Africa or African people don't owe Ben Freeth an identity. Let alone an identity of lording over hundreds of serfs, while overseeing thousands of hectares of land.
The talk of 'crocodile spirits' is used by the Apostolic and Evangelical sects like the Mountain of Fire And Miracles Ministries.
I quote from their website:
" The study of the spiritual aspect of the Marine kingdom is such a vast one that cannot really be exhausted. Other facts include that each sea animal has its own equivalent spirit that seeks to possess man. Thus we have the alligator spirit, the Crocodile spirit, the spirit of the Octopus, the spirit of the Shark and the Sea Monsters spirits etc. "
Ben Freeth claims he received these ideas from a friend, Langton Chuvi, whose mother was a spirit medium, and who 'found the Lord'. Your go-to-guy for what African religion is really all about - a born again Christian.
Ben Freeth now claims that 'African leaders' are not living on a continent massively exploited by transnational corporations and the IMF, none of that stuff, he is convinced they are 'possessed by the Spirit Of The Crocodile'. I like my analysis better.
Which brings me to analysis. Ben Freeth gets his main facts about Zimbabwe's history wrong, and is completely amnesiacal about the effects of colonialism and blind to corporate exploitation. Colonialism in Southern Rhodesia/Rhodesia/Zimbabwe saw 1% of the population violently (Bulawayo for instance means "The Place Of Slaughter") handed 43% of the country - 70% of the high rainfall land. In border areas, many African people were put into 'protected villages' (a concept adopted from the Malay campaign), where many died of exposure and deprivation. In response to this historic background, the ZANU-PF government instituted land reform programmes.
Also, he is playing fast and loose with the numbers. For instance,
" On the 82% of Zimbabwean land that the white farmers do not/did not own, "
Whites owned 43% of the country. Well nearly half of the other 57% (not 82%), Ben, are Game Parks, Wildlife Reserves and National Parks. Local Africans can barely farm in them, and certainly are not allowed to hunt in them, which is what they did when they still owned that land.
See this map.
: " Throughout history there has been a continual struggle between the spiritual forces of good and evil, whether or not we choose to recognize it. Witch doctors, spirit mediums, spells, even human sacrifices, are not uncommon in Zimbabwe, which is (or has been) a relatively civilized country, with a well educated population and a literacy rate that once topped 90 per cent, the highest in Africa. But often in Zimbabwe, an individual who is doing well will suddenly fall sick for no apparent reason, or actually die."
What Ben Freeth neglects to tell, is that the 90% literacy rate was achieved not 'by itself', not 'by luck', and certainly not by the racist government of Ian Smith. It was achieved by the ZANU-PF under President Mugabe, which put an emphasis on education and healthcare during the 1980s. This is not something he inherited from any benign previous goverment. It was only after the World Bank got hold of government policy through ESAP that both education and healthcare were defunded. (Google: imf zimbabwe juhasz, or click here: The Tragic Tale Of The IMF In Zimbabwe, by Antonia Juhasz)
Being a devout white supremacist (if he was actually African, we would all him an insufferable tribalist), Ben Freeth of course identifies 'civilisation' with Christianity and European rule. But he goes beyond that.
The real question is - is Ben Freeth mentally ill? I am not a psychiatrist, however, consider the following. He is the nephew of a member of the House Of Lords, he has dreams of grandure, and is convinced he is destined to rule over hundreds of 'farm workers', who get paid virtually nothing. He is convinced of his own unfailing judgment. He strongly believes in magical thinking and direct Divine Intervention. He is a racial supremacist. Add them all up, and you get severe Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Of course, among Rhodesians that is a tough one to diagnose, because it is hard to know where their culture ends and personality begins.
" Heidi saw a police truck go past with a lot of black people in civilian clothes riding in it, and she suddenly felt the urge to pray, knowing that many people were abducted at night, never to be seen again. As she looked toward Harare Central Police Station, she saw above it a great battle depicted in fierce light and colour and movement in the sky. Within the red and blue and silver and yellow lights Heidi could see two distinct forces clashing against each other. It was clearly a battle between good and evil, she told me. "
Is the great battle between Good and Evil being fought out in the skies over Harare Central Police Station? You decide. And now, for some Direct Divine Intervention.
I was worried that Hennie's feet would be beaten. Everyone knew that this was the torture method used by the militia. Hennie had diabetes, and had to wear slippers because if his feet were rubbed or bruised, gangrene could set in. In the middle of all the violence, Hennie later told me, a man came to him and talked quietly into his ear. This man seemed different from the rest of them. He told Hennie, "You'll be OK." Hennie was sure that the man was an angel. His feet were left untouched.
" When I think of African dicators, I think of crocodiles, because crocodiles are absolute tyrants. "
" Africa is in such a mess today, I believe, because the spirit of the crocodile has been roused by many of its leaders. The result of entering into a covenant with death is that every thing you touch simply dies. One of the clearest illustrations of this is in agriculture. The war veterans who have invaded our farms always maintained that our land was far better than theirs. Their crops, however, look pitiable standing next to our crops, although the same rain falls on theirs as falls on ours and both crops shae the same soil. "
Ben Freeth uses the same analysis to address 'the problems of the continent'. In other words, he is truly clueless. Of the flim-flam scam that is called 'donor aid' (1/4 trillion a year (not to be confused with the 6 billion in charitable giving) which is a substitute for the taxes not paid by transnational corporations), he writes:
"It's not as if nothing is ever done to help. Every year, billions of dollars are poured into the continent to feed the hungry, house the homeless, and cure the sick, but all the time new wars, new famines, and new disasters continue to take their toll."
Well Ben, that is because every year, $1 trillion (1000 billion) is stolen FROM the continent in raw materials - gold, diamonds, oil, coltan, copper, cobalt, uranium, tea, coffee - all without being taxed or profits being shared. $1 trillion goes out, $1/4 trillion of 'donor aid' goes in (paid for by middle and working class western taxpayers and some local companies, because in the West, transnational corporations don't pay much taxes either). Then there is the 6 billion a year misery industry (charitable giving - aunt Milly's 5 pounds to charity on Sunday) that provides cover for this flim-flam scam.
Back to the spirit of the crocodile.
When he was younger and walking through Ethiopia's Omo Valley he states (p. 35):
"It was on this trip that the old Africa, the Africa of the "noble savage", presented itself to me. I was young enough to believe in the idea of the "noble savage" back then. "
So his image of Africa has not always been negative. Once, he thought it was populated by noble savages.
Let's be honest, gentle reader. Wouldn't this guy turn YOU to homicidal rage?
Nothing that he says about Africa can be taken at face value. It is usually ignorant, but always self serving and self aggrandizing.
Even in other African countries, his main interaction is with other whites. In Ethiopia, he meets and American called Ben Skaggs. I quote:
" The big man gazed at the scene before us, and in his gravelly voice summed it up: "God made all this!" He said it in such a simple, sincere way, wich such plain and truthful sincerity, that it made me want to cry. "
Of Zambia, he states the following:
"In the mid-1990s, when Laura and I lived there, Zambia had very little in the way of anything. We used to joke about the Zambian currency, the Kwacha, as I needed a couple of briefcases full of 500-kwacha notes to pay the workers each month. Inflation stood at nearly 200 percent and we couldn't imagine how things could be any worse. "
Great. What he never explains, is why his privileged behind never LEAVES.
Of course, his sanctimonious plea at the end of the book takes the cake. He equates the return of white rule with a 'turning back to God'.
Ben Freeth's Open Letter To Mugabe In 2005
First, when you address a President, you might try to address him by his title, not by his last name? Not very 'humble' for a Christian.
"With the arrival of the colonial white man, and the favourable conditions that this brought to the population, the black population doubled in the first thirty years."
The conditions of colonialism were so 'favourable', that within 5 years of the 'pioneer column' arriving, there was a rebellion in which both the Shona and Matabele joined each other to throw the colonials out.
How ungrateful, aye?
" Over 70% of those that were chased off their land bought their land under your government since 1980. "
This claim of course is completely unsourced. There is no evidence that even the Campbells 're-bought' (?) their land from the post-indepencence government after April 1980. They bought Mount Carmel, all 12,000 hectares of it, off the government of Ian Smith in 1974. And being white, they were given a 20-year mortgage to do so. Mount Carmel is of course in the then whites-only European Areas that made up the center of the country.
Now think of this for a second. The British and US goverments reneged on their obligation to pay the white farmers $2 billion to compensate whites for the value of the land. At what time did the white farmers pay the ZANU-PF government $2 billion when they "bought their land under your government"? How much did they pay to the ZANU-PF government to buy their land after 1980? The claim is a preposterous and outrageous lie. And lying is not very Christian, now is it?
Ben Freeth is a self serving weener. Or some kind of reptile. He was given a massive amount of privilege and opportunity, but never considers that at any time he may have been at fault or made a mistake. He blames everything on Africans, and sees no problem with the literal demonisation of African self-rule. And I don't mean figuratively, but literally. Leaders in Africa are ruled by the 'spirit of the crocodile', with which of course he means the Devil/Satan/etc. And not metaphorically - literally. Therefore, his refusal to leave a foreclosed estate is a battle between Good (he himself/God) and Evil (President Mugabe/Satan). People die and get beaten up in the process - so what? One pregnant woman called Heidi dies of malaria - oh well. (Why is she even out on the farm when pregnant with twins?)
I wonder what would happen to his worldview if he had to consider that Anglo-American, Glencore AG, Equinox Corporation, Royal Dutch Shell and all the corporations which are dragging hundreds of billions of dollars out of Africa, are not on the side of Good? That with their warmongering, exploitation and pollution, they might be working for the Evil One? :)
I doubt he'd ever make that leap, though.