Keith Keogh was a friend of mine. He died in November, aged 80.
Keith was a member of the church my wife and I attended when we first got married. At the time, we lived in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). Keith’s farm was in the middle of nowhere, in a place called Tjolotjo, in Matabeleland. If I remember correctly, Keith had 9,000 hectares, over 22,000 acres. His farm was about 60 miles one side of Bulawayo, while we lived 30 miles in the opposite direction. We met with others for a monthly church Bible Study in Bulawayo, the country’s second biggest city.
I went out to his farm on one occasion to join a small group of people hunting on his land. I wasn’t too successful but I have one lasting memory of that day. Keith’s employees had just killed an elephant. Elephants were royal game, protected by law. Farm hands could only kill one if it was a “rogue elephant” – in other words, if it was destroying crops or homes or killing people. This was one that had been a problem for some time.
I remember watching them cut up the elephant after it was killed. The meat from the huge animal would keep them all fed for some time. They even cut open the stomach and turned its contents into some sort of stew. The elephant’s feet were to be sold to make tables for foreign tourists, the tusks for ivory artifacts. It’s hide likely ended up making purses and briefcases. When we left Rhodesia in May 1978 for Ghana, the local church presented me with an elephant skin briefcase, an item I still have as a memento of the country and the Salisbury church (we lived in the capital for over a year after moving from the Bulawayo area).
At the time we visited Keith’s farm, the country was in the midst of a civil war and Tjolotjo was in the thick of it. In fact, Ian Fyffe, who had taught me my job in Essexvale where I worked for the District Commissioner, was transferred there after I took over his job in Umzingwane. Ian was younger than me. He was attacked by terrorists and seriously injured. After two months in the hospital, he was back at work, only to be killed some time later by terrorists. His wife Linda remarried a farmer who, in turn, was also murdered by terrorists.
At about the same time, Keith gave refuge to a couple we remember well and loved dearly – Martin and Cobi Visser. The Vissers had left Holland after World War II to farm in Africa. They were dairy farmers. We often visited them and loved the raw milk they gave us on each visit. I’ve forgotten why, but they lost their farm and were then invited to live and work on Keith’s farm. Mrs. Visser looked after the farm store, which sold food and other essential items to the workers there. On one occasion the farm was raided by terrorists and Cobi, together with Keith’s wife Winnie, scared them off with a loud car horn.
After seven years, the war ended in December 1979. The whites, under incredible pressure from liberals and socialists in the US, UK and South Africa, lost and saw their country become Zimbabwe. As the last white leader, Ian Smith, had predicted, Zimbabwe would have “one man, one vote,” meaning that the new leader Robert Mugabe had the only vote that mattered. Theoretically, there’s universal suffrage, but President Mugabe has had dictatorial power for 37 years.
One of the worst things he did was expel the white farmers. Keith lost his farm with no compensation in 2002. He left everything behind him and moved to Botswana, a neighboring country with better race relations and better government. I lost touch with him at about this time, but I have learned since that he was very successful there in helping local people to improve their farms and build for the future.
A few years ago, we returned to Zimbabwe and visited Essexvale, where we went to see the farm of a friend, Colin Martin, who had lived there. He fled the country with his wife and dogs and nothing else about the same time Keith left. A brief visit to his farm was heart-breaking – it lay in ruins. It was not being used to produce food. Africans are subsistence farmers, not commercial farmers like Keith and Colin.
Keith, Colin and others like them are part of central Africa’s story. They helped make Rhodesia the breadbasket of Africa and gave it the second most developed economy on the continent. Since independence, the country they loved has become the basket-case of Africa.
The white liberals in the West who helped destroy the country are now silent. Zimbabwe has created thousands of jobs for western aid agencies who try to feed the people with hand-outs. In hindsight, it would have been better to keep the white farmers and ensure there would be enough food for everybody. Neighboring countries, like Botswana, Mozambique and Zambia have taken in some of the farmers, who have boosted food production in their countries.
Instead of forking out endless aid to help peoples in Africa, it would be better to send in just one highly productive white farmer. Given 99-year leases, as in Zambia, they can make the land very productive.
Sadly, South Africa seems likely to follow Zimbabwe. Militant voices are calling for the confiscation of white-owned farms. A friend of mine related to me on Friday how his cousin and wife were murdered on their farm by African militants, members of the governing ANC’s “youth wing.” Julius Melema, their leader, is one voice wanting all the land seized. South Africa’s commercial farmers have helped feed Zimbabweans and others; if the farmers lose their land, where will the food come from?
It was the great Scottish missionary, David Livingstone, who first opened up the interior of Africa in his zeal to end the slave trade on the continent and to bring light into darkness, preaching the gospel to people who had never heard it. Muslims were raiding central Africa and taking slaves back to the Middle East.
Others from Britain went out to central Africa and farmed. They did not steal the land as is popularly believed today – the land they farmed was mostly un-used. They saw themselves as bringing civilization into the area. Some believed they were fulfilling Old Testament prophecies about the modern descendants of Israel being a blessing to the world (Genesis 12:3); the colonies they settled were forming the “multitude of nations” promised in Genesis 48:19. The Victorians had a mission to save the Africans from ignorance, poverty and slavery.
Sadly, the end of the British Empire in Africa has seen slavery returning in every single country in Africa. It is estimated there are more slaves today than there ever were at the height of the 18th century slave trade. This is a direct consequence of today’s white liberals who succeeded in destroying the empire.
This can also be said about Africa’s food problems. Again, it’s western liberals who have set back African food production.
Keith Keogh was one of the men who helped boost food production on the continent during the colonial era. Right up until he died, he remained dedicated to helping improve farms and the lives of farmers.
It’s time to honor the work of men like Keith and to speak out about the African leaders who have done so much harm to the continent.
Footnote: African countries are planning a mass exodus from the International Criminal Court (ICC). They claim bias by the court, which has highlighted atrocities committed by African leaders, including genocide perpetrated by some presidents against tribes other than their own. Rather than risk prosecution by an international court, they are withdrawing from the jurisdiction of the court. This decision is not unexpected – South Africa, Burundi and the Gambia withdrew last year.
AMERICA FIRST – PHONE CALL TO AUSTRALIA
I was saddened and troubled this morning upon hearing the news that the new American President, Donald Trump, yelled at the Australian Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, during a phone call that reportedly lasted 25 minutes. The US president apparently was so angry he slammed the phone down, cutting off the prime minister. The PM has since denied this.
The issue they were discussing was an agreement between the Obama Administration and the Australian government, whereby the US promised to take in 1,250 Muslim migrants that Australia did not want to accept.
The real problem here is the migrants themselves. This situation has been going on for years and has led to extreme violence by Muslim immigrants in both the US and Australia. Why is it governments still have not come up with a solution?
Why is it that thousands of migrants cross dozens of countries to get to Australia, the US, Canada and the nations of Western Europe when they could quite easily go to a neighboring Muslim country?
Just as disturbing is the question: why did President Trump get so angry with a vital American ally? Australia has done a great deal to help the United States in recent decades, in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan. It works both ways – the US is pledged to defend Australia in times of war. But Australia has fought in American wars that were not in their own interests.
Additionally, the US has a large trade imbalance with Australia, to America’s advantage. Aussies buy far more American products than the other way round. (I do my bit to buy goods from Australia, but one can only eat so many Tim Tams!) Australians are already disappointed at the US backing out of the TPP.
Hopefully, the president will learn quickly who America’s friends are, friends who themselves have often put “America First.”
IS AMERICA UNRAVELLING?
Frank Luntz, a Republican strategist and regular CBS contributor, expressed grave concern this morning following the riot at the University of Southern California, Berkeley. The riot was intended to stop a conservative speaker who had been invited to speak on the campus. As so often happens nowadays, whenever a conservative is asked to speak, a “rent-a-mob” turns up to stop them. Whether or not these were all university students is a matter of speculation. But what’s going on threatens the historic freedom of speech that has been a hall-mark of American democracy going right back to colonial times.
Mr. Luntz said he feels the country is unraveling, adding that “we have 1968 all over again.” Prior to the latest election, 1968 witnessed the most tumultuous election in recent times, with riots and assassinations against a backdrop of war.
Mr. Luntz is correct when he notes that there is “nothing that binds Republicans and Democrats together” any more.
He also observed that Donald Trump is keeping his promises, that people had plenty of warning of what he intended to do in America.