Why the mukiwa?
In 1997 I volunteered with the British charity Students
Partnership Worldwide (SPW) and worked in a school for eight months in
rural Tsholotsho, Matabeleland North, Zimbabwe. Whilst working there, and
already interested in Southern African history, I got a copy of Bruce Moore-King's
White Man Black War, and it seemed somehow inevitable that I would then
spend time focussing on the Rhodesian war. With a grand mother from Graaff
Reinet, relatives in Knysna (one of the loveliest towns on the Garden Route) and living for nearly a year in
much of the research for this site which has had to be abandoned - it is currently not entirely sensible (let
alone possible) to do research work in Zimbabwe. Pietermaritzburg, because many of those who took the
gap left for the then more politically acceptable
South Africa, often ending up in or near Durban - hence the standard joke, that with end of
apartheid the when wes (so called because most conversations were supposed to
begin with "when we were in Rhodesia") became "here wes" (as in "here we go again").
I had already spent time in Zimbabwe in 1980,
staying with an uncle who had been an editor of the Rhodesia Herald (this was
at a time when non-stories were supposed to be printed rather than blanks, to
cover up the fact that censorship had taken place; he apparently raised hackles by
resolutely leaving spaces blank - I would like to hope this was true). See
more on my journalism
during he war page.
This was not long after the cease fire - I
have an abiding memory of
men in very short shorts with lots of guns - whilst we were there, there was a murder just a
few doors down. No wonder he slept with a gun under his pillow.
One of the main foci of the site is examining the role whites have played in
Southern African history. (See the African
history section for more).
And no, this site is nothing to do with Peter Godwin's book. But there is a review
If you would like to know more about me (not necessarily recommended) and why
I am now obsessive about the need for cyclists to wear helmets (literally as a
life-saver) go to the About me page.