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Ibhetshu Likazulu position on Bhalagwe memorial site

06 Dec 2018 at 08:23hrs | Views
The unfolding events around Bhalagwe memorial site have become very grave, painful and divisive such that as Ibhetshu Likazulu we cannot remain silent on the matter. Firstly, I would like to express our deep shock and revulsion at the vandalization of a memorial erected in honour of the fallen heroes of the liberation war. It is unbelievable and definitely not part of our customs and respect for the memory of the dead to violate their memory and honour as witnessed by the cowardly vandalism.

Those not familiar with the history and contradictions within our Matabeleland region may be forgiven to assume that there is competition between the memory of the war of liberation and that of Gukurahundi victims. The truth is that the same communities that lost sons and daughters for the liberation of this country are the same victim communities that lost defenceless men, women and children including the unborn who were ripped from their mothers wombs. To us, as Ibhetshu Likazulu and I believe the same applies to the victimized communities as well, there is no difference in remembering those who perished during the war of liberation and those who perished under the cruel sword of Gukurahundi. All were our beloved relatives who should not have died in the first place.

Our enemies, and they are many, have attempted to sow division amongst our communities by giving priority to liberation war victims and trivializing Gukurahundi victims. For the affected communities, the pain is for both and no memory is superior to the other. Part of our peace building as Ibhetshu Likazulu has been healing the memories of the painful past including the wounds of the liberation war and the Gukurahundi era. Hence, we have commemorated the Heroes Day and conducted lectures in honour of our liberation icons who happen to be conveniently forgotten by the authorities and mainstream media. We have faced the reality of our history without fear or favour, whether the villain was the Rhodesia soldier or the Zimbabwean one, the death of our people remains painful to us.

When communities from all over Matabeleland and Midlands asked Ibhetshu Likazulu to mark the Bhalagwe memorial site for Gukurahundi victims, they said so for very important reasons. In Bhalagwe, the biggest mass grave in Matabeleland, Zimbabwe and perhaps in the Southern African region, consists of victims taken from all over Ndebele speaking districts of Zimbabwe. Of course, the communities around Maphisa carry the burden of an unacknowledged mass grave in their midst, with some of their disappeared beloved ones too, and it is not easy for these communities. The same communities contributed significantly to the liberation war and every household perhaps have a war veteran. Honouring the contribution of these freedom fighters is in order and even overdue. However, superimposing the liberation legacy over the Gukurahundi sites, is not only un-cultural but insulting to the dignity and memory of the deceased war veterans and the Gukurahundi victims.

As Ibhetshu Likazulu we stand guided by the heroes and heroines of our liberation struggle who in any event were the first targets of Gukurahundi on the memory work for the fallen of our people. It would be the worst betrayal of our people and most the most repulsive act if it were to happen that those who bore the brunt of the liberation war effort were to stand on the way of justice for their very communities. No matter how tempting the silver pieces from the enemy are it surely is unforgivable to sacrifice your own people in the alter of political expediency. History is full of stories of those who have stabbed their own people at the back and their agonizing downfall.   

Lastly, we plead for peace, tolerance and cohesion as we remember the victims at Bhalagwe. The Maphisa communities have suffered long enough and they do not deserve any further problems. We know we are on the side of truth and justice. We shall continue to respect the Bhalagwe site in memory of Gukurahundi victims. This is a pledge we have made to our communities and a pledge that as Ibhetshu Likazulu we shall live to fulfill.

Mbuso Fuzwayo
Secretary-General Ibhetshu Likazulu

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Source - Mbuso Fuzwayo
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