Gukurahundi survivor to write book about his ordeal

A survivor of the Gukurahundi atrocities Charles Thomas is in search of writers to document what he went through during the mass killings period to ensure the country’s dark past is not distorted.

Thomas, who still bears the scars of Gukurahundi, is also collaborating with other victims to launch a trust representing survivors to push for restorative justice and compensation.

Thomas shows the injuries he sustained during Gukurahundi

Zimbabwe has undergone bouts of human rights abuses dating back to independence but the 1980’s Gukurahundi massacres stands out as the worst after leaving approximately 20 000 civilians dead.

“It (book) is to detail my life history dating back from the time I was arrested, detained and tortured in 1983 and 1984 during the Gukurahundi period. It is my personal experience which I want to document for this and future generations to come,” Thomas said in an interview.

“Our history, our liberation history for example is distorted and it is now up to us the survivors and victims’ to tell the story of what this government put us through.”

Former president Robert Mugabe deployed a North Korean trained Fifth Brigade to Matabeleland to crack down on alleged dissent to his rule in the 1980’s, a period that led to the killing of thousands of civilians, an incident that still haunts Thomas to date.

Thomas who has visible scars of torture by the Fifth Brigade claims he has been having a migraine headache resulting from the sustained beatings by the Fifth Brigade.

“That is the story I want to narrate in my book…the trust we want to launch will also push for restorative justice outside the country, identify mass graves, ensure the sites are fenced and tombstones erected to preserve that history,” Thomas said.

A Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) report into Gukurahundi exposes the extra-judicial killings, multiple rapes of women, and people being burnt alive.

Government once initiated a probe into the Gukurahundi massacres but the findings of the investigation by the Chihambakwe Commission of Inquiry were never made public.

Human rights groups argue President Emmerson Mnangagwa must show sincerity in dealing with Gukurahundi by releasing the Chihambakwe commission of inquiry report.

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