Gukurahundi massacres play finally staged

Gukurahundi massacres play finally staged
Published: 01 June 2018 (578 Views)
A play that was banned by Robert Mugabe about a 1980s government crackdown in which rights groups say 20,000 civilians were killed has been performed in Zimbabwe for the first time.

The play, "1983, The Dark Years", was stopped by the censors in 2012 but following November's de facto army coup against Mugabe, its director feels political freedoms are improving.

The now president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, was Mugabe's security minister at the time and many say he played a big role during the Gukurahundi massacres - making the play's airing, just months after he took power, even more significant.

"We, as a theatre group thought it is the right time to try and trigger this kind of debate whereby we need the nation to actually know what happened because as we speak the nation is divided by this term (Gukurahundi)," director and actor Adrian Musa, told Reuters after the show.

The massacres began after Mugabe said his government had discovered weapons hidden by former liberation fighters belonging to PF-ZAPU led by his rival Joshua Nkomo, whom he accused of plotting an insurgency.

In the local Shona language, Gukurahundi means "the early rain that washes away the chaff".

"This is a very sensitive issue and where we come from in Matabeleland if you term the word Gukurahundi people will start raising their eyebrows to see who is talking," Musa said.

During Mugabe's near 40-year rule, few families and victims, mostly minority Ndebeles, spoke openly about the Gukurahundi offensive carried out by a North Korean-trained brigade. Mugabe has called the period a "moment of madness".

Mnangagwa has never publicly addressed in Zimbabwe any role he played, but when asked about it at the Davos meeting of world leaders in January, he said: "The most important thing is that what has happened has happened, what can we do about the past?

"We would like to say wherever wrong was committed, the government of the day must apologise. Wherever any community has suffered any injury, if it is that injury that has to be repaired, we do it."

The play is set in Gwanda, southwest Zimbabwe, which experienced some of the worst atrocities.

In the play, soldiers in red berets chase after an elderly woman and hang her on a tree and in other scene, soldiers high on dagga amputate a man's leg with a bayonet and chop off a high school boy's genitals.

When a Reuters reporter in February visited Sawudeni, a village west of Harare where some of the killings took place, villagers said they wanted Mnangagwa and Mugabe to apologise publicly and compensate the families of victims.

"In my opinion we have been parking the issue of Gukurahundi for a very long time," said Davis Guzha, executive director at the theatre company that brought the show to Harare.

"If anything, because the president keeps talking about ‘Zimbabwe is open for business,' let's discuss everything."

- Reuters

 0

You May Like These Videos

Comments

There are no comments.

Latest stories

Open letter to Finance Minister Ncube - Zimbabwe Vigil Diary

by Zimbabwe Vigil Diary | 24 September 2018 | 17 Views

Community initiative to celebrate Bulawayo's history

by Tidi Kwidini | 24 September 2018 | 17 Views

Churches, Civic Society clip off Chamisa's wings

by Stephen Jakes | 24 September 2018 | 24 Views

MDC Alliance Midlands Councillors conduct induction programme

by Stephen Jakes | 24 September 2018 | 17 Views

Opposing smartly: the business of political reforms

by Stephen Jakes | 24 September 2018 | 16 Views

Zanu PF, MDC devolution concept will not work for Mthwakazi people

by Stephen Jakes | 24 September 2018 | 11 Views

Our problerm is not the bond note but fiscal deficit - ZCTU

by Stephen Jakes | 24 September 2018 | 10 Views

Mnangagwa engages US on sanctions

by Staff reporter | 24 September 2018 | 14 Views

Zimbabwean teachers stranded in SA

by Staff reporter | 24 September 2018 | 15 Views

Zimra employee in court for rape

by Staff reporter | 24 September 2018 | 18 Views

Chadzamira rubbishes reports of Hungwe tiff

by Staff reporter | 24 September 2018 | 14 Views

I'll weigh ED's offer, says Chamisa

by Stephen Jakes | 24 September 2018 | 11 Views

Bosso thirsty for Chibuku

by Staff reporter | 24 September 2018 | 12 Views

Cement supplies improve

by Staff reporter | 24 September 2018 | 17 Views

'Arrest of bigwigs in line with Zanu-PF’s anti-corruption stance'

by Staff reporter | 24 September 2018 | 15 Views

Murder suspect in police cell suicide

by Staff reporter | 24 September 2018 | 17 Views

New power plants for Bulawayo, Midlands

by Staff reporter | 24 September 2018 | 13 Views

President Mnangagwa to articulate Zim foreign policy

by Bevan Musoko | 24 September 2018 | 16 Views

Blanket Mine’s gold output up 13%

by Staff reporter | 24 September 2018 | 16 Views

Government reveals plan for Bikita ammonium plant

by Staff reporter | 24 September 2018 | 14 Views

Zimbabwe woos more international airlines

by Staff reporter | 24 September 2018 | 14 Views

Ritual murder victim in morgue 1 year later

by Staff reporter | 24 September 2018 | 9 Views

Woman stabs ex over bread

by Staff reporter | 24 September 2018 | 9 Views

Plumtree chief appeals to Govt to tar major roads

by Staff reporter | 24 September 2018 | 8 Views

Mudede's replacement vows to clear queues, end corruption

by Staff reporter | 24 September 2018 | 8 Views

'Live as brothers or perish together as fools'

by Gibson Nyikadzino | 24 September 2018 | 10 Views

Questions over AMA bills

by Staff reporter | 24 September 2018 | 11 Views

Zimbabwe way past time for boldness

by Editorial - newsday | 24 September 2018 | 18 Views

Makandiwa 'fake prophecy' trial date set

by Staff reporter | 24 September 2018 | 15 Views

Zimbabwe police disband traffic branch

by Staff reporter | 24 September 2018 | 7 Views

Man up for stealing from sex vendor

by Staff reporter | 24 September 2018 | 10 Views

Woman dies in bid to cure infertility

by Staff reporter | 24 September 2018 | 9 Views

Team Pachedu runs parallel shootings inquiry

by Staff reporter | 24 September 2018 | 9 Views

Widen commission's probe to Zec, army

by Moses Tofa | 24 September 2018 | 12 Views

Chinese sneak back into Chiadzwa

by Staff reporter | 24 September 2018 | 8 Views

Marvo resumes operations

by Staff reporter | 24 September 2018 | 12 Views