Mugabe and the White African

I went and saw this film with my wife and father in law at a special screening at the Princesss Anne theatre.It was very,very moving and highlights the problems that Zimbabwe has with its leadership and how the problem of racism is not only in one direction in Zimbabwe.
May positive change come soon and may God be with Ben and Laura Freeth and along with Michael and Angela Campbell and the rest of the family in this difficult time.Our prayers and thoughts are with them and also all the nameless faces of the many farm workers they employ who have likewise suffered at the hands of such a terrible tyranny.

As I am going into short films myself I have a few observations from a techincal viewpoint – of course I may be wrong. It was shot as a documentary and as such one could get away with shaky archive footage and blown highlights etc. appeared to have an expensive camera look from the bokeh and depth of field but not sure what was used.Most of it was shot covertly so it would have had to have been small.It had I think a six blade aperture so it was a professional camera.There was a bit of aliasing from scaling so am not sure if it was shot in HD or whether an interlaced camera was used.I am not sure whether it was projected digitally but if it was transferred to film then then would have added an extra step,cost and loss of some resolution.At the end of the day – content is king and even though there were isssues with the picture I hardly cared as the movie was so moving.

20 Responses to “Mugabe and the White African”

  1. Thanks Henry – you Rock! Was listening to your Zimbabwe song last night and got all tearful. Morgan says hi as well x

  2. Hi Henry, Read your review on “Mugabe and the White African”. Review was OK, my only concern was your use of white font on a background that is not dark. It made for difficult reading indeed. Had to highlight the font – only then was I able to read what you wrote. Just some food for thought – Hopefully you see this as a positive critical review of a review – at least from a technical perspective”!!;-)

    Best, Martin

  3. Hey Martin,
    Cheers for that but hardly a critics review as I am certainly unqualified to do that.I was saddened to hear that the family has recently lost everything.

    Bit of a bummer about the font but it may need a website redesign to deal with that issue – have moved the picture up so the font is easier on the eyes – cheers and take care.

  4. Have seen Campbell and Freeth in the media a lot. l am very sceptical about them is it a money spinner for them. Why does papers like the Daily Mail, Telegraph not raise the plight about black farmers in Matebeleland

  5. Hey Nda,
    Haven’t a clue why it is not equitable.I hardly read the papers and I am no journalist so cannot speak for the papers – but as for the Freeths – I think they lost everything anyway when their house got burnt down by the powers that be.
    Are you referrring to Alistair Campbell by the way?
    Good luck

  6. I worked for the Zimbabwe Government ’86-’89 as a Veterinary advisor and must say the white farmers I met appeared to want to make a go of things and weren’t particularly racist. Look forward to seeing this film when/if it comes up to Aberdeen.

    Just cannot believe how the country has collapsed since I left.A tragedy as none og its citizens desreves it.

    Jeremy Hopkins

  7. I have seen this harrowing film, and urge everyone to do the same. The family’s courage and faith in God are unflinching in face of all the odds. The Campbells bought their farm with a zimbabwe Bank loan in the early 80’s. It was only when the loan was paid off that it was taken from them, and burnt to the ground by Mugabes henchmen, destroying their livelihood and those of the 500 farm workers that were loyal to them. The film is no money spinner for them, they were simply being filmed trying through the legal system and the SADC courts to protect the farm and home they had spent over 20 years building. They have been left with nothing.

  8. Hi Henry, I also found it very moving and powerful. The audience were gripped and no doubt saddened. May things change soon. All the best Paul

  9. Give us a brake. Go and study you film, and mosre importantly, make one before you write us these attempts at presenting yourself as a filmlaker.

  10. Hi Gift,
    erm……..I am confused as to your attitude.You just seem to be just bothered rather than adding anything of value.I think you also meant to spell it as give us a ‘break’.In your words – ‘Go and study and learn to spell.’

    Trying to figure out where the problem is.I watched a film nine months ago – I observed it – I commented and made some technical remarks.IMHO to critique a film doesn’t mean you have to go to filmschool.By the way – in case you really are interested – I am in the process of making my own short films and to date I have done a handful of commercial projects that you are unaware of.

    Check my Vimeo page as well although judging by your attitude I am sure you don’t really care.I also participate on the DVinfo filmakers forum sharing with the world what I have learned about HDMI capture for filmaking.

    God bless in whatever you do

  11. Your thoughts on this:

  12. My thoughts?Hmmmmmmmmmm

    The Freeths have lost everything in the end as it is.If it happened to you the same way it happened to them how would you feel?Be honest brother.
    My thoughts and prayers are always with people whose lives have experienced pain. Irrespective of their race, colour, ethnicity and background.Sure I have my critics as well for things I say but truly tell me friend ,if someone came and beat you up and burnt your house down what would you say to them?What would you do?Would an article like this give comfort in a time like that.Thank the Lord that He will truly come back as the Prince of Peace banishing hatred,racism and injustice to the past.I commend to you that on that day you make sure that when He judges your heart he finds no malice toward any of your fellow men and women irrespective of their ethnicity.
    Lord Bless

  13. I completely share your view and feelings that the way the Freeths and Campbells were treated is wrong. The human rights violations they experienced should never have been allowed to transpire. Mugabe and ZANU PF are guilty as charged. However, I am concerned with how the documentary was put together. The problems I am referring to are highlighted in the article, and it is these problems I had hoped to draw you out on. All that you say above I am in agreement with. My point is we need a serious and honest discussion about race-relations in Southern Africa. South Africa and Namibia would be able to listen and learn, to avoid the pitfalls Zimbabwe failed to avoid.

    God Bless you too my brother.

  14. Hi Sithole,
    I wish I had more time for a lengthy response.
    I am on the run this weekend sharing the Lord and doing a few other things so I must not to rush.After some consideration let me say this.This was just a brief summary about how I felt after watching the movie.It does not entail all I feel about Zimbabwe,it’s colonial past,it’s race relations and injustices.That would take a whole book to write and in fact my autobiography comes out mid year.I spell it out loud and clear.As to the nitty grittys in the article – I do not wish to be drawn out on them on a point by point basis so let me summarise what I think in general.
    The article raised some vaild points but was also just very critical. Give the Freeths their due though – I thought these guys were brave to take on the leader of a state powerful enough to crush you ( and ultimately triumphed in this case ).Sure there were problems with it and I can see them all but hmmmmmmmmmm would the writer placed in a similiar position have had the same amount of guts?Gotta give em props.

    For now just understand my simple view on what this film mainly revealed to me and this is just personal interpretation.In a world where people love to point out the splinter in our brother’s eye this film reminds us that both the white and black people of Zimbabwe are capable of acting with hatred in their hearts toward each other.Mention Zimbabwe or Mugabe and few people are moderate enough to take a balanced view of who is responsible for its ills and who is the victim.So the blame cycle begins and it reallly never stops.It is always someone else’s fault.Few people black or white ever take a long look at themselves – except some sectors of the Christian community and others who work on reconciliation.Don’t misunderstand me I am not trying to suggest that victims are at fault or should feel any kind of guilt.I am looking at the overall picture.

    I am not taking sides here.Racism works both ways.Perhaps this particular film doesn’t show how racist white people behave but that’s not what its about.I remember as a child crying through ‘Cry Freedom’ and being so angry at how Steve Biko was treated.Anyone with a heart who watched it should have been moved.In fact there are many of these kinds of documentaries around and the producers all have their own agendas.Everyone has biases and prejudices and many producers will get their own flavour of propaganda out.Anyway my book will truly portray how I feel and some people who have judged me in the past may well be surprised at where I stand on these difficult devisive issues.I am not as one sided as some people think.In fact I have a very balanced view I believe.Having travelled the world as a cricketer,lived in many countries I think I have a balanced sense about people.And you know what it is – All people are sinful,period.There are different degrees of it in and different flavours of it in different peoples,languages and nations but all people tend towards evil.

    Being a Christian forbids me to look at anyone as superior or inferior becasue in God’s eyes we all have inestimable value.Hence the death of His son on a cross.Man cannot get things right without Him.Forgive me for coming back to this but while we argue about who is to blame and who is demonised in this or that film,or this article or this radio broadcast we may do well to remember that God is Love.When we act in an unloving way to other human beings we break his commandment to love one another as He has loved us.Let each man judge his own heart.They may well be shocked to discover how much they are off the mark once the anger,pride and prejudice is stripped away.The enemy of mankind,that wicked one who is a deceiver,he is the author of all hatred,murder,pain,death,destruction,suffering and turmoil.It’s just that people are too busy living life as if God or the devil don’t exist and cannot see the spiritual implications and agendas at work.We can never make sense of all of this without a spiritual perspective.

    There’s a judgment day coming and many people who thought they were good people will have to give an answer to a Holy God as to why they hated their fellow man without reason.Which ever side of the divide you are on white or black and in between,I hope you will have a good answer.You’ll need it.

    Hope this helps clarify my position clearly.

  15. Well put Henry. Your thinking is cogent. And yes, the article took a very critical stance. It stands to be accused of being too harsh. On a separate matter: who is publishing your autobiography? Do you have a title yet? I look forward to reading it – particularly the black armband stance you took with Andy Flower, and the resultant fall out with the powers that be. All very fascinating material I suspect. Looking forward to it!

  16. Despite the fact that Mugabe pushed whites off their farms (some of which were purchased legally AFTER independence) and allowed the theft of their equipment, I do not necessarily consider him a racist. What he has done to his fellow black Zimbabweans is, in most cases, even worse. The Mugabe-ordered bulldozing of the Harare ghetto was one of the most heartless acts ever. True, the ghetto was a shanty-town but it was home to over 50000 people who became suddenly homeless. The plight of the now jobless and displaced farm workers and the beatings and imprisonments of brave political opponents are tragic as well. My point is that Mugabe is a classic, ruthless thug who is motivated by power, greed and control. The black/white issue, while devastating to those involved, is a small part of the picture.

  17. True

  18. People see these kinds of movies/documentaries and quickly forget what kind of attrocities europeans have inflicted upon africans and other nations throughout the world. I have absolutely no sympathy for the “victims” in this documentary. I was actually amused when neighbouring farmers, who were being removed from the farm, tried to get their black workers to tell how much they will suffer because of them leaving. You could just see the farmer forcing her to say something negative on camera. The only time a black worker was allowed to speak in the movie.

    Point is this: Nobody cares about the mess colonial rule has left behind in all of Africa. Why should we care about white farmers losing acres of land?

    My only problem with Mugabe is that he is not taking care of his people.

  19. watched the film and was astounded and horrified how people in authourity can have such blatant disregard for rule of law.
    Being a zimbabwean I have suffered a lot of racial discrimination at the hands of white zimbabweans, but having said that I do not agree with racism which ever way, full stop. We are all created equal in the eyes of God and the use of violence to further anyone’s cause is wrong. We have to wake up to the fact that in this day there are white africans and they are not going anywhere just like black Americans are there to stay.
    This film is about greedy politicians that have become too powerful and think they are not accountable to anyone forgetting we shall all give an account to God. My prayer is for violence, rule of fear and abuse of All HUMAN rights to end in our beloved country

  20. Sorry to be the odd one out. While we can agree that nobody deserves to be treated unjustly on the basis of color, there were inconsistencies in the film which made it unbalanced. Little things such as date of purchase and number of farm workers for example plus the films failure to address the political and historical context of the land issue in Zimbabwe. The acting in some parts of the film made it a feature film rather than a doc and i think the Campbells were silly to risk not only their lives but the lives of their family in a battle over property they eventually lost. The difference between their huge house and the farm workers residence casts doubt over the “square deal” and the warm relationship they purported to have with their workers. Finally, why does a peace loving ex SA military man have such a huge gun collection? When and how was the outstanding land issue going to be resolved?

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