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Spare a thought for Gukurahundi genocide massacres

08 Jun 2021 at 06:43hrs | Views
LAST week, President Emmerson Mnangagwa was shown the Hanging Tree in Bulawayo, where many Ndebeles were hanged by the colonial regime in the 1890s.

After visiting the tree where colonialists hanged Ndebele warriors, did Mnangagwa visit the area where many Ndebeles were massacred by the Zanu-PF regime during Gukurahundi?

I do not know whether I can ever reiterate this point enough.

History is an accumulation of past events, which can never be narrated selectively.

As a lover of history, I find it deceptive to attempt to distort history for sinister motives.

If ever the narrative is to pass the test of true history, then everything that was done should be told, fairly and openly.

If anything is omitted, or manipulated, then that could never be genuinely classified as history.

Another critical component of history is that it should be a truthful critical account of such past events.

This is what makes the recent visit to Bulawayo by Mnangagwa appear problematic.

I found it interesting that organisers of the visit took Mnangagwa to such places.

It should be commended because our heritage needs to be told to future generations.

It was befitting that Mnangagwa said: "Lest we forget, the Hanging Tree stands as a reminder to present and future generations of the brutality and savagery of the white settler regime towards our forefathers.

"This national monument must inspire us, and the youth in particular, to constantly defend our independence, territorial integrity, and dignity as a nation.

"The reincarnation of colonialism and imperialism in whatever form must never be allowed a foothold in our country."

To that, I say a big bravo! I agree with those sentiments more than 100%.

Indeed, all the people of Zimbabwe need to be inspired by such national monuments, be reminded of the wickedness and savagery we endured under a brutal leadership, and never to allow that to happen again.

Nonetheless, are we to say that it is part of our painful and horrendous past.

It should be noted that these events that characterise the unspeakable repression, and immeasurable agony that the people endured at the hands of the oppressive leaders are part of our history

Since this tour was mainly focused on our country's "recent" history that is to say, from colonialism to post-independence, events of the liberation struggle of the 1960s and 1970s also deserved special mention.

Numerous nationalists were incarcerated in Bulawayo prisons while others were hanged at the same Hanging Tree.

It would have made more sense had Mnangagwa toured Gukurahundi massacre sites.

It would have been helpful in the healing and reconciliation process.

The wounds of Gukurahundi, one of the most evil acts known to humankind perpetrated by the Zanu-PF regime, is yet to heal among the victims and their survivors.

Did the organisers not consider it part of our nation's heritage to also include in their itinerary, the multitude of places surrounding Bulawayo, where over 20 000 noncombative and innocent men, women, and children were ruthlessly butchered, in cold blood, by the post-independence black government, merely because they spoke IsiNdebele?

Surely, if the callous hanging of nine armed Ndebele warriors by the "brutal and savage white settler regime" was worth touring by Mnangagwa then various Gukurahundi sites equally deserve the same.

Are our people, particularly the youth, supposed to be inspired by such genocidecommemorating monuments so as to defend our democracy, rights, and dignity as a nation?

Are we not supposed to be galvanised to ensure the reincarnation of imperialism must never be allowed again in our country?

History can only make sense when it is told in its truth since any attempts to doctor it distorts the facts.

Le us tell our true Zimbabwean story.

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Tendai Ruben Mbofana is a social justice activist, author, and speaker. He writes here in his personal capacity.

Source - newsday
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