On the psychology of oppression: blame me on history!

Brillant Mhlanga

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7 Citations (Scopus)


The history I present here is a story of suppression of the existence of a people of which I am part; their memory and history. These are my personal recollections
about the Ndebele people in post-colonial Zimbabwe, from 1980 until the present time. My task is to engage with the agenda of a sick nation-state, whose thrust is to decimate from the pages of its history the painful story of its citizens, the Ndebele. Further, I aim to show the perspective of Zimbabwe from the subaltern. Let it be stated from the outset that this article might irk many people; particularly those close to domination and the centre of power, or those who are beneficiaries of Zimbabwe’s skewed policies against the Ndebele as the ‘Other’. My narrative challenges the notion that Zimbabwe is a united and peaceful nation. This, to me, is a falsehood. I will support my views with stories of my life experiences in Zimbabwe from childhood. I will further illustrate this with my conception of how the Ndebele have journeyed through suffering, suppressed memory and darkness until today. I will also draw on these submissions to present the concept of the ‘psychology of oppression’ – a state of mental warping gained through years of rationalised and internalised suffering. I apply this to my analysis of our situation in Zimbabwe, given the physical forms of violence the Ndebele have endured (Gukurahundi Genocide)2 and the oppression of the mind through suppressed memory and notions of peoplehood.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)106-112
Number of pages6
JournalCritical Arts: A Journal of South-North Cultural Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2009


  • Matebeleland, oppression, Gukurahundi genocide, Ndebele, Zimbabwe


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