from MARCUS MUSHONGA in Harare, Zimbabwe
HARARE, (CAJ News) – A MOVIE could be made out of the controversial farm invasions unleashed across Zimbabwe as the country’s increasingly unpopular president, Robert Mugabe, fought to retain control in the year 2000.
The production would be based on a widely acclaimed book, “Innocent Victims: Rescuing the stranded animals of Zimbabwe’s farm invasions.”
Zimbabwean author, Cathy Buckle, penned the book, featuring the remarkable story of Meryl Harrison, the Chief Inspector of the underfunded Zimbabwe National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ZNSPCA) and her helpers.
Buckle is herself a victim of the early farm invasions.
The book demonstrates the bravery of Harrison and her team as they overcame extraordinarily dangerous situations to find and return traumatised animals to health and to their desperate owners, or to safe locations.
It was the first time that so many animals had been rescued in the midst of a very hostile and volatile situation.
Continued demand internationally for the book, which has been out of print for a number of years, has resulted in the release of a paperback version by British publisher, Merlin Unwin.
Conservationists and members of the public have reportedly told Harrison that a film should be made of their unique rescues.
“A full feature film would present an important message about the critical need to protect the environment, which is under ever-increasing threat across Africa, and the devastating consequences of land invasions, take-overs and other violent confrontations,” she explained.
Harrison added, “An international film team based in Hollywood has told me that my story would make a deeply moving film.”
Harrison’s twin brother, Colin, was allegedly murdered by Mugabe’s security force members at height of the invasions.
In December 2002, Harrison received the Special Award for Outstanding Work in Animal Welfare at the BBC Animal Awards Ceremony in London. It was awarded jointly to her and her inspector, Addmore Chinembe.
She is now 82 years old and lives in retirement in England.
Harrison continues to help and support animal welfare groups in Zimbabwe.
– CAJ News