My full name is Edward Graham Cross and I come from a long line of the Cross family stretching back to days when we fought the English in Scotland with Robert the Bruce in 1336. Our family in those days was part of the Graham Clan that exists even today.
My African roots are deep with my Great Grandfather, Rev G W Cross, coming out to South Africa in 1877 to become the Baptist Minister in Grahamstown in the Eastern Cape. He fought in the Griqua wars and in the Boer War, alongside the Afrikaners in what was the first war of liberation in Africa and perhaps the first real guerrilla war in the world.
My Grandfather, Graham Cross, was born in South Africa and rose to prominence, first as the Chief Magistrate of South Africa, then holding several senior and important roles in the country and eventually serving in the War Cabinet of General Smuts from 1939 to 1945. He retired and died in Pretoria in 1953.
My father, George Graham Cross, was the eldest son of Graham Cross and received his high school education at Pretoria Boys High School. Still one of the best schools in South Africa. At the time his parents could not afford a University education and he left school after his Matric and started work with an International Petroleum Company. In 1930, during the Great Depression he was told to move to Bulawayo in what was then Rhodesia or be made redundant.
There were no border controls, he and two colleagues, simply bought tickets on the train and travelled to Bulawayo where they took lodgings in a local guest house. He rapidly established himself in Bulawayo - rising through the ranks in the company and becoming the first Secretary to the local drama club. All three men were keen Scouts and established the 3rd Bulawayo Troop, eventually building a scout hall which is still in existence.
In 1938 he met my mother who was visiting Bulawayo from her family in Johannesburg and after a whirlwind romance got married and I was born in April 1940. My mother was a widow at the time with three children - Bud, June and Bill Flower, my brother Frank arrived two years later. June soon returned to her mother's family in Johannesburg and the rest of us grew up in the Cross household - first in Bulawayo and then Salisbury.
I graduated with a Matric in 1957 and immediately started work on a farm outside Headlands in the Eastern part of the country. After a season there I moved back to Matabeleland and worked on a small Ranch until I went to Gwebi College of Agriculture in 1959. After two years at College I graduated with a Diploma and started work again. In April 1963 I married Jeanette Staples, a girl I had met while at College and we moved to Gokwe where we were to live for three years before returning to Salisbury to take up a degree course in economics at the University College of Rhodesia and Nyasaland.
In 1968 I joined the staff of the Agricultural Marketing Authority as a Junior Economist and was appointed Chief Economist in 1977. In 1979 I was made up to the General Manager of the Dairibord, a large dairy processing organisation with 3 500 staff and a country wide network of factories and depots. In 1983, I was asked to leave the Board and take over the Cold Storage Commission in Bulawayo which was in crisis at the time. This was an even larger organisation with 5 000 staff and a turnover approaching US$600 million a year.
In 1987, I resigned from the CSC and took up the post of Managing Director of the Beira Corridor Group. The BCG raised US$700 million and was involved in the rehabilitation of the transport corridor to the Port of Beira and the opening up of the Port after many years (since 1966) of closure and conflict. In 1990 I left the BCG and started the family company Cross Holdings (Private) Limited.
In 1999 I was asked by the President of the main opposition Party, the Movement for Democratic Change to join the organisation and become its first Secretary for Economic Affairs. I did so and spent the next 18 years in a variety of Executive positions at national level. In 2008, I stood for election in Bulawayo South and was elected as MDC Member of Parliament. I won my seat in 2013 with an increased majority and only retired from Parliament in 2018.
I was then asked by the new President of the Republic of Zimbabwe to assist with the economic stabilisation and recovery after the 2017 Military Assisted Transition and again in 2018 when a new Government was sworn into power. On retiring from Parliament and Party politics in 2018, I resumed my business activities and resumed the active Chairmanship of Cross Holdings.
My wife, Jeanette and I have had two children - Gary and Susan and they have had 5 children - four girls and a boy. All are doing well and we are proud of all of them. We continue to live and work in our Country, Zimbabwe, as native born Africans of European descent.
Bulawayo, 27th November 2020