Ian Smith’s family farm taken

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By Peta Thornycroft

Harare - The farm of former Rhodesian prime minister Ian Smith has finally been taken from his family by Robert Mugabe’s officials.

Mugabe’s lands ministry has given Gwenoro farm, where Smith lived with his family for nearly 50 years, to a “university” in central Zimbabwe.

It was on this farm in central Zimbabwe, 225km south-west of Harare, that Smith’s ashes were scattered after his death in Cape Town five years ago.

His long-time farm manager, Owen Jarman, said on Thursday: “The two adjoining farms were taken about 10 years ago, but we all hoped this one, the small home farm, would survive. But it didn’t, and we were told in September we must go and so that is what we are doing.”

Jarman managed the 1 618-hectare farm when Smith went to live in Harare after his wife, Janet, died in 1994. Smith left Zimbabwe after his only child, Alec, died in 2006 and went to live near his stepchildren in Cape Town.

Smith bought Gwenoro, which means “place of the kudu”, in 1948, the year he married and won a parliamentary seat for the Rhodesia Front party, which claimed that it would preserve white rule.

Smith was a successful beef and citrus farmer, but lived in a small, rather shabby house on Gwenoro.

Jarman said he is packing up the farm, trying to sell off some of its moveable assets, such as the about 500 cattle, and paying retrenchment packages to workers.

Independent Foreign Service

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