Tinashe Mufute ‘09 Offers First Hand Account of the Crisis in Zimbabwe

February 26, 2008

Tinashe MufuteTinashe Mufute ’09 thought he was leaving for a brief visit home when his father picked him up at boarding school in late 2001.

Mufute was 14 years old and already active in opposition politics in his native Zimbabwe. Increasingly, however, the government of Robert Mugabe was fighting dissidence with prison, beatings, torture and death. Young people were not exempt from the violence. So instead of returning to his boarding school outside of Harare, Mufute found himself on a plane to New York to live with his older brother. He enrolled at St. Benedict’s Preparatory School in Newark and because of the kindness shown by the monks there, decided to attend Saint Anselm as a politics major.

Hear him discuss his and his families’ experiences Wednesday, Feb. 27, at 4 p.m. in the NHIOP Reading Room. The event is hosted by the Center for International Affairs and sponsored by the Black Student Coalition

Today, his parents live Fairfax, Va., and continue their opposition to the dictatorial rule of Mugabe, someone they once considered a hero for ending colonial rule. His father, an accountant, is a member of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change and returns to Zimbabwe from time to time.

Mufute still considers Zimbabwe home, although he has returned only once since leaving for New York. He majored in politics with the idea that he may someday return and help the opposition. But he is not sure when that will come to pass.

“To live in Zimbabwe today is to live in fear.” he said. “Millions of people are starving. Things are very tough.”


One Response to “Tinashe Mufute ‘09 Offers First Hand Account of the Crisis in Zimbabwe”

  1. Stephen Chisadza on March 25th, 2008 5:03 am

    I hate to be a party pooper but as a 29 year old Zimbabwean who emigrated from Zimbabwe in 2004 for South Africa, I find it hard to believe that such a young man (albeit a politics major) could really have a credible opinion about Zimbabwe. If one considers that Zimbabwe’s economic problems began in 1997 when he was about 10 could he really have grasped all the issues even then? Many of the war veterans like his aunt saw nothing wromg with the unbudgeted payouts theyreceived. it was only on 17 December 1997 (Black Friday) that many city dwellers began to understand what it meant for the Reserve bank to run out of foreign curency reserves after artificially supporting the Zimbabwean Dollar for so long.

    In fact I find it extrememly hard to believe that a child a boarding school where there was limited access to television and radio (and there was hardly any internet in schools then) ould have been up to date with the issues). In fact I really doubt that he was assaulted for political reasons, unless of course he was at one of the pricey private schools where the Zanu PF minister’s children used to harass other students.

    I find myself asking “what was Mugabe doing at their family gatherings?” In fact is it not possible that this family is a family of opportunists that jumped onto the MDC bandwagon once they realized that the change in the tide.

    i used to be very patriotic and believed that i would never leave the country. But when ZANU supporters entered my home uninvited and I was assaulted by Mugabe’s presidential guards I decided to leave. Right here, right now i believe that all Zimbabweans shuld do their own thing and forget about that god forsaken country because everyone is doing the same. no one, not inside or out, not the politicians or students has a creditble vision for the country but rather all are selfishly pursuing their own ends. I would be careful in listening to any Zimbabwean who is about as American as he is Zimbabwean. I myself am already losing touch with the realities that my family back home faces daily, although Zimbabwe is a 45 minute flight away.

    Perhaps I have you wrong, but the onus of proof is on you.

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