I got a note today from an African friend. He describes himself as “sad and angry” over the death of our mutual friend, Kobus Joubert. We don’t know all the details yet, but he was apparently shot and killed on his farm in Zimbabwe.
You won’t recognize his name, but Kobus was a wonderful man with a rare combination of courage, generosity and virtue. He ran the programme that created 9,000 successful black small tobacco farmers in three years without government help and only with the resources of the farmers themselves and the tobacco growers’ association. These small scale farmers have mostly also now lost everything, because they depended on the big commercial farmers to help them farm profitably.
As my friend writes:
Despite Mugabe’s destruction of his country, Kobus never lost his commitment to Zimbabwe and its people. When he realized that there would be no corn crop because the big farmers had been kicked off their farms, he planted corn instead of tobacco and told the locals that they could come and harvest it from his farm, to stay alive over the winter. When his farm was eventually seized, he refused to go away; he lived in a caravan on the side of the gravel road at the entrance to his farm. Eventually last year, the Mugabe politicians returned his farm to him, mostly due to pressure from the locals in his district.
This killing is about more than wasting a good man’s life, it is about destroying the goodness of life itself for an entire nation. All Zimbabweans will in time rue the day that Kobus died, because he represented so much opportunity and had done so much good. And it was killed off with him. His death is another triumph for evil in Zimbabwe.
Years ago, Gabriel Ledeen (Captain, USMC, inactive reserves) and I went to Zimbabwe and spent a week with Kobus and his colleagues, and saw first hand the miracles they performed for the black farmers of the country. Mugabe hated it, and drove most all of the white farmers out of the country. Kobus was one of a handful who stayed behind.
When I listen to all those folks who bemoan African poverty and pull on the heartstrings of wrongly guilt-ridden Westerners to extort “aid” to “save” the poor Africans, I am reminded of men like Kobus, and many others I have known. They knew that “aid” only enriched the tyrants and doomed the poor. If the West were serious about helping Africa, we’d direct our energies on the overthrow of evil men like Mugabe (add your own favorites here) and strengthen the forces of freedom, which abound all over the continent.
But political correctness dictates that we are not entitled to criticize “other cultures,” and our only option is to apologize for our past presumed sins and transfer wealth to those rulers who are relentlessly wrecking their countries and killing those who are genuinely working to make things better.
It’s a murderous ideology, and Kobus is its latest victim. But not the last.