New memoir explores race dynamics

As a child, life in Rhodesia seemed like perfect bliss to Carol Anne Tucker. Exotic and full of wonder, Carol and her young friends spent their dusty days on the farm, enchanted by the wildlife and intrigued by the cultures and rituals of the Africans with whom they lived, side by side, in what Carol took to be harmony.

Like most youngsters, they were free and innocent – Ian Smith’s Unilateral Declaration of Independence in 1965 meant very little to them. It was only when Carol reached her teens that deep and irreparable cracks began to appear in her idyllic homeland.

Tucker’s unflinching memoir WARNING: POTHOLES, NEXT 9600KM reveals the human impact of the tumultuous history of the nation that has been, at various times over the past four decades, the Federation of Northern and Southern Rhodesia and Nyasaland, Rhodesia, Zimbabwe-Rhodesia and finally, Zimbabwe. She explores the events of the Bush War, the mass exodus of whites from the country that followed the Speech of Reconciliation by the new Prime Minister, Robert Mugabe in 1980, through a short period of relative stability in the 1990s, to contemporary conflicts, torture and persecution.

Tucker describes how communities were destroyed, with former friends pitted against each other, with myth, propaganda and government abuse used to drive a vicious wedge between blacks and whites, a culture of hatred cultivated where once there had been tolerance and respect.

She wanted to give an honest representation of the dynamics between between white and black, both from the innocent perspective of a child as well as an adult, revealing how these relationships shifted under challenging circumstances, with the racial divide split wide open.

War, death, tragedy, persecution and brutality are part of her history and WARNING: POTHOLES, NEXT 9600KM – titled as such to represent the long and difficult journey that Zimbabwe is still enduring – is a moving read. Throughout, Tucker’s strong Christian faith has enabled her to shine some light into even the darkest of moments, and she offers a short grace at the end of each chapter, helping readers to understand why religion has offered such constant hope and support. Zimbabwe remains in her heart, even if she cannot remain in her homeland.

Post published in: Africa News

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