The euphoria that greeted the end of Robert Mugabe’s autocratic 37-year rule over Zimbabwe is giving way to a sobering realisation of what lies ahead to heal the trauma of our nation. The events of the past four decades have had a severe impact. It is thought more than 10% of the population are affected by mental health issues; among people using primary healthcare facilities, the figure is about 30%.
Four generations have had their lives marked by chronic fear. They have endured the liberation war, the Matabeleland massacres, enforced land redistribution, the destruction of homes, and a general atmosphere of violent suppression and economic struggle.
We are an emotionally and psychologically fractured people.
History will repeat itself until we open a national dialogue to heal. People are hungry to take a new, peaceful direction, but there has to be collective and individual healing, and we need to recruit and train people from our communities to drive this.