write:Black people were denied the franchise theirmovements were controlled by a punitive internal passport system and they died at heinousrates from chronic malnutrition high infant

000 white people
barely 3%of the population
had usurped more than half of the country’s agricultural land and ownedalmost all of its commerce and industry. Black people were denied the franchise
theirmovements were controlled by a punitive internal passport system
and they died at heinousrates from chronic malnutrition
high infant mortality and limited access to basic healthservices. Meanwhile
white people in Rhodesia enjoyed the highest per capita number ofprivate swimming pools anywhere in the world.Radicalised by the condition of Black people
my father fought against the Rhodesiangovernment in the liberation war that began in the early 60s. During the conflict
my unclesand an aunt were incarcerated by the Rhodesian state
my father was nearly killed on thebattlegrounds bordering Zimbabwe and Mozambique
and my grandfather was lynched byRhodesian security officers.Following independence
my father joined Zimbabwe’s civil service
and he and my motherbegan a suburban life that was modest in means but not in aspiration for their son. St George’sappealed to them
as it did to many Black families like ours
because of the cultural and socialfoothold it provided. Boys from Saints regularly went on to study at Oxford
or play onZimbabwe’s celebrated national cricket team. But within the cloistered world of the college
thewar of independence my father fought seemed to be only half-complete.Formal segregation in Zimbabwe had ended nearly two decades earlier
but even in 1999 thecollege signalled its prestige through its racial makeup. We had a white headmaster and a whiterector. The teachers with the strongest reputations for excellence were white. We also had ahigh percentage of white students
about half of the student body in a country where whitepeople made up less than 1% of the population.Without quite realising it
this was a racial logic I readily accepted. In his memoir of growing upwhite in Africa
the Zimbabwean writer Peter Godwin recalls meeting a handful of Blackstudents at Saints in the 60s: “They didn’t want to discuss African things. They wanted to belike whites. They spoke English without much of an African accent.” I suppose I was much thesame. I barely spoke Shona
the language my father was raised speaking
but had a fluentcommand of English. I resented white racism but aspired to the cultural capital of whiteness.It was obvious
how conservative white Zimbabweans – “Rhodies”
Black people callthem – saw me
whether I wore Saints’s red blazer or not. “Chigudu
” one white classmate saidto me
“what’s the difference between a nigger and a bucket of shit?” I looked at him blankly.“The bucket
” he chortled.Early on
I committed myself to the art of survival at Saints: mine was a two-pronged strategyof conforming to expectations and never questioning authority. I kept a low profile throughoutmy first year
maintaining a steady
mediocre performance in all aspects of school life. Mymother worried I might cede whatever talents I had to this strategy
and urged me to be moreambitious. I took heed and
around the time I turned 14
I started to apply myself seriously inmy studies. I refused to be defeated by Thomas Hardy’s dense prose
I agonised over thedifference between ionic and covalent bonds
I memorised Latin noun declensions. I began toexcel academically
and found the success intoxicating. But as I grew in enthusiasm for Saints
Ifailed to notice another way that colonialism was still operating at the college: we werelearning almost nothing about the troubled country that lay beyond those black gates.’Colonialism had never really ended’: my life in the shadow of Ceci…https://www.theguardian.com/news/2021/jan/14/rhodes-must-fall-…3 of 141/16/21
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