One of the forgotten facts of imperialism and decolonization is that when the Great Powers retreated from Africa, they left behind them hundreds upon hundreds of thousands of families who had once been settlers but, by the mid=Twentieth Century, were as tied to the soil of their new homelands as Americans or Canadians. So, even in lands like Zimbabwe (formerly Rhodesia) that for years heaped indignities and violence upon their European population, in Zimbabwe’s case, with the support of America, there were many whites left behind.
Such came across the radar screens of many people for the first time this past week when the Miss Zimbabwe competition was won by a woman of European rather than native African descent, showing how much the country has changed since the Mugabe dynasty was chased from the halls of power and reminding many that there are lots of those of European descent left in southern Africa.
That woman is Brooke Bruk-Jackson, a 21-year-old model who managed to clinch the competition in Harare. Both of the runner-ups in the competition were black women. Their names are Amanda Mpofu and Nokutenda Marumbwa.
Posting about her victory in a post on her Instagram account, Brooke thanked everyone who supporter her and praised the Lord God, saying, “My heart is full of joy and gratitude. Thank you to each and every one of you for your kind messages and support. GOD IS GOOD!!!”
Continuing, she proudly expressed her devotion to her homeland and pledged to represent Zimbabweans in the Miss Universe competition, saying, “I have gained this crown for our beautiful country, to love and to serve our people, to represent Zimbabwe Internationally and to show the world the uniqueness of Zimbabwe and Zimbabweans. I want to be an example of grace, understanding and inspiration to the youth of Zimbabwe, to instill the spirit of ‘ubuntu’ and know that together we are strong and anything in life is possible.🇿🇼”
Watch the competition here:
Brooke’s victory represents a massive change for the African country. Once the breadbasket of Africa and a stable and industrializing nation under the aegis of Prime Minister Ian Smith, a World War II hero, it lost its Bush War against communist guerillas, largely because of American and British meddling in its internal affairs.
After that defeat, the country plunged into misery and chaos. Once fertile farms laid fallow after being confiscated and handed to those who didn’t know how to run them, government-backed gangsters terrorized the white and black population, and hyperinflation decimated Zimbabweans.
The country gradually stabilizing and, when Trump was the American president, began returning land to competent white farmers in an attempt to boost the economy. That came alongside the removal of the Mugabe dynasty, which has been in power since Mugabe’s communist guerillas won the Bush War and intimidated the population into voting for Mugabe in the country’s post-war election. Since the 2020 land reform, Zimbabwe has economically recovered somewhat and has seen less hostility between its citizens of European and native African descent.
Featured image credit: screengrab from the embedded video
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