Movie review: Mugabe and the White African

July 20, 2011  By: Gretchen

This film is a personal account of land seizure in Zimbabwe. A government policy put in place under Robert Mugabe’s regime dictated the seizure of white-owned farms and land, to be redistributed to the poor. The reality of the policy was unlawful land grabs that often involved beating, torture or the deaths of the affected farmers, while the stolen land was given to friends of Mugabe’s government.

The film follows Michael Campbell, one of the country’s few remaining white farmers, as he battles to protect his land. He and his family sue Mugabe for racial discrimination and human rights violations. The film follows the progress of the case, while documenting threats to the family and impacts to neighbors during the seizures.

The story flows at a determined and somewhat slow pace, though any faster and some of what happens might be hard to take in. It is deeply affecting to witness what happened to white farmers during the land seizures, as well as to see their strength in trying to fight for their land, their workers and their Zimbabwe.