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The BBC's Gavin Hewitt
"They found it difficult to describe what happened without breaking down"
 real 28k

Sunday, 9 April, 2000, 17:31 GMT 18:31 UK
Eyewitness: White farmers living in fear
Adrian and Marion Herud
Marion and Adrian Herud: Chased off their farm
Attacks on white farmers in Zimbabwe have reached new levels of ferocity. Gavin Hewitt visited one family under threat from landless black squatters in Karoi, over 100 miles north west of the capital Harare.

We met Adrian and Marion Herud at a friend's house. Yesterday, about 80 people occupied their farm.

They were with another white farmer and his wife at the time.

For several hours, they were intimidated to the point they found it difficult describing what had happened without breaking down.

'Beaten hard'

"I was beaten hard on the side of my head and lost consciousness briefly," said Adrian Herud.

We were forced to dance. We were threatened

Marion Herud

"When I came round, they made me write apologies to Mugabe. 'Do you know who Mugabe is?' 'Yes.' Bang! 'President Mugabe?' 'Yes, I know. He's my president, too.' Bang! I'm sorry."

"Lionel's wife kept on saying, 'They've hit him again, they've hit him again,' but I couldn't watch," said Marion Herud.

The Heruds constantly needed to reassure each other.

After the beatings, he had been forced to shout slogans in favour of President Mugabe, an act intended to humiliate him in front of his farm workers.

Dr Hunvi.
Dr Hunvi: Forefathers victimised

Then the women were taken from the house.

"They pushed us into the centre of the circle, until we danced," said Marion.

"We were forced to dance. We were threatened."

'End of colonial legacy'

The man behind these farm invasions is Dr Hunvi. On a tour of occupied farms, he insisted that seizing land was the final chapter in ridding his country of its colonial legacy.

"Our forefathers were victimised by those farmers. If those farmers think they are Zimbabwe-British, we would prefer they should go back to Britain," he said.

Marion: Sees no future in Zimbabwe
There was a real injustice done to black people here, and there is a very real need to redistribute land.

But the two people I met had been simply broken by terror.

"I am just constantly afraid. More afraid for my children than for myself," said Marion.

When I asked her if she saw a future for them in Zimbabwe, she shook her head.

Many farmers told us they would not tolerate this for much longer.

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See also:

09 Apr 00 | Africa
Opposition lashes Mugabe
08 Apr 00 | From Our Own Correspondent
Making martyrs in Harare
08 Apr 00 | Africa
Opposition backlash in Zimbabwe
07 Apr 00 | Africa
Mugabe threatens white farmers
06 Mar 00 | Africa
Points of view: Occupying farms
01 Apr 00 | Africa
Zimbabwe protests turn violent
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