THE Gukurahundi massacres, that claimed an estimated 20 000 lives, are a national tragedy that should not be reduced to a regional issue, a senior member of the Christian Alliance of Zimbabwe has said.
BY KHANYILE MLOTSHWA
Ray Motsi was speaking on Saturday at a service organised by pressure group, Ibhetshu LikaZulu to mark the beginning of the Gukurahundi atrocities in January 1983 and console the surviving victims of the atrocities and those who lost their relatives.
Motsi said Gukurahundi was more tragic because, “a government-sponsored by people’s taxes tried to destroy another tribe in the country”.
“Until Gukurahundi has been made a national tragedy and has been memorialised, we will not have moved an inch towards progress,” he said.
“I came from the UK in 1986 happy to come home. I was told to go to the Theological College, at that time along Lobengula Street [Bulawayo]. When I got here [Bulawayo] and tried to speak to people, I realised there was a problem.
“In the coming years, I asked questions and people began to tell me all these things about Gukurahundi. I couldn’t believe it, I asked myself how could that happen, yet we have not heard about it.
“When my work took me to rural areas, I was confronted by the truth, the truth of Gukurahundi I could not run away from. I have spent over five years doing research on Gukurahundi. I did a PhD thesis with the University of Pretoria on what happened and how it happened.”
Motsi said what was encouraging was that the Ndebele people, who were battered by the Fifth Brigade, were each day finding their voice to comprehend what happened and to express themselves.
“The Ndebele were victims in the 1980s, but today are survivors. Some people thought that Gukurahundi would wipe out the Ndebele people. But here you are,” he said.
“This is God’s work and God’s promise to you, that someday you will rise again. No one will come from the east to do things for you. If there must be a difference here in Matabeleland, then it is God’s promise that He, will raise people here to stand up, speak out and be the change wished for in this region,” he said.
Motsi said the people of Matabeleland had no reason to look up to political elites and expect a solution from them because they were complicit in the Gukurahundi genocide.
“Perpetrators have no moral high ground over their victims,” he continued.
“Never look up to them and expect that they will tell us the way forward. They were wrong. They will not say anything. They have to sit down and the victims should tell them the way forward.”