Thursday, August 25, 2011

"mugabe and the white african" by ben freeth

Normally when I write a book review, I also write the summary myself. In this case, I'm going to copy what was sent to me, as it describes the book better than I could.

About Mugabe and the White African:
Ben Freeth has an extraordinary story to tell. Like that of many white farmers, his family's land was "reclaimed" for redistribution by Mugabe's government.

But Ben's family fought back. Appealing to international law, they instigated a suit against Mugabe's government in the SADC, the Southern African equivalent of NATO. The case was deferred time and again while Mugabe's men pulled strings. But after Freeth and his parents-in-law were abducted and beaten within inches of death in 2008, the SADC deemed any further delay to be an obstruction of justice. The case was heard, and was successful on all counts.

But the story doesn't end there. In 2009 the family farm was burned to the ground. The fight for justice in Zimbabwe is far from over--this book is for anyone who wants to see into the heart of one of today's hardest places and how human dignity flourishes even in the most adverse circumstances.

My Thoughts:
Prior to reading this book, I knew that Zimbabwe was in Africa. Period. And while I'd heard the name "Mugabe," I couldn't have told you a thing about him. And if you'd asked me about human rights violations, I would have mentioned things like human trafficking and the oppression of women in Arab nations. I never would have said anything about white farmers being run off their land by a racist dictator, and that is why Ben Freeth's book is so important.

Mugabe and the White African is not easy to read, especially as the violence and terror escalate near the end of the book. But I think it's important for those of us on the outside to glimpse what is happening--yes, it's still happening today, and Robert Mugabe is still in power. (FYI, in 2009 Parade magazine named him the worst dictator in the world.)

What impacted me most, though, was Freeth's enduring faith throughout the trials he faced. Yes, he experienced moments of terror, and there were times when he did not do what he knew he should. But overall, he kept his eyes on the Lord for his strength and courage. When the invaders came to throw Freeth and his family out of their house (this was after literally years of fighting the Mugabe regime and facing harassment, poaching, and even physical abuse), he began sharing the gospel with them. "I kept asking them questions and getting them to think about judgment day and the love of God who sent his only Son to die for us all so that we might have forgiveness and life," he said (p. 227). As I read, I had to ask myself if I would respond like Freeth. I'm afraid the answer is no.

Overall, I'm glad I read this book. Parts at the beginning were slow, and I had difficulty keeping track of all the political parties and acronyms (I'm so glad Freeth included a glossary!), but as the atrocities kept building, I found myself more and more fascinated with the unfolding story. It seems like the rest of the world has been fairly "hands off" when it comes to Zimbabwe, and I hope that this book--and the documentary of the same name--will serve to educate and motivate people to act in the defense of the oppressed.

About the Author: 
Ben Freeth, MBE, is a British-born Zimbabwean farmer. He has lived in Zimbabwe most of his life and is raising his three young children there, together with his wife Laura. Ben's story has already been the subject of an award-winning documentary which won Best Documentary 2009 (British Independent Film Awards), was nominated for the BAFTA Outstanding Debut Film 2010, and shortlisted for an Oscar in 2010.

The PBS debut of the documentary Mugabe and the White African was on July 26. Watch now at PBS:

See what other bloggers are saying about the book! If you'd like to purchase it, you can get it here.


Kregel Publications is sponsoring a $50 giveaway!

To enter all you have to do is send a tweet (using @litfuse) about Mugabe and the White African or share about it on Facebook.

If you tweet, your entry will be captured when you use @litfuse. If you share it on Facebook or your blog, just email and let Litfuse know (

TWEET THIS: Mugabe and the White African – one family’s stand for justice in the face of evil! @litfuse RT 4 a chance at $50

FACEBOOK THIS: Ben Freeth has an extraordinary story to tell about one family’s stand for justice in the face of evil. The fight for justice in Zimbabwe is far from over—Mugabe and the White African is for anyone who wants to see into the heart of one of today's hardest places and how human dignity flourishes even in the most adverse circumstances.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Litfuse Publicity Group. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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