What follows is Chris Berry's response to The Herald article:

To: Cde George Charamba (Permanent secretary for the ministry of Information and publicity)

Chris Berry by William Farrington
I wanted to clarify my position as I feel I have been misrepresented by the article that was written in The Herald last week.

Aside from the fact that there are misrepresented facts in the article, there seems to be a misconception as to what Sekuru Mandere and my intentions were in planning this Bira.

We are in no way 'using the African way of life to destroy Africans,' and I am very disturbed by your reports of this being done in the past.

Instead, we are trying to promote understanding and unity as Mandere and I both feel this is part of the answer to world peace. In the past it was the missionaries who tried their best to destroy Zimbabwe's traditional belief systems. I, on the other hand, have done my best to educate people about the importance of traditional ceremonies and the immense importance they hold within African culture and society.

I also believe that it is time to come together and lay our prayers down next to each other regardless of race, color, or creed.

Mandere and I have been conducting these ceremonies for the past ten years, and only good things have come from them. There has been no stealing, demeaning, destroying, or disrespect of any sort. In fact, in this ceremony I was told to go and find the oil of a whale which could be used as a powerful medicine to heal many ailments by the traditional healers in Zimbabwe. It was used many centuries ago by my ancestors for healing purposes as well. I had found the oil and was bringing it back to present to the spirit mediums who had requested it. So in fact something was going to be given not taken.

I in no way believe I have any of the answers as to why things are the way they are, but I do have the right and the power to pray about making things better.

I apologize for any offense that has been taken by our planned Bira. Due to your concern, we have cancelled the function and will eagerly await your response.

With respect,
Chris Berry

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