Posted on May 3, 2011

Mike Campbell

The Economist, April 20, 2011

He couldn’t say he hadn’t been warned. In 2000, just as Robert Mugabe’s land reforms gathered pace, 20 or 30 young black “war veterans” appeared at Mike Campbell’s farm, Mount Carmel, near Chegutu, 60 miles south-west of Harare. They seemed set on staying. According to a government requisition order of 1999, this land belonged to them and to the poor blacks of Zimbabwe.

Mr Campbell offered them a shed to sleep in; he didn’t want them chopping down his trees to build their huts. From that point, hoodlums from Mugabe’s Zanu-PF Party kept turning up. Over the years, everything went. They stole the irrigation pumps and tractors he’d used to turn his 3,000 acres of veld into mango and citrus groves so lush that he had become the leading grower in Zimbabwe, selling his fruit to Marks & Spencer in England. They rustled his cattle, a special Sussex/Mashona herd of small, hardy beasts. They even stole the copper telephone wires on which the bright blue bee-eaters would sit and flash, and set fires round his stone-and-thatch farmhouse which he couldn’t put out, except with the garden hose he used to water his roses.

Within the first year they burned down his pride and joy, the Biri River Safari Lodge. This was his boyhood dream of a place: giraffe, impala, warthogs, game birds, and so many white-tailed wildebeest that even his German sea-captain ancestor, who had started farming and breeding wildebeest near the Cape in 1713, might have envied him. But systematically the invaders killed them. That was the worst until, in June 2008, the thugs broke into his house, abducted him and beat him up so badly, together with his wife, that his brain was damaged. A year later, he was forced out at gunpoint; 15 months later the farmhouse burned down. One of those uncontrollable veld fires, said the police.

All that time he fought to hold on. At one stage he sent the china and silver away for safety, as well as his favourite military chest; but then he thought it better to let the workers and servants see stuff coming into the house, and planting and buying going on. The land, after all, was his. He had first seen it as a soldier, up from South Africa to help defend Ian Smith’s Rhodesia against Mugabe’s guerrillas, and liked it so much that he had given up his businesses at home to settle there. He bought it fair and square on the open market in 1975–though it had to be stocked with guns like an armoury during those war years–and got a huge loan from the Land Bank to do so, which took him 24 years to repay. Mugabe came to power in 1980, but in 1999 the government declared “no interest” in his land, and he got title. He wasn’t moving.

Several of his white neighbours thought he was being too difficult, preferring to keep quiet, even giving to the Zanu-PF donation-gatherers when they called round. If they came to Mount Carmel Mr Campbell would tell them, straight, that the country was a disaster with no diesel or electricity, tea or sugar; so he wasn’t paying a cent to them. And when Nathan Shamuyarira, Mugabe’s minister of information, turned up with his retinue to say that the farm now belonged to him personally, or a relative of the minister appeared in his Toyota Prado taking pictures of “our” orchards, Mr Campbell told him he would have to kill him first.

Leaving the dogs

In his opinion, blacks couldn’t run large farms. They just divided the land into plots and picked at them, subsistence farming. Fifty of them had taken over the spread next door, trying to grow cotton, but their efforts were pathetic. If they wanted to eat, blacks needed white farmers. Or they needed jobs like the ones he could give them, a square deal. They would just be driven to stealing otherwise. He hadn’t supported apartheid in his youth, but in the army and in Rhodesia, he said, he had changed his mind. And his workers, 500 of them counting wives and children, didn’t dislike him for it; when the invaders attacked Mount Carmel they defended it, and when he came back after his beating–pretty unsteady on his legs–some of them hugged him. “We love these guys,” he said.

He kept on seeking legal redress, of course. As the government notices of intent kept coming, he applied for a protection order. In 2005, though, an amendment to the Zimbabwean constitution allowed the seizure of white land without court review or compensation. He went higher then, and in 2007 sued Mr Mugabe before the tribunal of the Southern African Development Community. Though 77 other white farmers eventually joined him, he was the first and foremost: Mike Campbell v Republic of Zimbabwe. And, astonishingly, he won–though the tribunal said it would have ruled differently if his land had really been given to poor blacks, rather than the president’s cronies.

Not that his victory made much difference. The thugs moved in, and in September 2009 the farm was burned, notwithstanding. Mr Campbell had left most of his things there, as well as the dogs, the cats, the hens and the old brown horse, in the firm belief that he would return. Instead, he ended his days in poverty in Harare. The last mango crop was sold for the minister’s profit, or rotted to purplish pulp in the pack sheds. Nature crept back, like the veld grass, to restate her original claim.

28 responses to “Mike Campbell”

  1. chuck says:

    Such a tragic end to this mans dreams and hard work. To have to give it up to a bunch of thugs who would never work it or have pride in it. Mugabe killed the goose who laid the golden eggs when he allowed the takeover of these beautiful farms. And now they are starving and begging for western assistance….pathetic bunch of morons.

  2. Kingoldby says:

    I’m amazed this article could appear in a weak kneed, internationalist magazine such as the Economist.

    Far, far to late for Zimbabwe and the many good people whose lives have been destroyed there. But perhaps, just perhaps, a straw in the wind that people in the West are begining to wake up?

  3. Anonymous says:

    This article doesn’t really tell the truth. But the truth is plain to see in the picture included. At any time, Campbell could have left. Had he left early, he probably could have chased out at a profit, or at least maintained most of his wealth and started over. But he didn’t. Why? Connection to the land? Probably. But I find it far more likely he did it for those people in the photograph. The minute he left, the very least that would have happened to them is they would have starved. Probably, they would have been killed. He stayed to protect them. To give them a means to live in the world they could not provide for themselves. He sacrificed himself for them, gave EVERYTHING for them. He FOUGHT for them.

    That was wrong. And shows the real danger of mixing with other races. 1% will become your family. They will love you and you will love them. You will fight for them. You will die for them. They are family.

    And the other 99% will kill you.

    Radical separation. The only solution. Why? Because they hate us? No….because a few of them don’t. But not enough of them.

  4. E Pluribus Pluribus says:

    “Mike Campbell” illuminates the path from prosperous Rhodesia to squalid Zimbabwe by telling the story of an individual farmer and his 500 workers. A 2007 BBC video report tells the story in the context of the funeral of its last white prime minister, Ian Smith. The link no longer exists, but key excerpts are below:

    IAN SMITH DIES: BBC NEWS (2 min, 21 sec. video summary)

    “Ian Smith dies aged 88″

    November 20, 2007

    BBC: “Ian Smith believed Africans could never run their own countries. He went to his grave convinced he was right.”

    “In the 1960s, Ian Smith, as Rhodesia’s prime minister, defied the winds of change bringing independence and black rule to Britain’s colonies. White Rhodesians wanted independence from Britain but without handing power to the black majority. This was unacceptable in Britain. Harold Wilson’s Labour government was plunged into its first real crisis . . .Talks went nowhere. Ian Smith rebelled and in November, 1965, he made his unilateral Declaration of Independence . . . The British [eventually] dismissed Smith and his cabinet, but the [now] illegal regime carried on and didn’t seem to care much.”

    SMITH: “I don’t believe in black majority rule EVER in Rhodesia, not in a thousand years.”

    BBC: “It was black-armed opposition which eventually forced change . . . Robert Mugabe emerged as the new leader. But now, 27 years after independence, President Mugabe has reduced Zimbabwe to ruin, its agricultural riches destroyed, food in desperately short supply, with hyper-inflation running out of control and any and all political opposition met by violence and repression. Ian Smith felt vindicated.”

    SMITH: “Standard of education and health and housing for our black people of any other country in the African continent. That was what Rhodesians did, and I wonder if we shouldn’t be given credit for doing that.”

    BBC: “But the world did not tolerate Ian Smith’s rebellion to prevent black majority rule. He lived his life out of step with the times…”

  5. Ian says:

    I really find myself with diminishing sympathy for Whites who are still in Zimbabwe. What exactly do you think is going to happen to you there? The blacks of that country are absolutely hopeless, trapped in an endless cycle of meaningless violence against Whites while at the same time begging for handouts from Whites. LET. THEM. STARVE.

  6. Patrick says:

    God Bless Mike Campbell, all the White farmers, and their loyal black employees who are risking their lives taking a stand against a brutal tyrant.

  7. Yorkshireman. says:

    Settle down with a long drink to watch a couple of hours of video which explains a lot about Africa. This was only available in USA via a highly edited version in case it offended black africans, although very few AA’s in USA have ever set foot in Africa and it would help matters greatly to be able to find it on a map.

  8. Anonymous says:

    “If they wanted to eat, blacks needed white farmers. Or they needed jobs like the ones he could give them, a square deal.”

    And there is his issue. He attempts to do them a good turn and they will always stab them in the back. Feed the blacks, they will explode in numbers and kill you.

  9. Arthur Lincoln says:

    And I am constantly being told by liberals that all cultures are equal and there are universal human rights! Yeah! OK.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Atlas shrugged when he read this. Sean Penn probably yawned.

  11. Sardonicus says:

    “I really find myself with diminishing sympathy for Whites who are still in Zimbabwe.” Ian

    I’m afraid that whites left in Zimbabwe have nowhere to go. Europe or America doesn’t consider them refugees: like the “valued” African immigrants from Somalia, Sudan and Ethiopia. In many cases, their entire wealth is in their farms. Oh, yes, some are being compensated with Mugabe’s worthless currency for the farms they took decades to make productive?

  12. E Pluribus Pluribus says:

    @Yorkshireman (#3):

    Netflix has the English version of the powerful film you reference. Netflix description and link:

    Africa Addio: English Version(1966) UR

    Their cameras capturing history in the making, Italian documentarians Gualtiero Jacopetti and Franco Prosperi chronicle the collapse of colonialism in Africa as the continent dissolves into revolution, tribal warfare and genocide. This disturbing yet evenhanded cinematic record of the brutal events of the 1960s — presented here in an uncut English version — endures as a historical document of Africa’s past, present and future.

    Genre: Italy, Foreign Documentaries, Foreign Regions

    Availability: DVD

  13. Jon says:


    You have to understand that Whites have lived in Zimbabwe and South Africa for as long as Whites have lived in the United States. Rather than feel unsympathetic toward their situation, it should fill every White person with unfettered pride.

    Rather than fall prey to what most Whites do in this country, simply pack their bags and run whenever hordes of Blacks move into their neighborhoods or surrounding neighborhoods, these people have chosen to stay and fight for what is rightfully theirs; sometimes to their death.

  14. Gary says:

    Even back them Thomas Jefferson knew blacks and any non black race could never exist in harmony together, yet today everything I see on TV and in the media hints at black genius?

    How in the world could any thinking person think that blacks in any part of the world exibit (genius)?

    Well maybe Detroit or Oakland, Opps Maybe not.

    You can’t turn the TV on today without seeing a black male all cuddled up with a white female, and she is oh so giddy in what is going on. I saw something very unusual at the mall today. a black male with a black female..

  15. South African says:

    Africa Addio. Very visionary. I grew up in the period just after the movie ended. Have seen a bit of the Cape town beaches when they were pure white. All those young girls, the must be now in their sixties and older. Strange to see history passing in this way, and how one grows older.

    One needs an Africa Addio numer II documentary for the period afterward.

    And Africa Addion III, the period after us?

    But if one is personally involved in the film, an actor, then it is not acting anymore. It becomes a deadly serious game, a matter of life and death.

    As for mr. Campbell – is he a fool or a courageous bitter-ender? Did he have a choice to move to South Africa? I have contact with people who tell me that there is a Rhodesian community in Cape Town that is surviving on sandwich handouts in their old age, they lost everything. So if you live on handouts – is it better to stay in Harare or in South Africa?

    South Africa after 1994 rapidly turned into a hostile country against whites, whereas we welcomed them before 1994. Their bush-war soldiers have a reputation that will echo through the centuries. They were the best of the best.

  16. olewhitelady says:

    I saw the documentary, Africa Addido, mentioned by #3 Yorkshireman, having rented an English version of the 60’s Italian film from Netflix. The politically correct narrative quite often didn’t fit the scenes of utter stupidity and savagery displayed by black Africans, as though a clean-up was attempted before submitting the documentary to contemporary English speakers.

    Netflix also has a documentary titled Mugabe and the White African that’s about Mike Campbell. Every race-realist should see both films.

  17. Anonymous says:

    I have but three comments-


    They stole the irrigation pumps and tractors he’d used to turn his 3,000 acres of veld into mango and citrus groves so lush that he had become the leading grower in Zimbabwe, selling his fruit to Marks & Spencer in England.


    Why would a man with all of Africa to sell to, send his fruit to England alone? Is his really a hidden corporate/grub stake based contract enterprise? How big was his farm anyway?


    At one stage he sent the china and silver away for safety, as well as his favourite military chest; but then he thought it better to let the workers and servants see stuff coming into the house, and planting and buying going on. The land, after all, was his.


    In a revolutionary society, the first thing anyone in the apparat or wealthy merchant/landowner classes (from Czarist aristos to Jews in Europe) did was make sure all but their most essential working capital was stashed outside national control so that all’s they had to do was hop a train or a boat or a plane to a new life.

    I am highly suspicious of anyone who has so much value vested in their fixed property that they did not or cannot make walking away money.


    He had first seen it as a soldier, up from South Africa to help defend Ian Smith’s Rhodesia against Mugabe’s guerrillas, and liked it so much that he had given up his businesses at home to settle there. He bought it fair and square on the open market in 1975—though it had to be stocked with guns like an armoury during those war years—


    When did the war (against whites) end? And why, once it became clear that the enemy had won and was in office, does Mr. Campbell assume any ‘legal purchase’ made from the prior administration while serving as a foreign mercenary would remain valid?

    If whites wanted to hold onto their lands and their property in ex-Rhodesia, they would have kept their guns, abandoned those farms too distant to protect and banded together, back in 1980 before daring the blacks to come at them as a group.

    The resulting slaughter would have made it clear to the UN just who still had the power and how very unlikely it was that a black administration could rule a country for long.

    Now it is too late and apparently, far from being wealthy or wise to the ways of blacks, these white farmers didn’t shift or combine their assets to generate a fight or flight fund for themselves as individuals or as a group.

    As poster Ian says: What’s left to be sorry -for-?

    It’s finished.

  18. Anonymous says:

    There’s an excellent documentary on Campbell and his son-in-law: Mugabe and the White African.

  19. Granny Grip says:

    I was there in 1978. Trained with the RLI. I left after only 6 months. Why? I didn’t want to put my life on the line for fools who thought they could negotiate a deal like they got in Kenya. They weren’t going to get leniency from a man like Mugabe. The US and UK governments knew what Mugabe was and they supported him anyway. Your government is your mortal enemy.

  20. Lygeia says:

    I’ve read that China is behind all of this.

    China wants Zimbabwe’s resources and the white were too successful feeding not just themselves, but the blacks. With the whites out of the way, the blacks will begin to starve and the Chinese will come in and turn them (back?) into slaves by promising the blacks food and work (salt mines anyone?).

    What is so sad about all this is it seems blacks are hard-wired to hate whites. Yet we always help them. Even worse, the blacks in Africa will prefer to be enslaved by the Chinese rather than feed, clothed and treated decently by the whites.

    It is really is true that they hate their benefactors.

  21. Ronin says:

    I’ve read that China is behind all of this.

    The Red Chinese are the hired thugs of the Globalist Banksters of Wall St. and the City of London. They would be absolutely nothing without the vast transfers of American capital, technology, and manufacturing over the last 20 years. Hell, it was George Marshall and the US State Department that gave China over to that blood-soaked Commie Mao in the first place.

  22. Yorkshireman. says:

    Re: 12 — E Pluribus Pluribus wrote at 10:34 AM on May 4:

    Thanks for the tip but Netflix is only for Americans and is not available in UK. Anyway, I believe the link I posted was the best English version of Africa Addido available. I also saw the documentary ‘Mugabe and the White African’ but not via Netflix. It was shown on UK T/V a while back. Not surprising as most Whites in Africa are originally British. These events are Africa’s total loss, they are regretting it but since they are quite content to squat in the ruins and scavenge for food as they have done for millennia, it’s not surprising. Only their corrupt leaders who, to a man, lead opulent White lifestyles in colonial houses don’t follow what they preach to their millions of machete wielding masses.

  23. ATBOTL says:

    Remember that all these farmers use black labor. If they had built an all white society in Southern Africa, like white settlers did in other places, non of these things would be happening.

  24. South African says:

    “Remember that all these farmers use black labor”.

    There are many story books (youth literature) about the life of the whites in the early days, round about 1919 – 1970. Life was still very rural. Lots of whites lived on farms. It was in the days when you still had to go to town by horse and by cart, and telephones were just recently introduced. In the stories you read about the blacks that worked on the farms and white children having contact up with them, but on a friendly basis, but no race mixing. The black population still was very low. How must these people have foreseen to what problems it will lead one day – there was no previous example for them. So they just went on, and there were no black and white conflicts. Those conflicts slowly build up in the very fast developing densely populated urban areas, from small to huge, like Johannesburg.

    As economic activity increased, so the blacks streamed there for work, but this was Johannesburg, the same pace of development and urbanization was not everywhere in the country. Much remained rural. The bigger picture of what was developing in South Africa – where would one have obtained it in the past? Television only was introduced in 1976. Before this you relied on newspapers, all controlled. South Africa is more like the USA than Europe – its travel distances are also vast, and back in the 1960’s when the black problem started – how would one have known how it would end one day? There was no internet with thousands of warnings and commentators. When you traveled around, you drove in cars with old style technology, not like modern Camry’s with aircon and whisper-soft engines, and sofa-like seats. There were few highways, most of the roads were country roads. One did not notice a pending black problem. How would one have noticed the tremendous population explosion without statistics in the news? There was no website to quickly read it up. One relied what one saw with ones eyes.

    Look at Johannesburg 1972. It was the most black city in South Africa and it still looked white:

    On must remember that in 1950 the whites lived with one foot in the Voortrekker age, i.e. ox-wagon and cart. A major conflict had just passed (South African war, then WWI, then the 1929 depression which hit this country like a fist, then WWII), and suddenly there was an economic explosion and the country was propelled virtually overnight from the 1960’s onward into the space age. Change happened at a too fast rate for many of them, they still remembered and lived with the picture of a farming community in a peaceful co-existence with low density black workers.

    Back then (1970’s) most news came by radio, and there you heard about the moon landing, and daily commentary on the war in Rhodesia, developments in Mozambique. But you could not picture what it was – it was on radio. So how could one size the pending problem? Meantime life went on as normal for John Citizen – work deadlines had to be met, children had to be attended too. This took up all ones time. Then you hear about Soweto riots, you knew about communism, one knew our police was effective and would handle it, so it was not our problem.

    About the Border War – how much did we know about it? Very little. It was a secret war. Everything seemed to be under control. Everyone trusted the National Party who was making the right noises.

    All in all there was too little public information available about what was going on. And the newspapers did not go to much trouble to enlighten most of us except to the very shrewdest of observers. When an important piece of treason was committed by the white government, the newspapers splashed rugby competitions across their headlines for weeks on end, and somewhere in a little back page you could also read about some treason.

  25. South Africa says:

    What was life like in the old South Africa for the average John Citizen? Here is a cute report from someone who was born in 1961. Then you will understand what I am talking about:

  26. Anonymous says:

    So whose fault is this ?

    White pride ? the norm of black savagery ? politics ? a lack of international assistance ?

    truly, if this white man want to stay, he should have turned a cold shoulder to these blacks from the start. he should have hired some mercenaries – plentiful in all parts of Africa. if a black steps foot on the lands, shoot him where he stands. zero tolerance is the only way.

    these ignorant people- even plentiful on amren, who say, the white man should leave, are a bunch of fools. Blacks cling to whites like a drowning man in the ocean clinging to a life raft. They know they cannot survive withouth the white man’s commrce, business and leadership.

    Even in the USA, this is the case. always has been. White areas become increasingly black. Whites flee, semi-whise blacks flee with the whites- to the ‘safe’ areas, to get away from the more savage blacks.

    and it goes on and on.

    Eventually people will say the same of the USA- why are the whites staying ? These white liberal commies that run the US government are in charge, making it plentiful for blacks and mexicans, while whites foot the bil – again.

    so where are we going to flee next white people ?

    I moved to Atlanta, from the midwest, to look for work.

    I can tell you first hand, the places where blacks are plentiful is nothing more than a deteriorating sewer.

    Stand up or lose your life and all the fruits of your life’s labor, including your family, like this poor, ignorant white man did. He died a savagely brutalized, broken, brain damaged man, with nothing.

  27. Besoeker says:

    I’ve read that China is behind all of this.

    If you care to investigate the above statement made by Lygeia, have a look at the Kissinger Foundation, lads like former Foundation employee “Tax Cheat” Manderin speaking Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner. The American people were sold out many years ago. Two things make this oud ball spin, and the other one is MONEY. Ian Smith was right by the way, but the only thing we learn from history is…. we learn absolutely nothing from history.

    Bid vir America, vir SA and Rhodesia bid ooks.

  28. South African says:

    @Anonymous #26:

    You are quite right.

    At the end of the day we will have to stop playing musical chairs. There are only so much places one can escape to on this globe. Then one must muster the courage and make a stand.

    Quite a scary thought, if one has a materialistic approach to life.