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Our hosts, Andy and Samantha, have a 3,000 acre farm in the historic Banket area north of the capital city, Harare.  Mostly, they cultivate tobacco (Zimbabwe is among the three top tobacco producers in the world), but also breed magnificent Charolais cattle, and have smaller interests in corn and chili peppers. 



The House

Tobacco field
The house
Virtually all stages of tobacco production are done by hand: from planting, pruning and picking to drying, sorting and packing. Andrew employs up to 800 workers, both resident and contract, to keep the farm producing.
Most of the white farmers are commercially successful, and have beautiful homes and gardens, as well as servants  to cook, clean, and look after the grounds. But, the windows and doors of this house are all barred, and the property is surrounded by chain link fencing topped with razor wire.
Tobacco shed
Pool and view.
Tobacco drying shed
Andy's mother has her own home on the farm property. Above, she shows us the pool and view. The farm manager, Brian, also lives in a fenced and guarded bungalow on the farm property.
Above, Andrew shows us the drying sheds, where the clips of tobacco leaves are hung to cure to just the right shade of soft yellow.



The Compound

Mombies. or cattle, are everywhere in Zimbabwe. Andy and Samantha have a fine herd of Charolais cattle. Below, a handsome mombie watches us pass.
The black farm workers and their families have their own village on the farm, called the compound. Recently, a school has been built and education for the children is now mandatory.
The compound
The compound.
Because the farm is irrigated, crops can be grown all year round. While we were there  fields of sweet corn, the "green mealies", were ready for sale. Corn is a staple of the native Zimbabwean diet, with which they make sadza, a cornmeal mush that is delicious with gravies, stews and other relishes.

July 2001: Important Update


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