There is no question about Matabeleland past, it did happen; our concern is its misrepresentation, the Matabeleland history which is now effectively a version of past events as decided and agreed upon in Harare. We have yet to write our own history because we are not in control of the systems that determine what constitutes history in Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe’s history is disproportionately kind to ZANU PF and Mashonaland because it is written by ZANU PF and its ethnic Shona allies drawing from their selective memory. The history is quite simply a set of lies agreed upon in Mashonaland; it is a falsified account that turns past ethnic Shona thieves into historical heroes and creates dissidents out of heroes of liberty. It elevates the unimportant brought about by mostly fools in ZANU PF and relegates to the margins all perceived opponents.
Zimbabwean university campuses and publishing houses cannot be entrusted with writing our history because many of the scholars from Mashonaland are rather emotionally distant from the realities of Matabeleland’s experiences of the Zimbabwean ‘independence’ to date. This evident emotional detachment is not driven by a genuine desire for objectivity but an outcome of unfortunate political ideals grounded on tribal myopia.
It is only a ZANU PF orientated narrative that would unashamedly describe Gukurahundi atrocities as ‘…a moment of madness…’ instead of a crime against humanity. The saddest reality of Zimbabwean politics is the number of ethnic Shona individuals and scholars who are conveniently choosing not to remember Gukurahundi atrocities for what they were in the process risking a repeat of the same.
Let us not continue being trapped in history and history being trapped in us. Matabeleland does need to take control of the production of its history not because we want to remain in the past but out of the necessity to ensure we do not live it again.
We cannot keep mute for the fear of victimisation; fear of ZANU PF agents of darkness cannot justify oppression of free speech. Technology is on our side, we can now readily preserve our past and publish our history in the format that identifies with our convictions for this generation and generations to come.
In conclusion, let me point out that we can and we must take control of our past and our history. Our history is our responsibility. We want it recorded that the greatest tragedy of our Zimbabwean experience was not only the State sanctioned butcher of innocent Matabele civilians by the Fifth brigade but the appalling silence of the civilised World.
Thompson, D. (2014) World News 14 August 2014, Erased History, photo tampering throughout time, memory manipulation, twisted historical manipulation: who and why? Illumamti …[Online]. Available at https://douglasleethompson.wordpress.com/2014/08/14/world-news-14-august-2014-erased-history-photo-tampering-throughout-time-memory-manipulation-twisted-historical-manipulation-who-and-why-illumamti/ (Accessed 14/03/16).