a “cause”, things might have turned out differently.

    Sinclair’s words, “A simple act could have prevented all this. Sharing”, suggests a complete naivety and misunderstanding of the REAL reasons that led to the Rhodesian bush war or “civil war of liberation” as many still mistakenly refer to it as. So that’s it. Simply because we didn’t “share”, that’s what led up to a bloody seven year bush war! Unbelievable! This writer never fought in a “civil war” but I did fight in a war against communist terrorists, officially known as CT’s by the Rhodesian security forces and which consisted of between 70% and 80% black Rhodesian volunteers many of whom very clearly understood who the bad guys were, thus their decision to fight for Rhodesia. Every bit of military hardware that I was on the receiving end of during that war was of communist origin and manufacture. Most of us who were caught up in that “civil war of liberation” now know what drove it and it certainly was not because of lack of “sharing” although that, amongst other reasons was what was pushed by our enemies and is somehow still being pushed and used as justification for the ongoing carnage unfolding in countries that are now “free.” No, the real reason was communist expansion in Africa and greviances of black nationalists and white liberal activists about “white supremacy” and “white oppression” and “stolen land” were the very effective propaganda tools and window dressing they used to achieve their objectives.

    What happened to Rhodesia was like hanging someone for a parking ticket offence.

    • Alistair Hull-Don’t blow a gasket over facts you have not researched. I grew up in Wankie Game Reserve, Binga, Matetsi, Sebungwe, Deka, and Victoria Falls. I had bush skills you are not familiar with. I entered the BSAP in 1978 but did my share of bush call ups. I was a member of a small, specialized mounted unit. We trained our own horses, remounts from South Africa. Enough said about that one.

      And, like all conflicts. If you deny land to its rightful owners or do not share it equitably, war and conflict are inevitable. Scores of blacks fought in both great wars. Upon their return, the white soldiers were granted land. The black soldiers were given a cheap watch and a wheelbarrow like they were after putting in 40 years of sterling service with a multinational. Just that. A wheelbarrow, a watch and sometimes a hoe. Wow. While I certainly do not condone the breakdown in civil society and the rule of law in Zimbabwe, can you REALLY blame the people for rising up in indignation?

  10. Enjoyed your article, Hannes, and the wonderful memories it evoked. My father, Bill Richert, who had oner arm, worked under your father as the Malarial Control Officer in Umtali. Previously he was the Town Ranger. Halcyon days.

  11. Excellent description of times gone by Hannes.

    My father was a farmer and over a 40 year period, I watched as his very stable labour force of Zambians, Malawians and then indigenous Rhodesians, become steadily more educated (on the farm) and thus empowered. The grandchildren of Dad’s original workers were in the main only interested in jobs in the city and could compete for them. There remained a small handful whom my brother continued to employ until farming was impossible in the last couple of years. Today, he still employs one in a very trusted role and helpful to others for landing jobs.

    It is easy to find fault in any political system and in retrospect blame the Rhodesian white for not preparing the Rhodesian blacks for the day they would run the country. They did not migrate to, and develop Rhodesia with the sole purpose of actively training and preparing the indigenous folk to run a country. They came to develop their own lives and businesses in a society that reflected the values and norms of their time and originating country – Great Britain, South Africa, Holland to name a few. However, in the process they did a huge amount of positive things and passed on an advanced economy in which the indigenous blacks were very integrated.

    Instead of blaming the whites as Sinclair said, what stopped Mugabe and his government from actively seeking the assistance of the whites to help develop vital skills?

    Mugabe is credited with advancing the education of the Blacks, this, on the back a very sound educational platform left behind by the Rhodesian government. Zimbabwe to this day remains probably the most literate country in Africa and yet most of the very well educated Zimbabwean blacks are living and working in other countries. Mugabe’s reckless land policy and corrupt government, succeeded by Mnangagwa’s equally corrupt government have seen fit to destroy most of what the Rhodesians left behind and leave people of all sectors of society and colour with no choice but to seek greener pastures elsewhere. The very people the liberation struggle sought to liberate are now the victims of political arrogance and inept government.

    In the early 90s, I was engaged in a conversation with a prominent African businessman, and member of ZAPU, from Gweru. He expressed the view the white man in Zim owed the African nothing. We had left behind a positive legacy and fully functioning economy. You have to wonder how many others silently have that opinion..?

    Sorry Sinclair, with 20/20 hindsight it is very easy to blame others for one’s misfortune. It’s time Africa takes responsibility for its failures, learn from them and stop harping on about the negative role that whites are perceived to have played.

    • Very pertinent points you make, Nick. My sentiments exactly. As an ex-Rhodesian (I never lived in Zimbabwe) I find it amazing – and very beneficial for the 2 warring Black tribes – that Rhodesia was created into a great modern nation in just 70 years! At that time when Ian Smith declared UDI.

      I wonder what the U.S. looked like after 70 years and also Australia? Comparisons should be made.

      Rhodesia’s Black population soared exponentially under our new civilization which insisted on Law & Order for all. One cannot say the same about America and Australia whose native populations collapsed exponentially.

      Yet we are ‘the bad guys’? I don’t think so. This race baiting is the new marxist tool – the old marxist tool was class differences, the proletariat vs the borgeoise. Today these same marxists (and their international financier supporters like George Soros and Rockefellers) stir up racial tension behind the scenes, aided by their marxstream media.

      We need to all be acutely aware that Communism is about 2 goals and these bulldogs will never let them go:

      1) No private property (to disempower and create dependence on the state)
      2) A global communist dictatorship.

      We need to be aware that while most of us have a balanced life – we work hard and play hard, there are many who are NOT like us. They are fanatics who spend every moment of their lives conniving and plotting behind the scenes to undermine our civilizations, cultures, traditional family values including christianity, and nothing else matters in their lives. They disdain our ‘waste of time’ playing sports etc. Read the book “You Gentiles”. I bought mine from amazon.

    • Nick. You have misrepresented what I wrote. I do not apologize for my belief that if Rhodesians had slowly begun giving equal opportunity, based solely upon merit, we would have the best country in the world. I’m not blaming anyone. I am merely stating facts.

  12. Hannes, thanks. There was NO PLACE on the planet that could compare to this complicated piece of the world from whence we came. I want to weep when I see what Mugabe and Mnangagwa and their goons have done to her. When I read that Mugabe, his wife, kleptocrat in chief Grace Mugabe and the Chinese had managed to steal 2 billion dollars worth of diamonds from the Marange diamond fields, I wanted to go over and shake some people back to reality. Where does the lunacy end? God Bless Zimbabwe ( or Rhodesia if you prefer), and all who call her Mother and love all her children.

  13. Great article, ndatenda Hannes. Reference Sinclair Roberts’ comment: some of the coloured folks inherited the best of both racial groups – black and white. A night at the Queens Hotel, or an afternoon in the gardens listening to jazz, were wonderful mixed-race experiences. Others, of course, were just ‘skollies.’ But skollies with a great sense of humour. The Rhodesian army was full of them. Getting ‘extincted ek se’ ! hahaha… 🙂

    • Mitch Sterling-There were good and bad in all communities. I am reminded vividly 41 years after becoming a Patrol Officer in the BSAP, and being stationed at Waterfalls Police Station, that all races have their bad eggs. The trailer park trash that I had to deal with every Friday after white people got their paychecks is something I am sure the larger part of the white population will NOT want to hear about. In fact, of all the dangerous situations I have been in (4 years in the BSAP) and 7 years as a counterintelligence officer, the day I came closest to death was when I was called to a domestic dispute. The husband was a serial wife-beater and we had a roster at the station of who was up next to answer the domestic abuse call. I arrived to find Mrs.******** with a face swollen to the size of a watermelon. Her lips and nose were a gory bloody pulp. Usually, in those days, the husband was pulled aside and asked to behave or he would be arrested. He usually complied. On this occasion, he remained belligerent and continued to call for a white patrol officer to deal with the situation. To diffuse the situation, I led him towards the police vehicle with the goal of calming him down. Suddenly I felt a sharp, blinding blow that caused me to lose my sight and, apparently my consciousness. When I recovered a few minutes later, I found that Mrs. ******* had driven the metal exposed heel of her well-used stiletto shoe into the back of my head. After first aid was rendered I asked why she had done this. She replied she thought I was arresting her husband and they would have no food in the house if he went to jail. ASk me if you would like to hear about all the dirty little secrets that white people had in Rhodesia. Like the fact that most of your Fathers, and sometimes Mothers had extramarital relations, with people outside their own race. Look at mixed-race or ” coloured” last names. Chances are you have an identical last name. That person could well be your Father’s son or daughter. Frederick Courteney Selous the greatest big game hunter in history had mixed-race children whom he provided for. Their fortune was stolen by the government of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland. Name any prominent white Rhodesian and he probably had coloured children. Some of the most prominent white people in Rhodesia, since its earliest days, often had two families, a white one and another that his supposed wife did not know about. Often, he married his black or coloured wife first, then had to marry a white woman and have children with her out of an expectation of respectability in the white community. As a kid, I hung around with all races. We pretty much ignored the rules about sticking with our own. My white friends dated black and coloured girls and my black friends and I dated your sisters, the most beautiful, educated and enlightened ones, that looked past colour and saw us for the intelligent equals of their brothers with whom we hung out. We did not see colour. And my friends were from the most moneyed families in Rhodesia, not trash who feared a black takeover because they would their CEO positions due to their inability to read properly or do basic mathematics. So…dont generalise because I know a HEAP of white skollies, while at the same time I know a HEAP of coloured people who could have risen to the tops of their professions given equal opportunity which was denied. Same for the black population. One of my friends, when I was growing up, was a black gentleman, three years older than I, who had passed 7 ‘O’ Levels and could not get a decent job, while white kids walked into well-paid positions barely literate. But, we have no hard feelings. Rhodesia would have thrived if everyone was afforded equal opportunity. And our sense of humour arose from a sense of injustice against our community and that of the majority, that was so distorted that you had to laugh or you would cry. Take care ek se! I hope I dont get stopped by the fuzz on the way to the bottle store in Laguna Beach California to grip some dorps.

  14. Some more common sense from Hannes Wessels. Of course, the Libtards won’t “get it”…….they rarely do as they’re too busy being “politically correct” yawn yawn😴😴😴😴😴

  15. Well said Hannes. We had such a wonderful and peaceful upbringing. Smith was an incredible man of vision but alas the powers that be outside of Africa who did not live with our know the people as we did decided they knew better and destroyed a week working society and turned a thriving economy into a failed and starving state that it has become today. I love reading your blogs.

  16. Brilliantly explained Hannes, brought back many happy memories. Loved your Mum and Dad, and of course, your beautiful sister Helga, my best friend, in spite of the Nuns who were determined to keep us apart!!! Miss Umtali and the people so much! Do please put all your blogs in book, you make it all come back to life for all of us scattered around the world. Thank you so much xx

  17. My wife, Christine Hulley currently works in the office behind the fourth and fifth windows in the top row of windows above ‘Standard Bank’ as an accountant. I was born in Mutare in 1947, and still enjoy my life here. Jack Hulley.

  18. Beautifully composed and brings back lots of memories.
    I was born in Bulawayo and later moved to Chiredzi and later to Salisbury.
    When Magabe came in to power I too left for South Africa and now live in Burlington Ontario Canada.
    My sisters still live in Bulawayo and it is sad to see how things have degenerated. Canada is now asking for donations for food for Zimbabwe and any donations will match them 4 to 1.
    Cry my beloved country.

  19. Mike Pimblott. Mutate Board & Paper, Chamber of Industries, Round Table. Five years in in this bit of paradise. We were all as one, of all shades. They can’t destroy the memories.
    The whole world is now at war with itself, we just have to be very gratefull that we knew a different world.

  20. Well written Hannes. How fortunate we all were to have grown up and enjoyed the efforts made by the vast majority of all races to make it utopia. I farmed in Odzi, Umtali was my home town and your father Penn, was my wife’s family (Ross’s) doctor for many years, my wifes mother helping him in the “townships”.

    There were mistakes yes, but they pale into insignificance by the results forced on that little nation by greed, and ignorance of a few politicians keen to hand over regardless of the results. Look where they are now.

    Patrick Walsh

  21. Thanks for this description of what once was a beautiful land. The world needs more Ian Smiths, that ruled for the Love of his country & not personal interest.
    My family moved to Rhodesia with UDI when I was 8. I read a book, not so long ago, about life in Rhodesia in the early 50s & there was definitely a big change after UDI. I sympathise with Sinclair but also know that a lot changed for the positive under Ian Smiths rule, fir the Coloured Community.
    Where I think the white man went wrong was by , “Giving the fish as opposed to teaching how to fish.” Many Africans were our home servants, with the right to a kaya, meals, electricity, water & a salary. They did not learn the value of the cost of all those benefits. They just took it for granted.
    When I moved to Europe & heard of friends struggling here, I often wondered… How they could have benefitted from having a kaya & all the other benefits.
    I asked a Zimbabwean african lady, 4 years ago, what went wrong because when I left Zims in 1982, there was already a considerable qualified black force in all sectors, that should have permitted Zimbabwe a good start with success. Her reply was, that qualified force after 1985 had their salaries reduced & because they knew better, did what the whites did……
    Leave to find better opportunities.
    We left because we didn’t belong there but they did & yet they also left. :'(

  22. This reminded me of my time in Umtali living on upper 13th street and my dad and I exploring the Vumba and Inyanga the Leopard Rocks Hotel the Crocodile Hills Motel just before the Christmas Pass
    Oh man just flooded my brain with memories!
    My dad was the depot manager for Shell and BP oil in Umtali . We would cross the border to Machapanda station for beers and prawns ( logostinos) for $5 a jug with a plate of prawns ! God what a life ! ❤️❤️❤️

  23. Thanks for a well penned but simplistic account of life in Umtali ( now Mutare), an idyllic hamlet surrounded by the most splendid landscape, beautiful mountains and verdant hillsides.

    As the British government and that of Ian Smith’s Rhodesian Front party, Hannes forgets people like me. Born from white, black and Indian in my case, people of mixed race were known as ” coloureds” and looked upon with embarrassment, often the progeny of strictly forbidden interracial relationships; some illicit and some from loving marriages or unions. We were the smallest group in the country but on par with the white population in education; although we were denied equal opportunity in every facet of society.

    Yes, Umtali was the utopia described by Hannes. But only for white people. It would take a book to explain the inequities that existed for other races in Hannes’ perfect world.

    And yes, unbridled corruption, kleptocracy and gross mismanagement have brought about the current situation that has laid our beautiful country to waste. A simple act could have prevented all this. Sharing. The white people of Rhodesia refused to teach the incoming administration what had made Rhodesia so successful. They held on to every piece of knowledge that could’ve helped Zimbabwe to flourish. On the day Robert Mugabe’s party won the election that ushered in black majority rule and Independence from Britain, I watched from Waterfalls Police Station as hundreds of cars, loaded with personal belongings, headed through the suburb en route to Beatrice Road and the South African border. Oh Hannes, if only the whites who claim to love our country so much had stayed to share their expertise. Zimbabwe could have still been the jewel of Africa. We have the kindest people. Humble and peaceful. That is why tyranny has flourished. We deserve better. We don’t need blame. We all contributed by our actions or inaction, to the current situation. Again, a well crafted story, but one that does not contain my truth.

    My name is Sinclair Roberts. My Dad was Irish and Indian. My Mother was Manyika and Portuguese. In December 1978 I was the first person of mixed race to train with the first multiracial squad of Patrol Officers in British South Africa. Police Equitation Squad 14/78. The BSAP was formed in 1889 by Cecil John Rhodes, after whom the country was named. Just as the Rhodesian government elected to finally allow me to become the first police officer of mixed race, 89 years after its formation of the BSAP , so Hannes has forgotten to include my community, in his description and breakdown of racial groups who made up Umtali’s population, The mixed race community was the embarrassment to the white nobility in Africa and to the Crown.

    By the way I now live in Southern California after having been declared an enemy ifbtgey state for my opposition to the dictator Mugabe. Things could have been so different for all Zimbabweans if we had thought with our heads and not our emotions. Hannes, we in the diaspora need to ensure that our beloved country does not continue to be plundered. Let’s work together to restore what remains.

    • I appreciate your comments Sinclair and my apologies for being ‘simplistic’ and for not mentioning the ‘coloured’ community which which I should have done. And yes this was not a perfect world and there were injustices but I don’t agree it was only beneficial to the whites. I stand by my view that the whites worked extremely hard to improve the quality of life for all and virtually every person I knew, no matter what they may have appeared to be, was aware of the fact that we would only prevail if we were mindful of the interests of all racial groups and I do believe very sincere and successful efforts were made in this regard. I also know, most of the whites, including me, (and Ian Smith) who decided to stay, wanted to bury the past and help make a success of the new dispensation although it was not what we chose. We received a very good kick in the teeth for our troubles. I think the moral of the Umtali story is, think carefully about what you are going to replace a system and society with before you destroy it.

  24. Nothing but the truth – and I always question and ask – “what is wrong with that”.
    Well done Hannes..

  25. Masterfully penned Hannes… as always.
    Living in California, the hotbed of liberal American culture, I always share your articles with my more conservative like-minded friends and on more than one occasion they have mooted the idea of you putting your Africaunauthorised blogs into a book? What say you HW? :0)
    Bruce Spargo.

  26. A sad but excellent article. The situation was similar in may of the small towns in Rhodesia. It is probably the only way different race’s and cultures could ever live close together in harmony where mutual respect was given to and by all. The racist tyrants of greed and corruption will never allow it to happen again though.

  27. Beautifully composed and so glad to hear that the reknowned Dr Penn Wessels was not a racist but a Philanthropist

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