Mugabe and the White African (15)

Film

Documentaries

Mugabe and the White African.jpg

Time Out rating:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>4</span>/5

User ratings:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>4</span>/5
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Time Out says

Posted: Tue Jan 5 2010

The title suggests an intimate meeting of the ruler and the ruled as in ‘The Last King of Scotland’, but Robert Mugabe only appears in news clips in this very local and often suffocating documentary portrait of a disappearing way of life in Zimbabwe, filmed in secret and under threat of violence. The filmmakers spend ample time with one family of white farmers, the Campbells, who are fighting to keep their property in the face of the Zanu PF government’s decision to redistribute land and execute that ruling by force.

The film’s strength lies in its fearless reportage: the filmmakers are present at some extraordinary events, from the arrival of a minister’s son to confiscate the land (and his vitriolic speech about Europeans) to the family’s various and often futile trips to a regional court in Namibia to seek legal help against the proposed confiscation of their property. The sense of violence, real and threatened, is terrifying, although footage of the Campbells’ relatives living in comfort in rural Kent is a sobering reminder that white Africans with some wealth and European links, such as the Campbells, ultimately have more chance of an alternative way of life than the black Zimbabweans who work for them.
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Release details

Rated:

15

UK release:

Fri Jan 8, 2010

Duration:

88 mins

Cast and crew

Director:

Lucy Bailey, Andrew Thompson

Users say

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<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>0</span>/5

Average User Rating

4.4 / 5

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Christian Allard

Mike Campbell acquired the large estate with all its farms and its 500 workers back in 1974 when a brutal white supremacist regime was running the country they called Rhodesia. I feel no sympathy for the South African army captain Mike Campbell and his British son in law Ben Freeth because I watched Freeth interviewing Campbell on youtube. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sbfhrr2NyH4 Have a look and watch Campbell telling the world "if they want to eat they need to have white farmers". I watched the "documentary" they call "Mugabe and the White African" and after watching the work of Ben Freeth on youtube I come to the conclusion that the directors of the "documentary" are Ben Freeth and Mike Campbell and not Lucy Bailey and Andrew Thompson.

Anopa

I was very moved by this film. There are issues with land use and land rights in Zimbabwe that result from the years of Colonialism but those issues are complex and to be adressed at a national and legislative level. They are not the responsibility of the very brave farmers (Shona, Ndebele and White) victimised in this film as well as in separate incidents. The legacy of Colonial rule, longstanding inequalities not to mention a brutal civil war need to be addressed but cannot be addressed until Zimbabwe has a free and fair political process. As opposed to the thuggery and irresponsible greed it currently labours under. The majority of Black Zimbabweans are not so stupid as to be deceived by political posturing: be it our very own 'Takeaway Bob' or your 'right-on' Time Out. The overwhelming inequality between some White and some Black Africans is well known. That Dave Calhoun should have chosen to devote over a fifth of his review to stating the obvious about an extremely brave and dignified set of people is as predictable as it is disappointing.

John

While it is certainly true that the land was taken over by white arrivals multiple decades ago, not all of the current white farmers are the descendants of racist colonialists. Some of those properties were LEGALLY purchased AFTER the war of independence and AFTER Mugabe became president. None of this matters to the Zanu-PF thugs who snatch everything that they can get their hands on. Mugabe and his Zanu henchmen are responsible for thrusting Zimbabwe into the depths into which it now finds itself. While Mugabe has no place in his heart for white people, I do not consider him to be a racist due to the fact that poor, un-connected black Zimbabweans have faced even more dire circumstances than white farmers. The bulldozing of the Harare ghetto is a prime example. Yes, it was a shanty-town but it was home to over 50,000 people who suddenly found themselves homeless. The plight of the now jobless and homeless farm workers is another tragedy. Perhaps sometime in the future when fairness, civility and prosperity returns, Zimbabwe can follow the example of Uganda and offer reparations to those who have been wronged.

John

While it is certainly true that the land was taken over by white arrivals multiple decades ago, not all of the current white farmers are the descendants of racist colonialists. Some of those properties were LEGALLY purchased AFTER the war of independence and AFTER Mugabe became president. None of this matters to the Zanu-PF thugs who snatch everything that they can get their hands on. Mugabe and his Zanu henchmen are responsible for thrusting Zimbabwe into the depths into which it now finds itself. While Mugabe has no place in his heart for white people, I do not consider him to be a racist due to the fact that poor, un-connected black Zimbabweans have faced even more dire circumstances than white farmers. The bulldozing of the Harare ghetto is a prime example. Yes, it was a shanty-town but it was home to over 50,000 people who suddenly found themselves homeless. The plight of the now jobless and homeless farm workers is another tragedy. Perhaps sometime in the future when fairness, civility and prosperity returns, Zimbabwe can follow the example of Uganda and offer reparations to those who have been wronged.

chongololo

Surely the whites colonised Zimbabwe. Have you heard how they came and took cattle from Zimbabweans, drove them to poor soils of Shangaani and Gwaai? What was the armed strugg;le for? Is it not because some foreigner had come to drive us out of our own land? Were they not terrorising the black Zims? The capital city was a no go area for the blacks...we were not entitled to good life...all the good was for the whites...Mugabe is just doing what they did to us earlier. The only bad side, if I can say, is that he has lost the meaning of democracy and so is terrorising anyone against him, including some Zimbabweans. If you really want Mugabe to be sorry of his ways the colonialists have to be sorry first and be able to pay for all the suffering they caused Zimbabweans when they insituted the colonial rule in Zimbabwe. Magareth Thatcher (if am not wrong) said she will not pay Zim as was the Lancaster House agreement. Why did she do that? Is that not racism and deep hatred of the blacks because we did not dance according to their drumbeat? Yes, I want Mugabe to be more human, but seizing land is purely out of frustrations caused by the whites. These guys are racists if I can tell you. You need to see how they relate with us here in Zim. They are bad, and would have been worse if Mugabe was afraid of them. Thanks he stood his ground. There are gains that Zim enjoys as far as his way of ruling is concerned. We now want him to be a good old man and treat everyone with respect

chongololo

Surely the whites colonised Zimbabwe. Have you heard how they came and took cattle from Zimbabweans, drove them to poor soils of Shangaani and Gwaai? What was the armed strugg;le for? Is it not because some foreigner had come to drive us out of our own land? Were they not terrorising the black Zims? The capital city was a no go area for the blacks...we were not entitled to good life...all the good was for the whites...Mugabe is just doing what they did to us earlier. The only bad side, if I can say, is that he has lost the meaning of democracy and so is terrorising anyone against him, including some Zimbabweans. If you really want Mugabe to be sorry of his ways the colonialists have to be sorry first and be able to pay for all the suffering they caused Zimbabweans when they insituted the colonial rule in Zimbabwe. Magareth Thatcher (if am not wrong) said she will not pay Zim as was the Lancaster House agreement. Why did she do that? Is that not racism and deep hatred of the blacks because we did not dance according to their drumbeat? Yes, I want Mugabe to be more human, but seizing land is purely out of frustrations caused by the whites. These guys are racists if I can tell you. You need to see how they relate with us here in Zim. They are bad, and would have been worse if Mugabe was afraid of them. Thanks he stood his ground. There are gains that Zim enjoys as far as his way of ruling is concerned. We now want him to be a good old man and treat everyone with respect

clivemg

Clearly a story that needs to be told. My view is that one can argue forever about the "rights and wrongs" of the background to white farmers in Zimbabwe, but the core fact is in the title of the film - they are white Africans and should at least be treated with humanity, not terrorised and beaten within an inch of their lives. I would urge everyone to go and see this film, to see what is really happening under the despot Mugabe. All strength to the Campbells and the Freeths, but I fear for their future safety.

clivemg

Clearly a story that needs to be told. My view is that one can argue forever about the "rights and wrongs" of the background to white farmers in Zimbabwe, but the core fact is in the title of the film - they are white Africans and should at least be treated with humanity, not terrorised and beaten within an inch of their lives. I would urge everyone to go and see this film, to see what is really happening under the despot Mugabe. All strength to the Campbells and the Freeths, but I fear for their future safety.

Clive Murray

In his rather patronising aside, your reviewer fails to mention that the Campbell family built the farm out of nothing (they had to take out a mortgage to buy the land) and provided work for 500 black locals, who now find themselves cast aside thanks to a black president. An acknowledgement of the Campbell's courageous stand against a racist bully wouldn't have gone amiss.

Tum

I managed to catch Mugabe and the White African at the London Film Festival. It was shocking and moving in equal parts. If you can catch a screening somewhere, I thoroughly recommend you do so. I really hope this is picked up for theatrical distribution. It really deserves to be seen on the big screen.