THE remains of Nehemiah Nkala, a Gukurahundi victim, were reburied in an anthill in Lupanda in Lupane area on Saturday afternoon, 31 years after he disappeared.
Nkala’s son, who declined to be named, said his father went missing in 1983 after he was seized by soldiers from the North Korea-trained 5 Brigade.
“Soldiers came to our homestead and started beating him and then ordered him to follow them. They took him to Mkhombo School before travelling with him for 7km. They shot him with other people. He was buried alone while others were put in a mass grave,” he said.
The Nkala family claimed they were related to the late Enos Nkala who was the Defence minister at the height of the Gukurahundi massacres and is often accused of instigating what has been described as a genocide.
“The remains of the Gukurahundi victim, Nehemiah, who was killed by 5 Brigade soldiers, were reburied in Lupanda area at a farm in Mkhomo,” his elder brother, Amon, said.
Amon said they were related to the late Nkala, as they originally hailed from Filabusi.
“We used to live in Filabusi, where Enos came from and we happened to relocate to Lupanda years before the atrocities,” he explained.
He said he had no hard feelings towards Enos as “it is all history now”.
“I am just happy that a better shelter has now been built for my brother who was massacred alongside many people in the village,” Amon said.
“We could not get authority to exhume the remains, instead we were allowed to secure the grave by erecting a tombstone.”
Hundreds of people gathered at the Nkala homestead to witness the reburial which they said was the first of its kind in the village.
Mqondisi Moyo of MPR urged members of Lupanda community to speak about Gukurahundi, as speaking about their experiences could be therapeutic.
“I encourage you to speak about such issues and we will help you to rebury your relatives so that you can have peace,” he said.
Villagers said there were a number of people who went missing during the dark days of Gukurahundi and their remains should be found for them to be accorded decent burials.
Nkala was born in 1944 and disappeared on February 3 1983 at the age of 39.
At the time of his disappearance, he left behind a number of children, three of whom took part in the reburial process, while their siblings were said to be in South Africa.
Analysts estimate that more than 20 000 people were killed in Matabeleland and some parts of the Midlands province in the early 1980s when the government unleashed a crack military unit to ostensibly crush an alleged rebellion by former Zipra combatants.
A report by the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace revealed that some of the victims were buried alive while some pregnant women had their wombs ripped open by the soldiers who claimed they were carrying future dissidents in their wombs.
President Robert Mugabe has remained mum on the atrocities and only described the period as a “moment of madness”.