Govt bans Gukurahundi exhibition

Maseko has been appearing in court since March after he was arrested for mounting an exhibition on the massacres at the Bulawayo Art Gallery.

He was accused of undermining President Robert Mugabe’s authority and spreading falsehoods.

Vote Thebe, the director of the gallery has also been summoned to appear in court on Tuesday on allegations of breaching the Censorship and Entertainment Control Act after he sanctioned Maseko’s exhibition.

In a notice in the government gazette published on Friday, the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Home Affairs Melusi Matshiya said the board of censors had prohibited the showing of “DVD clips with effigies, words and paintings on the walls of the National Art Gallery in Bulawayo by Owen Maseko.”

Matshiya said the board’s decision was based on the SectionS 12 (1), 13 (1) and (2) as well as 14 (3) of the Censorship and Entertainment Act.

The censors said the paintings potray Gukurahundi as a tribally biased event.

“The exhibition at the art gallery in Bulawayo of effigies, paintings and words written on walls potrays the Gukurahundi era as a tribal based even and as such is prohibited,” reads the notice in the government gazette.

Human rights groups say at least 20 000 civilians were killed between  1982 and 1987 after the government deployed the North Korean trained 5th Brigade to fight armed insurgents.

The military campaign was however seen as an attempt to silence supporters of Zapu led by the later Vice President Joshua Nkomo.

Zenzele Ndebele who recently produced a documentary on Maseko’s work of art showed that the government was not serious about the programme of national healing.

“There is no way we can talk about national healing and not talk about Gukurahundi,” he said.