Sad tale of a traumatised Zimbabwe boy

IT was 1984, in a small mining town in the Midlands province of Zimbabwe. A small boy in grade five, aged 11 years, was crying, frightened and praying, whilst hiding under a bed in a dark room.



, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif”>He was crying and frightened because the rowdy people who were singing, dancing and marching outside – at nearly midnight – had been going around the town burning down houses.


These people were Zanu PF youths that had been burning down houses and property that belonged to Ndebele-speaking people in the town, accusing them of being the opposition PF-Zapu supporters.


The boy even witnessed the body of a Ndebele-speaking man who had been tied onto a railway line and was subsequently crushed by a train during the night.


He was praying because he was of Shona ethnicity, and was begging God to make Zanu PF win in the following year’s parliamentary election, as a win for PF-Zapu could mean retaliation by Ndebeles, and as a Shona he was afraid that his family could be killed.


Such was the scenario in 1984, and I was that boy.


Of course, the elections came and went and Zanu PF won.


In 1987, the two parties signed a Unity Accord, but the trauma that I had experienced as a child was to be re-lived some years down the line.


Between 2000 and 2002, I was to witness the burning down of more houses belonging to opposition supporters by Zanu PF youths.


However, this time around, instead of a dead body, I witnessed people being beaten up and left for dead.


This year, my misfortunes in witnessing traumatic experiences continued with Operation Murambatsvina (Clean-out rubbish).


I witnessed houses being razed to the ground, whilst fathers, mothers and their children wept uncontrollably.


I have at least four families of my relatives who have been living in the open since June, exposed to the vagaries of the weather – including the persistent rains, no sanitary and health facilities, shelter or food.


The children are not going to school and are constantly sick.


Having been a witness to Zanu PF atrocities for so long and from a tender age, why is the world still sitting by and debating whether there are human rights violations in Zimbabwe or not?


Who are these people who call themselves academics who appear on national television talking about cultural and media imperialism? Forget about what the transnational news agencies, private media, academics and politicians are saying.


I might not know much about the real reasons why our country’s inflation is one of the highest in the world, why the people of Zimbabwe are starving, and why there is a shortage of nearly every essential commodity.


I do not know why US president George W Bush and UK premier Tony Blair are so interested in our country.


I cannot even tell who was more cruel: President Robert Mugabe, Adolf Hitler, Josef Stalin or Saddam Hussein, because I was not a first-hand witness to these other men’s so-called cruelty.


Nevertheless, what I know – as a witness – is that Mugabe has failed us, and action has to be taken today to remove him from power and bring him to justice.


Simbarashe Mutasa,

Kwekwe.