Coltart’s attempt to distort history


DAVID Coltart’s Sunday Mail tribute to the late national hero, Dr Nathan Shamuyarira, is a curious piece of writing by a desperate Rhodesian haunted by a past that has turned into an indelible moral stain on his self-righteous whiteness. For the reader who makes cursory readings of these things, it would appear like normal human sentiment, but, coming from a former member of the Rhodesian security forces, it resolves into a narcissist tribute to himself and not the deceased. The tribute becomes a story about himself; how he was about to become chairman of the University of Cape Town’s Zimbabwe Society; how given Mugabe’s desire for reconciliation he was doing all he could to encourage Zimbabwean students to return home after their studies; how he made Mugabe’s telegram into posters they plastered throughout campus in a supposed ‘bitter struggle against apartheid’. Defining his motivation, the former member of racist Rhodesia’s security forces says: ‘If there was hope for Zimbabweans, then there was hope for South Africans too.’
However, it is his final word that executes the conceited coup de tat.  ‘This was all made possible by the preparedness of Minister Shamuyarira to meet DERRICK FINE and ME in the first place.’
That is how the former defender of exclusive white privilege in Rhodesia surreptitiously attempts to eclipse and take the shine of Zimbabwe’s liberation struggle from both Prime Minister Mugabe and Minister Shamuyarira.
The Rhodesian actually has the cheek to hinge the future of Zimbabwe and the end of apartheid on ‘the preparedness of Minister Shamuyarira to meet DERRICK FINE and ME (DAVID COLTART)’!  
But, the trick is a familiar trend in the history Europeans write about black people’s struggles.
Those responsible for the grossest crimes against black humanity always re-cast themselves as the champions of the liberation of their victims.
Abraham Lincoln and William Wilberforce were both slave merchants who went down in the history written by the beneficiaries of the crime against humanity as the champions of its abolition.
As if their black victims were willing accomplices in their own genocide.
The European beneficiaries of slavery recorded nothing on the slaves who escaped or died resisting servitude.
And, centuries later, documentaries on Nelson Mandela always end up being the stories of the white people who purportedly helped him, and the same applies to Steve Biko.
And, at the close of the last century, the world witnessed how Mandela was coupled with the apartheid thug, de Klerk, as recipients of the Nobel Peace Prize for fighting against the heinous crime of apartheid.
The centre-piece of David Coltart’s self re-invention is the telegram he received from Prime Minister Robert Mugabe which, incidentally, is a document that is critical in the history of Zimbabwe’s liberation struggle.
It is a historic testimony of President Mugabe’s tolerance and commitment to the principle of reconciliation which, incidentally, European colonials have always held in contempt with respect to their black victims.
In the Sunday Mail ‘tribute’ to Shamuyarira, Coltart talks about how Prime Minister Robert Mugabe was briefed on the Rhodesian’s pro-Zimbabwe activities at the University of Cape Town and, on August 19 1981, decided to send a telegram stating:
Dear Mr Coltart,
I am happy and encouraged to learn that Zimbabwean students at Cape Town University are ready and willing to return home upon completion of their studies to serve their country.
As you are no doubt aware, we in government intend to establish a non-racial society based on equality – and the promotion of the well-being of all our people in accordance with our socialist principles.
It is in this connection that we have adopted the policy of reconciliation whereby our people must put aside the hatreds and animosities of the past and approach the future in a positive and constructive frame of mind and with commitment and dedication to the all-round development of the new Zimbabwe.
As we struggle to re-build our country out of the destruction of war we look to young people like your-selves to assist us to achieve our objective of establishing a prosperous and harmonious and humane society in this country.
I call on all of you who have completed your studies to return and join us in the urgent tasks before us. I hardly need to remind you that this is as much your home as it is ours. As so often has been said, in identifying with a returning to the new Zimbabwe you have nothing to fear but fear itself.
Yours sincerely
R.G. Mugabe
Prime Minister of the Republic of Zimbabwe
This is the Rhodesian’s version of the document and it is clearly intended to redeem him and elevate his moral status to that of his victorious ‘earstwhile’ adversaries.
In this version, Coltart is the champion of human rights who is indispensably critical to the success of Mugabe’s reconciliation policy.
But, this is sadly not the correct version of the telegram.
Coltart’s Sunday Mail version has a critical omission in its salutation.
Prime Minister Mugabe never initiated contact with the Rhodesian.
The telegram Comrade Mugabe sent Coltart was A REPLY to one the attention-seeking Rhodesian had sent him.
And, it is not only pathetic, but outrageous just how far the Rhodesian is prepared to go to make himself relevant to a cause he has twice failed to defeat.  
The original version of the telegram which The Patriot possesses and which the Rhodesian once published on the internet starts as:
Dear Mr Coltart,
Replying to your message of the 17th August – for which many thanks, I am happy and encouraged to learn that Zimbabwean students at Cape Town University are ready and willing to return home upon completion of their studies to serve their country.
The omission in the Rhodesian’s Sunday Mail version was obviously intended to raise the moral and historical status of the Rhodesian to the level of the black luminaries who had not only defied, but prevailed over the racist travesty he had zealously defended.
It is the shameless Rhodesian’s parasitic attempt to share the glory of the genuine champions of human rights in the same manner a desolate moon-surface reflects the light of the sun as its own.
I am not writing this out of spleen.
I am simply a descendent of abused black people defending the history of our struggle from distortion.
I cannot stand the Rhodesian fraud leeching onto those who survived the institutional abuse that he defended by force of arms now attempting to pass their human rights achievements as his own.
I cannot watch the Rhodesian white-washing white crimes against black humanity and actually attempting to replace an indelible memory with lies.
David Coltart’s forgery makes it clear that our struggle is as much vulnerable to theft and subversion as our natural resources, and the only way to preserve it is to record it from their own point of view and to know it by heart, so that no Rhodesians who fought to preserve exclusive white-privilege can re-cast themselves as the champions of their black victims’ rights.
If the Rhodesian, David Coltart, has to talk about RECONCILIATION in Zimbabwe, then he owes it to his black victims not to talk about it without reference.
He must acknowledge that RECONCILIATION is not a self-defining absolute unit of meaning.
It is defined by a context of conflict, and in the Rhodesian context, he was the villain using force of arms to harvest exclusive affluence from the abuse of black people who were left with no dignified alternative but to wage armed liberation struggle.
In that conflict, David Coltart was a critical component of the racist war machine that wrought a genocide that claimed the lives of over 50 000 black people. In that conflict, Comrade Robert Mugabe, now President of Zimbabwe led black people’s struggle against David Coltart and his Rhodesian kith and kin. The late national hero Comrade Nathan Shamuyarira whom Coltart is now leeching onto for redemption was a cadre in that struggle.
It is clear that after dismally losing as the leading local agent of British imperialism in Zimbabwe, David Coltart is trying his 1981 deception again, in order to niche some moral credibility and relevance in a new nationalist Zimbabwe.
However, given how much the information explosion has given us on the Rhodesian, we certainly won’t make it easy for him.


  1. Editor,

    This is pathetic and racist piece of writing which you should be ashamed of. I was asked by the Sunday Mail to write a story in praise of Minister Shamuyarira which I did. I did not ask to do this – the Sunday Mail asked me. Your outburst does not do the late Minister Shamuyarira proud and I am sure as an editor he would not have tolerated such unprofessionalism, done in such bad taste.

    Furthermore you have totally twisted the exclusion of the opening phrase of the telegram – yes it said as you say it did – that is part of the public record – but that is why I specifically wrote, and I quote, “Prime Minister Mugabe was briefed on all that had happened and on the 19th August 1981 he sent a telegram to me stating”! The Prime Minister was briefed by me and others but it is tedious to go into that detail. He didn’t just respond to my message – he had also been briefed by others but it was unnecessary to go into that detail. The opening phrase was accordingly superfluous. Indeed I think I arguably get more to gain by showing that I was proactive in sending a message to the Prime Minister – but that was not the only spur for his message, because both Minister Shamuyarira and Minister Norman had briefed him.

    I will be interested whether you allow this comment to be posted.

    Senator David Coltart

  2. I don’t know what you are angry about. I don’t of many men who burn so passionately and are fierce advocates for Zimbabwe as Senator Coltart. If we only had ten such man this country of ours would be much better. Instead we have spineless people as you who only find voice when attacking the white people because nothing comes of it and pay a blind eye to the root of our problems. Also Lincoln wasn’t a slave merchant; he married a daughter of one. Stop embarrassing yourself.

  3. I’m glad you think it’s important to remember who wrote first. I agree we should ignore all of Senator Coltart’s service to help build a new Zimbabwe.

    Further, we should only judge President Mugabe on his origins, rather than the fact that he oversaw the collapse of the country.

  4. These sharing buttons of yours make it difficult to read on mobile. It is like you ate forcing me to share. When I feel like sharing good content I will, if it is not then I won’t share


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