Zimbabwe's genocide remembered I France in the Sahel

Posted by: The Conversation Global

Date: Wednesday, 05 August 2020


Amid growing international criticism of human rights abuses in Zimbabwe, the hero’s funeral of Perence Shiri has stirred further debate. Shiri most recently served as minister of land and agriculture. But many Zimbabweans remember him as the military man who led the Fifth Brigade and the Gukurahundi, the massacre of the country’s Ndebele people in the 1980s. While the Zimbabwean state – first under Robert Mugabe and more recently under Emmerson Mnangagwa – has always demanded silence around the genocide in the name of nation-building, the country’s artists have created an archive of historical memory of the Gukurahundi. Gibson Ncube considers these collected accounts of writers and visual artists in Zimbabwe.

France has always seen itself as the protector of its former colonies. It is, however, presenting its current involvement in the Sahel as a new, and more multilateral form of intervention. But is it a clean break with its early postcolonial past, characterised by unilateral intervention practices? Tony Chafer and Gordon D. Cumming argue that while there has been a shift in French interventionism, elements of the old remain. The novelty of the French interventions in the Sahel, therefore, is open to question.

Charl Blignaut

Arts, Culture and Society Editor

A scene from a play about the Gukurahundi genocide, 1983 The Dark Years, performed in Harare in 2018. JEKESAI NJIKIZANA/AFP/Getty Images

How artists have preserved the memory of Zimbabwe’s 1980s massacres

Gibson Ncube, University of Zimbabwe

Artists are filling the state's silence by revisiting history so that it can be discussed.

French soldiers patrol in armoured personnel carriers during the Barkhane operation in northern Burkina Faso in 2019. Michele Cattani/AFP via Getty Images

France in the Sahel: a case of the reluctant multilateralist?

Tony Chafer, University of Portsmouth; Gordon D. Cumming, Cardiff University

More than 20 years after the shift from unilateralism to multilateralism, it is reasonable to wonder how multilateral France’s ‘new interventionism’ really is.

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