This study was undertaken in order to research on the trauma caused by the
Matebeleland Massacre of 1982-87 in Tsholotsho Zimbabwe. This dissertation is two
pronged: one part is to ascertain the trauma in the community twenty years after and
the second aspect is to suggest interventions that can be applied.
The history of the country and the political background to the conflict is the most
rational way to explain why this may have happened. This history has been used to
justify the Massacre and is being used continuously even today by those in power. If
people do not learn from their history they are bound to repeat it, (interview with
Phineahs Dube 4/8/20080). Trauma has been investigated using a qualitative social
reconstruction narrative theory by way of cultural world view and not medical
psychological means. Investigating people’s painful experiences and emotions has
not been easy. A suitable framework and trauma measure which are scientifically
approved had to be found and used in order to validate and verify the results in a
manner that the outcome can be accepted scientifically and internationally.
Chronic ‘on going’ trauma or Long-term Psycho-social Crisis is the kind of trauma
that the researcher has come up with if conventional medical jargon is to be avoided.
The survivors can not fully comprehend what happened to them but the greatest
injury and pain is caused by how the community as a whole was under threat of
annihilation by the Gukurahundi, The name itself is infamous and points to the brutal
nature of the operation of this North Korean trained army battalion known simply, as
the 5th Brigade. The interventions suggested are psycho-social since the context is rural Tsholotsho
Matebeleland, culturally, a socio-centric set up with in an African world view, (Mbiti
1969) and (Mugambi and Kirima 1976).
The Church is proposed as the agent for change in the community as light and salt
due to its proximity to the community. The interventions include funerals services
and rituals, testimonies, and archival processes for the sake of prevention and
collective memory. The psycho-social cultural approach takes the survivor from
being just an individual with a personal problem to a collective memory of
experience. (Becker 2000: 18) This gives practical theology an opportunity for a
logical conclusion of all theologizing which is a theology of praxis or engagement.