NPRC endorses healing, reconciliation festival

By NQOBANI NDLOVU

THE National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) has endorsed a three-week healing and reconciliation festival being held in Bulawayo as necessary to address past human rights abuses.

Online news publication Centre for Innovation and Technology (Cite) is hosting the festival that seeks to tackle the Gukurahundi issue.

The Asakhe Film Festival themed: In Search of Peace and Justice ends on October 30.

More than three decades later, the legacy of the 1980s mass killings continues to impact on victims.

Speaking during the launch of the film festival on Friday, NPRC commissioner Leslie Ncube commended Cite for the innovation.

“As NPRC is leading in the peace-building process, it is important to appreciate the role being played by Cite’s project which seeks to feature the significance of momentary equity in utilising film,” Ncube said.

The commissioner said film also helped to prevent the recurrence of atrocities such as those committed during Gukurahundi.

“Cite’s use of alternative media platforms to promote dialogue on transitional justice in Zimbabwe with the focus on the past conflict is brilliant.”

Cite director Zenzele Ndebele said the festival intended to highlight the importance of transitional justice using film and testimonies from some of the survivors.

“Truth-telling helps in community healing and preventing the recurrence of past abuses. It also helps identify the necessary reforms that can prevent such violations from happening again,” Ndebele said.

There is a back-forward going on in addressing the Gukurahundi issue, as the government, victims and other stakeholders argue on the processes to follow.

Just last month, Zapu, Ibhetshu likaZulu pressure group and Gukurahundi survivor Charles Thomas took the government to court to protest President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s involvement, arguing that he was conflicted.

The High Court dismissed the matter with costs.

As many as 20 000 people were killed in Matabeleland and Midlands when the late former President Robert Mugabe unleashed the North Korea-trained brigade on supposed dissent to his rule.

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