Play takes Gukurahundi head-on


The Gukurahundi play, 1983 The Years Before and After was finally staged on Friday evening at the Bulawayo Theatre after police had made attempts to thwart the staging of the show during the week.

The police had banned the performance by Gwanda-based Jahunda Community Theatre group without any reasons for their actions.

However on Wednesday, Bulawayo magistrate Tancy Dube ruled that the arts group should be allowed to stage the drama in line with the organisation’s right to freedom of association and assembly as guaranteed in section 20 of the Constitution.

Journalists from both the private and public media thronged the venue to watch the show that has received rave reviews. The performance started just after 6pm and the cast received a standing ovation.

The soldiers depicted in the play wearing black tops, khaki pants and red berets, are a stark reminder of the North Korea-trained soldiers that massacred thousands of innocent civilians in Matabeleland and Midlands provinces in an operation ostensibly meant to “wipe out dissidents”.

Incidents such as assault of villagers including the elderly as well as the rape of women are captured in the play.

The cast however puts the horrific incidents in a comic way and the audience drowns the theatre in laughter.

1983 The Years Before and After is a play meant to foster peace and reconciliation after years of political conflict in Zimbabwe.