There was a sombre moment at Bulawayo theatre on Friday evening when the first Gukurahundi theatre play in the country was performed in public.
On Monday police here had banned the Gwanda-based Jahunda Community Theatre group’s public performance of the Gukurahundi play without giving any reasons. They threatened with arrest its leader Bhekimusa Moyo and other group members with arrest.
But the Gukurahundi play was finally showcased on Friday evening after Bulawayo magistrate on Wednesday Magistrates Tancy Dube lifted the ban saying that police should not disturb or interfere in any way with the drama performance.
More than 200 people attended the show and some dropped tears when the actors showcased how the 5th Brigade soldiers maimed, raped and butchered innocent people of Matebeleland and Midlands provinces accusing them of being Zapu dissidents in the early 1983.
Addressing the gathering after the show, Moyo the writer of the Gukurahundi play said he was inspired by the love of truth and peace and also wanted the truth to be told about Zimbabwe’s history.
“The play is written to show what happened in the past because we can’t live without talking about the past. We have to create a peacefully Zimbabwe and we don’t want our bad past to be repeated. We don’t want people to be killed again,” said Moyo.
Moyo said the Gukurahundi play will be taken to most parts of Zimbabwe.
In 1982, President Mugabe’s Zanu PF in pursuit of a one party state sought help from North Korea to train the infamous Five Brigade soldiers. The brigade was deployed in the Midlands and Matabeleland regions in an operation code named Gukurahundi.
For about five years, the Five Brigade massacred innocent civilians using the propaganda excuse that there had been insurgency in the Zapu strongholds. Innocent civilians estimated at up to 20 000 were killed while thousands disappeared.
They were buried in mass graves while some were thrown in disused mines.President Robert Mugabe has refused to apologise for the killings although the Zimbabwean leader has called the crackdown a “moment of madness.”