Re-Living the Second Chimurenga: Memories from the Liberation Struggle in Zimbabwe

Re-Living the Second Chimurenga: Memories from the Liberation Struggle in Zimbabwe

Re-Living the Second Chimurenga: Memories from the Liberation Struggle in Zimbabwe

Re-Living the Second Chimurenga: Memories from the Liberation Struggle in Zimbabwe

Synopsis

Fay Chung grew up in a Chinese family in Rhodesia in the 1950s and 1960s. She studied education and literature, and became a lecturer at the University of Zambia in the early 1970s. In Zambia, she joined the Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU), and took part in the radicalisation of the nationalist rising, which led to Zimbabwe's independence in 1980.

Excerpt

It was impossible to grow up in colonial Rhodesia without becoming aware from one's earliest age of the deep hostility between the races. The land issue was the main bone of contention. At the age of four, I would listen to my grandfather talking about the land problem with his old friend, a Somali who owned a butchery near my grandparents' cafe. My grandfather, Yee Wo Lee, had come to Rhodesia in 1904 as a youth of 17, the fifth son in a large Chinese peasant family. As the fifth son, he did not inherit any land in China. Instead, he was given an education. He had gained his initiation into politics as a schoolboy-follower of Sun Yat Sen, and as a result was very sensitive to the colonial situation. He was one of the first people to provide financial support to black nationalists, and his bakery, Five Roses Bakery, situated very centrally in the middle of Charter Road and near the railway station, soon became the meeting place for many nationalist leaders. He was later to pay the rent for ZANU.

With a peasant's attachment to the land, he came to Africa in search of land, but his ambition was thwarted by the racial laws instituted by the colonialists. These laws forbade the sale of the best land to anyone but the whites. The worst land was reserved for blacks. Those who were neither black nor white were not catered for by the land laws. Grandfather was never able to buy the farm he yearned for. From a very early age we learnt that the whites were greedy and would not allow other races to own land.

My grandfather was very deeply interested in politics. Every day he would be reading about the latest developments in world politics, and every day he would be discussing political issues with his best friend, the Somali. I would stand next to my grandfather's chair, at the age of four, listening to the two of them discussing the strengths and weaknesses of world leaders such as Hitler, Churchill, Chiang Kai Shek, Mao Tse Tung, and Roosevelt. My grandfather had been a great sup-

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