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Home | ZimCrisis#47 -- I Spent Years of Terror as Wife of Squatters' Leader

Date: Mon, 19 Jun 2000 11:38:41 -0700
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From: Zimbabwe Crisis
Subject: ZimCrisis#47 -- I Spent Years of Terror as Wife of Squatters' Leader
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By Chris Leski in Warsaw

THE man who has led Zimbabwe's campaign of violence against white farmers, Chenjerai "Hitler" Hunzvi, who has always denied claims of racism, brutally terrorised his white ex- wife. Hunzvi's former wife detailed his vain and sometimes brutal behaviour in a book entitled White Slave, written after she fled Zimbabwe to her native Poland. The leader of the Zimbabwean "war veterans", who have organised the farm invasions and killed white farmers and black farm workers, argues that, since he had a white wife, he "cannot be a racist". But Magda Tunzvi, the pseudonym used by Mrs Hunzvi in the book, was so terrorised by him that she fled Zimbabwe in 1992 after enduring years of beatings and torture at the hands of a husband whom she characterises as an unfaithful, vain sadist.

Magda met Hunzvi in the Seventies in Warsaw, where he was representing ZIPRA, the guerrilla army led by Joshua Nkomo that was fighting to topple the white Rhodesian regime. In her book, published in Poland in 1994, Magda described him as "a freedom fighter" but added that he "had never held a gun". The couple married in the late Seventies while Hunzvi was studying medicine at Warsaw University.

Magda wrote: "He would often boast that he had a white wife." Soon he became jealous and violent. When Magda danced with another man at a party on the anniversary of Zimbabwe's independence her husband marshalled thugs armed with knuckledusters to attack her partner.

Her ordeal worsened when Hunzvi took her to Zimbabwe in 1991. She wrote: "I could not go out alone. He had a special whip and would often threaten me ". Hunzvi began having affairs and a woman telephoned Magda claiming to be his real wife. By this time, the couple had two sons and she tried to win him back by preparing a special meal. "Apparently this made him angry, for his face changed and his nostrils trembled like those of a horse. 'I am the master here,' he said. 'You can feed the pigs with this food.' Suddenly he hit me in the face, so hard that I lost balance and grasped a chair. Then he said, 'This was my thank you for the supper'. He left, slamming the door."

Hunzvi stopped giving his wife money and she was reduced to begging from his father to buy milk for the children. This provoked a frenzy of violence from Hunzvi. "He stormed through the house, looking for something. Eventually he asked, 'Where is the whip?' Then he took his belt and shouted, 'On your knees'. I tried to escape but he caught me and shouted, 'Undress, kneel'. "I managed to grasp his hand and bite it. He shouted and I felt a horrible pain and saw stars in my eyes. He hit my buttock with the belt buckle. I fell on the floor. He hit again. The telephone rang. He hit me again. The telephone kept ringing. He kicked me and then I managed to escape while he answered the phone."

Hunzvi's violent tantrums became more frequent and he took to beating Magda at night, although the neighbours heard her screams. He even attacked her in front of one of his cousins. "He told him not to interfere and to look after the boys, who were both crying... I was slapped on the lip, then hit in the face. "I fell to the floor and my husband began kicking me with his shiny shoes. When he saw my nose bleeding, he brought a towel and tightened it around my neck. He wanted to strangle me. This torture lasted for several hours."

Soon afterwards she took the children and fled with the help of a Polish diplomat.

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Brief list of helpful sites on the issue:
- Comprehensive news updates -- http://www.1freespace.com/beetee
- Offers of and requests for help for Zimbabweans -- http://pub9.ezboard.com/boffersofhelp
- Commercial Farmers' Union -- http://www.mweb.co.zw/cfu
- Movement for Democratic Change -- http://www.in2zw.com/mdc
- Zimbabwe Democracy Trust -- http://www.zimbabwedemocracytrust.org
- BSAP Pursuit of Zimbabwean Criminals -- http://www.bsaphq.f9.co.uk