Sunday, July 30, 2006

How Zimbabwe Might Have Been Different

This telegram, written 25 years ago from Robert Mugabe (then Prime Minister of the new republic of Zimbabwe) to Dave Coltart (then a student at Cape Town University in South Africa), shows a different vision of Zimbabwe than the one that has actually played out over the past quarter of a century. A copy of it can be found at this web address: (scroll down to the bottom of the page).

"Dear Mr. Coltart replying to your message of the 17th August – for which many thanks, I am happy and encouraged to learn that Zimbabwe students at Cape Town University are ready and willing to return home upon completion of their studies to serve their country. As you are no doubt aware we in government intend to establish a non-racial society based on equality and the promotion of the well-being of all our people in accordance with our socialist principles. It is in this connection that we have adopted the policy of reconciliation whereby our people must put aside the hatreds and animosities of the past and approach the future in a positive constructive frame of mind with commitment and dedication to the all-around development of the new Zimbabwe. As we struggle to re-build our country out of the destruction or war we look to young people like your-selves to assist us achieve our objective of establishing a prosperous, harmonious and humane society in this country. I call on all of you who have completed your studies to return and join us in the urgent tasks before us. I hardly need to remind you that this is as much your home as it is ours, as has so often been said in identifying with and returning to new Zimbabwe you have nothing to fear but fear itself. Yours sincerely. R.G. Mugabe, Prime Minister of the Republic of Zimbabwe."