‘Matabele Rising’: Joshua Nkomo inspires book on separation of Matebeleland from Zimbabwe

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By Staff Reporter

THE quest by the people of Matabeleland to have a separate state has been brought alive by a new book by United Kingdom-based author David Hilton Barber and backed by material collected by former an aide to the late vice president Joshua Nkomo.

The book features a unique collection documents, reports, correspondence and analyses of the history of the Matabele people from their occupation of the territory in the mid-19th century until recent times written by the late Father Zimbabwe, Joshua Nqabuko Nkomo.

And what makes the book extraordinary, according to Barber, is the fact that most of the literature by the late former Vice President is finally being released to the public for first time.

“Matebele Rising is a collection of original documents compiled by Ernest Mtunzi, who was assistant to the late Nkomo, and is set to answer a number of questions that have been asked over the years on whether the people Matabeleland, for long consistently denied their basic rights, should be granted the right to their own representation in Zimbabwe,” said Barber.

“It’s a divide that has lasted decades. The Government of Zimbabwe will not concede to the separation of Zimbabwe, and this only serves to exacerbate the plight. As a new book by David Hilton-Barber proves, the answers may in fact lay in the work of the late Joshua Nkomo.

“There is simply no need for the conflict between Shona and the Ndebele to continue. However, if the nation is to move forward, it has to look to its past. This book is that starting block.”

The book seeks to establish whether the division of the country into two federal states, Mashonaland and Mtwakazi (Matabeleland) given the reluctance of the government of to concede to the separation as evidenced by the Gukurahundi genocide of the 1980’s, which saw thousands of Ndebele people massacred by the army.

The book speaks to the need for negotiation under the auspices of an independent body of the United Nations, and argues that Matabeleland is bigger than Sierra Leone, Liberia, Malawi, Lesotho, Swaziland, Togo, Guinea Bissau, Rwanda, Burundi, Eritrea and Djibouti, all found in Africa, and all full members of both the African Union and the United Nations.

“This book presents a compelling case for a resolution of the simmering conflict between the Shona and the Ndebele,” added the publishers.

Hilton Barber has written dozens of books based on real life experiences told through the characters living at the time and has covered a variety of topics among the early pioneers of the Cape, the romance of the desert, the history of the Lowveld and the intriguing story of the first gold rush in Southern Africa, to biographies and short stories.

Born in Grahamstown, South Africa, Hilton Barber is a holder of a BA Honours degree from Rhodes University and is a trained journalist, following   in the footsteps of his maternal great-grandfather Frederick York St Leger, founder and first editor of the Cape Times.