The work of the artist Owen Moseko was blocked from view. The artwork depicts atrocities committed a quarter century ago. (Robin Hammond for The New York Times)

The exhibit at the National Gallery is now a crime scene, the artwork banned and the artist charged with insulting President Robert Mugabe. The picture windows that showcased graphic depictions of atrocities committed in the early years of Mr. Mugabe’s 30-year-long rule are now papered over with the yellowing pages of a state-controlled newspaper.

But the government’s efforts to bury history have instead provoked slumbering memories of the Gukurahundi, Zimbabwe’s name for the slaying and torture of thousands of civilians here in the Matabeleland region a quarter century ago.

“You can suppress art exhibits, plays and books, but you cannot remove the Gukurahundi from people’s hearts,” said Pathisa Nyathi, a historian here. “It is indelible.”

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Celia W. Dugger
New York Times

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