Recently I was fortunate to have the opportunity to speak at some length to former Rhodesian District Commissioner, Ben Kaschula. Now in his twilight years, blessed with an excellent memory, his story is an extraordinary one that regrettably few people will ever know about and that is a great pity. The more I listened to him, the more I was reminded that it was servants of the state of his ilk, during the years of white rule, who were making massive strides in bridging the racial divides that inevitably arose during the colonial era.
Dispatched as a teenager into the Rhodesian wilderness he had to adapt and learn fast. Through a devotion to duty, and to the indigenous people, he and his colleagues were busy constructing the legal and administrative framework that would provide the platform for a multi-racial society that would lead to economic growth and improved quality of life for all.
What few know is that he and his fellow District Officers were given very clear instructions to encourage traditional leaders to seek consensus from their subjects rather than rule by authoritarian decree. Through this learning process it was hoped, the black people would come to understand the democratic system and then be better placed to be part of the democratic process at a higher level leading to them having the vote in the election of representatives for national government. This proves the intention of successive white governments was never to deprive anyone the vote on grounds of race; the aim was to increase the size of the electorate on merit with education being one of the criteria.
Brought at times to tears, reminiscing about the close friendships forged with the natives he took enormous risks to serve, I was left lamenting the passing of an era when officials in authority understood their mandate was to serve the people; not to have the people serve them. Of course, because Mr. Kaschula was a Rhodesian colonial administrator, he, along with his colleagues, was condemned by the media and the world as a ‘racist’ and ‘white supremacist’.
With this in mind I recently read an article penned by Mr. Alexander Downer, former Foreign Minister of Australia. Showing gumption, in the face of a world where the received wisdom is all about how awful British imperialism was, he celebrates the very opposite; in very clear and reasoned terms he expresses his deep gratitude for the fact that Australia was colonised by Britain. He identifies the introduction of the rule of law, the separation of powers, and a market economy as the exceptional fundamentals that provided the bedrock for what has become one of the richest and most successful countries in the world. He points out no great nation in history was as thoughtful and benevolent in the projection of its power and this is undeniably true.
I noted from the piece it was identical principles of governance that the government of the day, which included Ben Kaschula, was trying to inculcate in the minds of the native population of then Rhodesia. Alas, just when they were making stellar progress, he, and his colleagues, were driven from the field by forces of violence seeking to destroy the systems they sought to build and implement, and to kill the proponents of these alien ideas. Unfortunately, with the support of the international community the antagonists triumphed and all his efforts to build a peaceful and prosperous country were wrecked in the course of a bloodbath.
Despite the parlous state of Zimbabwe, and indeed most of post-colonial Africa, providing ample proof, that men like Ben Kaschula, should have been treasured and protected, the recent Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) jamboree held in Johannesburg, sends a sharp reminder that no lessons have been learned, and following precisely the same anti-colonial narrative, more mayhem and murder beckons.
With raucous support from his followers, party-leader Julius Malema exhorted his audience to ‘Kill the Boer’. This open invitation to commit mass murder on the basis of race has received no censure from the president of South Africa, the South African Police, or from any world leader, so there can be little doubt it will happen, all that remains unclear is when.
Knowing as many South African farmers as I do, I am sure there are thousands of Ben Kaschulas out there awaiting slaughter. Many of them voted for and celebrated the coming to power of Nelson Mandela and dreamed of a peaceful and prosperous future. Like him, most of them have spent time, energy and much of their resources, trying to improve the lives of their black countrymen while feeding the country and adding to the national wealth. None of them want war, all of them ask for little more than a chance to cultivate and contribute, but they are doomed by the colour of their skin, and their connection to colonialism.
From where I find myself, having seen what I have seen, and witness to tragic events, fast unfolding events in southern Africa, I struggle to avoid concluding pure evil stalks the dark corridors of world power. Good mem and women everywhere, if they are Christian, and blighted with a white skin, are demonised and doomed in the brave new woke world.
God help our children.