History Monday: Gukurahundi – The Victims Part 4

Hi, this is from Nehanda Radio and the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace 1997 report.

This is a continuation of Last History Monday


Named torture victims, inclusive of those assaulted, stand at around 2000.

In addition to these named victims, the Tsholotsho case study identified 70 villages involved in mass beatings, and 4 mass beatings at railway sidings. The Matobo case study identified another 25 mass beatings.

This is a total of 99 known mass beatings. A figure of 50 per mass beating was decided on as reasonable (see Part One, II), which would mean 4950 further assault victims. This puts the total number of those fairly definitely known to have been physically tortured at around 7000.

Mass beatings were also a definite phenomenon of 5 Brigade behavior in Lupane and Nkayi in Matabeleland North, and Silobela in the Midlands, as well as in Bulilimamangwe and Gwanda in Matabeleland South, but no estimate will be placed on how many people this may have affected.

In addition, reports of Bhalagwe make it clear that detention here was synonymous with beatings, usually daily. Physical torture of one kind or another was almost mandatory, not only at Bhalagwe but in all detention centers and jails.

Several thousand more beating victims could therefore safely be assumed, but precisely how many remains to be established.


The above estimates are offered merely as estimates. A careful reading of the Historical Overview will make it clear that the evidence on record supports the general claims being made here in terms of likely numbers of victims, and will in fact suggest that these claims are conservative. But only further comprehensive research will establish more accurate numbers for all categories of offense.


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

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