The ANC owes a great debt to the victims of Gukurahundi in Zimbabwe. From 30 July-3 August 1967, The "Luthuli Detachment", comprising ANC and Zimbabwe African People's Union (ZAPU guerrillas), crossed the Zambezi river into Southern Rhodesia (the present Zimbabwe) and engaged joint Rhodesian and South African troops at the start of the Wankie and Sipolio battles, which raged until late 1968. The two sister liberation organisations put up a heroic fight that turned the tide of the war of liberation. The bond between the ANC and ZAPU was sealed with blood as Umkhonto weSizwe under the excellent leadership of the late selfless Chris Hani combined with ZPRA and dealt a mortal blow to the enemy in the Sipolio campaign. These were true Pan-African liberation movements that were driven by a genuine desire to uplift the standards of living of African compatriots.
After independence apartheid South Africa conspired with ZANU -PF to embark on a genocidal campaign against ZAPU supporters. Had Zimbabwe gained independence under ZAPU, the ANC was guaranteed unlimited support as ZAPU and ANC were comrades in arms. The apartheid regime trembled at the prospects of a free Zimbabwe providing military bases for Umkhonto wesizwe. In fact there is strong evidence that the so-called arms caches which were used as a pretext for the annihilation of Matabeleland through a tribal genocide belonged to Umkhonto wesizwe. It is therefore important for the ANC to stand with the genocide survivors for sacrificing their blood for the liberation of South Africa. The people of Matabeleland suffered ostracization and genocide partly due to the hatred that ZANU-PF had for the ANC. This hatred can be seen in the derogatory insults that President Nelson Mandela suffered under the regime of Mugabe. Mugabe is the God father of Gukurahundi which was a ruthless tribal campaign against an unarmed civilian whose devilish climax was the ripping open of pregnant women to remove dissidents.
The ANC cannot remain silent. It cannot pretend that the 20000 ZAPU supporters who were slaughtered in cold blood have no meaning to the independence of South Africa. This is were Julius Malema beats the ANC as forthright and fearless leader. While political correctness demands silence, the righteousness indignation of the ANC demands that it makes a stand for all those who supported it and paid the ultimate price. It is therefore important for the ANC to make an official pronouncement on Gukurahundi partly as it was also a victim. By dismantling ZAPU structures and collaborating with apartheid South Africa, ZANU-PF was attacking the liberation agenda fronted by the ANC.
The victims of Gukurahundi look up to the independent South Africa to remember their travails and pain as they endured the killing fields of Matabeleland. Botswana offered refuge to the former ZPRA guerrillas who were being hunted down like dogs with rabies. Botswana was the sanctuary for the tortured souls of the freedom fighters who were demobilised and then slaughtered as It is likely that some ANC members were killed during Gukurahunudi as most of them were in Matabeleland. This not even the point. The point is that ANC and ZAPU alliance was part of the bitterness that suffocated ZANU-PF into genocidal jealousy. The former ZPRA combatants had their properties and farms confiscated by the greedy and cruel ZANU-PF. The fact that ZANLA combatants were in hiding during the better part of the war enraged the cowardly ZANU-PF Government into destroying all records that prices that ZPRA had single handedly delivered independence. Maybe the ANC Government may consider a special dispensation for the people of Matabeleland. The ANC Government can also contribute to the funding of the Matabeleland Zambezi Water project. Such a gesture in memory of Chris Hani would be greatly appreciated. In fact it would be symbolic as the pipeline passes through most of the areas were ZPRA and Umkhonto wesizwe fought pitched battles against fascists and racists. As we say "Isongo elilodwa kalikhencizi.". May the ANC Government consider this humble request from the Gukurahundi survivors.
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