In 1983, the Robert Mugabe-led government deployed a military unit to the Matabeleland and Midlands provinces under the guise of quelling a “dissident” movement. This army unit went on to commit atrocities on the civilians in these south-western parts of Zimbabwe. By the time this violence ended in 1987, at least 20 000 Ndebele people had been killed. This violence is known as Gukurahundi, and remains a dark chapter in the national memory. Given that the regime that committed these atrocities is still in power and the perpetrators have not been brought to justice, it is timely to probe how online participants are employing news websites to recollect and negotiate the memories of Gukurahundi that are repressed in official circles. This paper examines the discourses on forgiveness that are being reproduced and shaped on selected Zimbabwean news websites as online participants attempt to deal with the painful Gukurahundi past. In probing the complexities, ambiguities and limits surrounding the imaginations on forgiveness, this article demonstrates that forgiveness is not always a virtue as some narratives seek to perpetuate state-imposed amnesia and shield the perpetrators from prosecution.

Author Bio(s)

Mphathisi Ndlovu holds a PhD in Journalism from Stellenbosch University (South Africa). His research is on new media, collective memory, and identity politics.


forgiveness, Gukurahundi, memory, discourses, news websites

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