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Protestors scribble Gukurahundi graffiti on Byo City Hall; State security agents promptly delete message

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By Bulawayo Correspondent


SECURITY agents Sunday swiftly moved in to erase a Gukurahundi graffiti splattered on the walls of a public toilet situated at Bulawayo City Hall.

The mural believed to have been inscribed on the public toilet walls the previous night, was written against a black with red background with the words “GUKURAHUNDI  20,000 people were killed, Remember 1983-1987, Ndebele are not heroes Cont Mhlanga Rest in Peace,”

The unidentified protestants’ actions come in the wake of a state assisted funeral for the late Mhlanga, who was one of the most revered artists in the country.

The majority of citizens felt Mhlanga deserved national hero status.

By Sunday midday, Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) operatives and the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) officers had swarmed the public toilet and deleted the graffiti.

“The graffiti was erased around lunch time by police and CIO officers. They questioned some nearby vendors if they were aware of the people or person who might have painted the graffiti,” said a flower vendor who sells her wares near the public toilet.

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This is not the first time that unidentified people have written Gukurahundi protest words in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe’s second capital city.

In January this year, some splatter of graffiti was inscribed on the walls of the very same public toilet.

The graffiti which was also in black with red background had the words “Gukurahundi…We will never forget.”

This followed another controversial mural showing King Lobengula intimately holding spirit medium Mbuya Nehanda, an 18th century spirit medium of the Zezuru tribe which was also once painted at the same place.

Bulawayo based activists and political parties have observed that the paintings were manifestation the country has not fully healed after the atrocities, which saw more than 20 000 civilians killed and injured in the Midlands and Matebeleland provinces by the North Korean trained soldiers soon after independence.

“People are now resorting to clandestinely drawing these paintings because they are not free to talk about Gukuraundi. Past dark history like Gukurahundi can only be closed if people are free to talk about it especially artists who should be allowed to mount exhibitions on the subject,” said Citizens for Coalition Change (CCC) Bulawayo spokesperson, Swithern Chiroodza.

While President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration has opened dialogue on the Gukurahundi massacres, the move has been described as insincere and deceitful.