Zimbabwe, s, ZANU, ZIPRA, Matabele, Bulawayo, Rhodesia, murder, torture, dissidents, Fifth Brigade, North Korea, Robert Mugabe, Joshua Nkomo, Zimbabwe African National Union, Shona, Perence Shiri, ZANLA, ZAPU. During the Rhodesian Bush War two rival nationalist parties, Robert. 5 Brigade mobilisation — "Gukurahundi". a) The commissioning of 5 Brigade . .. b) The training of 5 Brigade —- –82 c) Early 5 Brigade exercises. ( 2) Downloaded from at University of Zimbabwe on June 1, Ncube and Siziba 3 Moreover, artistic representations of Gukurahundi.

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While the impact of Gukurahundi on the region can not be disputed, it is however Perhaps a broader question to keep in mind is the place of the Grand Plan in Gukurahundi, that is to say, was Gukurahundi an outcome of .. Download pdf. Download full-text PDF. development 1 For a detailed account of media coverage of Gukurahundi see Stiff (). 2 See especially a. Gukurahundi () and the politics of blame and denial. Download full- text PDF GUKURAHUNDI () AND THE POLITICS.

Other people in the Tjolotjo now Tsholotsho have been reported as killed, including 15 employees of the Tilcor estate.

Gukurahundi skeletons tumble out of the closet

A butcher was accused of being a Zapu supporter and was killed. A doctor who worked on the general surgical and orthopaedic wards for six months in Matabeleland described horrifying sights of injuries and maiming suffered by civilians, soldiers and dissidents as a consequence of the state-sponsored crackdown.

He said before mid-January , there was a steady intake of patients on the wards — three or so per week. The victims were civilians from rural areas north of Bulawayo. The surgical and orthopaedic wards were admitting three to four per day. Some of the patients had received their injuries a week or so prior to admission some were adult females — I saw no injured children.

Commonest injuries were multi-fractures of legs caused by shrapnel, bullets or beating. There were also abdominal and chest gunshot injuries. Cases which were a result of beatings usually presented with multiple bruising especially on the buttocks, but also on the back of the thighs and on the upper arms and chest.

This left many families without food supplies for an indefinite period. Most storage bans were empty. The little grain they have can only be stamped or boiled before they can eat it as all grinding mills are closed. Buses and other means of transport have been stopped to cripple movement of people and transportation of food. This will cause a greater food shortage.

Wrong document context!

They are often very drunk, and when so drunk, they are most brutal to the civilians. They expect everybody in Matebeleland to speak Shona. Those who cannot are victimised. They say they will destroy all the Matabeles because they have been deployed to kill them.

But Shona-speaking people in the affected regions were also not spared. He needed 17 stitches to his head at St. In their different ways, these writers show bravery in broaching a subject which has left many artists in Zimbabwe arrested and imprisoned.

The Gukurahundi in Zimbabwe

Open discussion of Gukurahundi has hitherto not only been crimi- nalized, but it has also been vilified. Maria Pia Lara in her work Moral Textures proposes an insightful analysis of the creation and reception of literary works within the public sphere. The literary texts we have analysed can thus be read against this theoretical framework because they, on several levels, redraw the boundaries of what should be said and what should remain unsaid.

Moreover, they recalibrate the borders of what should be remembered and what should be forgotten. In this redrawing and reshifting of boundaries, there is indeed a questioning of the hegemonic discourses and structures which unilaterally decide what makes it into the collective memory and narrative of the nation. Writing, and reading, these potentially transgressive narratives can thus be interpreted as an effort to fight and speak back to the stifling environment that does not allow any sort of discussion of events surrounding Gukurahundi.

The redrawing of lines between the said, unsaid, and unsayable would imply a reading of the aforementioned literary narratives as a process and act of remembering. This con- cept of remembering can be viewed from two standpoints. In the first instance, the pro- cess and act of remembering involves bringing to the fore that which dominant political and cultural discourses have pushed beyond even the margins.

Such remembering, by design or by chance, involves a challenging of state hegemony whose narrative of Downloaded from jcl. Secondly, remembering, or rather re-membering implies a reconstruction, reconstitution, and a bringing together of elements which had been fragmented.

In our case, re-membering is the process of bringing together stories about Gukurahundi that had been scattered due to wilful omission and forced forgetting.

Read in light of trauma studies, this form of literary remembering and re-membering is an important step in bringing about some sort of closure, particularly for those who died, were maimed, or lost relatives. In an interview with Fungai Machirori, Mlalazi explains this function of his writing: The experience was horrifying I must say, and we can never guess how it was for the victims during the actual blitz.

I guess artists at some point must treat nightmares like these, because the intention is to lance a boil that is suppurating in the national psyche. In order for us to seek closure for situations like these, and ultimately reconciliation, an attempt has to be made to debate over them in the open, and not behind closed doors for fear something untoward might happen to you, for there are people out there still searching for answers to what happened to their wives, husbands, mothers, fathers, grandmothers, grandfathers, and children.

Mlalazi uses an interesting metaphor of lancing a boil that is suppurating in the national psyche. By comparing Gukurahundi to a suppurating boil, Mlalazi suggests that these events surrounding Gukurahundi have caused a wound in the early history of Zimbabwe. What is also fascinating about this metaphor is the fact that the boil can only be treated by lancing it. Lancing a boil involves opening and expelling the puss inside in order to facilitate quicker healing.

As such, the act of reading and dialoguing with the texts is transformed into a cathartic and therapeutic process which seeks to find closure on the traumatic past.

Traumatic pasts can only be diffused and dealt with when there is an open acknowledgment of the traumatic or traumatizing experience and there is a willingness to engage in dialogue about it. That said, we hasten to acknowledge the limits of literary works in challenging and destabilizing dominant national narratives about Gukurahundi. However, to date, none of the novels examined in this paper have been either censored or banned by Zimbabwean authorities. They spawn other meanings and are encoded into other discourses after they are shut down by the state.

The common feature of these vignettes is the colour red an obvious allusion to the blood that was spilled during Gukurahundi that accompanies often ghoulish faces.

Mugabe, on the left, is seated upright with Joshua Nkomo slumped over a table, carrying a piece of paper and with blood gushing out of his back. Behind the figures of Mugabe and Nkomo stand to the left shadowy figures don- ning large dark spectacles evocative of the inescapable intelligence operatives and to the right another group of inconspicuous figures wearing large red berets these are obvi- ously Fifth Brigade soldiers.

Three main issues are made apparent by this painting. First, the Unity Accord which the slumped Nkomo is carrying in his hands was signed with Mugabe under duress given that it was a question of life or death of people in Matabeleland.

Nkomo himself escaped attempts on his life as well. Third, the security apparatus at the disposal of Mugabe which lurks in the background of the painting points to the omnipresence of Mugabe in various guises or figures connected to, and representing, violence. In another painting, there are eight macabre faces which have mouths open. The colour red, the faces with afflicted expres- sions, and the written word, all combine to create an inimitable narrative that is hard to ignore.

Two main reasons can be offered for why this is so. Initially, books in Zimbabwe are expensive and not that many people have a sufficient disposable income to indulge in the download of literary texts.

2 thoughts on “Gukurahundi skeletons tumble out of the closet”

Literary works, through the use of metaphors, metonyms, and other Downloaded from jcl. Such works of artistic expression show the importance of not forgetting, especially the not-so-beautiful elements, of history. By opening up discussion on Gukurahundi, these works gesture towards not just an acknowledgement of Gukurahundi but also call for remembering and re-membering of the past and learning from its mis- takes and errors.

We conclude by quoting Wale Adebanwi, who elucidates why works of art remain important in the societies in which we live: In observing the social process, both past and present, they reflect, and reflect on, extant perspectives in understanding reality by creating new maps of existence through ideas that not only generate, but also transcend existing possibilities and ways of apprehending those possibilities.

In contributing to the common store of social, political and moral ideas in society, they also become wellsprings of new ideas and new ways of thinking.

Grave containing up to 60 people found at Zimbabwe school

Notes 1. Subsequent references are to this edition of The Stone Virgins and will be cited paren- thetically by page number in the text. Subsequent references are to this edition of Running with Mother and will be cited par- enthetically by page number in the text. Subsequent references are to this edition of Together: Stories and Poems and will be cited parenthetically by page number in the text.

References Adebanwi W The writer as social thinker. Journal of Contemporary African Studies 32 4 : — Portsmouth: Heinemann. Harare: Weaver Press, — Downloaded from jcl. Johannesburg: Jacana Media. Caruth C Trauma and experience: Introduction. Asmara, Eritrea: Africa World Press, — Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars Publishing. Ellis R Without Honour. Seattle: CreateSpace. Eppel S Matabeleland: Its struggle for national legitimacy and the relevance of this in the election. Perspectives 2 8 : 8— Harmondsworth: Penguin Books.

London: Lynne Rienner. New York: Grove Press. London: Vintage. Feminist Africa 2. Social Text 65— Kaarsholm P Coming to terms with violence: Literature and the development of a public sphere in Zimbabwe.

Harare: Weaver Press, 3— Cambridge: Polity Press. Machirori F Running with mother: Reliving Gukurahundi. In: Msimanga R ed. Zimbabwe at the Crossroads. Mlalazi C Running with Mother. Harare: Weaver Press. Nabutanyi EF Representations of troubled childhood in selected post African fiction in English. Ndakaripa M Ethnicity narrative and the s violence in the Matabeleland and Midlands provinces of Zimbabwe. Oral History Forum 1— Ndlovu C Guveya.

Bulawayo: Media Plus. While it is difficult to verify the authorship and authenticity of these documents, it is equally difficult to deny that what has happened so far and continues to happen, is accurately reflected in these documents. As the review document reveals, the plan seems to be working well because every senior position in government offices, from the police to the state owned entities, is headed by a Shona-speaking person, even in the most remote parts of Matabeleland.

However, this complaint is often dismissed as bitterness as a result of the s Ndlovu- Gatsheni nd: Psychological and Physiological Injuries The unprecedented violence of the s left people with emotional wounds and physical injuries. Those that were beaten by the 5th Brigade and are still alive carry permanent disabilities, such as partial lameness, paralysis, deafness, recurring backaches and headaches, impotence, infertility and kidney damage CCJP Emotional scars and bad memories of the violence of the s are also some of the effects of Gukurahundi.

According to the Breaking the Silence report, large numbers of the people in Tsholotsho showed signs of some degree of psychological trauma, leading to recurring depression, dizzy spells, anxiety, anger or permanent fear and distrust of government officials. Some children were left without one or both parents and with the trauma of having witnessed extreme violence done to those they loved. Some people do not know the whereabouts of their family members who have disappeared.

Communities were left with the trauma of having seen their loved ones and neighbours humiliated, beaten and killed CCJP Children of rape Rape during times of violence is a form of torture. However Gukurahundi rapes have been viewed differently. By contrast, rapes committed by the ZNA soldiers or dissidents were seen simply as an abuse of power, unlike those of the 5th Brigade Alexander et al This has created a group of people who are stigmatised and sometimes ostracised by their families.

Some of their names serve as reminders of their unpleasant conception and memories of what happened to their mothers. Apart from the stigma they carry, there is the whole issue of identity crisis. It is impossible for most of these people to ever know who their fathers might have been. Its hard enough in a situation where it is only one person who raped, because tracing that person is very difficult if not impossible, how much more 10? Most of these children carry both name and surname which are not part of their identity.

As a result, some feel lost spiritually as well. In the African belief system there comes a time when one needs to confer with the spirits of their ancestors when things are not going well. Stateless citizens There are some people who have failed to acquire identity documents because one or both of their parents were killed but there are no death certificates to prove this.

So we have stateless individuals who cannot access their rights to service delivery and other rights due to them as citizens of Zimbabwe. Most of these are in their 30s and they have children of their own facing the same problem and therefore cannot finish school or go beyond grade 7, since a birth certificate is required for this.

Others chose to skip the boarder to South Africa where they acquired South African papers fraudulently and as a result they live on the peripheries of society, doing menial jobs, or if they make it in life, always living in fear of being unmasked. This phenomenon is quite prevalent in this region and the young people of the MRP are a good example of this.

One such effect is polarisation and social fragmentation. Gukurahundi left people not knowing whether they should trust their neighbours or not.

The purveyors of this violence did a good job of creating suspicion within communities. Furthermore, tortured people tend to suffer disruptions in some cognitive self-schemes involving beliefs, assumptions and expectations about self and the world.

This has resulted in isolated and disconnected individuals living in the same vicinity or geographical space, rather than a community, that shares same goals and aspirations. Trust, cohesion, cooperation are the currency for a healthy community and ingredients for a successful and prosperous community.

This I believe is one of the major reasons why it seems to be so hard for us to work together for the good of our region and our people. Conclusion In keeping with the proscribed theme for this discussion, the paper has merely sought to identify the consequences stemming directly from Gukurahundi and has not tried to proffer any solutions to them.Even today in Zimbabwe, opportunities in the workforce, education in schools, colleges and universities and business dealings will only be a success to a Mthwakazi person if you are able to show ability to speak Shona.

A state of emergency. On occasion the Fifth Brigade also massacred large groups of Ndebele, seemingly at random—the largest such incident occurred in March , when 62 young men and women were shot on the banks of the Cewale River, Lupane.

Such comments served to further create perceptions and strong feelings of alienation and vulnerability among the people of Matabeleland. Most detained were summarily executed or marched to reeducation camps. Gukurahundi left people not knowing whether they should trust their neighbours or not. The training of 5 Brigade lasted until September , when Minister Sekeramayi announced training was complete. From the first moment in which Rudo comes face to face with the brutality of the soldiers, she is almost numb to the violence of what is happening: I looked at the soldier in the reading glasses.