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Vandalised Gukurahundi plaque replaced

by Staff reporter
24 Feb 2024 at 07:36hrs | Views
Matebeleland-BASED pressure group Ibhetshu LikaZulu on Wednesday installed yet another memorial plaque at Bhalagwe in Maphisa, Matebeleland South province where dozens of Gukurahundi victims were buried in the 1980s.

This is the fourth time that the pressure group has erected a memorial plaque at Bhalagwe after the previous ones were vandalised by suspected State security agents.

Ibhetshu LikaZulu secretary-general Mbuso Fuzwayo said they would not give up erecting memorial plaques in remembrance of the Gukurahundi victims.

"We are here today at Bhalagwe to restore a Gukurahundi memorial plaque which was vandalised on several occasions," Fuzwayo said on Wednesday during the emotional event.

"At this grave we have put 5 crosses which would represent people who were killed during the genocide, women who were raped, tortured, houses which were burnt and those who disappeared."

Maphisa is one of the districts that bore the brunt of the Gukurahundi massacres.

A disused mine at Bhalagwe was used as a detention centre where victims were killed and thrown down the mineshaft.

Fuzwayo said the government should be responsible for preserving the Gukurahundi memorial plaques and prevent them from being vandalised.

"The programme by the government to find answers on Gukurahundi must also ensure that this plaque is defended. We are not going to sleep here safeguarding it, but the government should deploy its soldiers to come and preserve this place," said Fuzwayo.

Ibhetshu LikaZulu partnered various political parties, community members and chiefs from Midlands and Matebeleland provinces to re-erect the memorial plaque on a mass grave at Bhalagwe.

Gukurahundi survivor, Enerst Malandu said the country's dark chapter could not be erased by destroying the plaques.

"The person who is constantly destroying these plaques has the strength to destroy and we don't have that strength, but we have that of re-building," Malandu said.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa has tasked chiefs to lead processes that include public hearings towards finding closure on Gukurahundi.

However, some victims, survivors, human rights defenders and civic society organisations in Matebeleland have said the programme is flawed, not victim-centred and offered no room for truth-telling and bringing the perpetrators to book.

Source - southern eye