Gukurahundi Atrocities

This page contains written narratives, videos and images that some readers/viewers may find upsetting. However, if we are to understand the Matabeleland grievances and politics today, we cannot ignore the Gukurahundi atrocities as they underpin the independent Zimbabwe politics.

Gukurahundi is a Shona term that loosely translates to “the early rain which washes away the chaff before the spring rains“. This genocidal act’s political aim was to eliminate all perceivable threat from Matabeleland as an entity, block any prospects of a multi-party democracy and more importantly turn Shona creed into law within the width and breadth of Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe’s independence has been nothing short of a social, economic and political disaster for not only the majority of its citizens but also the neighbouring states who have had to deal with its economic and political migrants.

Significantly, unlike the rest of the modern-day Zimbabwe, Matabeleland’s suffering under the present regime started well before the late 1990s; Matabeleland’s entire experience of Zimbabwean independence has been horrific, with the worst period being the early 1980s when an ethnic Shona dominated government sort to assert its authority over its old adversary that is Matabeleland.

Between 1983 and 1984 law-abiding Matabeles were herded into remote sites where they were killed in cold blood by a ZANU PF specialist military unit.

Matabeleland civilians killed by the 5th Brigade

Exhumed bodies of Gukurahundi victims

Bodies on murdered Matabele civilians.

Bodies of Matabeleland civilians murdered in the State sanctioned operation.

The extra-judicial killings of Matabeleland nationals for nothing other than not being ethnic Shona became the main feature of the period. The operation codenamed Gukurahundi was brutally conducted by the North Korean trained Fifth Brigade (a military unit created outside the main armed forces and drawn, exclusively, from ethnic Shona young men) resulted in the death of at least 20,000 mainly ethnic Ndebele civilians.

We need to be loud, clear and consistent in our rejection of the fallacious view that Gukurahundi was a somewhat innocent security operation gone wrong. This was a planned murder operation; to remove any remaining doubt of State direct involvement in the Gukurahundi operation, the map below shows State enforced curfew zones in 1983 and 1984 that coincided with the operations of the murderous Fifth Brigade.Zimbabwe imposed curfew zones

Grossly disappointing has been the convenient silence (that almost amounts to a tacit approval of the atrocities) of the so-called civilised, mature democracies of the West about that brutality. The United Nations (UN) has proven to be an irrelevant institution that is run for and by interests of the rich and powerful nations in the globe. The Gukurahundi atrocities and the lives of Matabeles did not matter in the 1980s because ZANU PF and President Robert Mugabe, who protected British interests in the country (a former British colony), were the approved political allies of the British government of the time.

The documentary below gives further gruesome insight into the Gukurahundi crimes against humanity in the early 1980s.

(Warning! Video contains scenes some people may find disturbing)

Further evidence of sickening and dehumanising Matabele experiences of the Zimbabwean independence exposed in the video below (Warning! Video contains scenes that some people may find disturbing)

Mr Ian Smith, former Prime Minister of Rhodesia (pre-independent Zimbabwe), shares his candid views (below) during the Gukurahundi barbarism

The gruesome evidence of ZANU PF-sanctioned massacre of Matabele civilians in Matabeleland is detailed in the video below (Warning! Not suitable for people of nervous disposition)

Uploaded by Mabonakude (2007)

Below is further evidence of Gukurahundi atrocities (crimes against humanity) once described by President Robert Mugabe as ‘…a moment of madness…’ but, whose madness was it? This is the question Mugabe has not been prepared to deal with, yet it is the question Matabeleland wants answered before any real reconciliation can be considered.

ZANU PF and Mugabe are not prepared to disclose the findings of inquiries they set up. Indeed we are none the wiser three decades into this ‘independence’ delusion.

Uploaded by Mabonakude (2008) (Warning! Video contains scenes that some people may find disturbing)

Attempts to justify the Zimbabwean government’s early 1980s illegal military operation as a legal act in self-defence against dissidents lack credence as the case for Matabele dissident existence was not and has not been proven by the ZANU PF led government.

Uploaded by Mabonakude (N.D.)

Click here to access the online version of The Guardian Newspaper (a British publication) link that points at the direct State involvement in the extra-judicial killings of Matabeles in Matabeleland in 1983/4.

The moral codes, ethical values and laws guiding the expectations of the Zimbabwean regime are a reflection of unrestricted authority and political iniquities that have hampered political progress and brought most African states to a halt.

Now that we have evidence, a better informed comprehension of the Gukurahundi atrocities and a greater confidence in the Zimbabwean State’s direct involvement we cannot remain silent; silence is the best way of empowering bullies; we need to educate the next generation; knowledge will inevitably lead to an increased desire to protect the innocent Matabeles. We must not despair, whatever the circumstances there is a way out!

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