Cathy Buckle’s well known blog, Letters from Zimbabwe, with eye witness accounts of daily life in Zimbabwe, has been running since February 2000. It is sent to subscribers around the world and is regularly featured by a number of international print and broadcast media outlets.
Cathy writes not as an academic, an expert or an historian, but as an ordinary woman living in a small town in Zimbabwe. Her raw and often painful stories give a glimpse of hope in a country for so long in a state of despair.
Zimbabwe's Timeless Beauty
Zimbabwe’s Timeless Beauty is an evocative collection of twenty four photographs and stories showing the enduring beauty of Zimbabwe. Kopjes and mountains, waterfalls and rivers, wild places and beautiful creatures, red and orange sunsets, pink and apricot sunrises. Through the pictures and stories in Zimbabwe’s Timeless Beauty you will walk in Cathy Buckle’s shoes, feel the warmth of the sun in a bright blue sky, see the golden grass swaying in the warm breeze, hear the call of the nightjar at dawn and the grunts of hippos in the river at dusk and be transported into the very heart and soul of Zimbabwe. If you have ever lived in or visited Zimbabwe these stories and pictures will be hauntingly familiar. This book will probably leave you yearning for those moments when the beauty of the natural world overwhelms and restores you like they did for Cathy Buckle.
Rundi. Walking With Elephants
When working in a game park in Harare Cathy cared for two orphaned baby elephants rescued from a cull. This story follows Rundi and Muku as they adjust to a new life without their herd and settle into new routines of daily walks, mud baths, and sand dusting. Wounds had to be treated and new bonds were formed. Their story is accompanied by 47 charming photographs. This enchanting story will leave you falling in love with Rundi and Muku but the release of this revised book has another purpose. Zimbabwe is once again considering culling elephants. This story shows how gentle, tactile, intelligent and sociable elephants are. Cathy questioned whether it was right to ‘save’ baby elephants when their social structures and family bonds had been obliterated. Those same questions must be asked again. Ten years after Cathy cared for Rundi she met her again. Rundi came up to her rumbling loudly and rested her trunk in Cathy’s hair as she had done so often all those years ago. Rundi had not forgotten and neither has Cathy.
Released in 2020
In the introduction to Surviving Zimbabwe Cathy writes: “I’ve lost count of how many thousands of people have asked me why I stay. More appropriately for millions of Zimbabweans is the question: how do you stay?” Surviving Zimbabwe is a collection of anecdotes, memories, hints and tips on how we survived a collapsing country. How we learnt not to depend on authorities but to barter and swop, pay school fees with sacks of meat, shop across borders, find our own sources of electricity and water, take our own bandages, medicines and injections if we went to hospital. We learned to cook over open fires, grow our own food, dig our own graves and at night, we sat around by candle light listening to wind up radios. Surviving Zimbabwe tells the stories of how we survived, and continue to survive a country in crisis.
Farm Invasions and Political Upheaval: 2000-2002
Home alone when government supporters arrived shouting, whistling and throwing bricks at the farm gate, Cathy Buckle locked herself in, sat on the floor and waited, helpless. The police said they were not coming because this was political, a line they maintained through seven months of anguish for a Zimbabwean family at the start of the new millennium. African Tears is the story of the invasion of Stow Farm in Marondera by supporters of Robert Mugabe; a farm bought ten years after independence with the Government of Zimbabwe’s approval. African Tears describes Zimbabwe’s descent into chaos and anarchy during the year 2000; hundreds of farm invasions, horrific political violence against opposition supporters and government critics and the collapse of agriculture and food security.
Beyond Tears is the story of events that ripped Zimbabwe apart between 2000 and 2002 behind the smoke screen of land invasions. Eye-witness accounts of abduction, torture, rape and murder. A time of anarchy, harassment, intimidation and the foulest abuses of citizens by their own government. A time when victims were abducted from police stations by perpetrators who were not stopped, apprehended or ever held to account. A time when scores of witnesses to terror and brutality were silenced by fear, paralyzed by intimidation and who, two decades later have yet to see perpetrators face justice.
Letters from Zimbabwe Series and Diaspora Encounters: 2000-2017
Can You Hear The Drums
Can You Hear The Drums is a unique collection of eye witness Letters From Zimbabwe documenting the country’s journey into lawlessness, turmoil and economic mayhem from 2000 to 2004. Told through the eyes of an ordinary Mum living in a country town, this book relates the unbelievable events that sent Zimbabwe into a spiral of collapse at the start of the 21st Century. Sometimes sad or frightening, often absurd and touching, the letters are interspersed with news clips, humour and bizarre events which all became coping mechanisms for everyday life in a country in meltdown.
Millions, Billions, Trillions
Inflation over 230 million percent. Twenty five zeroes removed from the currency in thirty months. A third of the population fleeing the country to survive. Bank notes in denominations of millions, billions and trillions. Empty shops; bartering for food; paying school fees with fuel coupons, car tyres and meat. In a collection of Letters From Zimbabwe, Millions, Billions, Trillions describes the years from 2005 to 2009 as Zimbabwe’s economy collapsed and took a nation to the very edge of starvation.
When Winners Are Losers
In 2008, on the verge of complete collapse, Zimbabwe’s Electoral Commission took five weeks to announce that the disputed 2008 elections were too close to call and ordered a second ballot. An orgy of violence against opposition supporters left hundreds killed, thousands fleeing the country and a quarter of a million people displaced from their homes. In a collection of Letters From Zimbabwe, When Winners Are Losers recounts the events of the five years that followed when the opposition formed a government of national unity with Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF in order to stop the violence and suffering. A currency of worthless Zimbabwe dollars was replaced by international currencies and an economy on the brink began to recover. A brief window of hope had opened, but only until the next election.
Finding Our Voices
The last five years of Robert Mugabe’s grip on power in Zimbabwe were characterized by protests, demonstrations and defiance, met by tear gas, baton sticks and brutality which shocked the world. In a collection of Letters From Zimbabwe, Finding Our Voices tells the stories of those five years which ended in a military takeover and the resignation of Robert Mugabe. The period between 2013 and 2017 will forever be remembered as the years in which Zimbabweans found their voices, learnt the power of persistence and finally came together in huge numbers in November 2017 to say: Enough is Enough!
Sleeping Like A Hare
Sleeping Like a Hare is the story of one man’s encounters in the Diaspora. A journey to the unknown, made from necessity not choice, to save his family from the collapse of Zimbabwe. Crossing borders, strange countries, strange languages, sleeping in building sites, doing whatever it took to faithfully send money home to his relations. This book is about a man’s everyday courage, ingenuity, sacrifice and determination to support a family left behind in a broken, hungry country; a story of a pilgrimage of survival made by millions of Zimbabweans in the first decade of the 21st century.
Wildlife and Conservation Memoirs
A lion in the garden and a crocodile in the swimming pool; an otter called Potter and a hippo called Maggie that lived in the dam and snacked on half a loaf of bread and a bottle of beer. Hand rearing elephants and leopards Norman Travers was a decorated war hero and visionary conservationist. Norman and Gill Travers built up Imire Game Park in Zimbabwe at a time when the country was ravaged by war. When black rhinos were being decimated by poaching, Norman introduced them to Imire, reared the calves and released them back to the wild, winning a Wildlife Oscar for his efforts. Imire is a humorous account of a remarkable man who loved life and his family, loved animals and above all loved his country.
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