Gonakudzingwa Restriction Camp was a place used by the Rhodesian security forces during the Second Chimurenga. It was used as a restriction camp for liberation war activists from nationalist movements such as the Zimbabwe African People's Union (ZAPU) and the Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU).

Gonakudzingwa Restriction Camp
Heritage Site
Skyline of Gonakudzingwa Restriction Camp
Founded by Rhodesian Government



Gonakudzingwa is located in present day Masvingo Province of Zimbabwe. After independence, the restriction camp was deserted. It was located 150 km off the Masvingo- [[Beitbrid Highway in the Gonarezhou National Park which was home to a variety of wild animals such as lions, elephants, cheaters and hyenas.

The Restriction Camp

After realising that they could not contain the resistance of black Zimbabweans from the colonial bondage, the Rhodesians adopted a strategy of isolating political leaders from the communities by dumping them in areas like Gonakudzingwa Restriction Camp and Sikombela in Gokwe. Situated in the Gonarezhou Game Park, it was at this camp that many political prisoners that included the late Father Zimbabwe, Joshua Nkomo, Josiah Chinamano and his wife Ruth, Jane Ngwenya among others, were incarcerated and isolated right in the middle of the jungle.[1]

One of the so-called ‘terrorists’ who stayed at the camp, Cde Philemon Bvunzawabaya from Mutoko said the Rhodesians used sophisticated methods of capturing and abandoning them.

“I am happy to be back in this area to tell the story which shapes our history before we depart the earth,” said an emotional Bvunzawabaya.“The last time I came here I was blindfolded, as a prisoner in my land of birth and I didn’t know where I was going.“Now I am a free person, I can go anywhere I want, but I can only get satisfaction when I tell the story of Gonakudzingwa. “It is pathetic that we were being isolated from our people because we were preaching the gospel of revolution.“The Rhodesians used to give us poisoned food which would weaken us in the event of attempting to flee.“Even if we contemplated the idea of fleeing, where could we run to when we didn’t know where we were and when we were also surrounded by dangerous animals such as elephants and lions which used to linger around the fence.[2]


Gonakudzingwa is appreciated as one of the country's most respected landmarks. This is because it housed the country's nationalists who were keen to get the country freed from colonial rule. Above all, the place is intimately related to the late vice president and former nationalist leader Joshua Nkomo who was later accorded the title Father Zimbabwe due to his spectacular role in the country's war of independence. In pos colonial Zimbabwe, there have been calls to declare the place a world heritage site like such places in the region such as Robben Island in South Africa.

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  1. E. Mwale and C. Mushore, Gonakudzingwa: A sinking heritage,The Patriot, published:7 Nov 2013,retrieved:31 Mar 2015"
  2. "Gonakudzingwa:A sinking heritage". The Patriot. November 7, 2013. Retrieved October 12, 2017.