The bones still wail

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By Tonderai Ndawana

CHIBONDO is strategically positioned at the heart of a ‘European designated’ farm area, roughly 180 kilometres from Harare, in the Mount Darwin area, Mashonaland Central.
Chibondo has a story to tell, albeit one told by long-dead Zimbabweans, victims of liberation war genocide by colonial Rhodesian forces.
The name Chibondo, literally translated to mean ‘bone’, evokes emotional memories among the people of Mt Darwin and Zimbabweans at large.
A few years ago, previously unknown mass graves of Rhodesian victims were discovered at Chibondo, even now, efforts to rebury the remains is ‘work in progress’, with the spiritual happenings which initially led to the discovery of the mass graves continue.
According to villagers, maybe this is a constant reminder to Government that there is still work to do at Chibondo.
A villager residing close to Chibondo, Regina Chinoda, told of continued strange happenings at Chibondo.
“Our Government should do something at this site because these people — more than 750 — are still ‘wailing’; they should receive proper burials.
“At times we hear sounds coming from the mine shaft; the rattling of bones and wails.
“Clearly, they are not resting in peace. They need proper burials, as per our culture,” she said.
In an interview, the Zimbabwe Fallen Heroes Trust (ZFHT) chief field officer at Chibondo, Cde Jotamu Gumbeze, said more had to be done at the site.
“I am worried there is not enough attention being given to the fallen heroes at this site, we are now failing to maintain the place. Some of the wooden crosses have fallen off at the mine shaft,” Cde Gumbeze said.
“We are calling on the authorities to give Chibondo urgent attention. Nothing much has been done since 2011.
“We are still looking forward to the promises made about the construction of a museum here.
“Without proper attention, the dead at Chibondo will continue to weep and wail, something not good for us as a community and as a country.”
He said the people down in the mine shaft died in a horrible manner.
“I urge all Zimbabweans never to forget Chibondo as it carries evidence of the brutality of the white settler-regime,” he said.
“One of the measures they used to conceal evidence of the horrific killings was exploding live grenades into the mine shafts and drenching the bodies in acid. But water helped to neutralise the environment and the evidence remained intact until the discoveries in 2011.”
Cde Gumbeze said that the settlers tortured the habitants and evidence can be seen on sawn off bones which show that these people endured the most extreme forms of torture with limbs cut off and skulls broken while they were alive.
He said plans are afoot to fence-off the area to ensure the site is not vandalised.

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