History Monday: Gukurahundi – The Victims Part 3

Hi, this is sourced from Nehanda Radio and a 1997 report by Catholic Commission of Justice and Peace. It is a continuation of last History Monday


The HR Data Base currently has on record 680 homesteads destroyed. A reading of the “village by village” summary of Tsholotsho will confirm that this figure is conservative. Researchers in Lupane and Nkayi have also referred to hut burning, and the burning of entire villages, particularly in Lupane. What this means in terms of final figures is hard to say: therefore no estimate will be made.

Properties were also destroyed in Matabeleland South which are not yet formally recorded, and the ZANU-PF Youth riots affecting the Midlands in 1985, and the property destruction resulting from this has been documented, for example in LCFHR. Readers of the report should therefore bear in mind that the figure of 680 homesteads destroyed is far from complete.

In addition, there was the damage caused by dissidents. The Chronicle reports a multitude of bus burnings and the destruction of dam and road building equipment. Cooperative ventures were also destroyed on occasion, and commercial farmers had livestock shot and property destroyed.

Again, to try to assess this now in precise monetary terms would be a complicated and somewhat arbitrary procedure. The section following (Part Three, II) on legal damages attempts to make this sort of assessment on ten specific cases only, to illustrate how such damage might be assessed.

Perhaps the most significant type of “property loss” to those in affected regions, is the fact that throughout the 1980s, when the government was investing in development projects in other parts of the country, Matabeleland was losing out, on the true premise that the disturbances made development difficult.



  1. Nehanda Radio (2012) ‘Gukurahundi Massacres: Number of Victims (Part 13)’

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