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The true history of Tendai Johnson


We got this correction from Tendai Johnson about his unusual upbringing (see post):

johnsoninnocentsinterrupted5My parents moved to Zimbabwe (then Southern Rhodesia) in 1960 as a married couple, where I was born and raised. My father was an artist/educator and my mother was a medical doctor. I consider myself born in Zimbabwe and not Rhodesia (the latter being a temporarily named country by the colonial white oppressive regime).

My family was involved with Zimbabwe’s liberation movement for the country’s independence from white colonial rule (similar to South Africa’s apartheid system). We were deported by Ian Smith’s government in ’75. Therefore, we did not “flee with the white folks when the government changed” – in fact, we were in Zambia at the time of independence and were invited back by the new government of Zimbabwe. I came to the US in 1984 (at the age of 20) for college and attended the Lamar Dodd School of Art at the University of Georgia – where I received my MFA.

The only reason why I feel it so important to correct this bio, is that our circumstances were completely contrary to what was written and to the general “white” experience in Zimbabwe. It is embarrassing to imagine readers of this artblog who might be well aware of political circumstances in southern Africa or who might be from this region assuming that I am a white racist “Rhodie,” who fled with the “white folks” during that time period.

–Tendai Johnson

johnson, tendai