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South Africa Artistes Take on Zimbabwe's 5 Brigade Atrocities

  • Sithandekile Mhlanga

"Signing the unity accord:" In 1987, after years of violence against supporters, Joshua Nkomo (Zimbabwe African People�s Union, ZAPU) signed an accord for a unity government with Mr Mugabe. Maseko depicts this moment with blood pouring onto Nkomo's cowed

"Signing the unity accord:" In 1987, after years of violence against supporters, Joshua Nkomo (Zimbabwe African People�s Union, ZAPU) signed an accord for a unity government with Mr Mugabe. Maseko depicts this moment with blood pouring onto Nkomo's cowed

Gukurahundi atrocities that reportedly claimed the lives of over 20,000 lives in the Midlands and Matabeleland provinces between 1983 and 1987 have attracted a group of young South Africans who are set to dramatize the events in a play entitled Uloyiko (Fear Us), at Hillbrow Theatre in Johannesburg on June 25th this month.

The group, which has since launched a fund appeal to cover expenses for the play says the purpose is to “... get the voices of the dead victims that are crying for help beyond their indecent graves, and voices of the surviving traumatized victims to be heard…”

Some artistic work done by Owen Maseko on Gukurahundi was deemed offensive by the government.

Some artistic work done by Owen Maseko on Gukurahundi was deemed offensive by the government.

Script-writer, Yanga Mhluzi said historical ties between Matabeleland and South Africa compelled the group to stage the play.

The government deployed the Five Brigade in Matabeleland and Midlands province to crackdown on so-called dissidents, which it linked to then PF Zapu leader Joshua Nkomo.

Nkomo denied any links with the dissidents saying they were a deliberate creation by the state to clampdown on his supporters in the two regions.

The brigade was trained by North Korean military officers and is believed to have operated almost outside the command of General Solomon Mujuru.

President Robert Mugabe once described the Five Brigade atrocities as "a moment of madness" but has never apologized to relatives of the victims.

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