Zimbabwean-born journalist and author Judith Todd, immersed as a young woman in the liberation politics of then-Rhodesia then in latter years a critic of President Robert Mugabe, says when asked what she thinks went wrong in the country that "it's almost as if Mugabe is angry he is mortal and wants everyone else to die before he does."
Todd, daughter of New Zealand missionary Garfield Todd, who served from 1953 to 1958 as prime minister of Southern Rhodesia, predecessor to the Rhodesian state that in 1980 became Zimbabwe under Mr. Mugabe's leadership, offers many such regretful observations along with personal memoirs and historical testimony in her latest book, "Through the Darkness: A Life in Zimbabwe," from Zebra Press.
She was exiled in 1972 by the late Ian Smith, Zimbabwe’s last white prime minister, and stripped of her citizenship by the Mugabe government in 2003. Todd now holds New Zealand citizenship and lives in Cape Town, South Africa.
Todd launched her book in the United States this week at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington in a program moderated by former U.S. ambassador Robert Keeley, the deputy assistant secretary of state for African Affairs in 1978-80, when peace accords ending the liberation war in Rhodesia were under negotiation with U.S. backing.
After the book launch, Todd sat down in a VOA studio with reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe, explaining first the title of her book, which comes from a poem by the late Eddison Zvogbo, which itself is entitled "A Time to Rise."
Todd says Zimbabwe has been plagued by violence since colonial times, and that the solution to the crisis, given the exhaustion of the population under political repression and deprivation, must come from the region, in particular South Africa, which owes to Zimbabwe a debt given the role its neighbor played in ending apartheid.