Memories of Gukurahundi Massacre and the Challenge of Reconciliation

Keywords: Gukurahundi, violence, memory, reconciliation, Zimbabwe


When Zimbabwe attained her independence from colonial powers in 1980, prospects of a peaceful nation were high, especially following the pledge made by the Prime Minister Elect in his victory speech. Isaiah 2:4b was quoted as a metaphor of peace, but things did not turn out as expected in the following years. The vicious cycle of violence that was inherited from the colonial legacy continued and the worse phase of that cycle was the Midlands and Matabeleland crisis, commonly known as Gukurahundi. Approximately 20 000 people died in the state-sanctioned violence (genocide). Using Cue-Dependent Forgetting Theory, this paper critically appraises possible reasons why the promised bliss through reconciliation did not materialise. Among the reasons cited in this paper are the lack of a serious Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and also the phenomenon of amnesia as the major contributory factors to this cycle of violence.

Author Biography

Isheanesu Gusha, Uiniversity of Pretoria
PhD Student