October 19, 2017 / comments : 0
A Bulawayo pressure group, Ibhetshu likaZulu, has announced plans to hold a memorial service for victims of the infamous Gukurahundi massacres at Bhalagwe in Maphisa this weekend, despite cancellation of similar events by police since 2011.
The group's secretary-general, Mbuso Fuzwayo, said police in Matabeleland South province have been notified of the event and were yet to respond.
"Ibhetshu likaZulu will be at Bhalagwe, where we will have a memorial prayer, in memory of those who died during the Matabeleland genocide on October 21 at Maphisa, Bhalagwe," he said.
The event would run under the theme: 'Dispossessed in Life and Dishonoured in Death: Bhalagwe Victims Remembered 2017.'
The police were notified, but hadn't responded by the time of writing.
Fuzwayo said the programme will comprise a prayer, music, sermons, and solidarity messages from different organisations and testimonies from survivors.
Bhalagwe is a mass grave where hundreds, if not thousands, of people were reportedly killed or buried alive by the North Korea-trained Fifth Brigade soldiers during the genocide.
At least 20 000 people from Midlands and Matabeleland regions were allegedly killed during the Gukurahundi era, as President Robert Mugabe cracked down on perceived former PF Zapu dissidents. The bulk of the victims were Ndebele-speaking civilians.
Mugabe has since described the massacres as a "moment of madness", but declined to publicly apologise or compensate the victims.
The issue has remained a sore in the affected regions, with survivors demanding compensation and closure of the matter.
Several civil rights groups have pressured the government to acknowledge the atrocities, with the secessionist Mthwakazi Liberation Front lobbying for the Gukurahundi mourning day in July 2011.-Online. LOCAL
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