Philemon Matibe's "Madhinga Bucket Boy" is the story of his struggle against a corrupt Zimbabwean government, even through his exile from the country. Matibe shared his experiences with a small group of listeners Monday night in the Nittany Lion Inn's alumni room.
Matibe began his talk by telling the room that he is a stateless refugee, demonstrating his point by passing out his expired Zimbabwean passport, which his home country refuses to renew.
He followed with the story of how he staged a small protest in front of then current President George W. Bush's house in Crawford, Texas, requesting that the United States immediately send fighter planes to bomb the house of Robert Mugabe, current president of Zimbabwe. Matibe was then told that the United States is no longer in the business of assassinating dictators.
Mugabe is the central focus of Matibe's current work and getting him out of power is the main theme of his talk.
Before he gave his reasons why, he gave an overview of Zimbabwe's history, from its colonial beginnings to current day. He gave an account of purposeful anthrax outbreaks, his thoughts on how the "Tarzan" films of the 1930s reinforced the colonist mentality, and how his ancestors funded, in part, the Rhodes Scholarship trust fund, all to illustrate how the ghosts of colonialism still haunt Zimbabwe.
Matibe's two-hour talk was full of information that shocked his listeners.
"It was eye-opening. I didn't know any of this," said Joan Ribbons, a State College resident. "It really makes me look at the Rhodes Scholarship differently now, almost like we're a part of his cause."
Matibe also briefly detailed four attempts on his life, saying that he was saved the fourth time because his would-be murderers could not get a phone signal, so they couldn't make the call to get the go-ahead to kill him.
A few of the people in attendance were also native Africans, and were especially interested in hearing what Matibe had to say.
"I'm from West Africa and I haven't really gotten a history of the region," Sika Abbey (sophomore-division of undergraduate studies) said. "It was just amazing to hear from someone who's been through all of that."
Even though he said Zimbabwe's past is dark, Matibe ended his talk on a hopeful note.
"I was almost killed by Zimbabweans, and I was saved by Zimbabweans," he said. "That's why I can tell you, Mugabe's days are numbered."