Zimbabwe’s former President Robert Mugabe has been reported dead at age 95.
Zimbabwe’s education secretary Fadzayi Mahere confirmed this when she tweeted “Rest In Peace, Robert Mugabe”.
Robert Mugabe was Zimbabwe president from 1980 to 2017, making him the longest-serving president of the country.
Mugabe who infamously claimed that “only God” could ever remove him from office was deposed in a coup in 2017, when members of his own party turned against him after he dismissed then vice-president Emmerson Mnangagwa to make way for his wife, Grace.
Even though he was once touted internationally as the hope of his nation, Mugabe left office with a grim legacy, after waging a campaign of oppression and violence to maintain power, and driving into poverty a country once known as the breadbasket of southern Africa.
Rumors swirled earlier this year about the health of the ex-president, who spent months in a hospital in Singapore.
His first wife Sally Mugabe, was a Ghanaian who died in 1992. He was married to Grace Mugabe at the time of his death.
He is survived by four children.
In a tribute to his predecessor, Zimbabwe’s president,Emmerson Mnangagwa said “It is with the utmost sadness that I announce the passing on of Zimbabwe’s founding father and former President, comrade Robert Mugabe. He was an icon of liberation, a pan-Africanist who dedicated his life to the emancipation and empowerment of his people. His contribution to the history of our nation and continent will never be forgotten. May his soul rest in eternal peace.”
Robert Mugabe was born on February 21, 1924, in Kutama, Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). In 1963, he founded ZANU, a resistance movement against British colonial rule. Mugabe became prime minister of the new Republic of Zimbabwe after British rule ended in 1980, and he assumed the role of president seven years later. Mugabe retained a strong grip on power, through controversial elections, until he was forced to resign in November 2017, at age 93.
Younger Years and Education Robert Gabriel Mugabe was born on February 21, 1924, in Kutama, Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), just months after Southern Rhodesia had become a British Crown colony. As a result, the people of his village were oppressed by new laws and faced limitations to their education and job opportunities.
Mugabe’s father was a carpenter. He went to work at a Jesuit mission in South Africa when Mugabe was just a boy, and mysteriously never came home. Mugabe’s mother, a teacher, was left to bring up Mugabe and his three siblings on her own. As a child, Mugabe helped out by tending the family’s cows and making money through odd jobs.
Although many people in Southern Rhodesia went only as far as grammar school, Mugabe was fortunate enough to receive a good education. He attended school at the local Jesuit mission under the supervision of school director Father O’Hea. A powerful influence on the boy, O’Hea taught Mugabe that all people should be treated equally and educated to the fulfillment of their abilities. Mugabe’s teachers, who called him “a clever lad,” were early to recognize his abilities as considerable.
The values that O’Hea imparted to his students resonated with Mugabe, prompting him to pass them on by becoming a teacher himself. Over the course of nine years, he studied privately while teaching at a number of mission schools in Southern Rhodesia. Mugabe continued his education at the University of Fort Hare in South Africa, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree in history and English in 1951. Mugabe then returned to his hometown to teach there. By 1953, he had earned his Bachelor of Education degree through correspondence courses.