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EDITIONS
Sunday, 11 August, 2002, 11:51 GMT 12:51 UK
Naomi Raaf, victim of farm violence in Zimbabwe
Naomi Raaf, victim of farm violence in Zimbabwe
Naomi Raaf, victim of farm violence in Zimbabwe
BBC BREAKFAST WITH FROST
HOSTED BY FERGAL KEANE
INTERVIEW:
NAOMI RAAF,
VICTIM OF FARM VIOLENCE IN ZIMBABWE
AUGUST 11TH, 2002

FERGAL KEANE:
As we were just saying, thousands of white farmers in Zimbabwe are continuing to defy Robert Mugabe's orders to give up their land. Roughly half of the country's white farmer populations are refusing to move. However, half have now left. One woman who has been drastically affected by his eviction orders arrived here in Britain yesterday. Naomi Raaf is with me now. Naomi, your partner, Terry Ford, was a farmer, was murdered on his farm just after the election. Just tell me what happened to him. What you remember of that last night.

NAOMI RAAF:
I remember on the Sunday afternoon, he decided to go to his farm because he feared that he'd be ransacked. Many of the farms surrounding him had been and no reaction had been taken by the police. So he left, got home, everything was very quiet, phoned me at midnight to say that he had been attempted break-in ransacking by eight people, he'd fired a shot in the air and they had left. He had then phoned the police and he assured me that he was fine. I tried to contact him four or five times with no response and he phoned me back about one in the morning to say he was fine, he sounded a lot calmer, just waiting for a police response to the break-in. However after that, 20 men returned, they had cut a hole in the fence and no one is too sure exactly what happened but it did result in his death within hours of him speaking to me.

FERGAL KEANE:
He was, I think if I remember correctly from the news reports, he was beaten to death and shot and at the last moment.

NAOMI RAAF:
Yes, I believe that he was beaten in his house, he, he thought that he could escape with a vehicle that was on the property. From the evidence of what was seen, the gate was broken but then the car had found itself in front of a tree, which they believe was swerved, he was pulled out, his hands were tied and he was shot in the head twice.

FERGAL KEANE:
After the murder you took a decision to leave Zimbabwe, and I think we should point out you were born there, your children were born there. You regard yourself as an African. How difficult was it taking that decision to leave?

NAOMI RAAF:
It was very, it was actually simplified by Terry's death. It was, I would say approximately two years ago as the cost of living really is what brought about that we would like to leave because we couldn't financially afford to live there. Basically what I see as the middle class of Zimbabwe, be it black, white, whatever racial denomination was, it has been squeezed out. Terry being a farmer he had only farmed all his life. His assets were on his farm, that was his life and he wasn't prepared to leave. Didn't see why he should be forced to leave. So it put me in a situation which I had a commitment with him in a relationship then I was prepared to stay. And that's what I did.

FERGAL KEANE:
One of the problems, for white Zimbabweans, is the fact of course that most of you grew up under Ian Smith's rule in a country that was racist and that discriminated against people on the colour of their skin and it's very difficult for you now to come to the international community and ask for sympathy.

NAOMI RAAF:
That may be what happened to a country but it didn't mean that's what happened to me. I don't consider myself racialistic. I have excellent relationships with people of a different colour with me - it's not a colour factor, it's a - I've never looked at it like that personally.

FERGAL KEANE:
This is about politics -

NAOMI RAAF:
Politics.

FERGAL KEANE:
- and you being targeted.

NAOMI RAAF:
I think that after Ian Smith's regime fell away, Zimbabwe at the beginning did have a time to bring about reconsideration between the colour barrier - and it was achieved. I do believe it was achieved. I believe that it's now used as a tool to, as an excuse to hide behind but I don't believe that there is a serious racial, racialistic attitude with people in Zimbabwe.

FERGAL KEANE:
The Zimbawean people.

NAOMI RAAF:
Mm.

FERGAL KEANE:
Can I just ask you what is it like, you arrived just yesterday in Britain, from Africa, your first time here. What's it like to arrive here and what are you going to do?

NAOMI RAAF:
I think it's a huge relief from the stress of living there. It's extremely stressful living there - not from a political arena, from just a way of life. It has changed dramatically. Law and order, it's total lawlessness, which brings about a huge amount of anxieties within people because you don't know what the parameters are.

FERGAL KEANE:
Thank you very much Naomi, I'm afraid we have to leave it there.


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