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xxii Introduction From the day I was born, up until I was a grown up, all I knew about my skin, what to think of that skin came from inside me. I had earlier-on heard of how white Zimbabweans and the white government of Ian Smith had ill-treated the natives during colonial yoke. I saw the war of independence in Zimbabwe as a little boy. We became free from the colonial subjugating yoke. At Nyatate Secondary School I was taught by the white expatriate teachers from the UK, Ireland, Canada and the USA. I have to frankly admit it, none of these made me feel like my skin was problematic. A lot of us students were friends with these expatriate teachers. We invited them to our rural homes; we would feed them our traditional foods. We were all very grateful for this connection. When I left for high school studies at Marist Nyanga, Zimbabwe’s best school, even as I write this introduction, I also had white teachers, and white brothers of the Marist order, and the relationship was great. And then there was a white farm manager at this school, who ran the farm part of this institution. He would call us all sorts of degrading names or terms like monkey, baboon, k-word, n-word etc… We ignored him. But the crux of the situation came sooner than we thought it would. He stayed at our side of this institution; Marist Vale- the high school side, with two brothers, Brother George and Brother Mulroney, and the other brothers like brother Legualt who was the head of the whole institution was at the other side, the Marist brothers side that had the secondary school grades. So when we would go to see these two brothers, George and Mulroney, for spiritual guidance and religious matters, we would sometimes come into contact with this farm manager. xxiii At one of these times, he told one of the students; when the student came to visit the brothers and found this farm manager eating his meal, that he doesn’t want to see blacks when eating as it makes him want to vomit. When the student raised the issue to the other high school students at our night prayers and meeting, the whole student body decided to raise the issue with the headmaster. The headmaster said he will look into it, only to come back later to say he had raised it with the farm manager and the brothers, and he felt he had no way to solve it anymore. He said the farm manager was employed by the brothers not the school, that he had no control over him. He said the brothers were not keen on firing the manager as he was the best they ever had in terms of managing the farm. So the whole issue was hushed down. He continued with his racistic barbs at us. We just internalized it and ignored him as we had been told to do by our headmaster. What that statement, “I don’t want to see blacks whilst I am eating…” meant to me, how violated I was for the first time, what it made me realize how so wrong my skin was. I was made to think it’s not just my skin; it’s everything inside me that was wrong, that was inferior. But, over the years, I have learned to internalize that feeling, to forget it, to live with it, to accept it. I have heard stories of slavery. I have watched, only once so far, the movie 12 Years A Slave. I can’t re-watch it again. It’s horrible! I have heard stories of racism, stories of black killings like Rodney King and the resultant riots in California. I have heard of Martin Luther King, Marcus Garvey, Jesse Jackson, and many other black leaders. I have heard of those who were killed, maimed because of their skin colours in America like Ana Mae, Rosa Parks... I have read about Harriet Tubman Railroads. I have heard the noise around “black lives matter” hashtag, after another killing, and the reverse “all lives matter” etc, and you realise you don’t understand it beyond the vibes you hear from the media, some totally biased and cooked up, so I felt I didn’t know enough. I have toyed around the idea of writing a xxiv book during black lives matter movement but still felt I didn’t know...


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MARC Record
Launched on MUSE
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