The Gukurahundi (Shona: “the early rain which washes away the chaff before the spring rains”) was a series of massacres of Ndebele civilians carried out by the Zimbabwe National Army from early 1983 to late 1987. It derives from a Shona language term which loosely translates to “the early rain which washes away the chaff before the spring rains”.
During the Rhodesian Bush War two rival nationalist parties, Robert Mugabe‘s Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU) and Joshua Nkomo‘s Zimbabwe African People’s Union (ZAPU), had emerged to challenge Rhodesia‘s predominantly white government. ZANU initially defined Gukurahundi as an ideological strategy aimed at carrying the war into major settlements and individual homesteads. Following Mugabe’s ascension to power, his government remained threatened by “dissidents” – disgruntled former guerrillas and supporters of ZAPU.
ZANU recruited mainly from the majority Shona people, whereas the ZAPU had its greatest support among the minority Ndebele. In early 1983, the North Korean-trained Fifth Brigade began a crackdown on dissidents in Matabeleland North, one of the homelands of the Ndebele.
Over the following two years, thousands of Ndebele were detained by government forces and either marched to reeducation camps or summarily executed. Although there are different estimates, the consensus of the International Association of Genocide Scholars is that more than 20,000 people were killed.
On 30 May 2016, Dzamara’s brother Patson Dzamara revealed at a press conference that Itai Dzamara had been abducted by military intelligence. He also released a picture showing Itai Dzamara in captivity which he said he’d been given by insiders of the military intelligence.