Live from the South Africa Zimbabwe border
We're OFF AIR now, but keep sending your comments and they will be posted here on the blog.
WE HAVE TO APOLOGIZE ONCE AGAIN: TECHNICAL PROBLEMS ARE MAKING IT VERY DIFFICULT FOR EVERYONE (INCLUDING US, HERE AT BUSH HOUSE) TO POST ON THE BLOG. IF YOU CAN'T POST, SEND US AN EMAIL AND WE'LL PUBLISH YOUR COMMENTS HERE. JUST SCROLL DOWN TO THE END TO READ THE COMMENTS WE'RE GETTING VIA EMAIL OR TEXT MESSAGE.
Hello from Musina - Ros here. This is the first town you’d come to if you were a Zimbabwean coming across the border to South Africa and it’s our first stop during a week of programmes here.
It is hot and beautiful here. The town is coloured with the purple of the jacarandas, the green of the sprinkled lawns and the dusty roadsides turned terracotta by the first rain of summer. And all around are baobab trees, some of which have hit the 1000 year mark. They look like a multi-armed scarecrows amongst the thorny scrub that surrounds Musina – with their branches contorting into a fantastic array of shapes. Pop ‘baobab’ into Google Images if you’ve not seen them before.
WHY ARE WE HERE?
Depending on who you ask, there are between 3-5 million Zimbabweans in South Africa, and many of them will have come through the main border crossing at Beitbridge. That’s about 15 minutes from Musina and today’s show will be live from a café there a couple of hundred metres from Zimbabwe.
The influx of Zimbabweans into South Africa raises a raft of issues many of which seem as relevant to the UK or India or Nigeria to name but three as they do to these two southern African neighbours. This is about the pros and cons of immigration, the level of support one country is prepared to extend to the people of another, and the extent to which any country can control who comes to live in it.
Here are some of the questions people here want asked. Please leave your comments and questions at www.bbcnews.com/worldhaveyoursay.
- Why do so many Zimbabweans want to leave (and risk injury and death to do so)?
- Should South Africans be more supportive of the Zimbabweans who arrive illegally? Are black South Africans xenophobic towards other Africans?
- Are the farmers in this area who are making citizens arrests of the Zimbabweans who jump the fence on to their land justified? They acknowledge it’s illegal but say it’s the only way to protect their land and their families.
- Should the South African government be doing more to stop Zimbabweans arriving illegally? And should it be doing more to change the desperate situation in Zimbabwe that many people there have told us about?
ALL AROUND IS ZIMBABWE
You can’t see Zimbabwe from here. To do that you need to drive right up to the Limpopo River, or climb to the top of one of the koppies (Afrikaans for small hill) that sit just outside town. But you don’t have to see it to know it’s close.
We stopped and filled up with petrol just now and the attendant told us that each day at 6am tens and sometimes hundreds of Zimbabweans wait to pick up transport towards Johannesburg. Fiona has just been to the bank and seen Zimbabweans changing a few US dollars for a rucksack full of Zimbabwe dollars before heading home.
A little earlier a local restaurant owner (who’s place is called the Pot Belly if you ever want to get one in Musina) told me how the local supermarket has to employ staff all nights so its shelves and sufficiently replenished to meet the demand of Zimbabweans arriving and going home. When Sarah and Stuart drove up to the venue yesterday, our driver Sidney pointed our numerous trucks and taxis parked in unlikely places – they’ll all waiting to pick up Zimbabweans.
ONLY JUST ONLINE
Getting on the net is proving a little tricky at the moment, so my reasonably grand plans for the blog (video, pics and so on) may have to wait a little while. At least I got this through.
OUR TRIP TO ZIMBABWE
Mark, Fiona and Sarah managed to get across into Zimbabwe yesterday. Mark’s written about it on the blog, and Sarah’s also written about getting the show on air from this kind of location. Both their posts are at www.bbcnews.com/worldhaveyoursay.
HERE, SOME OF THE COMMENTS WE'RE GETTING VIA EMAIL OR TEXT MESSAGE:
A question for those at the Limpopo: What is the racial make up of the illegal immigrants crossing the border there? Adam in Portland,OREGON, USA
Hi to all my good friends in WHYS! Hi to all WHYS good listeners! Dear Ros: I do think that the problems that illegal Zimbabwean immigrants to South Africa are facing are similar to a great extent to the problems of the illegal Iraqi immigrants to Syria and Jordan, or maybe even to Europe or to the States! When Saddam was in power, Iraqis used to suffer from problems which are so similar to the problems that the Zimbabweans are suffering from right now under the rule of Robert Mogabe! The cruel dictatorship of Robert Mogabe is the crucial cause that pushes the Zimbabweans towards illegal immigration! So is the illegal immigration of the Zimbabweans justified?! Yes, it is! But the problem is: What seems justified to some people might seem unjustified to others! With my love!
Lubna in Baghdad!
My advice to south African government, people is treat Zimbabweans with the most respect. Some locals take advantage of desperate people... Because you can be the same situation one day. i am a Somali who now life in Canada and been that shoes before...Raghe
The S.A. Government should be heavily pressuring the Mugabe Regime to fix the problems causing the outlfux of Zimbabweans. Adam in Portland,OR USA
If the Swiss don t come down on immigration they won t be white Europeans anymore. Tony
It,s hard to believe that Zimbabwe now is a country where her civilians struggle to enter South Africa illegally. However my view is the unfathomable black economic empowerment that has been a total fiasco thats the mother of all problems. Sanctions by the west compound this situation with hard realities, Dr. Mugabe may have lost the plot but western sanctions worsened everything giving him a scape-goat to talk about illegal sanctions, it is my honest view that the west need to remove sanctions against Zimbabwe then the peoples will realise economic recovery. It is a fact that you can not expect the poor and the hungry to avoid manipulation in elections, Kenya voted out Moi who seemed a life president before 2002 thanks to rather good looking economy than Zimbabwe is currently.
Ferdinand in Kampala Uganda
Listening to your program today, I have an off topic question, but one that I'd like to hear an answer for from real people who could anwser it from first hand experience.
I'm travelling to South Africa from my home in Toronto, at the end of the month and think it'd be important and worthwhile to see some of what is happening in Zimbabwe for myself. Is it still practical and possible to travel independently in Zimbabwe? From the reports I hear even essentials such as finding food and transport may be extremely difficult to find.
The war in Zimbabwe is essentially a spiritual one. Therefore
Zimbabwe needs help from outside. I don't mean from South Africa, the US or Europe, I mean from God Almighty.
If people take HIM seriously, HE promised peace and prosperity. If they don't HE will step back and say: OK - do it your way. We are witnessing nations who are doing it their way!
Look to God Almighty for the solution. I people turn to God. if they are sorry for doing it their way God will forgive and start the process of healing the nations of Africa.
Kind regards from Adelaide, Australia
PS Did not Zambia's President bgive an example, putting God first?
A question for those at the Limpopo: What is the racial make up of the illegal immigrants crossing the border there? Adam in Portland,OR USA
I find it odd that several people in your audience suggest that America get involved. We have our own illegal immigration problems with the Mexicans we cannot solve. What makes you think we can interfere with your problems? Besides my understanding is that this whole mess of the lack of food was created by taking away the farms from whites and handing them to natives that mismanaged their new found properties. You just can't take land away from one to give to another and think it would not create a ripple effect of problems.
John in Cleveland.
South Africa is the ally of Zimbabwe. It S. Africa does not rein in on the dictator of Zimbabwe, then S. Africa has to take in the refugees' influx.
South Africa should distant herself from Mugadbe and condemn his regime,for other countries condemn aperthied those days, Mugadbe is another Idi Amin.Basil Nigeria
In Asia we have Burma this is our own Nyamar, Chagarai is Saa Suu Kyi, Zimbabweans are the Monks and South Africa is an excalt copy of Thailand. Yusuf, Zaria
Zimbabweans pls dont fight war is worse than what ure going through. Learn from Liberia, Sudan, Sierra Leone.
It is a waste of time to expect Mbeki to help Zimbabwe. He is busy gauging the reactions from Zim. He has whites to own his economy & blacks with the votes.
PLS LEAVE MOGABE ALONE FOR THE SAKE OF PEACE. FROM MOHAMED AHMED MANSOUR OF MONROVIA.
Every Zimbabwan wants to reside in South Africa because of bad political leadership at home. Barr. Onyeka, Asaba, Nigeria.
Only d economy can defeat mugabe&unless south africa imposes very tough economic sanctions,we may have a burma situation here. Tayo,Nigeria.
Mugabe is a true african.Britain n its all?es should leave africa alone.D time 4 slavery n colonialsm is over.Bravo Mugabe. Cal me. Ben Ogugua Nigeria
Go away u nosy brits, u caused this nonsense in the first instance. Mind ur own business & stop poaching our skills. Proudly safrican
please allow mugabi and mdc to solve zimbabwe problem,and let south africa to mediate. from muazu bibi,yola,nigeria.
Mugabe is absolutely an African Hero.He is tough by his words and policy where most African leaders are Cowards!am gadafi mahad frm Kampala.
I strongly feel 4my fellow youths who hav nothing 2look 4wd 2anything in life. So they seek hope to outside. Its like being in prison. Thanks 2the political interests of Mugabe, Britian & the entire SADC members, shame on U! Guys God be wit U. Emanuel - Zambia
What is happening in Zimbabwe is just a setup by the west to blackmail Mugabe, and make him look bad in the eye of the world. SARKI FROM NIGERIA.
What south africa is doing 2 zimbabweans crossing over for help and security is bad. I say so because south africans were kept here in zambia when they had a similar problem. Is it the whites or fellow blacks who are against there fellow africans . Work up president mbeki and assist your zimbabwean brother. (sender: Mambo Banda from ndola- Zambia )
I ve nothing to make of Zimbabwe politics. I only like to have clear the name of that English BBC co-presenter. I like him alot. He s been off BBC about a week
The exploitative interest of the white brought zimbawe to this state the are today.Mugabe is a hero, the citzen should bear it 4 now and enjoy 4 year to come.Lawal from Ankpa in Nigeria.
African Leaders should consider first the plight of Zimbabweans and withdraw their support for Mugabe and frustrate him out of power. JERRY from University of Nigeria.
I advise Zimbwean to go to the land they were given and dig. Everyday they are crying of hunger, can t they dig and be self reliant? Mugabe is teaching you to work for yourselves. Rwakashari - uganda
Zimbabweans should stay &"fight" mugabe like south africans fought Apatheid, instead of running to south africa for refuge. Kane from Nigeria.
What a serious crime Mugabe has done, takin farms? Violating human rights? The answer is NO. And that is why all african leaders can do noting. Leonard-DSM
Shame on mugabe! Dat d same people dat he fought 4 to liberate he now subjects to extreme. Am sure he is now too old to reason correctly.
Zimbabweans,take heart.Dworld hear ur crys&fil ur bruises in d hand of d ur tor mentor.Take heart dis momen shal pas.My heart goes 2u.Bola Sidik, Ilorin,Nigeria
Most peeople couldn t understand why Mugabe is adored by most Africans. Zanna Moh d, Lagos_ Nigeria.
The people of zimbabwe should embark on massive revolution until that moster, mugabe is pursued because he has pupperised d people of his country. The country is a sovereign state and hence south africa should not interfere. Eghosa frm Nigeria.
Robert Mugabe is the sole administrator of satanic lieutenants,Zimbabwe needs Heavenly intervention.God will deliver us from the lucifer.lsaac in Ghana.
I am Path. Jalloh at the border of Guinea and Liberia. For me 3 countries have some thing in common: Germany, South Africa, and Zimbabwe. They all have big social and ecomic disparities. Afer some changes in their respective histories, the first two are correcting their disparities intelligently.
IT IS A SHAME THAT ZIMBABWE WHICH EXPORTED IN THE 80s NOW HAS IT S CITIZENS DYING OF HUNGER. SHAME TO YOU MUGABE!....FROM OKEY EJIOFOR, ABUJA, NIGERIA.
I am a zimbabwean living in south africa. mugabe must simply leave, we are sick and tired of his despotic rule. another day in office for him is a day too long for us. khulani, jhb.
Mugabe is a racist why is it not condemned or is this way round O.K. Richard , Free State
D u.s. thought sadam bad enough dpose and cant find anything wrong wth mugabe. HYPOCRISY of d highest order .S. Ndiriza, abuja
Mugabe regime would hav been history by now & milk & would be flowing in Harare!..KAPINDU- Blantyre
Why the western countries opposed the mogabi government? Is it because of land policy.I hop s/Africans will create peace 4 z people of zmbbwe.Aliyu muazu kano.
Hello presenter,It s a shame dat in dis age 1 man is stil colonisin a whole nation.Robert Mugabe nids a monsta like him 2 booth him out.Philip,LAGOS-NIGERIA.
@The debate remi nds me of a BBC drama Breakfa st with mugabe . It approached the mugabe tragedy from a thou ght provoking angle. Bring it on. Mung
Mr mugabe, in a country with a porpulation of over four million people, you ve ruled for more than two decades don t you think it s time enough? Tim, abuja.
ANYONE WHO APPLAUDS MR. MUGABE FROM AFAR, SHOULD BE GRANTED INSTANT CITIZENSHIP & A ONE-WAY, NON-RETURN TICKET TO ZIMBABWE TO EXPERIENCE IT FIRST HAND.
IT IS A SHAME THAT ZIMBABWE WHICH EXPORTED IN THE 80s NOW HAS IT S CITIZENS DYING OF HUNGER. SHAME TO YOU MUGABE!
If d US had strategic interest in Zimbabwe (oil,trade,etc),Mugabe would have been history now,even if he had to fall d way Sadam Husein did. SHITTU .S,NIGERIA.
My zimbabuwian brothers its pity you have a home vampire for leader, Mogabe you are a total disgrace mother Africa! Sylvester in Nigeria.
Mukabe should give zimbabwa a chance to grow without him.abena accra
Mbeki accepted the role of meddiation and he is doing nothing so south african should bear the heat. The world cup shud be taken from S.A. so that theytake action or pass the role to other legitimate mediators -mugabe should be prosecuted - martin- zimbabwe
Please african leader try to negociate dafur rebel and government, from b.g nigeria.
Mugabe,should listen to d voice of d people.DARE,KADUNA-NIGERIA.
Mugabe is a life state man he don a lot for zimbabwe let him enjoy the froot of his labour.from Mr smart ojuneku, lagos.
I think the only quikest solution 2 Zimbabwe s problems is 4 one of his Aids 2 shot and kill the president.Engr Vanokah from Nigeria.
BBC,Morgabie has become the devil of Africa.He needs angels like the U.S,Great Britain to crush him & liberate the people of Zimbabwe.Gabriel Paye,Mon.,Liberia
THE SITUATI0N IN ZIM LL S00N SPILL 0VER 2RSA & NEIGHB0URING STATES BC0S MBEKI S THE BIGGEST PRETENDER BY HIS SILENT DIPL0MACY WITH 0THER T00THLESS SADC LEADERS.TYM 2 PUSH MUGABE IN A TIGHT C0RNER BUT WISH I KNEW H0W! IM MARTINE IN ZAMBIA.
Jolly boy from sierra leone.people should remember d good work of mugabe by co operating with him not to pay him with insult. Alex weir. Conakry and harare
Prevention is better than cure. Let all african leaders chase mugabe away now. Abbey frm. Libya.
Hi ross,mugabe is a pensioner who stil dyes his hair black zimbaaweans are r efugues in they ow n country i was the y were more people lyk jacob johanna
Y not give al refugees a tempory id card, alowing them 2 work 4 2 yrs b4 renewal, or repatriation should the situation have stabilized. Zimbabweans need help, an temporay ids should ease their pain, an alow south africa 2 return them when able.
Mugabe is my hero because he looks the west in the face and tell them the home true, that the can not dicted to africans what to do. SARKI FROM NIGERIA.
Hi. mugabe s a real tekayo. a xter from grace ogot s short story of same title who killed his grandchildren to feed on their liver out of greed. winnie, kenya
The situation in zimbabwe shows how we as africans can never manage ourselves.we always want to play the blame game on the whites. Johnson-accra
Why blame america? Why can t african leaders do something? Instead, african leaders, specifically southern african leaders, applaud mugabe! This is wicked. - elton, liberia
Bravo Mugabe,the man is great and that is what the likes of Bush don t want.He isn t a branch of a tree to be swayed,if they are wiling to help let the intl community give with no strings out if they want to help.Mohamed,Nairobi kenya
The situation in zimbabwe shows how we as africans can never manage ourselves.we always want to play the blame game on the whites.our leaders are the worst.
If mugabe cannot turn thing around, he should just handover. Nasreddeen Abuja nigeria..
Correction i meant to say; Come on we are the same people, in know south africa can not take all the people but show some empathy. Kyrmia, New york
New question: why is the ANC falling on it s face on this issue? Adam in portland
Can take all the people but show some empathy. Kyrmia, New york
As a tanzania citizen who grew up during the southern africa freedom strugle, as many would remember south africans were a part of the big migration through out the region, it s a shame to hear black south african demading deportation of zimbabweans. Come on we are the same people, in know south africa
World Have Your Say. Vindictive Propaganda against Zimbabwe, is pure racism. Atkins and all his racist colleagues, will be exposed and discredited just like Peter Fincham was. E. Black.
Why are we blaming all problems of Zimbabwe on Bush and Blair, people who have not been to zimbabwe. All the problems are because of misgoverment by Mugabe. All who believe that mugabe is an hero are pretending and should wake up!!
I’m a white South African who fought with the Rhodesian forces. And yet I have a lot of sympathy for the Zimbabwean migrants. They are just trying to keep body and soul together.
The hypocrisy of both the BBC and the, presumably ANC, councillor, is astonishing. Where is the outrage? Apparently it was quite acceptable to overthrow the old SA and Rhodesian regimes because they were oppressing their black and other non-white population. But the oppression and atrocities of the Mugabe regime is an “internal matter.” May I add that I do not hear anybody calling for the punishment of Robert Mugabe and Zanu-PF for the massacres and atrocities committed by the 5th Brigade. Hypocrites! Shame on you all.
Harry Van Spann
I'd focus on the larger picture.
Rwanda, Somalia, Darfur, Zimbabwe, etc. -- what are the events that both underlie and preceded the prevailing condition? Droughts and floods, forests decimated, soils eroded, aquifers depleted, crop failure, hunger, civil unrest, warring tribes, economic, social and political breakdowns, genocide and refugees! A pattern that, regardless of where it surfaces, seems composed of the same or similar elements. What is central to it? What is the cause?
It seems to me that where Africa is, the rest of the planet is headed and, from the looks of things, sooner rather than later. The factors cited above as well as climate change and changes in seasonal temperatures are NOT causes but consequences. And they're not new. They have happened before, again and again, in isolated places, and have lead nearly but not always to the collapse of a civilization and the end of a Peoples. To wit: the early civilizations of Easter Island, the Anasazi in North America, the Mayan of Central America, the Vikings in Iceland, the Norse in ancient Greenland. They were undone by their growing numbers and the growing excesses committed by those numbers! Their failure, however, was local and affected only them.
Not so with the ancients of New Guinea's highlands or Tikopia Island or Japan in the Tokugawa period. They heeded the signs, found solutions, instituted restrains and insured theirs and their culture's survival.
But not so with us now. Not so far. Problem is... where the pattern of failure was once local leading to local collapse, it has now grown global. So, whose footsteps do we emulate?