BULWAYO – A Lupane-based youths civic group has reburied the protruding remains of suspected Gukurahundi victims who were buried at a mass grave at Silwane Primary School in Lupane, Matabeleland North in defiance of government directives.
Mid last year the minister of National Healing, Integration and Reconciliation Moses Mzila Ndlovu was invited by the villagers in the area to attend to the grave site last year.
The villagers had all along been requesting a decent burial to the remains which are just near the school but perhaps due to the “fear” surrounding the Gukurahundi issue, they kept enduring the pain from inside as the government ignored their persistent plea.
But a youth-based group called Khuluma 41 Speak Out based at Lupane Central district says they only leant of the site during one of their visits to the area where they were holding a meeting.
Lethubuhle Mhlanga, secretary-general of the organisation, told the Daily News that having been irked by the horrible sight they were compelled to seek a quicker way of remedying the situation.
“We sought permission from the local chief first, then we went to the leader in the area called Enos Ndlovu who helped us mobilise the community,” said Mhlanga.
“It was indeed a bad sight as we discovered that some of the human remains were actually protruding from the grave due to the fact that the grave is not fenced, so cattle and other animals just walk past while heavy rains also contribute to this,” he said.
But through the assistance of the community, Mhlanga said they successfully managed to cover the remains decently.
“We actually used our hands to pick the bones and dug within the grave and we covered them with more soil,” he said.
“As youths we were extremely moved by the spirit of ubuntu as traditionally it is a taboo for human remains to remain exposed especially for the children,” said Mhlanga.
Mzila Ndlovu saluted the youths for what he termed a bold and brave move that should be emulated by other youths in the affected areas.
“I strongly support what the youths and the community have done. This is one of the best things for the local people. In fact it is a bold and heroic step for the youths to do so,” Ndlovu said.
“I would like to urge youths and the communities to rise up and take responsibility of the misery and the pain that have been afflicted upon them.
“I personally went there and the sight was not appeasing at all, so it is quite a positive step if the community is beginning to see that no one except themselves can give their relatives a decent burial,” Ndlovu said.
While the reburial process had already begun, civic societies and some concerned sections in the country have already started making noise for the same process to be accorded the Gukurahundi victims whose mass graves are reportedly scattered in Matabeleland and Midlands Provinces.