Attempt to Defame

Attempt to Defame


ChickenBones: A Journal

for  Literary & Artistic African-American  Themes



This story of Grace Mugabe is about L-A-N-D–land. That is, who will control

the land and who will prosper from the land that was stolen with the British invasion of Africa.



Attempt to Defame First Lady Deplored

The Government has deplored the attempts by the weekly Standard newspaper to malign and defame the First Lady, Cde Grace Mugabe, by falsely and spitefully seeking to associate her with Osama bin Laden.

The paper published a story on Sunday headlined “Grace Mugabe joins Osama bin Laden on sanctions list” in which it said the Bank of England had warned all British banking institutions to freeze the assets of more senior Zanu-PF leaders, including Mrs. Mugabe.

In a statement yesterday, the Department of Information and Publicity said: “Government deeply deplores and takes a dim view of endless attempts by the racist-run and anti-Zimbabwean tabloid called Standard, to malign and defame the First Lady by falsely and spitefully seeking to associate her name with that of Bin Laden.

“Clearly the criminal placement of the First Lady in the same league with Bin Laden was calculated to smear and assassinate the person and character of the First Lady, and on this ground that can only make sense to individuals of extreme spite and terror journalism,” the Department said.

It added that such a campaign against the First Family “neither hides the white hand behind black masks at the Standard nor dignifies the desperate British machinations that drive the malicious paper.

“In the circumstances, appropriate advice for legal recourse is being sought in order to bring to a lawful end to the Sunday standardisation of falsehoods and spite.”

“Greedy, greedy, greedy colonials,” said Mr. Mugabe of the white farmers who are challenging his land redistribution program in court. “We can’t satisfy that greed at the expense of the rest of the people, you see.”



Mrs Mugabe bought the land for her mansion at 80% discount



First Lady Grace Mugabe

Striking Mugabe Below the Waist

Anyone with a grain of brain matter knows what is going on here. This story of Grace Mugabe is about L-A-N-D–land. That is, who will control the land and who will prosper from the land that was stolen with the British invasion of Africa. African Zimbaweans or hold-overs from British colonialism? It is that simple. Or is it? Let us check the record.

The total population of Zimbawe is 12.5 million. In this African nation 70,000 are whites, less than one percent (about 0.6%)  Of this number, 4.000 farmers owned 11million hectares of prime land.

In 1980 when Zimbawe won its independence 70% of the best land was in white hands.

One million blacks owned 16 million hectares–often in drought-prone regions.

The question in 1980 as it is now–How do we undo the ill effects, the destruction and oppression visited by European colonialism on African life and culture? Obviously we must attend to the economic questions.

On September 2, 2002, Robert Mugabe, the 78-year-old president of Zimbabwe, assailed Tony Blair, the British prime minister, for criticizing Zimbabwe’s land redistribution program in a speech at a United Nations sustainable development meeting in South Africa.

Two days later, Secretary of State Colin L. Powell was jeered at the same meeting when he accused Mr. Mugabe of violating human rights and pushing the nation to the brink of starvation by ordering thousands of whites to hand over their farms to black novice farmers.

Robert Mugabe was once praised by Nelson Mandela and Western leaders as a democratic exemplar.T he former high school teacher – with degrees in economics, history, education, and law – was known as the “thinking man’s guerrilla,” leading his people to freedom from British rule, and nationhood in 1980.

In the early 1960s, Mugabe left his job as a high school teacher to join the struggle against Ian Smith and the white-minority rule in then-Rhodesia. He was promptly imprisoned for 10 years.

Freed in 1975, he continued the fight from nearby Mozambique, becoming a leader of the bloody campaign against Ian Smith. Under a peace settlement which allowed for elections that included the black majority, Mugabe was overwhelmingly elected the country’s first prime minister.

In a recent hotly contested election this year, Mr. Mugabe beat Morgan Tsvangirai to win a controversial fifth term as Zimbabwe’s president. If he stays in power for the full six-year term, he will rule the country until the age of 84.


But at 78, he still has remarkable stamina. His second wife, Grace, 35, says that he wakes up at 0400 for his daily exercises. In 1997, she gave birth to their third child, Chatunga.

His pro-British critics are having a field day with Mr. Mugabe’s personal life. His analysts offer this bit of information to muddy the waters:

 “He professes to be a staunch Catholic, and worshippers at Harare’s Catholic Cathedral are occasionally swamped by security guards as he turns up for Sunday Mass.

However, Mr Mugabe’s beliefs did not prevent him from having two children by his young secretary, Grace, while his popular Ghanaian first wife, Sally, was dying from cancer.”

Still others have added this bit of dribble in their below the waist attacks:

They say after the death of his first wife, he changed. And yet others say the world beyond Zimbabwe never saw Mugabe accurately.

Personal reasons explain Mugabe’s recent behavior, says Robert Rotberg of Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. Mr. Rotberg says the death of Mugabe’s first wife, Sally, had a profound effect on him. A strong, intellectual woman, she stood by his side throughout his years of struggle. “She was a break on him, his super-ego,” says Rotberg. “No one else could tell him – no, don’t be stupid.”

After Sally died nine years ago, Mugabe got remarried to his secretary, 40 years his junior. “I don’t want to pin it all on his second wife. But everyone, including those close to Mugabe, claim she changed his character,” says Rotberg. His only child with Sally died while he was in prison. He’s had three more children with Grace. “His priorities have changed. He has a family now. He is establishing a dynasty.”

“Greedy, greedy, greedy colonials,” said Mr. Mugabe of the white farmers who are challenging his land redistribution program in court. “We can’t satisfy that greed at the expense of the rest of the people, you see.”

“What we have said is no one should be entitled to more than one farm. And that farm must be of an appropriate size. What the farmers are saying to the world is that they are being evicted. Yes, there will be evictions from the land that is in excess of what is permissible. But we have said, sworn also, that no one shall go without land.”

Mr. Mugabe is criticized in the West for encouraging blacks to invade white-owned farms, for hounding journalists and judges, and for jailing opposition party leaders.

But to some leaders, particularly in Africa, he is a hero. To them, he is the guerrilla who ended white rule here in 1980, the statesman who expanded access to education and health care and the revolutionary who is returning land stolen from blacks during the British colonial era.

He also impressed in other ways – battling illiteracy, disease, and poverty – gaining international praise and recognition. At independence in 1980, fewer than 50 percent of Zimbabweans could read and write. Today, Zimbabwe is one of Africa’s most educated populations with a literacy rate topping 85 percent.

So as Mr. Mugabe redistributes farms from whites to blacks, some African leaders are closing their ears to American and European concerns about violence and cronyism. Instead, they are applauding the man who has decided to remake the colonial map that left millions of blacks stranded on rocky, arid soil and a tiny white minority in control of half of Zimbabwe’s fertile land.

“It’s an approval of our position, a position of truth as opposed to the British position of lies and dishonesty,” Mr. Mugabe said of the support he received at the World Summit on Sustainable Development.

British settlers began seizing land from Africans here in the late 1800’s. Mr. Mugabe, who was elected in 1980 and has run the nation ever since, promised that he would right the wrongs of history. The struggle to undo the legacy of colonialism resonates with African leaders, particularly in southern Africa, where whites still control most of the land in Namibia and South Africa.

President Joachim Chissano of Mozambique, often hailed by American and British officials as a model of democratic leadership, went on state radio two weeks ago to defend Mr. Mugabe’s land program.

South Africa, which has criticized Mr. Mugabe in the past, has remained virtually silent on the issue in recent weeks.

Meanwhile, President Sam Nujoma of Namibia, in a speech at the United Nations meeting condemned the British for failing to accept responsibility for righting old wrongs. “The Honorable Tony Blair is here, and he created the situation in Zimbabwe,” he said.


Mr. Mugabe’s  initial plan was to resettle 162,000 black families by the mid-1990’s. But by 1998, only 71,000 households had been resettled, officials say. The government lacked the will, the administrative capacity and the cash to make land redistribution a reality. White farmers refused to identify fallow land and donors backed away when the government began offering long-term leases to the black political elite.Officials say they have resettled about 210,000 poor black households since 2000. But many people believe that Mr. Mugabe revived the land issue two years ago to bolster his flagging popularity and to reward his political allies.

Tobacco –the money crop

Prominent politicians loyal to Mr. Mugabe now control scores of fertile farms while many poor blacks are stranded on stretches without adequate water or sanitation. (Farmers have accused Mr. Mugabe’s wife, Grace, of seizing a farm, too.)

American and European officials, along with some Africans, have accused Mr. Mugabe of rigging the presidential elections in March. And last month, the government ordered nearly 3,000 white farmers to leave their properties, despite shortages caused by severe drought and disruptions

.”His violent land-reform program is about entrenching his political power and rewarding his cronies and not about addressing historical injustices,” said Tendai Biti, a senior member of the opposition party, the M C.

There are other African critics. President Abdoulaye Wade of Senegal assailed Zimbabwe’s presidential election. Kofi Annan, the secretary general of the United Nations, recently urged officials here to respect the rule of law.

Mr. Mugabe dismisses such criticism as nonsense. He notes that food shortages attributed to drought have afflicted most of southern Africa and points out that he, unlike other leaders, is willing to accept genetically modified food from America. He says white farmers have built a powerful propaganda machine that has misled the Western world about his government.

“Those are Blair tactics, you see, which they are using so Blair can then say to the rest of the world, `Look, Mugabe’s dictatorial, he’s inhumane, undemocratic,’ all the evils,” Mr. Mugabe said. “He forgets that his ancestors, his own people oppressed us here for many years. We brought democracy to this country. We brought freedom. We brought human rights.”

The white farmers themselves do not see why they should have to pay because of what happened in the past. Many say they bought their farms at market rates since Zimbabwe’s independence and reject the whole “colonial sins” argument.

Some farmers have been paid compensation but under a new law, they must leave their farms and wait for their money – not the other way round.

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Before the Settlers

When the first whites arrived in 1890, the land between the Limpopo and Zambezi rivers was populated by the Shona and the Ndebele people, who claimed sovereignty.

It is thought the Shona had been there for about 1,000 years. The Ndebele arrived in the 1830s, having migrated north from Natal after falling out with the Zulu King.

In 1889, the imperialist Cecil Rhodes, who had made a fortune in diamond mining in the Cape, set up the British South Africa Company to explore north of the Limpopo.

He had already obtained exclusive mining rights from the Ndebele king, Lobengula, in return for £100 a month, 1,000 rifles, 10,000 rounds of ammunition, and a riverboat. As far as Lobengula was concerned he had not conferred land rights.The first 200 settlers were each promised a 3,000-acre farm and gold claims in return for carving a path through Mashonaland.

The Shona were too fragmented to resist and the British flag was raised at Fort Salisbury on 13 September 1890. The name Rhodesia was adopted in 1895. It became the British colony of Southern Rhodesia in 1923.


Three years after the pioneers arrived in Mashonaland, they conquered King Lobengula and his people in neighbouring Matabeleland.Each volunteer in the war was granted 6,000 acres of captured land. Within a year 10,000 square miles around Lobengula’s capital Bulawayo had been marked out.

Ndebele villagers who returned were treated as tenants. Most of their cattle were seized and they were forced to work on the white farms.

In Mashonaland, the settlers imposed a ‘hut tax’ of 10 shillings (50p). Those who could not pay were told to work to earn the money. When the Ndebele and Shona rebelled in 1896, they were put down and their leaders hanged.

As the settlers developed commercial farming, some lands were reserved for African occupation amid fears total dispossession could lead to uprisings.

But the Land Apportionment Act of 1930 barred African land ownership outside the reserves, except in a special freehold purchase area. Africans not needed for labour on white farms were removed to the reserves, which became increasingly congested.

Bush War

In 1965, the far-right prime minister Ian Smith unilaterally declared independence after Britain refused to let Rhodesia decolonize as a white supremacist state.

Two major liberation organisations emerged. Zanu, under Robert Mugabe, and Zapu, under Joshua Nkomo. Black nationalist opposition began its armed resistance in 1966.

When international economic sanctions were imposed against Smith’s regime, white commercial agriculture was heavily subsidised, making it even harder for African peasants to compete.

The “land question” was a major cause of the guerrilla war, which was fought with increasing ferocity during the 1970s with both sides intimidating and torturing recruits in rural areas.

In 1979, renewed negotiations in London led to the Lancaster House Agreement which paved the way for independence in April 1980. Mugabe, who won a landslide victory in the first free election, promised to resettle blacks on white land.

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Mr. Mugabe has resurrected the nationalist agenda of the 1970s — land redistribution and anti-colonialism. He unleashed his personal militia – the self-styled war veterans – who are using violence and murder as an electoral strategy.

It may not be playing by the rules but it is widely believed to have ensured the Zanu-PF victory in the June 2000 parliamentary elections and in the presidential elections of 2002.

The situation was created in colonial times when blacks were forced off their ancestral lands. “The land question” was a major cause of the guerrilla war which led to Zimbabwe’s independence in 1980. Twenty years later, little has changed.

Who pays? Land reform and redistribution is expensive: farmers asked to give up some of their property demand compensation; and infrastructure, such as roads, bore-holes, schools and clinics, is needed for those who are given the land.

President Robert Mugabe says Britain should pay because it was in charge when the problem was created. He also points out that the colonialists did not compensate Africans when they first took the land.

UK Prime Minister Tony Blair’s government responds that £44m has been provided for Zimbabwe’s land reform since 1980, and that much of the redistributed land has so far ended up in the hands of cabinet ministers and other government officials. Other donors agree and have refused to support further land reform unless it is more transparent.

Mugabe focuses on land “revolution.” But if nothing else, Mr Mugabe is an extremely proud man.He will only step down when his “revolution” is complete. He says this means the redistribution of white-owned land but he also wants to hand-pick his successor, who must of course come from within the ranks of his Zanu-PF party. This would also ensure a peaceful old age, with no investigation into his time in office.

Mugabe still asserts his socialist credentials. The key to understanding Mr Mugabe is the 1970s guerrilla war where he made his name. He was a revolutionary hero, fighting racist white minority rule for the freedom of his people.

Since Zimbabwe’s independence in 1980 the world has moved on, but his outlook remains the same. The heroic socialist forces of Zanu-PF, are still fighting the twin evils of capitalism and colonialism. His opponents, in particular the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), are labelled “sell-outs” to white and foreign interests and, as during the war, this tag has been a death warrant for many MDC supporters.



The Herald (Harare) July 30, 2002

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Launching the Pedagogical History of Africa Project in Harare yesterday [5 September 2011] , President Mugabe said . . . “The history that must be written by our African scholars and academics here is the history that focuses on African people in struggle as creators of their own destiny rather than mere consumers of stories written about them by passive on-lookers who oftentimes happen to be non-African outsiders . . . . Real history belongs to a people in struggle and not to the interpreters of history. The people themselves are the makers of history and therefore the real historians. The interpreters are mere raconteurs of history and not the actual history-makers as is often wrongly implied . . . Only this way can we avoid history written by colonialists as ‘winners’. Our real winners are the people, whose real history or struggle the so-called winners would like to distort and suppress . . . You cannot be a historian of African people if you do not share their cry or their laughter. No. The African sensibility, reflected in African culture and worldview, is the only accurate compass to guide a historian who is genuine about writing African history. . . . Slavery and colonisation do not themselves constitute African history. They disrupt and falsify the trajectory of African history. They dehumanise Africans to fit into the scheme of European capital. The ideology of racism is created as a parallel process to rationalise the oppression of Africans. . . . I need not stress that it is imperative to edify educational systems, which embody the African and universal values so as to ensure the rooting of youth in African culture in the context of a sustainable and participatory development. This way we continue to foster the spirit of unity in Africa as embodied in the African Unity Charter”—AllAfrica

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Look What I Found (video) 

The Lynching of Robert Mugabe  (part 1)  Empires and Lynching (part 2)  

Witnessing in Perilous Times (part 3)  Instruments of Imperial Domination  (part 4)

Slogan of Imperial Atrocity (part 5)

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The Shameful Life of Salvador Dali

By Ian Gibson

In his detailed and excellent book on Dali, Ian Gibson has documented Dali’s identification with fascism in Spain from the very beginning. During the civil war, Dali never came out in support of the Republic.  He did not collaborate, for example, in the Paris Fair in 1937, where Picasso presented his Guernica, aimed at raising funds for the Republican cause.  And he soon made explicit his sympathies for the fascist coup of 1936 and for the dictatorship that it established in a letter to Buñuel, a well-known filmmaker in Spain.  He made explicit and known his admiration for the figure and writing of the founder of the Spanish fascist party (La Falange), José Antonio Primo de Rivera, and used in his speeches and writings the fascist narrative and expressions (such as the fascist call “Arriba España”), referring to the special role Spain had in promoting the imperial dreams over other nations.  He sympathized with the anti-Semitic views of Hitler and celebrated Franco’s alliance with Hitler and Mussolini against France, Great Britain and the United States.  He also welcomed the “solution to the national problem” in vogue in Nazi and fascist circles at that time. Dali became the major defender of the Franco dictatorship in the artistic world. 

He was also, as Spanish fascism was, very close to the Church and to the Vatican of Pope Pius XII, indicating that modern art needed to be based on Christianity.  His loyalty to the fascist dictatorship continued to the very end, defending the state terrorist policies that included political assassinations, even in the last moments of that dictatorship.—counterpunch

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Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America

By Melissa V. Harris-Perry

According to the author, this society has historically exerted considerable pressure on black females to fit into one of a handful of stereotypes, primarily, the Mammy, the Matriarch or the Jezebel.  The selfless Mammy’s behavior is marked by a slavish devotion to white folks’ domestic concerns, often at the expense of those of her own family’s needs. By contrast, the relatively-hedonistic Jezebel is a sexually-insatiable temptress. And the Matriarch is generally thought of as an emasculating figure who denigrates black men, ala the characters Sapphire and Aunt Esther on the television shows Amos and Andy and Sanford and Son, respectively.     

Professor Perry points out how the propagation of these harmful myths have served the mainstream culture well. For instance, the Mammy suggests that it is almost second nature for black females to feel a maternal instinct towards Caucasian babies.

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Exporting American Dreams

Thurgood Marshall’s African Journey (2008)

By Mary L. Dudziak

Thurgood Marshall became a living icon of civil rights when he argued Brown v. Board of Education before the Supreme Court in 1954. Six years later, he was at a crossroads. A rising generation of activists were making sit-ins and demonstrations rather than lawsuits the hallmark of the civil rights movement. What role, he wondered, could he now play?  When in 1960 Kenyan independence leaders asked him to help write their constitution, Marshall threw himself into their cause. Here was a new arena in which law might serve as the tool with which to forge a just society. In Exporting American Dreams Mary Dudziak recounts with poignancy and power the untold story of Marshall’s journey to Africa

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The Land Question in South Africa: The Challenge of Transformation and Redistribution

Edited by Lungisile Ntsebeza and Ruth Hall

The editors, Lungisile Ntsebeza and Ruth Hall, have brought together a useful and interesting collection of papers presented at a 2004 conference in Cape Town about the land question in South Africa, a central and still highly controversial problem, as the divergent views within this book demonstrate. Readers of this volume will get both a sampling of some of the main analytical approaches to the land question as well as a sense of the direction in which the different positions lead, especially concerning the impasse of large-scale land redistribution and transformation of the rural economy in South Africa. . . . The content and scope of the discussion in this book as a whole manages for the most part to get beyond the state-market continuum that tends to dominate much of the debate today.

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Karma’s Footsteps

By Mariahadessa Ekere Tallie

Somebody has to tell the truth sometime, whatever that truth may be. In this, her début full collection, Mariahadessa Ekere Tallie offers up a body of work that bears its scars proudly, firm in the knowledge that each is evidence of a wound survived. These are songs of life in all its violent difficulty and beauty; songs of fury, songs of love. ‘Karma’s Footsteps’ brims with things that must be said and turns the volume up, loud, giving silence its last rites. “Ekere Tallie’s new work ‘Karma’s Footsteps’ is as fierce with fight songs as it is with love songs. Searing with truths from the modern day world she is unafraid of the twelve foot waves that such honesties always manifest. A poet who “refuses to tiptoe” she enters and exits the page sometimes with short concise imagery, sometimes in the arms of delicate memoir. Her words pull the forgotten among us back into the lightning of our eyes.—Nikky Finney /  Ekere Tallie Table

Her Voice   / Mother Nature: Thoughts on Nourishing Your Body, Mind, and Spirit During Pregnancy and Beyond

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Aké: The Years of Childhood

By Wole Soyinka

Aké: The Years of Childhood is a memoir of stunning beauty, humor, and perception


a lyrical account of one boy’s attempt to grasp the often irrational and hypocritical world of adults that equally repels and seduces him. Soyinka elevates brief anecdotes into history lessons, conversations into morality plays, memories into awakenings. Various cultures, religions, and languages mingled freely in the Aké of his youth, fostering endless contradictions and personalized hybrids, particularly when it comes to religion. Christian teachings, the wisdom of the ogboni, or ruling elders, and the power of ancestral spirits


who alternately terrify and inspire him


all carried equal metaphysical weight. Surrounded by such a collage, he notes that “God had a habit of either not answering one’s prayers at all, or answering them in a way that was not straightforward.” In writing from a child’s perspective, Soyinka expresses youthful idealism and unfiltered honesty while escaping the adult snares of cynicism and intolerance. His stinging indictment of colonialism takes on added power owing to the elegance of his attack.

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The White Masters of the World

From The World and Africa, 1965

By W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois’ Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization (Fletcher)

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Ancient African Nations

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The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan  The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll  Only a Pawn in Their Game

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for Slavery /

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The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg

The Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804  / January 1, 1804 — The Founding of Haiti 

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updated 13 October 2007




Home   Transitional Writings on Africa   The African World   Black Labor  President Robert Mugabe’s UN Speech

Related files: Empires and Lynching  The Real Trouble with Zimbabwe    The Lynching of Robert Mugabe (Ogbunwezeh)   Black Africa’s duty to help Zimbabwe   

No to invasion of Zimbabwe! (Molefe)  Western Hypocrisy   Zimbabwe and the Question of Imperialism (Goodman)  Choosing Sides  Trans Africa & Progressives on Mugabe 

Colin Powell on Mugabe   Sanctions on Zimbabwe  Zimbabwe’s Lonely Fight for Justice     Reporting Zimbabwe    President Robert Mugabe’s UN Speech  

A Shattered Dream  Zimbabwe and the Question of Imperialism 

  Zimbabwe: In The House of Stone

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