Meldrum, Andrew 1951–
Meldrum, Andrew 1951–
(Andrew Barclay Meldrum, Jr.)
PERSONAL: Born November 19, 1951, in Cleveland, OH; son of Andrew Barclay and Mary (Burrell) Mel-drum; married Dolores Maria Cortes, November 25, 1988. Education: Middlebury College, B.A., 1974; Columbia University, M.J., 1977.
ADDRESSES: Home—24 Princess Dr., Highlands, Harare, Zimbabwe. Agent—c/o Author Mail, Atlantic Monthly Press, 841 Broadway, New York, NY 10003.
CAREER: Hudson Times, Hudson, OH, editor, 1974–76; Lorain Journal, Lorain, OH, education reporter, 1977–78; Riverside Press Enterprise, Riverside, CA, general assignment reporter, 1978–80; Agence France-Presse, Harare, Zimbabwe, deputy bureau chief, 1982–89; reporter in Zimbabwe until 2003; Guardian, London, England, South African correspondent, beginning 1986; Economist, London, South African correspondent, beginning 1989.
MEMBER: Zimbabwe Foreign Correspondent Association (vice chair, 1989–95).
AWARDS, HONORS: Best Educational Reporter award, Ohio School Boards, 1978.
Where We Have Hope: A Memoir of Zimbabwe, Atlantic Monthly Press (New York, NY), 2005.
Contributing editor, Africa Report, 1986–95, and African Business, 1994.
SIDELIGHTS: As a young, idealistic journalist, Andrew Meldrum traveled to the nation of Zimbabwe in 1980 to report on the birth of an African country newly independent from Great Britain. Zimbabwe, which had been called Rhodesia when it was under British rule, had been fighting for freedom for years, and the leader of that rebellion, Robert Mugabe, was named president of the new country. When Meldrum first met Mugabe, it was as someone who admired the political leader and who hoped the president would bring freedom and prosperity to Zimbabwe. Unfortunately, it was soon made clear that Mugabe would become an oppressor and tyrant, ruining life for the majority of Zimbabweans, often murdering them so that he could maintain power and wealth for himself, his family, and his few allies. Despite the obvious decay of civilization in Zimbabwe, Meldrum remained in the country, appreciating the generous and kind citizens there even as he grew to despise President Mugabe. He worked as a foreign correspondent for British newspapers and the Agence France-Presse, regularly sending back reports about the political and social changes in Zimbabwe. Eventually, Mugabe had Meldrum arrested. The reporter was put on trial, and even though two courts in Zimbabwe found him not guilty of violating the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act, a law tailored to oust foreign reporters, Mugabe sent his police to physically detain Meldrum and, in 2003, he was deported. The last foreign correspondent to be expelled from Zimbabwe, Meldrum nevertheless stayed in Africa. He moved to Pretoria, South Africa, and has since then continued his work.
In Where We Have Hope: A Memoir of Zimbabwe Meldrum relates his decades-long sojourn in Zimbabwe in what Contemporary Review critic Jason Mosley described as "very much a memoir—a personal account of his experiences—but stylistically it feels like a collection of feature stories." Because of this organization, Mosley felt the book "suffers somewhat from the lack of an overall structure," but added that it is still "an excellent introduction to Zimbabwe's crisis." Reviewers especially noted that, despite everything he witnessed, Meldrum maintains a feeling of hope for the young nation. The reporter actually places much of the blame on the current status of politics in Zimbabwe on European imperialism. As he explained to Bookseller contributor Benedicte Page, "I've tried to make the point that I still hold [former British colonial leader] Ian Smith guilty, ultimately, and the Rhodesian system, which used force to deny people their basic civil rights. It meant the people had to use violence to obtain their civil rights." But, he added, "I have been around long enough to know that Africa is paying a terrible price for colonisation, for being backwards in industrialization, but that there are many fine people who stand up for the same principles that we uphold in the Western world, and they are being strengthened by this struggle."
A Kirkus Reviews contributor described Where We Have Hope as a "harrowing and deeply disturbing record of that country's downward spiral" and praised Meldrum for his "crisp narrative [that] is remarkably free of rancor." A Publishers Weekly reviewer also complimented the author for remaining "hopeful, and this frank account is the better for it."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Meldrum, Andrew, Where We Have Hope: A Memoir of Zimbabwe, Atlantic Monthly Press (New York, NY), 2005.
African Business, November, 2004, review of Where We Have Hope: A Memoir of Zimbabwe, p. 64.
Africa News Service, June 12, 2002, "Trial of Journalist Andrew Meldrum"; May 17, 2003, "Guardian Reporter Andrew Meldrum Ordered to Leave Zimbabwe."
Asia Africa Intelligence Wire, May 20, 2003, "Zimbabwe: Regional Media Body Protests against Andrew Meldrum's Deportation."
Bookseller, April 2, 2004, Benedicte Page, "What Zimbabwe Taught Me: Journalist Andrew Meldrum Reported on the Regime of Robert Mugabe for More than Two Decades, before Being Expelled from the Country Last Year," p. 29.
Contemporary Review, February, 2005, Jason Mosley, "Disappointment and Disillusionment in Zimbabwe," review of Where We Have Hope, p. 111.
Economist, July 20, 2002, "Booting out the Messenger"; May 24, 2003, "Good News Only, from Now One," p. 12.
IPR Strategic Business Information Database, May 18, 2003, "Zimbabwe: IPI Condemns Deportation of Guardian Correspondent from Zimbabwe.".
Kirkus Reviews, April 1, 2005, review of Where We Have Hope, p. 404.
Publishers Weekly, May 2, 2005, review of Where We Have Hope, p. 188.
Time International, August 23, 2004, Gerd Behrens, "A Revolution Betrayed: A Memoir of Zimbabwe Chronicles the Sad Descent of This Troubled Land, but Radiates Love—and Even Hope," p. 57.
Weekly Standard, March 14, 2005, Roger Bate, "Kingdom of Mugabe: Three Volumes Chronicle Zimbabwe's Descent into the Heart of Darkness," p. 38.
Guardian Online, http://www.guardian.co.uk/ (January 11, 2002), "Defying Mugabe."
Mother Jones Online, http://motherjones.com/ (September 19, 2005), Dave Gilson, "Hoping against Hope: An Interview with Andrew Meldrum."