Why I dream of becoming a human rights lawyer.

For years to come children in Mashonaland would hear their parents recollection of this glorious day Zimbabwe’s independence day, for the Shona speaking people ( Zimbabwe’s major tribe) the independence day celebration was the most glorious event in their tribes history, I believe it should had been for all other tribes but something went terribly wrong.
The children of the minority tribes in Midlands and Matebeland where I grew up (Ndebele, Batonga, Bakalanga and Nambya the stories were never relieved with such vigor.
The events, which were to haunt those of the Midlands / Matebeland, destroyed any good sentiments which the Matebeland people may once had for Mugabe. The history I would learn from my parents as Matebeland kid was decidedly different from that which a Mashonaland born kid would have understood.
The firsthand accounts of the ‘’Gukurahundi’’relieved to me by my parents and village elders was shocking and disturbing, thus formed basics of my resentment for President Robert Mugabe.
Gukurahudi a shona word meaning ‘’ the wind that sweeps away the chaff before the rain’’ is the term given to the 1982 Matebeland/Midlands genocide. On my own enquiry my father a diesel mechanic in Zimbabwe’s second largest city Bulawayo let me know the truth of the terror that was the Gukurahudi.
My son during the time of the genocide, our people suffered far worse a fate that we had under the Ian Smith’s regime ‘’ He said. His words flowed out of him like a river of grief ‘not even during the dark times of the guerrilla wars of the early 70’s did we bear witness to such violence.
Mugabe had his 5th Brigade specially trained by the South Koreans to intimidate and inject fear in the hearts of the Matebeland citizens. The 5th Brigade targeted us men as rural villages were pillaged and it’s where the majority of the province’s population is based therefore it was strategic for Mugabe to place fear in the people’s here. Some men were dragged out of their huts naked and forced have sexually intercourse with their own daughters in full view of other family member s before bullets were sprayed on them by the blood thirst soldiers.
Pregnant women also suffered as they had their stomachs lacerated by military swords ,they were being accused of carrying future enemies of Robert Mugabe, Unlucky mothers with young children were forced to place their own blood into drums of boiling water , afterwards gun pointed to eat to human flesh of their own relatives. None of us were allowed to mourn our dead relatives and friends.
AS a child it seemed impossible to understand why Robert Mugabe could do such a thing. My father explained that for tribe Mugabe and his generals, The Matebeland population were seen as ‘bitter rivals, the grudges incurred in the past had not been forgotten and forgiven by Mugabe and this hatred of the past might had have shaped the way Mugabe viewed us.
The Ndebele tribe which inter -married the already established small tribes on its arrival In Matebeland first arrived in the region in around 1834 when their leader Mzilikazi felt oppressed under Shaka’s rule and fled the Zulu kingdom. Mzilikazi and his followers crossed the famous Limpopo River thus entering into modern Zimbabwe. It is said while Mzilikazi was there his army defeated and conquered Mugabe’s tribe, capturing women and enslaving them, forcefully took the land and forced Mugabe’s tribe to pay tribute to Matebeland. Mugabe’s tribe also had to relocate to the West as the Southern and Northern area of Rhodesia was claimed by the Ndebele king.
Against such a background of tribal conflicts way before, Robert Mugabe wily wished to impose himself against the current Matebeland generation, It was a opportunity for revenge for him at the same time sending out the warning signal to the next Matabeleland generation about the consequences of opposing his authority or raising up against his government in future. White Zimbabweans were also to pay for the atrocities committed by their forefathers against Mugabe’s tribe in a near future.
Why were we so defenseless against Mugabe, I wondered? Why they were no one standing up for us against Mugabe? According to my father’s explanation, Joshua Nkomo leader of (ZAPU) the only party based in Matebeleland trusted his former rival Robert Mugabe to the extent that he agreed to sign a peace accord which saw ZAPU being swallowed by ZANU,and that led there ZANU-PF ‘s birth. This led to Matabeleland being valuable to surprise attacks, even the press feared writing about articles about the tragedy but not all people would be afraid to act, one brave man from our neighboring village Chitamba did, said my father.
He braveness has earned him the hero status in the surrounding villages, he ran to the offices of the offices of the Zimbabwean based London new-papers ‘’ The Guardian and the Observer, in Bulawayo , he told the present journalists that rural, Matebeland had been under siege for the past two days, but the makuwa (white man) did not believe him, as they thought such incidents were history in the modern Zimbabwe no doubt they assumed he was one of those insane people who still have bad memories of the war that ravaged the nation forty months ago.
The journalists threatened the man that they would call the police and that he must vacate their offices but they were shocked when the man told them that it would be better and safer for him to be locked up in custody than facing what was happening at the village, then the journalists realized the man might be telling the reality. Siabuwa having sensed that the white journalist were picking up on his story and that it would rescue his village, to gain more attention he cried (Yena bulala zonke bantu lo village ka mina) they will finish all my people please do something, but the time his second tear drop touched the ground he was surround by several journalists armed with pen and note books.
Although the journalists were convinced with Siabuwa’s story they wanted to take no risks by reporting something unconfirmed, for that reason they promised to carry out an investigation to his claims within forty-eight hours and would publish articles about the tragedy in the Monday morning paper, for Siabuwa and his follower villagers the news from the journalists meant another forty-eight hours hiding from fifth-Brigade.
Even years after I could still sense the fear in my father’s voice as he recounted each detail of this terrible story, when the journalists final arrive and approached us we ran none of us trusted strangers anymore as we had no idea what happening to our country, Independence yesterday, war today and would try anything to avoid becoming victims like our many relatives and friends who where crucified.
Scrambling away, I fell on top of a log and opened up a deep wound to my left leg, despite the wound being so bad I couldn’t go to the clinic in case the fifth –brigade was there waiting for the injured and maimed, However it didn’t take the journalists long to understand what had happened to the people .
The damage sustained to our village made it strikingly clear that Robert Mugabe had embarked on ethnic cleansing. If that wasn’t enough the wails of mothers and the horrific tales retold by children surely was.
Only ‘’The Guardian’’ however published the story about the genocide on the Monday- tea time paper but as soon as the paper reached the supermarkets shelves the author of the article became the most wanted criminal by the authorities, luckily the journalist sensed the danger on time, as the police broke down his front door of apartment, he was having a cup of coffee at another apartment in neighboring Botswana.
It is estimated that the death toll of the gukurahudi genocide ran as high as 18000-20000 with at least a half of victims being children. And up to this day Robert Mugabe that master mind behind the genocide has given no official apology to the survivors, instead he still deny this and label the survivors of his genocide as insane people talking rubbish.
(Please note that this is true life tragedy that happened between 1982- 1986 in Matebeleland and this short story is part of the book I’m writing)

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Why I dream of becoming a human rights lawyer.

  1. Lyennel

    I respect the time and effort you are taking to enlighten humanity on this issues that would normally be kept hidden. Thank you.

    • childmigranttalksafricanpolitics

      Thanks Lyenne I try my best to bring these issues to light and hope you enjoyed reading my blog posts there is more to come

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