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Sun spiders and land invaders 

The reality of the new normal in Zimbabwe: invasion after invasion, depending on who’s in power, in favour and who has friends in high places.
Wheat growing at Ivordale Farm outside Harare in 2018 – yet most people continue to fill their supermarket trolleys with food from other countries. Image: Dan Kitwood, Getty Images

When the eight-legged creature started running across the kitchen floor straight towards me one evening last week there was no time to grab a camera and click a picture, there was only one thing to do and that was to get the broom, fast. As soon as I saw it I knew it was a sun spider (Soilfugae) because it was running very fast and coming straight for me with its two long front legs held up, stretched out in front of it off the ground.

Some people call them Kalahari Ferraris, a very appropriate name for these fearsome looking creatures which can apparently run 53cm a second and can change direction in an instant, leaving you scrambling to get out the way. With the spider firmly under the bristles of the broom, some of its legs sticking out, I pushed it to the back door and tossed both broom and spider out into the darkness.

There was a cool and gentle breeze outside, the stars bright in a clear sky. Dozens of weavers’ nests were dipping and swaying in the palm trees in the wind and I smiled at the broom lying out there in the dark: there was no way I going to rescue it till the next morning.

Finding an abandoned broom outside the back door early in the morning has always been my shame-faced evidence of spider encounters and particularly during the years on our Marondera farm when spiders came thick and fast when summer arrived.

It’s 21 years ago this month since we left our farm, finally chased off by invaders who had claimed every field and water source, every fence building and tree, and at the very end set light to the farm on a windy night in late September, seeing us off once and for all.

What a sad, sad September that had been: saying goodbye to all our employees and their families, taking all our sheep to slaughter, our cattle to the abattoir – a decade of hard work gone in an instant at the hands of politically indoctrinated invaders.

Sadness revived

It is a sadness that has been revived this week as we hear of a new wave of farm invasions presently underway in Beitbridge.

‘Settlers’ are reported to be ‘trooping in’ to Denylinian Conservancy, setting up shacks, clearing land, cutting down trees and harvesting firewood. Ranch director Ian Ferguson was quoted in NewsDay as saying: “It is terrible. They are moving further away from the river and along a mountain chopping trees and burning the bush.”

Denylinian Conservancy apparently belongs to the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority and government resolved not to resettle people on conservancies and citrus plantations, but that means nothing in Zimbabwe. Ferguson said he had eviction orders for some farmers settled on the property, but police were refusing to enforce the high court orders – exactly as it has been for 21 years.

This is the reality of the new normal in Zimbabwe: invasion after invasion after invasion depending on who’s in power, who’s in favour and who has friends in high places.

This new normal of land invasions doesn’t even raise eyebrows anymore.

People don’t even talk about it or question why they continue to fill their supermarket trolleys with food grown in other countries, 21 years after land invasions began, 21 years after we were self-sufficient in food and used to be food exporters.

You know it’s summer in Zimbabwe when the weird and wonderful creatures return, including the fearsome Sun Spiders, but also when the land invaders reappear armed with a dubious scrap of paper from a government office and an axe: come to take what you’ve got, without work, investment or consequence.

I end this letter with a note of thanks for all the wonderful messages of support, enthusiasm and praise for my new book ‘Zimbabwe’s Timeless Beauty’ and the astounding 1 700 views of the video on YouTube. This is the book that has been 20 years in my heart, photographs and stories of our beautiful Zimbabwe that helped me to heal from decades of injustice in Zimbabwe and taught me to love my country again.

© Cathy Buckle

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Here we’re seeing the end game for SA too. The politicians in Zimbabwe have consumed the formal economy. The peasants are therefore consuming the scraps of what is left and what is left in this case is land, or at least the land that the connected haven’t stolen yet. That land is mostly of poor quality and subsistence farming only sounds romantic to those who’ve never tried it themselves.

This is what RET really looks like – radically poor and starving people, a radical lack of law and order and rich politicians living it up in Monaco. Exactly what both the EFF and ANC dream about every day.

Mugabe’s legacy. Destroy the land even after exporting half the citizens.

“..when the land invaders reappear armed with a dubious scrap of paper from a government office and an axe: come to take what you’ve got, without work, investment or consequence.”

How long will it be before it’s SA’s turn?

Dare anyone criticise the cause of this problem? In this woke and PC world, no has the courage to say what needs to be said – Zimbabwe’s and Africa’s problem is 95% the fault of its indigenous inhabitants. Incompetent, corrupt, causally violent and primitive in word and deed. This will never get posted – who cares, I’m the better for writing it!

Careful you don’t upset the Everything For Free (EFF) party.

You have to give the African people credit for having managed to change the public opinion of the world to such an extent that observable evidence of Africa’s failures is completely ignored. Despite an abundance of natural resources unmatched anywhere on earth, the poorest countries in the world are all in Africa and corruption reigns supreme. But mainstream media is not permitted to mention Africa’s failures. Any criticism of African governments or its people is simply branded as “racism” and dismissed with contempt. This is indeed a remarkable feat and the biggest enabler has, without a doubt, been white liberals. So one has to go through life pretending that you didn’t see what you saw so that other people don’t feel offended. Just like the ultimate polite guest: He wakes up at 2am in the morning and goes to the bathroom where he puts his foot in the toilet and urinates down his leg so that nobody wakes up from the noise. Very considerate.

What is perceived as free (like the land) will in fact be paid for by many generations of indigenous Zimbabweans to come for many many centuries to come. They have been paying for 40 years already but not nearly enough. Just a drop in the bucket.

From breadbasket to basket case in a few short decades and less than one generation.


This suffering could all be reversed in 3 years flat…..

It’s very easy to change. The question is, why do they want it like this.

Cathy you have my undying respect for your courage to stay in that broken country for all this time !!!
Best wishes and good luck !!!

The libertarian, individualist, free-market mindset manifests as productive farming infrastructure, functional roads, sewerage and buildings, beautiful museums, game parks, and art galleries, libraries, and universities.

The opposite mindset, that of the collectivist, expresses itself in the opposite way. The mindset destroys farming productivity and the availability and affordability of food, leads to the general decay of sewerage systems and infrastructure, allows libraries, schools, universities, and museums to fall into disrepair and decay, and results in institutionalized unemployment, poverty, and famine. They even consume the game parks.

It is simply impossible to prevent the majority from turning their environment into a manifestation of their mindset. This is the difference between Switzerland and Zimbabwe. The abundance or scarcity of money and resource wealth does not influence this relentless process. The individualist mindset creates wealth amid scarcity, while the communalist mindset creates poverty and hunger amidst an abundance of natural resources.

It is as if nature itself is trying to exterminate some self-destructive thought patterns.

Enjoying Cathy’s stories….almost seem like “tales from a land afar”, but on our doorstep, yet Zanu-PF and ANC are struggle-brothers, thinking alike.

I googled Solifugae (“sun spiders”) before I read the rest of your article…..and Wikipedia mentions they can do a maximum of 16kmh!! (….10 miles/per to some of us Boomers 😉

Noticed you mention 0,53 meters per second, and can change direction without the effect of G-forces. Almost like a Mach-3 missile that can turn on a dime, without tearing itself apart.

The even scarier part is, if Sun Spiders (or even my dog or parrot) were left to rule Zimbabwe/Rhodesia nothing would’ve happened….nothing bad especially. Zanu-PF (or ANC) causes more economic damage….they can just as well DO NOTHING and things will go better.

(Don’t forget to recover your broom from outside…)

You have had every day as an opprtunity to leave since the sixties. Beautiful place, nice people, wildlife, we get it

End of comments.





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