Zimbabwean Letters

From: Tariq Tobias (Zimbabwe, AC06-08)

Zimbabwe remains, after a failed election, in a state of economic and political chaos. As the forces of our society continue to deteriorate we appeal to all those who have fought or fight for freedom for support in ending what has gone on for too long. I have written what follows based on the many at home I have spoken to.



Baba says I can’t go to school today. They might come again.

I don’t know when I’ll see Ambuya or Mama but I want to show them the picture I drew. Baba won’t tell me when they’re coming home.

That man keeps coming here but Baba tells him to go away. He scares me.

I miss them.

6 Year-old Girl

Of no political affiliation


‘ Business has stopped, at least legal business has. It is impossible to keep up with the ever-changing prices. The shelves remain empty. I think Mr. Mugabe is a very honest man: when he came to power he promised we would all be millionaires and, in this, he succeeded.’

Baker selling bread for 100 Million Zimbabwean Dollars (price at 8am today)


To: The Suppressors

Much of what you’ve done is beyond words.

Do not despair: the torture, the rape, the murder, the suffering has all been noted.

To do so much damage to people, your people, is against all that you were sworn in to protect. You remain a disgrace to your country and all of humanity.

Zimbabwe is a land of many wonders. We are resilient and will one day walk along the path of peace and reconciliation. It will not be easy, but I assure you that this day will come. Perhaps, the acts of you and your supporters will be forgiven, I sincerely hope this is possible, but they will never be forgotten. We will need to embrace them as a part of our identity before we can move forward. Their resolution is impossible to ensure. All we can now hope for is some form of closure.

We remain prisoners in our own land, victims of greed, corruption and tyranny but we have hope in the power of freedom and its unstoppable voice.

The People of Zimbabwe

– United World College Student Magazine –


2 thoughts on “Zimbabwean Letters

  1. Tariq,

    I am an ex-student of Atlantic College, and read your letter in the last issue of United Words. A bit of background: my family is of Russian descent, and was forced to leave Russia in what was arguably the worst period of world history: WWI, the
    Russian revolution, the Soviet Terror, famines, and worse. I also grew up in Zambia (1977 – 1997), and am sadly familiar with the situation in Zimbabwe today: what was the bread basket of central Africa is in disarray.

    I would like to correct a misconception that I found in your letter: You compare the attitude of the Zimbabwean minister with that of the “Tsar and nobles”: “One couldn’t help being reminded of the revolutions of old; of how the Russian Tsar and nobles must have sat on the eve of their overthrow.”

    The Tsar and his family, on the eve of the revolution, were models of humility, kindness, patience and love. Many nobles, and the Tsar’s own family, dedicated their life to their country, by serving in the Red Cross, as medical staff on the
    front (Russia was at war with Germany), or simply by fighting an enemy that threatened all of Europe’s freedom. Furthermore, unlike Mugabe’s, the Tsar’s regime
    produced a country where freedom was on the increase, the press was free, industry was booming, the arts and sciences were at the frontier of innovation, knowledge
    and human excellence. This is usually not mentioned in the mainstream literature.

    I suggest you read some of the remarkable books on the subject that are widely available, that tell of the exemplary character of the kind, humble, and intelligent man who
    was the Tsar, and who has been much maligned (as evidenced by your letter). He gave up everything for his country: his position, his crown, and even his life. And
    he did it with humility and dignity, always putting his family and his country before himself. Many of the Red soldiers guarding the Tsar during the last days of his
    life completely changed their attitude towards him, finding his human qualities completely different to what they had been led to believe by Soviet propaganda. One of the best books written on the subject is “Nicholas and Alexandra”
    by Robert Massie.

    It is not surprising that the same people who overthrew the Tsar are the ones who put Mugabe in place… communism spread from Russia, to China, to North Korea, and
    from there to many countries in Africa, including Zimbabwe. North Korea’s Fifth Brigade is notoriously famous in Zimbabwe. The mentality they adopt originates in the same book.

    I hope this provides food for thought, but not so much that you don’t study for your IB.

    Nicolas Kotschoubey
    AC 86-88

    Nicolas Kotschoubey
    8830 Piney Branch Road, #808
    Silver Spring, MD 20903, USA

  2. Dear Nicolas Kotschoubey (and other Readers)

    Thank you so much for your comment on my article in United Words. It was really interesting to read and I certainly will be more careful when I make such unqualified analogies! You’ll have to forgive my ignorance, I instituted this analogy particularly for the dramatic effect in the writing but you have helped me realize that I should be more careful in future. I simply meant to refer to the fact that the instability of the two regimes is a common thread we can draw from both instances. I apologize for any misleading conceptions that may have been suggested due to my analogy. I can see how these easily could be drawn from it.

    My mother was actually born in Bulawayo and I have heard of the North Korean 5th Brigade. It is a matter of great interest for me.

    I will definitely look at the literature you have suggested.

    Thank you for your comment,


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