Tsholotsho villagers hold Gukurahundi memorial service

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Mbuso Fuzwayo

BY SILAS NKALA

VILLAGERS in Gombalume, Tsholotsho, held a Gukurahundi memorial service last week where the victims were encouraged to share their experiences with the young to ensure the mass killings are not forgotten.

Tsholotsho is one of the districts worst affected by the 1980s mass killings which left an estimated
20 000 people dead in the Matabeleland and Midlands regions.

The killings ended in 1987 with the signing of the Unity Accord between Zanu PF and PF Zapu.

Ibhetshu LikaZulu co-ordinator Mbuso Fuzwayo said the memorial service was organised in partnership with the local community.

“The event was used as an opportunity to share memories among community members and to transfer memory of the genocide to young people, awareness on the rights of victims and survivors and the obligations of perpetrators. Villagers were also briefed on the international best practices on the handling of crimes such as the Gukurahundi genocide,” Fuzwayo said.

There has been no official acknowledgement of the atrocities by government, with the late President Robert Mugabe only describing the killings as “a moment of madness”.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa has opened public debate on the emotive issue, meeting traditional leaders and Matabeleland civic groups to map the way forward for finding redress.

It was resolved that traditional leaders would lead the process.

In February, Ibhetshu LikaZulu conducted a Gukurahundi memorial at the Bhalagwe mass grave site, coinciding with the National Youth Day held in honour of Mugabe on his birthday.

Critics have expressed concern over the slow pace in finding closure to the killings as victims and perpetrators die due to old age or other health complications and accidents.

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