Ben Freeth MBE, the Executive Director of the Mike Campbell Foundation, studied at the Royal Agricultural College in Cirencester. He became the first regional executive officer of the Commercial Farmers’ Union in Zimbabwe in 1996 and worked closely with the large-scale commercial farmers and subsistence farmers in the communal areas.
He assisted his father-in-law, Mike Campbell, with the extensive agricultural enterprises on Mike’s Mount Carmel farm in central Zimbabwe, prior to its violent take-over by a senior ZANU PF politburo member during the brutal and illegal land grab.
Together with Mike, Ben rose to international prominence in 2007 when they took President Mugabe’s government to court in the Southern African Development Community (SADC)’s regional court, the SADC Tribunal. Their abduction and torture by militia of the Mugabe regime prior to the main court hearing in 2008 made international headlines. Mike died three years later (2011) as a result of the devastating injuries he suffered.
Mike and Ben won their lawsuit, which was chronicled in the award-winning 2009 documentary film, Mugabe and the White African.
To view the trailer:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nTXbuW5mGHU (1.3 minutes)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OluQh-xyFts (8.6 minutes)
To view the film website:
Ben has written two books: Mugabe and the White African, and When Governments Stumble: Lessons from Zimbabwe’s Past - Hope in Africa’s Future.
Through the Mike Campbell Foundation, Ben’s main focus is on restoring justice, the rule of law, property rights and human rights in Zimbabwe. A committed Christian, Ben has also set up projects to assist dispossessed and destitute farmers and farm workers. He is currently involved with initiatives to rebuild the agricultural sector once the rule of law and property rights have been restored.
A family man, adventurer and lover of the outdoors
Ben Freeth is an adventurer at heart and has encouraged the leadership qualities in two his sons, Josh and Stephen, through ambitious challenges to raise funds for the Mike Campbell Foundation.
In 2017, they climbed Mount Aconcagua (6,962m/22,841ft) in Argentina, the highest mountain in the world outside the Himalayas, located in the Andes Range.
In 2015, they climbed Mount Kilimanjaro (5,895m/19,336ft) in Tanzania, Africa’s highest mountain, commonly known as the “roof of the world”.
In 2012 their fundraiser involved crossing the vast and forbidding Makgadikgadi Salt Pans in neighbouring Botswana in a home-made, sail-powered go-kart.
In 1992, Ben and a friend, James Egremont-Lee, made the first navigation of the Rufiji river in Tanzania (East Africa) by canoe from its source to the sea, not seeing any human beings for five weeks. Three years later in 1995, they undertook a three-month expedition in Ethiopia and northern Kenya, following the course of the Omo River with mules and donkeys, traversing over 2,000km of very hostile territory.
Ben also trained as a ski jumper for the 1994 winter Olympics, taught English in Mongolia, worked with heroin addicts in Hong Kong and has sailed hundreds of miles along coastlines in a small one-man laser dinghy.
He loves camping out under the stars in big game country with his children, exploring the African bush and helping with game counts in Zimbabwe’s struggling national parks.
At the summit of Mount Aconcagua (December 2017)