June 3 2018 – THE new administration of President Emmerson Mnangawa has finally allowed aplay that was banned by Robert Mugabe about a 1980s government crackdown in which rights groups say 20,000 civilians were killed to be performed in Zimbabwe for the first time.
The play, “1983, The Dark Years”, was stopped by the censors in 2012 but following November’s de facto army coup against Mugabe, its director feels political freedoms are improving.
The now president, Mnangagwa, was Mugabe’s security minister at the time and many say he played a big role during the Gukurahundi massacres — making the play’s airing, just months after he took power, even more significant.
“We, as a theatre group thought it is the right time to try and trigger this kind of debate whereby we need the nation to actually know what happened because as we speak the nation is divided by this term (Gukurahundi),” director and actor Adrian Musa, told Reuters after the show.
The massacres began after Mugabe said his government had discovered weapons hidden by former liberation fighters belonging to PF-ZAPU led by his rival Joshua Nkomo, whom he accused of plotting an insurgency.
In the local Shona language, Gukurahundi means “the early rain that washes away the chaff“.
“This is a very sensitive issue and where we come from in Matabeleland if you term the word Gukurahundi people will start raising their eyebrows to see who is talking,” Musa said. -TimesLive