Andrew & Shelia

On the wall of their bedroom is a framed yellowed front page newspaper article detailing the attempted shooting, the first of its kind in the frontier, of white a Rhodesian farm family by rebel fighters. It was the late 1970's, she was visiting her family in the city, he was alone in the bed and they came and shot through the window riddling the side of the bed where she would have lain with bullets, missing him entirely. Next to the newspaper article is a snapshot of the bed with each of the bullet holes carefully outlined in yellow ink. They have brought the bed with them. A year after the shooting they fled the country taking with them all of their furniture and $1000. Argentina was the only country that would take them. They now half jokingly call themselves African-Americans: they are descendants of the British settlers who carved u p Africa, stole the land and built an empire for themselves. They are violently adamant about their African identity, and equally open about their hatred of "black Africans." He seems to be more angry and hateful than she, and he is also more African, having grown up in the bush, he knows the land, the animals, the people; it is all a part of him. He is fluent in Shona, one of the dominant languages in Zimbabwe and after living in Argentina for ten years still refuses to speak Spanish in anything but present tense ("there is no future in Argentina," he says). Their attitude to their present lives is clear, she says: "for everything there is a reason." She has resigned herself to fate and change, with great sadness she has given up her empire, her Africa. He says, "I am going home tomorrow." It is his anthem, he will never give up. As with many exiles, his body is in one place and his spirit in another. As we are parting he bitterly says to me, "I do n't give a damn about the people, it's the animals I miss. If I could just bring elephants to Argentina, I would be happy."

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