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Thread: Mike Campbell
24-04-2011, 19:36 #1
Thought I'd post it here. Bloody sad, it is.
Mike Campbell: Farmer who lost it all
Apr 24, 2011 1:24 AM | By Chris Barron
Mike Campbell, 78, together with his son-in-law Ben Freeth, fought through the courts to stay on their Mt Carmer Farm, in Chegutu, Zimbabwe Picture: ROBIN HAMMOND
Mike Campbell, who has died at the age of 78 in Harare, took President Robert Mugabe to court after his farm in Zimbabwe was seized by so-called war veterans.
His case was heard by the Southern African Development Community Tribunal sitting in Namibia. In 2008, after numerous postponements, the court found that the seizures were racist and amounted to theft.
It ruled that Mugabe's land redistribution programme was discriminatory and not being implemented according to the rule of law, and that Campbell and 77 other white farmers who had joined his case could keep their farms.
Before judgment was handed down, however, Campbell, his wife and son-in-law were dragged from their farmhouse and taken to a remote camp in the bush, tortured for nine hours and left for dead on the side of the road.
Campbell's ribs were broken and he sustained brain damage. He was in no condition to attend the tribunal's final hearing. His son-in-law, Ben Freeth, had his skull fractured and attended court in a wheelchair with his head heavily bandaged.
Campbell made it to Namibia for the ruling, but had been left deaf by his beating and couldn't hear it. He said he gathered from the tears of those around him that the result was either good or bad, but he didn't know which.
Mugabe dismissed the ruling as "nonsense" and his government announced that farm evictions would continue.
In 2009, the Campbells and Freeths were driven off their farm by a mob led by Mugabe's Information Minister, Nathan Shamuyarira.
A documentary of the tragic saga, called Mugabe and the White African, which was screened in South Africa last year, showed Shamuyarira's son arriving in his Toyota Prado 4x4 to take pictures of his new property.
"This land is now my home," he informed Campbell belligerently. "The government has taken it from you people to redistribute to the poor black majority. This land belongs to the black peasants."
Campbell and his wife were left practically destitute and had to find accommodation in Harare. Their farmhouse, to which they hoped they might still return, was burnt to the ground soon afterwards, as was a linen factory his wife had started to provide employment for their workers' wives.
Campbell was born on a farm in Klerksdorp in 1932. His family had been farmers in Africa since 1713, and he regarded himself as a white African.
He joined the South African army and fought in the Rhodesian bush war. He fell in love with the country and bought land about 120km outside what was then Salisbury. After Zimbabwe gained independence in 1980, he bought more land.
He turned 3000 acres of veld into a flourishing farm with mangoes, citrus trees, maize, tobacco and cattle. He established a wildlife reserve on part of it, complete with a safari lodge, which became a tourist destination.
By the end of the 1990s, he had become the largest producer and exporter of mangoes in the country.
In 1999, he was issued with a "certificate of no interest" by the Mugabe government and given a title deed. The following year, he suffered the first of many invasions by armed gangs. He accommodated them in a shed, but refused to leave his farm.
They systematically stole and trashed his farm equipment, and started fires he had to put out with a garden hose.
When he was finally forced off his land, 500 people - his farmworkers, their wives and children - lost their livelihoods. The farm has been taken over by weeds, long grass and bush.
Shortly before he died Campbell launched another court action, this time to get the SADC to reinstate the tribunal which the regional heads of state disbanded last year.
Campbell, who never recovered from his injuries, is survived by his widow, Angela, their son and two daughters.
24-04-2011, 20:36 #2
Re: Mike Campbell
hope the families are ok.
25-04-2011, 08:22 #3
Re: Mike Campbell
Malema seems bent on doing the same thing here - has made no secret of it, and will probably be our next president. All the while citizens are being disarmed at record pace. At what point do alarm bells start ringing?"The only good is knowledge and the only evil is ignorance" Socrates
15-05-2011, 07:52 #4
- Join Date
- Oct 2010
- Southern California, USA
Re: Mike Campbell
A travesty. RIP.
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