Ben Freeth has an extraordinary story to tell. Like that of many white farmers, his family’s land was “reclaimed” for redistribution by Mugabe’s governmeent.
But Ben’s family fought back. Appealing to international law, they instigated a suit against Mugabe’s government in the SADC, the Southern African equivalent of NATO. The case was deferred time and again while Mugabe’s men pulled strings. But after Freeth and his parents-in-law were abducted and beaten within inches of death in 2008, the SADC deemed any further delay to be an obstruction of justice. The case was heard, and was successful on all counts.
But the story doesn’t end there. In 2009 the family farm was burned to the ground. The fight for justice in Zimbabwe is far from over–this book is for anyone who wants to see into the heart of one of today’s hardest places and how human dignity flourishes even in the most adverse circumstances.
Read the press release for more: http://archive.
The PBS debut of Mugabe and the White African, the award-winning documentary of the same name, was on July 26. Watch now at PBS: http://www.pbs.org/pov/
About Ben Freeth
Ben Freeth, MBE, is a British-born Zimbabwean farmer. He has lived in Zimbabwe most of his life and is raising his three young children there, together with his wife Laura. Ben’s story has already been the subject of an award-winning documentary which won Best Documentary 2009 (British Independent Film Awards), was nominated for the BAFTA Outstanding Debut Film 2010, and shortlisted for an Oscar in 2010.
Why This Book Called To Me:
September 3, 2004 under the cover of darkness I sat in a jeep that edged over a dilapidated bridge, across “No Man’s Land” and over the Zambia-Zimbabwe border. Our procession of two vehicles was the last to cross the border before they closed until morning. For many tense moments we had stood in a run down building in front of a disinterested man as he checked our visas, shuffled papers and stretched his neck, all the while having one eye glued to the clock as the seconds ticked away. Once we crossed into Zimbabwe we all breathed a sigh of relief. But while we were breathing sighs of relief, others, perhaps not very far away, were breathing gasps of terror.
My politically naive 17 year old self did not fully comprehend at the time the undercurrents of terror that were coursing through Zimbabwe. I witnessed and experienced many things on that trip-most majestic and others traumatic-but it was not until I began university a year later that the complete picture began to unfold.
I had Africa in my blood. From the age of 13 I claimed that I would be a teacher and a missionary in Africa-I didn’t care where on the continent, I just knew it was something I had to do. When my parents went to Rwanda when I was 14 I cried for a week because I couldn’t go too. My parents knew that they could no longer delay the inevitable and allowed me (after much creative persuasion on my part) to accompany them on a missions trip to Zambia, Zimbabwe and Botswana the summer I turned 17. That trip forever changed my life and solidified my love affair with Africa. I had not be born in the land but I had the land birthed in me the moment my feet hit tarmac in Lusaka. Consequently, when I began university as a history major, I took every course I could on African history, politics, and sociology. And it was then that I was introduced to the full evil of Mugabe’s regime.
To call this book a biography or memoir would fall short, for what it is is a spotlight: a spotlight on Mugabe, his associates, their vile acts, their crimes against Zimbabweans and humanity, and the courageous men and women who dared to stand for truth and justice.
Ben’s narrative is raw in emotion, stirring in description, and grievous in facts. His recounting resonates with passion and conviction, making his pain and suffering all the more palpable. The terrorizing of white farmers was no match for the God given strength Ben and his family leaned on to stand firm in their convictions and defence. Their faith was unshakable while staring in the face of evil, even when it appeared as if the ultimate price for their resolution would be their lives. In spite of the harrowing testimony between the covers of this page, Ben leaves us with a message of hope; hope that it is never too late to heal Zimbabwe and her people and to restore justice to a broken land.
**review copy provided by Litfuse**