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Bhalagwe heroes acre status rejected

by Mandla Ndlovu
11 Aug 2019 at 20:48hrs | Views
A Matabelaland civic society organisation Ibhetshu lika Zulu has rejected the notion that Bhalagwe memorial site should be treated as a heroes acre.

In a statement on Sunday issued by the Secretary General Mbuso Fuzwayo the organisation said: Bhalagwe memorial site must be preserved as a genocide site and not a Heroes acre for the following reasons;

1.    Bhalagwe hills are traditionally sacred and should not be established as graveyards and therefore the heroes acre must not be established on sacred spaces.
2.    The Antelope mine shafts awere used  by the enemy to bury thousands and thousands of our people to hide the crime of genocide hence the need to preserve the evidence.
3.    By allowing a heroes acre the community will be supporting the genocide and discrimination of victims of Gukurahundi genocide by depriving them rights to be acknowledged and seek justice.
4.    By celebrating liberation war heroes at Bhalagwe and suppressing Gukurahundi genocide memorial is an insult to both liberation heroes and genocide victims who come from the same communities.
5.    A heroes acre at Bhalagwe supposedly for the Matobo community violates the memory and legacy of victims who lie in mine shafts.
6.    Celebrating heroes at Bhalagwe is a denial of Gukurahundi genocide and denialism is  acrime under international law

Recent reports indicate that Matobo Rural District Council (RDC) declared the Bhalagwe  site a Heroes Acre about 20 years ago.

The mass graves are located at the foot of the disused Antelope Mine. When the mining company wanted to resuscitate their activities at the mine, they discovered human remains, which were reburied in mass graves at a site identified by villagers.

It was originally a base for ex-Zipra troops incorporated into the Zimbabwe National Army. But in 1982 the troops there were accused of being dissidents.

The camp was surrounded by paratroop and commando units and shut down.

Children, as well as adults, were kept in Bhalagwe. The detainees were trucked in from all over Matabeleland South. Survivors'accounts consistently refer to daily deaths at the camp. Villagers living near the Antelope mine report there were nightly visits by trucks, with workers tipping the corpses down a shaft, and explosions as hand-grenades were thrown after them.

Source - Byo24News