House of Stone: The True Story of a Family Divided in War-torn Zimbabwe

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Chicago Review Press, 2007 - History - 290 pages

Blue mountains, golden fields, gin and tonics on the terrace--once it had seemed the most idyllic place on earth. But by August 2002, Marondera, in eastern Zimbabwe, had been turned into a bloody battleground, the center of a violent campaign. One bright morning, Nigel Hough, one of the few remaining white farmers, received the news he had been dreading. A crowd of war veterans was at his gates, demanding he hand over his homestead. The mob started a fire and dragged him to an outhouse. To his shock, the leader of the invaders was his family's much-loved nanny Aqui. “Get out or we'll kill you,” she said. “There is no place for whites in this country.”

Christina Lamb uncovered the astonishing saga she tells in House of Stone while traveling back and forth to report clandestinely on Zimbabwe. Her powerful narrative traces the history of the brutal civil war, independence, and the Mugabe years, all through the lives of two people on opposing sides. Although born within a few miles of each other, their experience growing up could not have been more different. While Nigel played cricket and piloted his own plane, Aqui grew up in a mud hut, sleeping on the floor with her brothers and sisters. “They had cars and went shopping in South Africa. We didn't have food and had to walk an hour each way to fetch water,” she remembers.

House of Stone (“dzimba dza mabwe” or “Zimbabwe” in Shona) is based on a remarkable series of interviews with this white farmer and black nanny, set against the backdrop of the last British colony to become independent, and the descent into madness of Robert Mugabe, one of Africa's most respected nationalist leaders.

 

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Contents

1 Zhakatas Kraal 1970 1
1
2 Riversdale Farm Headlands 1971 18
18
3 Zhakatas Kraal 1973 37
37
4 Train to Salisbury 1974 49
49
5 Zhakatas Kraal 1974 61
61
6 Salisbury 1976 81
81
7 Marondera 1980 92
92
8 Salisbury 1980 109
109
12 Guanghzou China 1991 158
158
13 Marondera 1999 172
172
14 New Life Centre Church Marondera 16 April 2000 191
191
15 Zhakatas Kraal 2001 212
212
16 Kendor Farm May 2002 227
227
17 Kendor Farm 5 August 2002 247
247
postscript 263
263
Great Zimbabwe November 2005 267
267

9 Dombotombo township Marondera 1986 119
119
10 Victoria Falls 1990 133
133
11 Marondera 1993 146
146
chronology 285
285
glossary 289
289

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About the author (2007)

Christina Lamb is a foreign affairs correspondent for the Sunday Times and is the author of The Africa House, The Sewing Circles of Herat, and Waiting for Allah. Please visit her website at www.christinalamb.net.

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