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  1. Being that the antipode of Harare is closer to me than the entire continent of Africa, I find it odd and amusing that there is a Zimbabwean sculpture park within a thirty minutes drive of my house. But the world is filled with such small wonders: It's quite a large establishment, twenty acres or so and filled with carved stone statues from various Zimbabwean artists. It's not a bad way to spend a sunny afternoon. The style of the carvings, to my eye, are deliberate callbacks to the soapstone birds of great Zimbabwe. The ruins of Great Zimbabwe are the remnants of the seat of power of an iron-age polity. During the period where the country was called Rhodesia, the official government line was that the ruins could not possibly have been constructed by blacks. Archaeologists were censored from pointing out that they obviously were. After Rhodesia became Zimbabwe the ruins and the soapstone bird carvings became a symbol of national identity. That's why there's a little bird thingie on the flag of Zimbabwe: All of this would be easier to celebrate if the leadership of Zimbabwe hadn't proven themselves such a pack of murderous swine.
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