‘We cannot reconcile until the past has been acknowledged’: Perspectives on Gukurahundi from Matabeleland, Zimbabwe
Since the Matabeleland massacres in the early 1980s, reconciliation remains unattainable in this region of Zimbabwe. Reasons for this include the fact that survivors of these atrocities have not received the acknowledgement they require from the government. As a result, their perception is that the government has continued to repress them by failing to provide for their needs. More so, the preceding episodes of violence in the region have engendered fear, anxiety and distress among a population that is battling to deal with its past. This article explores the attempts by the government and civil society representatives in the region to facilitate reconciliation and seeks to determine their ability to establish durable peace at the community level. Drawing from fieldwork undertaken in Matabeleland in April 2014, this article describes what the community identifies as central requirements for reconciliation to occur, as against what is provided by the national framework for reconciliation implemented by the government.
Keywords: Gukurahundi, Acknowledgement, Reconciliation, Durable Peace, Matabeleland