Gukurahundi massacres play finally staged

Gukurahundi massacres play finally staged
Published: 01 June 2018 (680 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

Zimbabwe businesses losing millions as shutdown continues

by Staff reporter | 15 January 2019 | 131 Views

South Africa 'confident' Mnangagwa govt will 'resolve situation'

by Staff reporter | 15 January 2019 | 123 Views

Malema's EFF 'extends its solidarity' with the people of Zimbabwe

by Staff reporter | 15 January 2019 | 125 Views

'Internet shutdown is unconstitutional,' says Jonathan Moyo

by Ndou Paul | 15 January 2019 | 125 Views

May's Brexit deal rejected by 230 votes

by BBC | 15 January 2019 | 86 Views

Strive masiyiwa speaks on Internet blackout

by Mandla Ndlovu | 15 January 2019 | 108 Views

'Looters not a threat to anyone,' says Amnesty International?

by Staff reporter | 15 January 2019 | 58 Views

PHOTOS: The unlucky protestors who were caught

by Social media | 15 January 2019 | 127 Views

Chamisa fires blank

by Dr Masimba Mavaza | 15 January 2019 | 125 Views

Almost every Choppies shop in Western suburbs was looted

by Social media | 15 January 2019 | 80 Views

Greyhound cancels trips to Zimbabwe indefinitely

by Mandla Ndlovu | 15 January 2019 | 86 Views

WATCH:Biti calls for an extra-ordinary SADC summit on Zimbabwe

by Mandla Ndlovu | 15 January 2019 | 109 Views

Soldiers turn rogue and join protestors?

by Mandla Ndlovu | 15 January 2019 | 128 Views

MDC appeals to International community

by Mandla Ndlovu | 15 January 2019 | 155 Views

Econet declines to comment on internet shutdown

by Staff reporter | 15 January 2019 | 146 Views

Linda Masarira blasts protestors

by Mandla Ndlovu | 15 January 2019 | 167 Views

Zimbabwe's woes deepen

by Bloomberg News | 15 January 2019 | 151 Views

Zimbabwe embassy staff joins ZimbabweShutDown?

by newzimbabwe | 15 January 2019 | 144 Views

WATCH: Zimbabweans confront soldiers with body of slain man

by ZimLive | 15 January 2019 | 182 Views

Why the military supports Mnangagwa

by AP | 15 January 2019 | 124 Views

Zanu-PF appoints provincial vice chair

by Staff reporter | 15 January 2019 | 99 Views

First total internet shutdown in Zimbabwe

by Mandla Ndlovu | 15 January 2019 | 143 Views

26 people suffered gunshot wounds in Zimbabwe

by AP | 15 January 2019 | 105 Views

Zimbabwe businesses and schools remain shut down

by AP | 15 January 2019 | 111 Views

Zimbabwe internet shutdown confirmed

by Staff reporter | 15 January 2019 | 116 Views

MDC Chamisa doesn't expect any arrests

by Staff reporter | 15 January 2019 | 113 Views

Chiwenga yet to release a statement

by Staff reporter | 15 January 2019 | 98 Views

Zimbabwean motorists flocking into SA to buy fuel

by SABC | 15 January 2019 | 111 Views

Mnangagwa banking on Putin loan

by Staff reporter | 15 January 2019 | 74 Views

Mnangagwa awards Civil servants 22,7% 'cushioning allowance'

by Staff reporter | 15 January 2019 | 104 Views

EU, UK speak on #ShutdownZimbabwe protests

by Mandla Ndlovu | 15 January 2019 | 118 Views

WATCH: Energy Mutodi dumps his expensive car

by Mandla Ndlovu | 15 January 2019 | 141 Views