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Shona/ Ndebele ethnic rivalry needs to be addressed

By Bronwen Dachs in Cape Town
South Africa (CNS) -- For the "cycle of violence, humiliation, oppression and exploitation" in Zimbabwe to stop, the truth about the country's violence needs to be told and the rival between Shona and Ndebele needs to be addressed, said Zimbabwe's Catholic bishops in Cape Town.

The bishops said Zimbabwe "is deeply divided" politically and, besides having conflict between different racial groups, its painful history includes "hurtful memories from ethnic rivalry" between the Shona and Ndebele people.

"We, as leaders of the church, are committed to helping this country achieve
normalcy," they said.

"We recommend that there be open and public admission that violence has been
part of our life and history," the bishops said, noting that "victims need to tell their stories in a free and supportive environment" and perpetrators "need to take responsibility for their sins."

In an Oct. 1 pastoral letter on national healing and reconciliation, the bishops said "the church is prepared to offer the mechanism" and to "play a significant role not only in healing and cohesion but also in the much-needed reconciliation."

They said those who have used their positions of power "to direct, command, plan or directly commit acts of violence should not be allowed to hold any public office" that could be used to perpetrate further violence.

"For national reconciliation and healing to take place effectively, it is necessary that the entire nation participates in a comprehensive, all-inclusive, holistic and clearly defined national process underpinned by strong political will and desire to reconcile and heal the nation," the bishops said.

When Zimbabwe gained independence from Britain in 1980, "we all pretended
that we could start afresh in a new Zimbabwe without dealing with our past or defining collectively what future we desired for our nation," the bishops said.

"We pretended that the anger and hatred that had accumulated over many years
could simply vanish with independence. This failure to deal with our past continues to haunt us," they said.

The southern African country's "political history is characterized by the use of state institutions as partisan tools to support the ruling party," they said, noting that people "who have opposed the ruling party have been marginalized and sometimes criminalized" and the lack of space for "healthy political debates" has caused "frustration and resentment."

The main cause of conflicts in Zimbabwe "is the consistent violation of human dignity and therefore human rights," the bishops said.

Noting that Zimbabweans have "a second chance" that they must use, the bishops urged the government "to show political willingness by creating a conducive environment for national healing, reconciliation and integration."

Under the deal that brought President Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF party and Morgan Tsvangirai's opposition Movement for Democratic Change into a coalition government in February, the parties agreed to consider setting up a mechanism for national healing, the bishops said.

There is a general admission in Zimbabwe "that our situation is a real crisis which cannot be left unattended," the bishops said, noting that while the deal that led to the coalition government has limitations they regard it "as a moment of grace that can and should be turned into a new beginning."

"Genuine healing and reconciliation can only take place when the environment
is open, free and democratic," they said, noting that "when such an environment does not exist, as is currently the case, the church commits herself to working toward its establishment."

Calling on all people of good will, the government and civil society "to support this effort to heal those who have been wounded" in Zimbabwe, the bishops said "restorative justice will help to heal those whose rights were undermined and, with the help of the Lord, they will achieve reconciliation and peace."

This is not "an easy or short-term task," they said, noting that they have begun this work in caring for victims of "inhuman torture" and "desire to complete it with the guidance of the Holy Spirit."

The bishops appealed "to the perpetrators of these atrocities, accomplices and instigators of violence to acknowledge the evil deeds" and to make restitution.

They also appealed to the victims to forgive, noting that this is difficult.

"Do not expect total compensation but what the community can afford," they said.

"We are all guilty, for those who have been victims at one time have been aggressors at another, and many more have done nothing in the face of atrocities perpetrated before their eyes. Today, we all need healing from these hurts and from our guilt," they said.

Noting that reconciliation is a "demanding responsibility which calls for great commitment, dedication and sacrifice," the bishops said a framework for national healing and reconciliation drawn up by Zimbabwe's churches and civil society in May "could serve as a starting point for healing our nation."

The framework "proposes a comprehensive process for intervention" by the government, the church, civil society and other sectors, they said.




 

Comments 

 
0 #21 Pastor MaSombuka 024 2012-07-15 19:03
An unforgiving heart is like cancer. It will never heal. Ndebeles and Shonas, admittedly, we all come from a broken place. There's tremendous amount of trail of pain. Yes, wrong was done, more so during the Gukurahunda, but the Bible teaches us to forgive those who hurt us. But, Look at what’s happening with our current generation, our children are marrying one another, (Ndebele to Shona and vice versa) we can’t keep allowng unforgiveness, because it affects the innocent unborn children. Bantu baka Jehovah, let's start by stopping name calling, let's promote tolerance for one another. (Please dont get me wrong, I'm not minimizing the murder and violence that took place during Gukurahundi) God says vengeance is mine. But I'm appealing to your sense of forgiveness. Let's try to act like God's children... Jesus forgave us, how about forgiving those who hurt us...it’s not going to be easy,,,, but let's start by praying, tolerance and then forgiving. I LOVE YOU ALL.
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+1 #20 somhlaba mthunzi 2011-12-09 12:00
the problem with Zimbabwe is tribalism.The second one is that the Karanga are so eager to be either Zezuru or Ndebele yet they are the boggest ethinic group.Some call themselves Ndlovu and say they Kalanga in a desperate move to sound NDEBELE OTHERS call themselves Zhou and they are desperate to be Zezuru and they even kill their own when they are instructed by Zezurus like PERENCE SHIRI,USHEUKUNZ E, SHAMUYARIRA etc.This is the largest ethinic group which should kill tribalism.Zvobgo tried and the Zezurus called him a tribalist.Do you remember the south south unitry that was killed by demoting Zvobgo to the ministry of mines.?
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0 #19 agirl 2009-12-11 16:46
this issue will forever be hurtful to me. i never want to point fingers, i am a ndebele wth good shona freinds, but im always reminded of this friction. its tears me apart.
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0 #18 Gonongono 2009-10-08 11:02
we must differrentiate the period of lobengula from the period of Nkomo and Mugabe. There was no hague in the time of lobengula and wars were acceptable life style then.
The world was transformed and when Mugabe was kiliing the Ndebeles he was breaking modern internationally agreed laws. He can and must go to the hague remember the holocust and how the case has endured to date.
We need a two state solution Matebelelland and Mashonaland living side by side but each with autonomy.
We are not one let us not cheat ourselves we just share the country but we are two different groups with very little in common. It is easier for us to seperate than to unite. Ndebele is Ndebele and shona is shona
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0 #17 Maidei 2009-10-08 10:54
Rileton

Lobengula a nation builder? Give us a break. I thot its white people who mentally colonised us. Well if a shona can make foolish statements like you Rileton, Lord have mercy. Ever heard of Mfecane?
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0 #16 Ryton Dzimiri 2009-10-08 10:42
Moknena,
Your English is excellent. Everybody including the English people understand your important contributions in these debates that could panel beat our dented Zimbabwe. The Green Bombers want to discourage us contributing our thoughts by criticising our English. Our English is for communication and theirs is for destroying Zimbabwe. Lobengula never went to grade one but his leadership produced a wealthy nation.

Educated Mugabe like Nswabanda and Maidei use their education to destroy our country.
WE ARE HERE FOR COMMENTS NOT LITERACY COMPETITION.
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0 #15 Nswabanda 2009-10-08 09:36
Can someone kindly interpret Mokoena's ramblings for me please! Honestly he does not make sense at all "I hate most Shonas because they always hid Mzilikazi and Lobengula" ! Please Mokoena, you can use Kalanga or Sotho! It looks like English is rather elusive to you!

I love the way Maidei provokes this guys!
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0 #14 Maidei 2009-10-07 12:33
Gerald

Like i said to Mlindelwa, just laugh it off if you are not part of ndebele tribalistic mob. Comments posted are based on generalisations and not individuals. Its unfortunate that if you were to a research usung the random sampling method, you probably will come to the same conclusion. Ndebeles hate shonas.
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0 #13 Gerald 2009-10-07 09:54
Maidei

You have a big problem, you should be ashamed of your self. You said you married to a Ndebele at one stage, how do you leave with him if you hate Ndebeles so much. What makes me sick is when you to schools, clinics or any other office in Plumtree were I come from, kugcwele oMOROI odadewethu nabafowethu basebenza ngaphi ngoba nase mashonaland kabakhoni. Sifundile nathi amaNdebele..

Matabeleland must be a state sihlukane namashona babulalane bodwa khonangale. Amandebele ayabalwa emashonaland futhi nakhona umuntu wakhona ngeke umazi ngoba uvele akhulume isishona sakhona, kodwa amashona agcwele ematabeleland futhi ngeke umuzwe ekhuluma isindebele. SIZWE SIKA MZILIKAZI VUSELELANI UBUYINI BENU!!!
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0 #12 Maidei 2009-10-07 09:31
Orchard Gwesela

LOL!! you talk a lot of bull. If you cant stand the heat get out of the kitchen. I would make many men on this forum wear dresses. use brain and not brawn, you primitive bufoon.
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