CAPE TOWN, South Africa – Although her farm was stolen – possibly because she provided WorldNetDaily information about Zimbabwe’s government-sponsored land-grab activity – activist Cathy Buckle continues to give eyewitness accounts of the nation’s emerging famine to WND.
As dictator Robert Mugabe continues to ban whites from planting any crops and promises to throw in jail those who do, it should come as no surprise that Zimbabwe, once the breadbasket of Africa, is now teetering toward total self destruction. Over a million Zimbabweans have fled south to South Africa, in search of food, while many others have died of AIDS.
For the last two years, representatives of Mugabe’s government have confiscated the farmland of white farmers as part of a plan to redistribute the property to black Zimbabweans.
“When I went grocery shopping this week there was no salt, sugar, cooking oil, mealie meal or milk,” Buckle told WorldNetDaily.
“Standing in the supermarket with only the weekly newspapers in my basket there was a sudden shout from the back, and I hurriedly got out of the way as a sea of people ran past me to a stock door and pushed and jostled to get to the man who had a trolley load of salt. In less than five minutes, the crush was over. The salt was depleted and we went back to staring at the shelves full of things so few of us can afford.
“With no sugar or milk, condensed milk is the obvious alternative, but the little tin that cost 60 dollars a few months ago is now Z$187. The question on everyone’s lips is, how can we go on like this? But our government and leaders seem completely oblivious to the suffering of their people. They remain absolutely resolute in their determination that the farmers who are still willing and able to grow food will not be allowed to do so.”
Buckle told WorldNetDaily that during the last week in June, the official Zimbabwean television channel “bombarded [viewers] with government statements about how there is no going back on the land redistribution. And how white farmers must get off their land within 45 days and will not be allowed to grow any food.”
“Yesterday, I went on a four-hour journey through what used to be one of the most productive farming areas of the country, and the view from the window was horrific. There are just miles and miles of nothing to see. Most of the time it was hard to know just exactly where I was as almost all the road signs are gone, the tin stolen to be made into pots and pans. In all the little towns on the road, the sales yards are crammed full of secondhand farm equipment waiting to be auctioned – but there are no buyers,” Buckle said.
“The signs of neglect and squalor are visible in all the towns with pot holes, litter, shanty flea markets, beggars and street kids being an almost accepted part of the scenery. The fields that at this time of the year should be bursting with crops of irrigated wheat and winter vegetables are deserted, brown and weed-filled.”
Buckle told WorldNetDaily that the fence lines along the road have completely disappeared for dozens of kilometers, and trees have been chopped down by the new settlers for firewood.
“A large part of the journey was through smoke-filled air, and there were few stretches of the road where there was not a fire burning,” Buckle said.
“It was cause for both exclamation and excitement to see a farm that was still working, to see a 20-acre square of green wheat being irrigated. I looked with great interest at all the settlers, squatters and war veterans that are visible from the road, but what I saw did not give any cause for hope whatsoever. As on our property, Zimbabwe’s new farmers are concentrated in camps near the roadside and are living in appalling conditions. Their houses are tatty little shacks covered with thatching grass or old plastic. Their complexes are surrounded by felled trees, and the men sit around in groups near the edge of the road.”
Continued Buckle, “There was no sign of any production at all, and small herds of cattle look painfully thin. On a four-hour journey through Zimbabwe’s prime agricultural land, the only things on the side of the road available to buy were fishing worms and firewood. One man had half a dozen pockets of sweet potatoes to sell, but at Z$100 a kilogram, he didn’t have many takers.”
Buckle said that another of her fellow farmers had her farm taken away.
“At the end of a long and tiring day, I got home to the news that yet another friend had been forced off her farm. Given two hours notice to vacate her house, she lived through that day of hell which has now become commonplace in Zimbabwe. This morning she and her family are homeless and jobless, and their life lies in boxes and cartons on a friend’s lawn,” she said.
“The home they built, the lands they tended, the workers they employed are now just memories, and I could not find the words to tell yet another white farmer how dreadfully sorry I was for their loss and anguish. Within months, they will leave the country of their birth because they are farmers and know no other way to earn their living. They will have to go somewhere where they are allowed to grow food.”
Mozambique is one possible destination for white Zimbabwean farmers, as the government of this former Portuguese colony has officially invited white Zimbabweans to come there and begin tilling the soil.