Peter Godwin


The Fear:
Robert Mugabe and the Martyrdom of Zimbabwe


April 5, 2011
7:00 PM ET


Harvard Book Store
1256 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138


This event is free; no tickets are required.

Harvard Book Store is pleased to welcome journalist and human rights lawyer PETER GODWIN as he discusses his latest work of reportage on recent events in Africa, The Fear: Robert Mugabe and the Martyrdom of Zimbabwe.

In mid 2008, after nearly three decades of increasingly tyrannical rule, Robert Mugabe, the 84-year-old Robespierre of Zimbabwe, lost an election. But instead of conceding power, he launched a brutal campaign of terror against his own citizens. Peter Godwin was one of the few outside observers to bear witness to the terrifying period that Zimbabweans call, simply, The Fear.

At great personal risk, Godwin returned secretly to the country that was once his home. He visited the torture bases, the burning villages, the death squads, the opposition leaders in hiding, the last white farmers, the churchmen and diplomats putting their own lives on the line to stop the carnage. Threaded through with personal history, The Fear is the record of a dictatorship gone mad. Accompanied by his sister Georgina, Godwin journeyed through the ravaged, once-familiar landscape. They visit the grave of their sister, killed during the civil war. As they pour red “lucky bean” seeds from the coral tree in their old garden into the runnels of the letters on her gravestone, they call their mother, now living in exile in faraway London. "Where would you like to be buried when you die?" he asks her. "At home," she says. "In Africa. Next to your father."

"Although this book is by no means a comprehensive record of the reign of terror waged by the government of Zimbabwe against hundreds of thousands of its own defenceless civilians, it is an important contribution.... Godwin, who was himself arrested in an Anglican church, successfully straddles the many divides in Zimbabwe today—between urban and rural, black and white, rich and poor—to give a well-balanced picture, with exquisite attention to detail, of the reality of life in Zimbabwe today." —The Guardian

"Peter Godwin's latest book is the most powerful indictment of Robert Mugabe’s regime yet written, marking out the author as one of the sharpest observers of modern Africa."
The Economist

Peter Godwin
Peter Godwin

Peter Godwin

Peter Godwin is an award winning author and journalist. Born and raised in Zimbabwe, he studied law and international relations at Cambridge and Oxford. He worked as a foreign correspondent in Africa and Eastern Europe for The Sunday Times of London. He was founding presenter and writer of Assignment/Correspondent on BBC TV. He contributes regularly to National Geographic, The New York Times Magazine, and BBC Radio, among others. He is the author of several books, including the acclaimed memoir, When a Crocodile Eats the Sun.

Photo Credit: Hugo Burnand

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