I am half Shona and half Ndebele, and I walk both worlds proudly. And so as you begin to read this, never accuse me of being biased or prejudiced towards either, because it will be so much easier for some to find an excuse to dismiss this conversation than to objectively digest its truth.
People will debate what was the cause of Gukurahundi and try condone or condemn what triggered it. But what many objective and intellectually honest people on either side of the debate will acknowledge as true is that between 1983 and 1987, thousands of innocent Ndebele, Zimbabwean citizens were massacred, tortured, beaten and suffered at the hands of Zimbabwe’s Shona-controlled government and military forces.
The fact that this happened, is beyond tragic. What makes it even more of a travesty is that the victims, both living and deceased, have not gotten justice. And even more shocking, is what everybody knows but dare not legislatively or legally address publicly: those who masterminded and orchestrated this dark chapter in Zimbabwe’s early but very recent history, still enjoy power and privilege.
Like many moments in our young country’s history, we have blemishes and scars that have healed, just as we have many gaping wounds that still bleed and are yet to heal: disappearing activists and journalists, violent crackdowns on protests, and more.
Gukurahundi is by far the biggest of all the wounds. A wound our politicians sidestep. A wound some Shona dismiss, and worse off, try justify. And a wound the Ndebele continue to live with. And whether its through prosecution or resignations, reparations or true and reconciliation commissions, a wound that needs to heal.
Be kind and do good,
Sincerely, Kwapi Vengesayi
Kwapi Vengesayi is an Amazon four-time bestselling author and author of Her Name Was Zimbabwe: Finding Hope, Strength, and Courage through the Struggle (2017) Available on Amazon
The most ancient African stories, legends, tales and tidbits of cultural heritage were passed down to us through word of mouth. From generation to generation, the history of our triumphs and failures, hopes and fears were passed down through stories that embraced one of the most important tenets of African oral tradition: every story should have a moral.
Her Name Was Zimbabwe: Finding Hope, Strength and Courage through the Struggle is a touching short story and conversation about Zimbabwe. It is a story that celebrates Zimbabwe’s beauty, while reflecting on her pain—a story about struggle and finding hope, a story about feeling powerless and finding strength.