AFTER spending 80 years on the same farm, building a school that the late Defence minister Moven Mahachi once attended, the Smart family thought nothing would uproot them from this property they had grown to call home.
After all, they had voluntarily surrendered three other farms at the height of Zimbabwe’s chaotic and violent land reform programme when thousands of white farmers violently lost vast tracts of land to locals. Some were maimed, while others were killed. But just when everyone thought the land grabs were now a thing of the past, all hell broke loose last year when a man of the cloth, Bishop Trevor Manhanga, invaded Lesbury Estates demanding that they pack their bags and vacate.
This week the Zimbabwe Independent drove to Lesbury Estates in Rusape and spoke to Rob Smart (71) and his 40-year old son Darren, who missed out on the tobacco season, but managed to grow potatoes. Rob’s father Roy, who is now late, first settled on the property in 1938. For a…