Former Zimbabwe Education Minister apologises for atrocities in Rhodesia piling pressure on Mnangagwa


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2.        I have always been open about the fact that I was once a police officer with the BSAP. At age 17, I was conscripted and joined the police force and served for just over 2 years. It was a legal requirement for all white men to do national service in the security forces, but as I’ve admitted before, as a teenager I was caught up by the propaganda that it was a war to preserve Christianity and willingly joined. However, even before I left the police I had begun to see through the propaganda. For example, I wrote on the 24th October 1977, in the aftermath of Steve Biko’s murder, about my concern that the South Africans “were so blind to the consequences of their actions” and that when I went to University I would do all I could “to help South Africans ‘see the light’”. I was never at any time part of the Selous Scouts as alleged by some. I am grateful to God that I was never involved in any direct combat and have never killed anyone. There was, however, one extremely horrible incident where I was required to dispose of the dead body of a guerrilla (who had been shot and killed in a gunfight with Rhodesian forces) down a mineshaft. I disclosed this incident in my book precisely because I believe we all have an obligation to share the truth and to not spare ourselves in doing so.

3.        I sincerely apologise for the role that I played in propping up a racist regime as a young man in the police. If I knew then what I know now, I would have resisted conscription and actively sought to fight, using non violent means, the injustices of the Rhodesian regime. Even though I was a teenager at the time, I take responsibility for my actions and inactions. I also acknowledge that, as a White person, I have benefitted from Rhodesia’s discriminatory policies and laws. While I can’t apologize on behalf of a government that I was not a part of, I do apologise on behalf of the broader White community which was largely complicit in the oppression of Black, Coloured and Asian brothers and sisters. When I speak with my Black, Coloured and Asian friends and colleagues about their awful experiences under Rhodesian rule, I deeply regret my failure then to stand by you. I have repented before God and ask for forgiveness from the millions of people whose lives were terribly affected by that dark period in our history.

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The Insider

The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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