Gukurahundi seeks to eclipse Intwasa

BULAWAYO - A documentary which explores the post-independence political disturbances in the Matabeleland and Midlands provinces is set to be showcased here during the Intwasa Arts Festival, as the number of activists and artists trying to get closure on the massacres increase in the post-Mugabe era.

Titled Gukurahundi Genocide 36 Years Later and put together by journalist Zenzele Ndebele, the documentary will premiere on September 29 at a local hotel, where it is set to attract huge crowds.

Surprisingly, the documentary will showcase on the same day with another controversial play 1983: The Dark Years written by Bhekumusa Moyo and directed by Adrian Musa.

The play exhibits the cruel nature in which the Gukurahundi atrocities unfolded in the post-independence disturbances that have been widely-condemned across the globe.

Ndebele told Southern News that he came up with the initiative so as to give the younger generation a clear picture of what might have happened during the internationally condemned atrocities which left an estimated over 20 000 dead.

“There are lots of questions that are being asked about Gukurahundi, what caused it, was it planned, were there dissidents, were there really arms caches and who was involved,” Ndebele said.

“The history that was told, does it represent the history of what happened? This story tries to answer some of those questions,” he said.

Ndebele said while partly trying to capture the truth of what happened, he also interviewed some people who survived the atrocities.

“We visited some of those victims and asked whether 36 years later, if they are still bitter over what happened, did they receive any assistance?”

He, however, said he was forced to come up with the documentary after realising that he did not do justice to his 2008 documentary on the same subject titled Gukurahundi — A Moment of Madness.

“This is a project I have done over the years, I started talking about Gukurahundi around 2006 that led me to produce the documentary in 2008. So over the years, as I looked back I realised there were some issues that were talked about that I didn’t include in the first story so I had to revisit it.”

Ndebele further said when coming with the project, he had the younger generation in mind.

“It is important for the younger generation to realise that there are some things that went wrong in the past that need to be corrected and Gukurahundi is one of them.”

“We can never understand that history of Zimbabwe, unless and until we go back and see where it all went wrong. We cannot dispute that we have a lot of tribalism in Zimbabwe and some of it stems from Gukurahundi,” he said.

He added: “Those who masterminded Gukurahundi had issues they thought they were addressing so the important thing is for us to understand our history.”

Ndebele said there was need for closure on the genocide as the only way to have the nation unite in peace.

… as Ndebele is summoned by police

BULAWAYO - Author of the Gukurahundi documentary — Gukurahundi Genocide 36 Years Later — Zenzele Ndebele was on Monday summoned by police over the project that is deemed to be carrying inflammatory information.

The documentary is set to premiere at the end of this month during the Intwasa Arts Festival.

Ndebele, a seasoned journalist based in the second largest city, confirmed the new development to Southern News.

“I was invited for questioning by the police yesterday (Monday) and they were interested in the contents of my documentary,” Ndebele said.

“They were about eight of them who included members of the CIO, Law and Order and those from other security agencies in an interrogation that lasted for over 30 minutes,” he said.

“They actually requested for a copy. They told me that they had information that my documentary contained something that is not fit for public consumption which may incite public violence,” he said.

Ndebele said he turned their demands down as he felt it was unlawful and uncalled for.

“I didn’t agree to their demands as that effectively meant that they had usurped the powers of the Censorship Board which has a duty tocontrol films and other pieces of art,” he said.

The Censorship Board is responsible for the regulation and control of the public exhibition of films.

The Board was established in terms of the archaic and repressive Censorship and Entertainment Controls Act.

Meanwhile, Misa Zimbabwe has condemned the move by the police saying it was an affront to the freedom of expression.

“Misa Zimbabwe urges the government of Zimbabwe to uphold the Constitution of the country through respecting the right to freedom of expression and access to information.”

However, Ndebele took a swipe at President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government which he accused of double standards.

“Why do we then have what they call national healing yet they are not ready for issues like Gukurahundi to be discussed openly?

“How then is it going to be possible unless they tell us these issues will be discussed in closed dark rooms?” he asked.

Asked what will be his next step in case the Censorship Board chips in, Ndebele said: “I have nothing to worry about, the showcase of the documentary is going ahead. As for the Board, I will be waiting for it.”

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