1983 – The Dark Years: New play highlights Gukurahundi atrocities

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By Showbiz Reporter

HARARE: Theatre in the Park will, from May 30 to June 2, be showing a play on the Gukurahundi atrocities committed by the Zimbabwean army against the people of Matabeleland in the 1980’s.

Written by Bhekimusa Moyo and directed by Adrian Moyo, the play, 1983- The Dark Years, seeks to bring the emotive issue to the fore while at the same time fostering national dialogue that could lead to true reconciliation.

The play’s cast includes Kukhanyakwenkosi “Ganja” Mnkandla, Proficiency Kadder, Webson “Mandoza” Zenda, Adrian Musa, Nesisa “Jackie Ndlovu and Stanford Nkomo.

Rooftop Producer/Director, Daves Guzha said, as artists, they were interested in issues that help build the nation, hence their bringing the Gukurahundi debate to the forefront.

“The Gukurahundi issue has hardly been debated as a national issue,” he said.

“For us in theatre, we see our role as that of facilitating the debate for such subject matter. We are interested in subject matter which pushes nation building.”

The story of the Gukurahundi atrocities has never been debated in Zimbabwe, with the authorities choosing to keep the issue under wraps despite loud calls by people from the Matabeleland region and human rights groups to have the issue discussed and resolved.

Between 1983 and 1987, more than 20,000 thousand civilians, mostly Ndebele’s in the Matabeleland and Midlands regions, who former President Robert Mugabe described as “dissidents”, were massacred by the North Korea-trained Fifth Brigade of the Zimbabwe National Army.