National Geographic : 2003 Aug
By Peter Godwin • Photographs by Gideon Mendel Three generations of the Stauntons, a white Zimbabwean family, huddle in the small sitting room of a safe house in the capital, Harare, surrounded by suitcases and cardboard boxes. They have been chased off their farm with a suddenness that has left them blink ing in bewilderment. Now they wait to leave Zimbabwe for an uncertain future in Australia. One Tuesday afternoon last year a motorcade of luxury SUVs wound its way slowly across Kachere Farm, which the Stauntons had owned since 1957. The farmworkers reported that behind the dark tinted windows sat Grace Mugabe, the president's young wife, and her entourage. She apparently liked what she saw: neat fields of maize and soybeans, wheat and potatoes, large greenhouses of roses for export to the Amsterdam flower market. Within weeks the Stauntons' garden was full of men and women armed with iron bars and guns. The grandparents, James and Margaret, in their late seventies, phoned the police before locking themselves in the bathroom with their daughter, Angela, and young granddaughters, Caitlin and Sarah, as the attackers smashed down the back door and looted the house. When the Stauntons finally emerged after two hours, they found the remains of their belongings scattered on the lawn.