Gukurahundi massacres play finally staged

Gukurahundi massacres play finally staged
Published: 01 June 2018 (749 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

'Biti and Welshman Ncube must not contest at congress'

by Staff reporter | 21 April 2019 | 145 Views

Multiple inconsistencies in Mr Multiverse Dungani's article.

by Thulani Nkala | 21 April 2019 | 87 Views

Zanu-PF begins constitutional amendments

by Staff reporter | 21 April 2019 | 142 Views

WATCH: Pastor kisses a woman to remove a demon

by Mandla Ndlovu | 21 April 2019 | 170 Views

'Mnangagwa's advisor is a CIO double agent'

by Mandla Ndlovu | 21 April 2019 | 193 Views

'Mnangagwa and Enock Sithole were not crocodile gang members'

by Mandla Ndlovu | 21 April 2019 | 131 Views

President Mnangagwa's Easter message to Zimbabwe

by Mandla Ndlovu | 21 April 2019 | 98 Views

WATCH: Chiyangwa turns his 34 bedroom house into a hotel

by Mandla Ndlovu | 21 April 2019 | 128 Views

George Charamba gets baptism of fire

by Mandla Ndlovu | 21 April 2019 | 111 Views

Dreaded CIO Minister in fresh mine wrangle storm

by Mandla Ndlovu | 21 April 2019 | 107 Views

Matebeleland Collective a ZANU PF and British creation?

by Mandla Ndlovu | 21 April 2019 | 80 Views

Criminals cash in on lost IDs, certificates

by Staff reporter | 21 April 2019 | 91 Views

192 Zimbabweans refused entry into South Africa

by Staff reporter | 21 April 2019 | 98 Views

'Peasant farmers now driving Zimbabwe's economy'

by Staff reporter | 21 April 2019 | 88 Views

'Foreign aid will not bail out Zimbabwe'

by Staff reporter | 21 April 2019 | 79 Views

White farmers told to pay ex-workers first

by Staff reporter | 21 April 2019 | 76 Views

Chamisa clinches victory

by Staff reporter | 21 April 2019 | 94 Views

Rugare Gumbo snubs Mnangagwa & Zanu-PF

by Staff reporter | 21 April 2019 | 105 Views

Knives out for Selmor Mtukudzi

by Staff reporter | 21 April 2019 | 175 Views

Anti-sanctions crusade heats up

by Staff reporter | 21 April 2019 | 135 Views

Holiday accidents kill 16

by Staff reporter | 21 April 2019 | 119 Views

Dutch coach linked with Dembare

by Staff reporter | 21 April 2019 | 139 Views

Lupane East MP's burial unites Zanu-PF, MDC

by Staff reporter | 21 April 2019 | 181 Views

ZITF sold out

by Staff reporter | 21 April 2019 | 104 Views

Controversial Harare referee condemns Hwange to defeat

by Staff reporter | 21 April 2019 | 114 Views

'Zimbabwe will rise again'

by Staff reporter | 21 April 2019 | 110 Views

Whistleblowers pocket $3million after helping Zimra

by Staff reporter | 21 April 2019 | 104 Views

There is a light at the end of price hikes

by Dr Masimba Mavaza | 21 April 2019 | 143 Views

Cyclone Idai pupils, teachers death toll rises

by Staff reporter | 21 April 2019 | 59 Views

Zimbabwe to benefit from Beijing's Belt and Road Initiative

by Staff reporter | 21 April 2019 | 98 Views

Tour company demands indecent pictures for jobs

by Staff reporter | 21 April 2019 | 101 Views

Velaphi: Daring by bringing first batch of weapons into Rhodesia

by Pathisa Nyathi | 21 April 2019 | 116 Views

Cyberbullying and Cyber Harassment

by Engineer Jacob Kudzayi Mutisi | 21 April 2019 | 77 Views

What I learnt from man City Vs Tottenham Champions League match

by Mthokozisi Gwizi | 21 April 2019 | 94 Views

'Gukurahundi reports are not missing'

by Mandla Ndlovu | 21 April 2019 | 123 Views

Independence Day accidents claim 6

by Staff reporter | 21 April 2019 | 90 Views

Mutendi says people must honour Mnangagwa

by Staff reporter | 21 April 2019 | 101 Views

Memorial service revives pain of January killings

by Staff reporter | 21 April 2019 | 82 Views