>Destruction of the Future

Part Twelve of Mothers of the Revolution: Oral Testimony of Zimbabwean Women

Irene Staunton: Publishing Director, Baobab Books

[The destructive power of the war turned against even the future of the fledling country, as many important social and economic institutions were destroyed. --DPL]

Clinics, schools and dip tanks were closed down, sometimes by the guerrillas:

During the war we were forced to go and destroy schools. As a committee member of the school board, I discussed the importance of schools with the leader of the freedom fighters. I said that schools were our children's inheritance and it pained us to destroy them. It was like fighting with walls. I told him that we should use our energy to fight the enemy instead. --Elizabeth Ndebele (192)

Clinics and dip-tanks were closed down during the war. What happened was that when the freedom fighters came to an area they told people that they should destroy them. They said that schools should be closed because they did not want schools. They said that traditionally our grandparents did not dip their cattle and the cattle survived. They said they wanted life to be as it was at that time. But it was the villagers who did the destruction. We just did as they said because we thought they were right and that they knew what they were doing. Later we regretted it because ... a lot of our cattle died [of anthrax] and people even died after eating contaminated meat. ... Schools were closed down and window panes smashed because the freedom fighters said that we paid school fees to a government who was fighting us. They said that children should not go to school because if they did we had to pay school fees and the money would be used to buy bullets that killed the freedom fighters. Clinics closed down because when the freedom fighters came to a clinic they took all the medicine ...They never told us what would happen after independence in connection with these things that we destroyed, ... we did no stop to think that we would need educated rulers after ... independence ... Now we realize that we acted foolishly ... and we regret that we destroyed our own facilities because now we have to rebuild them. --Margaret Viki (152-3)

And sometimes by the soldiers:

Then there was a time when the Smith regime suspected that the schools were collaborating with guerillas. Some of the schools were closed and some students were arrested. Others tried to cross the border and, if they were captured by the soldiers, they were tortured. Such torture: you could be beaten or put into a drum that was full of water. They blindfolded you and then took you to an unknown place. --Daisy Thabede (199)

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