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HomeNews‘Stealing Of Bhalagwe Plaque An Attack On Gukurahundi Victims’

‘Stealing Of Bhalagwe Plaque An Attack On Gukurahundi Victims’

The National Transitional Justice Working Group (NTJWG) has condemned the malicious stealing of a plaque that was unveiled at the Bhalagwe mass grave site in Kezi, Matabeleland South Province on 25 May 2021.

The unveiling was done during a memorial service held in memory of all the people who tragically lost their lives during the Gukurahundi era – a series of civilian massacres carried out by the Zimbabwe National Army from early 1983 to late 1987. The plaque was unveiled by Chief Fuyane with the support of Ibhetshu Likazulu, an NTJWG stakeholder that pursues justice for victims of Gukurahundi.

In a statement, NTJWG said the stealing of the plaque is an attack on survivors of the atrocities.

“(We) condemn this theft and view it as an attack on the memory of the estimated 20 000 people who lost their lives during Gukurahundi, their families and survivors who continue to grapple with the trauma of this excruciating period,” said the organisation.

Since this is not the first time a similar plaque has been removed from the gravesite, NTJWG said it is reflective of the intolerant nature of the country’s politics.

“This theft is particularly concerning as it is the second incident of this nature with the first having occurred in 2018 when a similar plaque at Bhalagwe was destroyed. Back then, villagers consisting of victims, survivors, and families of victims of Gukurahundi atrocities were threatened and warned against participating in erecting similar structures. These incidents are indicative of intolerance and a deliberate effort to rewrite history by erasing the lived experiences of victims and survivors.”

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