By Andile Mngxitama
It’s interesting how the white power structure determines our emotions and how we recollect our own suffering. After the Gukurahundi that spanned from 1983 to 1987, the number of Ndebele people murdered was estimated to be around 5000 or so. A large number by any estimate.
The West was then happy when President Robert Mugabe spoke reconciliation. They thought that they had softened him by knighting him and conferring on him numerous medals and recognitions. He was also the recipient of many awards, including human rights awards. In honoring Mugabe they had strategically forgotten about the Gukurahundi.
Come the year 2000! The land return program starts and things change. Mugabe is now a monster. The people who gave him human rights awards now remember the Gukurahundi and up the number of death to 20 000!
Gukurahundi was a horrible inexcusable event. It should have been handled differently. Having said that, we must keep in mind that the South African apartheid regime and Ian Smith were organizing a counter revolution from Matabeleland. They were taking advantage of the tribalism that had affected the liberation movement in Zimbabwe. The apartheid regime had already done it in Angola via Unita; Mozambique via Renamo and South Africa via the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP).
There are important questions still to be answered from a revolutionary point of view about what the available options to stop the counter revolution, really were?
What we must resist is the demonization of Mugabe that is ordered by Britain and the larger global white power structure. They hate Mugabe because he addressed the land question. NO, we won’t be told by them to hate one of our own.
Andile Mngxitama is the President of Black First Land First, a revolutionary black consciousness movement.