Indeed, let’s tell our own true African story, including the brutality we have suffered under our ‘liberators’

It was with great delight and jubilation when I learnt about the establishment of an African museum, that would tell the true African story, from the perspective of Africans themselves – as that would provide us with a long, long, long overdue opportunity (or, should I say, right) to finally record where we have come from as a people, where we are, and where we are going – without any undue foreign (and, usually unwelcome, unwarranted, and insincere) interference, distortions, and misinformation.

Source: Indeed, let’s tell our own true African story, including the brutality we have suffered under our ‘liberators’ – The Zimbabwean

Tendai Ruben Mbofana

Honestly, who would not love this idea – since our continent is touted as the cradle of humanity, and a treasure trough of so much hidden history, largely covered under the veil of colonial and euro-centrist narratives?

It would be akin to finally unwrapping that long-awaited present – or better still, finding and opening that treasure chest, that many in history had never been successful in discovering.

As someone who has a strong limitless passion for history, I regard this as a chance of a lifetime, to finally learn what our beautiful continent is all about, what it has offered, and what it has to offer.

However, as with any other history – which is supposed to be “the study of, or the total accumulation of (usually, chronological), past events, especially relating to human affairs, or to the accumulation of developments connected with a particular nation, person, thing, etc” – should never only be a record of the ‘good’, but needs to be a true ‘accumulation’ (the totality) of all what our continent has gone through…the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Any history worth its salt has one critical facet – traceable facts, usually based on eyewitness and primary sources.

As such, if a factual narrative of our story as Africans has to be accurately told, then not only do we need to base this on already known credible past events, and sources (especially, covering what occurred before the present generation), as well as our own first-hand experiences, covering our modem day history.

Africa has gone through numerous stages of history – ranging from our own powerful empires, and kingdoms, to slavery, colonialism, occupation, liberation, and the post-independence era – all of which consist immense wealth of knowledge and information to be told.

However, where we will be able to unearth the vast treasures of our history is the colonial, liberation, and post-independence periods, as those who experienced these, are still alive to tell their own personal stories.

I am one of them.

As someone who witnessed my fair share of the gruesome, barbaric, and murderous Gukurahundi genocide perpetrated by the post-independence Zimbabwe regime, that cold-bloodedly butchered over 20,000 unarmed, defenceless, and innocent civilians, mostly in the Midlands, and Matebeleland provinces – I certainly have my own true African stories to tell.

I will have to tell how – at the tender age of eleven years old, when doing grade five in 1984 – I had the traumatic misfortune of personally witnessing several houses of Ndebele speaking people in my hometown of Redcliff, being torched to the ground (in the process losing all their possessions), by over-zealous ZANU PF militias whilst, their children (some of whom, being my equally-young friends, and schoolmates) wailed, as they were made to watch their parents being savagely beaten to a pulp.

I will have to tell my own true African story of how, I – and other Redcliff residents, during that same Gukurahundi period – were forced to attend ZANU PF meetings, where so-called ‘traitors’ and ‘sellouts’ (in actual fact, anyone who spoke Ndebele, or had a Ndebele sounding name), were made to sing revolutionary songs, then ordered to climb very tall trees, or posts, and then commanded to jump from the top – most to their gruesome injury.

My own true African story will also tell of how a prominent ZANU PF figures in the area, would encourage their supporters and members to “go out and drink heavily, and on your way back to your homes, pass by Ndebele people’s homes, and severely beat them up – but, don’t worry if they report you to the police, as they’re all ours; and we’ll always say they hurt themselves when they fell in a drunken stupor”.

I will also add how mysterious bodies, of mostly Ndebele speakers, were found, on numerous occasions, strapped on the local Ziscosteel railway line – crushed to death (or, possibly placed there, after being killed by party militias) by the train that passed to and fro the iron and steel making company every night.

Indeed, I will tell my true African story – that, this was what an eleven year old boy had to witness, at the hands of our liberators.

I will also tell how that severely traumatized me, and has had an indelible mark on my life – mostly negative, but also opened my eyes very early in my life, to the cruel, sadistic, and evil nature of a regime that, only a few years earlier, my own parents were celebrating as ‘heroes’ – which, coupled with repeated sexual abuse and bullying I was subjected to in my own childhood, instilled in me a entrenched and uncompromising loathing for any injustice, oppression, and cruelty against a defenceless, vulnerable, and innocent people, as well as a fearless passion and vigour to stand up, and speak up, as the voice of the voiceless.

Of course, I can not tell any other story of which I was not an eyewitness – therefore, each and every African, has a duty to tell their own, pertaining to a part of our history, of which they had first-hand experience – but, let the whole truth about who we are, and what we have gone through as a people be told, without fear or favour, as the old adage that, “history is written by the victors”, no longer holds true…since, the victims now have a voice.

© Tendai Ruben Mbofana is a social justice activist, writer, author, and speaker. Please feel free to contact him on WhatsApp/Call: +263733399640 / +263715667700, or Calls Only: +263782283975, or email:


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    Yes this all happened and still continues today. So what was the struggle all about????

    • comment-avatar
      Fallenz 10 months ago

      Here’s my take on “what the struggle was all about”:  (although, I fully realize your question was rhetorical, Nyoni.)
      Communist China and Russia recognized the opportunity to exploit greed, and gain another foothold in Southern Africa at the same time.  So they funded a bank heist under the guise of a “revolution”.  If you question that premise, then explain what happened to the economy.  Tell us where all the forex disappeared to.  Give us a clue why the infrastructure went from progressive to “in tatters”.  What happened to all the jobs?  How have so many ZANUPF-connected people become so filthy rich so suddenly?

      “Sanctions”, some say.  OK, explain how limiting the travel of a few corrupt bigwigs has destroyed the educational and health systems.  Why is the NRZ a broke and broken system?  How have those sanctions fostered so much high-level corruption?  How is it the sanctions have corrupted the justice system and electoral processes?  

      Let me ask this question… discounting the China-virus lockdown, what percentage of the people find life has improved over the past 45 years?   Wasn’t that what the rebels promised for their support and active participation.

      Admittedly, it’s frustrating how those responsible, and those who support then, spin truth, juke and jive, and are allowed to dodge and duck accountability for the destruction brought on the people of the nation.  Like little kids, it’s always someone else’s fault… and because they deny it, we’re suppose to accept it without question… else, go to prison. 

      So much were the lies of Mugabe, the “father of raze and ruin”… and his despot “stepson”, Mnangagwa.  Just as Jesus spoke the woes of the Pharisees, they have their reward in this life… but, they’ll pay the debt for it with eternal grief and torment beyond imagination in the next realm, and we’re not even to lament their passing, or have pity for their souls. 

      Which brings a question for each of us… where is “my” reward?  this life or beyond?  Decision time… my path, or His..?

    • comment-avatar
      Dr Ace Mukadota PhD 9 months ago

      In ZW the struggle continues comrade nyoni. Zimbabweans are the true strugglers of Africa in their own eyes. All their problems are NOT self inflicted but inflicted upon them by others. The more pity the ZW govt can muster up the more aid they think they will be given. ZW is a beggar state – primitiveness is always a good way to get a free hand out. has worked for 40 years now – so why stop ?
      Along comes covid which is a gift to ZW – all other countries now feel an obligation to help the struggling masses of ZW with a few bags of meal or a few more USD that end up in Dubai or SWitzerland

  • comment-avatar
    Ndonga 10 months ago

    An interesting article that stirred a lot of memories for me.
    Our present and past so-called leaders have a lot to answer for. They had then and even now have no shame.
    They knew exactly what was going on in places like told here at Redcliff. Well more than that they were the very ones that organised all this wickedness, brutality and cruelty. And the main one in all of this was Mnangagwa and now he sits there as if his hands are clean and nothing has happened.
    But his time will come and please God let him rot in hell.
    I tried to tell before of the terrible things I saw in Gokwe while as a boy visiting relatives there during The Struggle.
    Even then I knew that what was happening was wrong but few of the people there could agree with me.
    For example, so called freedom fighters demanding and getting sexual favours from very young girls. I even remember one named Phillemon said to be from Chipinge being killed in bed with a lady schoolteacher. He had been sold out to Smith’s police by the father of a twelve year old girl raped by the very same Phillemon.
    There was also the killing of local people for the sole reason that they were of a different ethnic group than that of our “freedom fighters”.
    So when all is said and done, we deserve the calamities we are now suffering as a nation.

  • comment-avatar
    Dr Ace Mukadota PhD 10 months ago

    We pride ourselves as being top, really, on the African ladder… We feel that we have actually been advancing rather than going backwards.
    Comrade Doctor Roberrt G Mugabe PhD

    • comment-avatar
      Fallenz 9 months ago

      Yeah, Mugabe was really advancing… think of all the unused millions ($US) he refused to return to the treasury following his many international jaunts.  Ever wonder what happened to all that cash?  I can make a pretty good guess, eh. 

  • comment-avatar
    njalo 9 months ago

    Tendai, I admire and respect you and your scripts.

    This, your latest script, could quite rightfully be historical.
    Historical in the sense that a Shona person, yourself, has publicly attested to the atrocities carried out by Shona, mainly Zezuru and Karanga elements, on and against their fellow citizens of Ndebele, kalanga, Sotho, Suthu, San and other origins.

    “Ndonga”, a “Comrade” in this forum, sounds equally inspired and informative.

    One day perhaps, Special Courts, equal to those in the Hague, will be set up in Addis Abbaba or Pretoria……….TO QUESTION CLOSELY AND TO PASS DOWN FAIR JUGEMENT ON THOSE WHO WILL LIE IN THAT ZIMBABWEAN “HEROES ACRE”.