Zim’s marginalisation of white Africans


In the Zimbabwe we want, the only advantage to any Zimbabwean citizen must be through their hard work, business acumen and morals; definitely not through race or political connections.

Vince Musewe

In an interesting conversation with a Zimbabwean white couple recently, I was rather intrigued at how they described themselves as Europeans while they referred to us Zimbabwean blacks as Africans. Isn’t it rather sad that our social conditioning during colonial times still lies deep and hidden in our subconscious and continues to blind us to who we truly are?

In my opinion, our true potential lies in us as proud Africans, regardless of our skin colour, working together to develop our country for posterity.

As far as I am concerned, Zimbabwean whites born and bred in Zimbabwe are Africans. There should, therefore, be no distinction on our heritage. We need to reject the colonial stereotype that continues to separate us.

On the flipside, a significant number of black Zimbabweans also do not consider white Zimbabweans as Africans and this continues to fuel distrust and unnecessary division.

This, of course, has been the work of the older generation of our politicians who grew up in Rhodesia. It has served them well to keep this distinction and, therefore, to have an “enemy”.
This has been to the massive disadvantage to our economic development particularly in agriculture.

I must also admit there are some white fools out there who are still deeply racially prejudiced and bitter, but I want to believe they count a few.

A large number of white Zimbabwean Africans, as I call them, whom I have met, are genuinely loyal and committed to this country. This is home to them. They want to see this country develop and prosper. Unfortunately most of them have been calculatingly marginalised by Zanu PF.

In fact, the irony of it is that some of these whites are even more committed to Zimbabwe than some of our black politicians who are mostly in there for selfish reasons and not for country first.

What continues to surprise me, is that the estimated population of white Africans in Zimbabwe is a mere 30 000 compared to 13 million blacks, but still there seems to be this fear by government to fully include and engage them in our economic activity as Zimbabweans.

As far as I am concerned, they no longer hold any significant
racially-based economic advantage as they did before given how they were dispossessed of their land properties and are now therefore disadvantaged.

That cannot be good for our country.
I do not see why they cannot go back to farming if they wish; we have nothing to lose and everything to gain. I understand we have 39 million hectares of agricultural land in Zimbabwe; surely there is plenty to go around and then some?

Attending an indigenisation discussion recently, I learnt that the Act seeks to advantage those who experienced disadvantages prior to 1980. That’s okay, but how about those that experienced disadvantage after 1980? We as a country, both black and white, have experienced serious disadvantage since the coming into power of Zanu PF in 1980.

I want to argue here that more Zimbabweans have suffered disadvantage under President Robert Mugabe than under colonialism given that today, 50% of our population is less than 35 years old and are mostly unemployed.

Add the estimated three million Zimbabweans who have left the country and don’t forget the estimated 1,2 million farm employees who lost their jobs from the land reform project, the list goes on.

The fact of the matter is, therefore, that all Zimbabweans need to be empowered so that this economy may recover and we can create a normal functional society.

I think that indigenisation should be reframed and rather be about the “localisation of ownership” so that we may develop this economy together particularly in the resource sector. This localisation must mean that Zimbabwean citizens, regardless of race, must own our natural assets and apply them for the benefit of the country.

I remember reading the inauguration speech of a famous Prime Minister who stated in 1980 that racism is wrong whether practised by blacks or whites. He happens to still be our President today, but sadly his term has really been about racism and marginalisation of white Zimbabwean Africans.

I really don’t have the patience for a few white racists that still breathe amongst us. I also don’t care much about black racists who whine about the past as if it happened yesterday and use it as a weapon of exclusion and exploitation.

We really ought to create and inclusive agenda for economic revival where our skills to add value become more important than the colour of our skin or the colonial labels we use.

Let us get white Zimbabwean Africans busy and take advantage of their skills and experience and not use indigenisation as an excuse. Let us maximise local and not racial ownership of our economy because our future generations can only benefit from it.

On the side of whites in Zimbabwe, it is important that they begin to label themselves as Africans and not Europeans because this unnecessarily feeds into the racial stereotype and marginalises them in their own country. They must also accept that we are equal to them.

In the Zimbabwe we want, the only advantage to any Zimbabwean citizen must be through their hard work, business acumen and morals; definitely not through race or political connections.
Zimbabweans come first!

Vince Musewe is an economist and author based in Harare. You may contact him on vtmusewe@gmail.com


  1. Well said and articulated Vince,however if Zimbabwean whites or Africans as you call them are included in the social discourse on equal footing a certain political party will not have anyone to blame for all the ills currently bedeviling the country and they need them as a scapegoat for their current failures

  2. Nough said…….! That concept must be embraced @ national level. There is Black on Black too….. divide goes deeper

  3. Well said, we as a country need to learn not to let our past history cloud the present and the future, instead must learn from it but we need to learn the right lessons.

    I’m a white Zimbabwean born and raised and in my heart of hearts I will always be Zimbabwean. It’s also worth noting that something like 65% of all whites in Zimbabwe (including myself) were born AFTER 1980. I always introduce myself to people in the UK as an African and it’s a big part of my identity. I hope for the day that I can be able to participate on a level playing field for the betterment of our country without having to worry about what the repercussions would be.

  4. So the couple described themselves as Europeans and you blame us for that? What would you call those of Asian extraction then? There are Africans, Asians and Europeans get over it. Why not protest at them being called white as well while you are mourning for them? Academic arguments are pointless so please do not waste your knowledge on useless subjects. Whether they are called Europeans or Africans does it change the fact that they were privileged prior to 1980 at the expense of another group of people because of their origin and race?

  5. if whites are to be taken seriously they should stop beign racist themselves we dont want advocates of white calling themselves commentators to tell us nothing. how much were yu paid to pedle this one?

  6. As hard as it is for us blacks to be the most racially abused race on earth by all other races, especially while abroad, it would be such a welcome break to not suffer racist abuse when we are at home in Africa from the silly racists out there and also to be spared lectures on how racist we black Zimbabweans are towards 30 000 white Zimbabweans.

    Greetings to the white people in Zimbabwe who consider blacks in every corner of Zimbabwe and Africa equal to them in all respects; you are literally one in a million!

  7. Greetings to the white people in Zimbabwe who consider blacks in every corner of Zimbabwe and Africa equal to them in all respects; you are literally one in a million!

Comments are closed.