Latest News Editor's Choice


Opinion / Columnist

Molested, caressed and disembowelled by the 5th Brigade!

17 Mar 2020 at 09:19hrs | Views
It all went wrong at the birthing of Zimbabwe, or just before. It is exactly what happens when a cow encounters dystocia during parturition. The calf refuses to come out properly by arrogantly facing the wrong direction. The direction of the reticulo-rumen and the mouth instead of the natural instrument of coming out into the uncaring world which our elders intelligently call the 'thing'. The thing of the excitement of the arrival into the earth! The apple that one only enjoys to eat with certified permission. But with Zimbabwe's parturition it was a different ball game altogether. Mugabe, the supernatural power, and his hell-backed angels had their plans. Plans and trickery for power, plunder, rape, mayhem and slaughter. Schemings that can only be sourced from the archives of devilish notebooks, dark briefcases and glasses. This is the untamed tale of the whirlwind of the rough fondling of the innocent girl's breasts, molestation, rape and callous slaughter. The story of the cutting off of limbs, live burials and wanton shootings of the innocent in my village. The incident of the dissident in the classroom, and others, substituting the Pythagoras theorem and 'Things Fall Apart'. These are the indelible drawings that sit on and painfully bestride my narrow and  weak heart; the tender, innocent heart of a school child.

Rape, disembowelment and slaughter
Whispers and cries from  surrounding villages invade my village. They delineate the similar melancholic and gruesome tale of beatings, rape and murder. During the nocturnal hours of the owl, young, sturdy, 'beautiful' women and girls would be taken away to 'share' love with the soldiers. Sharing is caring, they say. Some of the girls are school children. Reading books and answering the teachers' questions during the day and answering fondling and caressing questions of the soldiers during the night! Love-making that is pleasurable only to one of the duo; the one on top!

When they eventually returned home in the morning, you would not see the inside of their eyes. In shame and some kind of pain that  usually filled their eyes with non-dripping tears held by the delicate ends of their eyes, they would look away. Far away into the blue and partly cloudy sky, top of the trees or into the distant horizon. How do you allow people to look into your eyes when your precious apple has been plucked and devoured against your will? Isn't sexual intimacy for human beings, by consent? You don't just dip your smelly thing without permission! No! Here life is now different because of the gun. In order to respire and still carry your intestines unripped just one more day, you have to give in, give your thing away and pretend to enjoy, just like that.

Whenever I meet one of the victims; my relative, the incidents involuntarily enact themselves over and over again. Red thick blood dripping and flowing down her small thin legs, permeating through osmosis, into her dry cream-coloured dirty skirt she wore as she herded cattle, creating as it spread, some form of a map with a rhino-horn shape growing on a small ugly rock on the top left end. Some image of a teapot!
 
Because the pathway on her young body which led to the thing that one 5th Brigade soldier wanted to illegally get was narrow and prohibiting, they say, he then forced his diabolic stick into her. Young as she was, her womanhood got destroyed. Torn and tattered, it became. He wanted to enjoy in the now of the incident. He just had no time to waste waiting for the little girl's thing to grow and mature with her. Was he not a man of action? A party soldier on duty exercising his authority against the life of the girl child, just like that. She cried long and wide. Salty, bloody tears. The hospital did the repairs, they say.

If you were pregnant by your husband or anyone and unlucky, that was punishable by death. It was treason. Period. You had been impregnated by the dissidents and the foetus fitted the dissident billing and heinous death, you were told. Life is a mystery, our elders say. Imagine being killed in your mother's warm and amniotic fluid-filled womb, the safety of God's design and protection!

The large and ball-like beautiful stomach of your mother which you are safely ensconced in, is bayoneted and disembowelled. Innocent and subconscious, you prematurely meet the evils of this world headlong, just like that. Cold and  sunny weather that is cloudy and rainy today. And what does it give you the very next day? Plain, naked sky with scorching heat! Unpredictable and dangerous circumstances!

 In agony and excruciating pain, the innocent foetus and its loving but helpless mother take the forced early journey to the land of their ancestors, at the command of the 5th Brigade, the army of our independent, teapot shaped Zimbabwe. The land of stale milk and rotting flesh. The stench of the dead and the living. Hunger, starvation, murder and death.

The kongonya jive for the men
Men are not spared either. Their kongonya jive is here too. You are either beaten or forced to lie down and place your neck on a log of wood. Then your wife is ordered to take a razor-whetted axe and cut your tender neck off the defenceless body and other limbs, with your children as hapless spectators. Sometimes the devilish scene culminates to family members being forced to have sex while others sing and dance to it or they would be severely battered, ordered to dig own chest-level deep graves. Then they would be compelled to bury themselves while standing inside the pit by scooping back with a shovel, the sand they initially dug out. Then the callous gunmen would joyfully spray them with the poisonous bullets on the protruding upper torsos until it fell off from its mainframe. Later, innocent dogs would be seen holding human limbs with  their canine teeth for a feast. To maliciously and cunningly entangle the whole scenario, very smart and seemingly well-catered for individual gunmen emerged, claiming to be dissidents. They would force you to give them food and return later to finish you off for selling out to the soldiers. If you kept quiet, the soldiers would come and chop off your neck for being a sell-out working with the dissidents. Either way, the marriage between your body and breath had to be terminated. That was the design and order of the 5th Brigade. No appeal!

'Dissident' in my classroom!
Once more, we are summoned to assembly at Zwelabo Secondary School one lazy afternoon. I am now in Form 1. The year is 1986. A dark green light brownish camouflaged army truck has suddenly arrived and parked under the big igonte tree in the school premises. Now the gukurahundi soldiers have been replaced by the national army, the informed ones said. To me, the difference was the same. Idi Amin is himself no matter how nicely you call him. A killer! If you use colourful words to describe the rear opening of the alimentary canal of a donkey, does it suddenly spring up and look beautiful? Shrunken, unlookable, smelly stuff. Simple.

We have been in this since 1983 when all hell broke loose. What crime have we committed to deserve this torture? This is another woeful incident, I think to myself as we approach the army truck. I feel urine and some more serious stuff requesting to be released from my large intestine. "Hey you, this is not the time to go to the toilet!" I silently command. I repackage everything into a silent, disciplined fart. I hold the urine. Fortunately, in a group this kind of smell leaves everyone blame-worthy. It belongs to even the kings and queens, and the soldiers themselves! I feel safe in numbers. Your kinsmen are your investment, our elders say.

A dead and butchered male body had been brought to us to view and identify. It was a 'dissident', the soldiers said. In single file we march to identify the 'dissident'. This is my first time to view such stuff. Horrible!

In our culture, it is taboo for children to be exposed to human carcasses and their lifeless flesh. As I timidly gaze at the corpse, I am greeted by a pool of thick, reddish brown blood and a gorged, grooved, broken skull from the rear to the forehead. A scary mixture of blood, brain and bone. Hellish! Big bloody teeth protrude from the man's lifeless, thick agape lips with porridge-thick maron-coloured drying blood. The poor man is peacefully lying on the dirty leafy floor of the Puma truck with his head towards and adjacent to the rear entrance. His attire is a modest blue overall. Some AK47 assault rifle is near or rather, placed next to him. Somehow, I miss the glimpse of his footwear. Capturing too much detail and wasting the soldiers' time can be a death sentence, remember!

All the students do not know him, they say. In such instances there is a very thin line between survival and death. One silly mistake, your intestines are outside your gallon-sized little  stomach! We return to our respective classrooms and to our relief, the army truck revs off with no further incident. For over a week or so, I could not eat anything beefy or meat related. Even the thought of it brought saliva and vomit running into my mouth.

I sit in class and think deeply about the corpse, its surviving children, family, friends and community. I feel some kind of wound somewhere in me whose exact location I cannot identify. Is it in my stomach, intestines, chest, heart or gall bladder? I could not tell. This was the dissident we had to study and name; for whom we had to put our books aside, the Pythagoras theorem and 'Things Fall Apart'. Shame everywhere. Bitter salty tears, I weep!

This man had been shot in the head from behind while working in his field in our neighbouring village, eSikhaleni, it later emerged. The brutal bullet had struck from the back of his head and come out rupturing and leaving the forehead skull wide open and the brain scattered. He had died for who he was. A poor man of Matabeleland! I was part of him. So was the whole lot of defenceless victims.

I sadly watch the movie incessantly replay. Cyclic restlessness, pain, anger, confusion, fear and pain. The pain of being or seeing others molested, caressed, disembowelled and slaughtered just like that. The primitive politics of the installation of fear, tribalism and hatred in the nation. The schemes and schedules of shame, which, many years later, Mugabe could only name as a "moment of madness".

 Without this myopia and chicken flu, I think Zimbabwe would be a better country!

Those who can, let them hear.

Nhlanhla Moses Ncube writes in his capacity as a rural-based gukurahundi victim.
nhlanhlamoses@gmail.com
Source - Nhlanhla Moses Ncube
All articles and letters published on Bulawayo24 have been independently written by members of Bulawayo24's community. The views of users published on Bulawayo24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Bulawayo24. Bulawayo24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.

Subscribe

Email: