INTRODUCTION

  • The denial of students from Matebeleand places at teacher training colleges while accepting ALL from Mashonaland. The effect results in the training and deployment of more Shona teachers into ALL Matebeleland schools from Grade 0 to Form 6.
  • Importing civil servants into the Matebeleland regions from Mashonaland to propagate Shona at the expense of Mthwakazi languages. This forces our grandmothers and grandfathers to learn an oppressive Shona language very late in their years. This is unacceptable as was teaching Soweto kids to learn Afrikaans in 1976.
  • Use of Mthwakazi resources to develop Mashonaland.
  •  Brutal of all, our sisters have been compelled through various mechanisms including rape to breed with Shona colonialists and rulers, such that for all historical and contemporary purposes they have Shona-conceived children through genocidal breeding.

Mthwakazi Freedom Project (MFP) focuses on economic development for reasons that have become apparent since Rhodesia became Zimbabwe in 1980. A day after April 1980, the ZANU-PF led regime that took power had a clear path to begin the process of marginalising the people of Matebeleland at whatever cost as shown by the following policies.

  • A singular determination to introduce genocide and ethnic cleansing as state policy. For people from Matebeleland, the replacement of racism (under Ian Smith in Rhodesia) by genocide and ethnic cleansing (under ZANU-PF) was much worse. It meant that people from Matebleland who speak different languages (Sotho, Nambya, Venda, Kalanga, Ndebele, Tonga, Xhosa, Kung and others) now had to learn Shona, a foreign language to most people in this region. This enforced internal colonisation is equivalent to the 1976 Boer decision to impose Afrikaans to Africans in South Africa. For people of Matebeleland and Midlands, the pain of genocide and ethnic cleansing is more damaging than that of racism.
  • The army, police, prisons and other government institutions were Shonalised to the exclusion of people of Matebeleland. In other words, people from Matebeleland were denied services and employment simply because of who they are (Ndebele speaking), and their inability to speak Shona. Incidentally, South Koreans endured similar discrimination from Japan when Japan colonised South Korea during World War. The difference with Matebeleland is that Japanese colonisation was external while in Zimbabwe it was and remains internal. Africans previously discriminated by white Rhodesia became that of Shona people discriminating against people in Matebeleland.
  • The implementation of Gukurahundi genocide between 1982 and 1987 in Matebeleland and Midlands left over 100,000 people dead – most buried in unmarked mass graves and disused mine shafts. Incidentally, Zimbabwe in the only country in the world that has outlawed the mourning by relatives over the last thirty-four years in instances where relatives find people killed during the genocide. The children of genocide victims were never given birth certificates and hence could not attend any form of schooling. The reason given for the denial of birth certificates was that the children or surviving relatives could not state that their parents were killed during the Gukurahundi genocide period. Thus the surviving children (now in their 30s) suffered triple jeopardy; no education, no jobs and loss of parents.
  • Bulawayo had been an industrial hub throughout the colonial period even under Rhodesia’s Ian Smith. However, the ZANU-PF regime under Robert Mugabe was determined to further marginalise people of Matebeleland by enforcing a deliberate policy of forcing many industries and firms to relocate to Harare (this process is known or termed the deindustrialisation of Bulawayo). This policy has also been imposed on local and foreign NGOs to develop projects in Mashonaland, and to a lesser extent in Manicaland and Masvingo. These genocide and ethnic cleansing based policies have achieved their goal of making Bulawayo a truly ghost town. The once thriving industrial area under Rhodesia’s Ian Smith’s regime (paradoxically) is now a quiet area where the only ‘industry’ today is that of questionable Pentecostal churches that now rent closed down factories for the purposes of evangelising the poor residents of Bulawayo.
  • With full complicity of politicians from Matebeleland (particularly Obed Mpofu, Simon Khaya Moyo, Jonathan Moyo, Kembo Mohadi and common law thugs such as Jabulani Sibanda), many Shona people have got farms in Matebeleland denied to locals, some of whom worked for white farmers until they were disposed by ‘war veterans’ since 2000. One would have thought that the locals would get these farms. It is impossible for anyone from Matebeleland to obtain a farm in Mashonaland. This genocide and ethnic cleansing policy has further marginalised people from Matebeleland as they lost income as farm workers and more important, a source of income generation on those farms.
  • Perhaps the greatest damage imposed on people from Matebeleland and to a lesser extent on the Midlands is the systematic under investment in schools (primary, secondary) and much more critical in areas related to teaching of science subjects: chemistry, biology, physics, mathematics, information technology, and others. During the 1980s, the ZANU-PF regime built thousands of schools in Mashonaland, Masvingo and Manicaland and hardly any in Matebeleland. This genocide and ethnic cleansing education policy has serious implications for the future of people in Matebeleland. It reinforces discrimination against people from Matebeleland in employment in the army, police, prisons and other government institutions on the basis that people from this region lack appropriate qualifications without an understanding of ZANU PF’s genocide and ethnic cleansing policy.