Robert Mugabe

World Leader

Robert Mugabe was born on February 21st, 1924 in Kutama, Mashonaland West Province, Zimbabwe and is the World Leader from Zimbabwe. Discover Robert Mugabe's biography, age, height, physical stats, dating/affair, family, hobbies, education, career updates, and networth at the age of 95 years old.

Date of Birth
February 21, 1924
Place of Birth
Kutama, Mashonaland West Province, Zimbabwe
Death Date
Sep 6, 2019 (age 95)
Zodiac Sign
$20 Million
Robert Mugabe Height, Weight, Eye Color and Hair Color

At 95 years old, Robert Mugabe physical status not available right now. We will update Robert Mugabe's height, weight, eye color, hair color, build, and measurements.

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Hair Color
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Robert Mugabe Religion, Education, and Hobbies
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University of Fort Hare, University of South Africa, University of London International Programmes
Robert Mugabe Spouse(s), Children, Affair, Parents, and Family
Sally Hayfron, ​ ​(m. 1961; died 1992)​, Grace Marufu, ​ ​(m. 1996)​
4, including Bona
Dating / Affair
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About Robert Mugabe

Robert Gabriel Mugabe (; Shona: [muɡaɓe]; 21 February 1924 – 6 September 2019) was a Zimbabwean revolutionary and politician who served as Prime Minister of Zimbabwe from 1980 to 1987 and then as President from 1987 to 2017. He served as Leader of the Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU) from 1975 to 1980 and led its successor political party, the ZANU – Patriotic Front (ZANU–PF), from 1980 to 2017. Ideologically an African nationalist, during the 1970s and 1980s he identified as a Marxist–Leninist, and as a socialist after the 1990s.

Mugabe was born to a poor Shona family in Kutama, Southern Rhodesia. Educated at Kutama College and the University of Fort Hare, he worked as a schoolteacher in Southern Rhodesia, Northern Rhodesia, and Ghana. Angered by white minority rule of his homeland within the British Empire, Mugabe embraced Marxism and joined African nationalists calling for an independent state controlled by the black majority. After making anti-government comments, he was convicted of sedition and imprisoned between 1964 and 1974. On release, he fled to Mozambique, established his leadership of ZANU, and oversaw its role in the Rhodesian Bush War, fighting Ian Smith's predominately white government. He reluctantly participated in peace talks in the United Kingdom that resulted in the Lancaster House Agreement, putting an end to the war. In the 1980 general election, Mugabe led ZANU-PF to victory, becoming Prime Minister when the country, now renamed Zimbabwe, gained internationally recognised independence later that year. Mugabe's administration expanded healthcare and education and—despite his professed desire for a socialist society—adhered largely to mainstream economic policies.

Mugabe's calls for racial reconciliation failed to stem growing white emigration, while relations with Joshua Nkomo's Zimbabwe African People's Union (ZAPU) also deteriorated. In the Gukurahundi of 1982–1987, Mugabe's Fifth Brigade crushed ZAPU-linked opposition in Matabeleland in a campaign that killed at least 10,000 people, mostly Ndebele civilians. Internationally he sent troops into the Second Congo War and chaired the Non-Aligned Movement (1986–89), the Organisation of African Unity (1997–98), and the African Union (2015–16). Pursuing decolonisation, Mugabe emphasised the redistribution of land controlled by white farmers to landless blacks, initially on a "willing seller–willing buyer" basis. Frustrated at the slow rate of redistribution, from 2000 he encouraged black Zimbabweans to violently seize white-owned farms. Food production was severely impacted, leading to famine, economic decline, and foreign sanctions. Opposition to Mugabe grew, but he was re-elected in 2002, 2008, and 2013 through campaigns dominated by violence, electoral fraud, and nationalistic appeals to his rural Shona voter base. In 2017, members of his party ousted him in a coup, replacing him with former vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa.

Having dominated Zimbabwe's politics for nearly four decades, Mugabe was a controversial figure. He was praised as a revolutionary hero of the African liberation struggle who helped free Zimbabwe from British colonialism, imperialism, and white minority rule. Critics accused Mugabe of being a dictator responsible for economic mismanagement and widespread corruption and human rights abuses, including anti-white racism and crimes against humanity.

Early life

Robert Gabriel Mugabe was born on 21 February 1924 at the Kutama Mission village in Southern Rhodesia's Zvimba District. His father, Gabriel Matibiri, was a carpenter while his mother Bona was a Christian catechist for the village children. They had been trained in their professions by the Jesuits, the Roman Catholic religious order which had established the mission. Bona and Gabriel had six children: Miteri (Michael), Raphael, Robert, Dhonandhe (Donald), Sabina, and Bridgette. They belonged to the Zezuru clan, one of the smallest branches of the Shona tribe. Mugabe's paternal grandfather was Chief Constantine Karigamombe, alias "Matibiri", a powerful figure who served King Lobengula in the 19th century. Through his father, he claimed membership of the chieftaincy family that has provided the hereditary rulers of Zvimba for generations.

The Jesuits were strict disciplinarians and under their influence Mugabe developed an intense self-discipline, while also becoming a devout Catholic. Mugabe excelled at school, where he was a secretive and solitary child, preferring to read, rather than playing sports or socialising with other children. He was taunted by many of the other children, who regarded him as a coward and a mother's boy.

In about 1930 Gabriel had an argument with one of the Jesuits, and as a result the Mugabe family was expelled from the mission village by its French leader, Father Jean-Baptiste Loubière. The family settled in a village about 11 kilometres (7 miles) away; the children were permitted to remain at the mission primary school, living with relatives in Kutama during term-time and returning to their parental home on weekends. Around the same time, Robert's older brother Raphael died, likely of diarrhoea. In early 1934, Robert's other older brother, Michael, also died, after consuming poisoned maize. Later that year, Gabriel left his family in search of employment in Bulawayo. He subsequently abandoned Bona and their six children and established a relationship with another woman, with whom he had three further offspring.

Loubière died shortly after and was replaced by an Irishman, Father Jerome O'Hea, who welcomed the return of the Mugabe family to Kutama. In contrast to the racism that permeated Southern Rhodesian society, under O'Hea's leadership the Kutama Mission preached an ethos of racial equality. O'Hea nurtured the young Mugabe; shortly before his death in 1970 he described the latter as having "an exceptional mind and an exceptional heart". As well as helping provide Mugabe with a Christian education, O'Hea taught him about the Irish War of Independence, in which Irish revolutionaries had overthrown the British imperial regime. After completing six years of elementary education, in 1941 Mugabe was offered a place on a teacher training course at Kutama College. Mugabe's mother could not afford the tuition fees, which were paid in part by his grandfather and in part by O'Hea. As part of this education, Mugabe began teaching at his old school, earning £2 per month, which he used to support his family. In 1944, Gabriel returned to Kutama with his three new children, but died shortly after, leaving Robert to take financial responsibility for both his three siblings and three half-siblings. Having attained a teaching diploma, Mugabe left Kutama in 1945.

During the following years, Mugabe taught at various schools around Southern Rhodesia, among them the Dadaya Mission school in Shabani. There is no evidence that Mugabe was involved in political activity at the time, and he did not participate in the country's 1948 general strike. In 1949 he won a scholarship to study at the University of Fort Hare in South Africa's Eastern Cape. There he joined the African National Congress youth league (ANCYL) and attended African nationalist meetings, where he met a number of Jewish South African communists who introduced him to Marxist ideas. He later related that despite this exposure to Marxism, his biggest influence at the time were the actions of Mahatma Gandhi during the Indian independence movement. In 1952, he left the university with a Bachelor of Arts degree in history and English literature. In later years he described his time at Fort Hare as the "turning point" in his life.

Mugabe returned to Southern Rhodesia in 1952, by which time—he later related— he was "completely hostile to the [colonialist] system". Here, his first job was as a teacher at the Driefontein Roman Catholic Mission School near Umvuma. In 1953 he relocated to the Highfield Government School in Salisbury's Harari township and in 1954 to the Mambo Township Government School in Gwelo. Meanwhile, he gained a Bachelor of Education degree by correspondence from the University of South Africa, and ordered a number of Marxist tracts—among them Karl Marx's Capital and Friedrich Engels' The Condition of the Working Class in England—from a London mail-order company. Despite his growing interest in politics, he was not active in any political movement. He joined a number of inter-racial groups, such as the Capricorn Africa Society, through which he mixed with both black and white Rhodesians. Guy Clutton-Brock, who knew Mugabe through this group, later noted that he was "an extraordinary young man" who could be "a bit of a cold fish at times" but "could talk about Elvis Presley or Bing Crosby as easily as politics".

From 1955 to 1958, Mugabe lived in neighbouring Northern Rhodesia, where he worked at Chalimbana Teacher Training College in Lusaka. There he continued his education by working on a second degree by correspondence, this time a Bachelor of Administration from the University of London International Programmes through distance and learning. In Northern Rhodesia, he was taken in for a time by the family of Emmerson Mnangagwa, whom Mugabe inspired to join the liberation movement and who would later go on to be President of Zimbabwe. In 1958, Mugabe moved to Ghana to work at St Mary's Teacher Training College in Takoradi. He taught at Apowa Secondary School, also at Takoradi, after obtaining his local certification at Achimota College (1958–1960), where he met his first wife, Sally Hayfron. According to Mugabe, "I went [to Ghana] as an adventurist. I wanted to see what it would be like in an independent African state". Ghana had been the first African state to gain independence from European colonial powers and under the leadership of Kwame Nkrumah underwent a range of African nationalist reforms; Mugabe revelled in this environment. In tandem with his teaching, Mugabe attended the Kwame Nkrumah Ideological Institute in Winneba. Mugabe later claimed that it was in Ghana that he finally embraced Marxism. He also began a relationship there with Hayfron who worked at the college and shared his political interests.

Personal life

Mugabe measured a little over 1.70 metres (5 ft 7 in), and exhibited what his biographer David Blair described as "curious, effeminate mannerisms". Mugabe took great care with his appearance, typically wearing a three-piece suit, and insisted that members of his cabinet dressed in a similar Anglophile fashion. On taking power in 1980, Mugabe's hallmark was his wide-rimmed glasses, and he was also known for his tiny moustache. Unlike a number of other African leaders, Mugabe did not seek to mythologise his childhood. He avoided smoking and drinking, and—according to his first biographers, David Smith and Colin Simpson—had "enormous affection for children". During his early life he had an operation on his genitals which generated rumours that he had only one testicle or half a penis; such rumours were used by opponents to ridicule him and by supporters to bolster the claim that he was willing to make severe sacrifices for the revolutionary cause.

Mugabe spoke English fluently with an adopted English accent when pronouncing certain words. He was also a fan of the English game of cricket, stating that "cricket civilizes people and creates good gentlemen". David Blair noted that this cultivation of British traits suggested that Mugabe respected and perhaps admired Britain while at the same time resenting and loathing the country. Heidi Holland suggested that these Anglophile traits arose in early life, as Mugabe—who had long experienced the anti-black racism of Rhodesian society—"grasped Englishness as an antidote" to the "self-loathing" induced by societal racism.

The academic Blessing-Miles Tendi stated that Mugabe was "an extremely complex figure, not easily captured by conventional categories". Similarly, David Blair described him as an "exceptionally complex personality". Smith and Simpson noted that the Zimbabwean leader had been "a serious young man, something of a loner, diligent, hard-working, a voracious reader who used every minute of his time, not much given to laughter: but above all, single-minded". Blair commented that Mugabe's "self-discipline, intelligence and appetite for hard work were remarkable", adding that his "prime characteristics" were "ruthlessness and resilience". Blair argued that Mugabe shared many character traits with Ian Smith, stating that they were both "proud, brave, stubborn, charismatic, deluded fantasists".

Meredith described Mugabe as having a "soft-spoken demeanour, ... broad intellect, and ... articulate manner", all of which disguised his "hardened and single-minded ambition". Ndlovu-Gatsheni characterised him as "one of the most charismatic African leaders", highlighting that he was "very eloquent" and was able to make "fine speeches". Jonathan Moyo, who briefly served as Mugabe's information minister before falling out with him, stated that the President could "express himself well, that is his great strength". Tendi stated that Mugabe had a natural wittiness, but often hid this behind "an outwardly pensive and austere manner and his penchant for ceremony and tradition". Heidi Holland suggested that due to his "dysfunctional" upbringing, Mugabe had a "fragile self-image", describing him as "a man cut off from his feelings, devoid of ordinary warmth and humanity". According to her, Mugabe had a "marked emotional immaturity", and was homophobic, as well as racist and xenophobic.

According to Meredith, Mugabe presented himself as "articulate, thoughtful, and conciliatory" after his 1980 election victory. Blair noted that at this period of his career, Mugabe displayed "genuine magnanimity and moral courage" despite his "intense personal reasons for feeling bitterness and hatred" toward the members of the former regime. Following his dealing with Mugabe during the 1979 negotiations, Michael Pallister, head of the British Foreign Office, described Mugabe as having "a very sharp, sometimes rather aggressive, and unpleasant manner". The British diplomat Peter Longworth stated that in private, Mugabe was "very charming and very articulate and he's not devoid of humour. It's very difficult to relate the man you meet with the man ranting on television". Norman stated that "I always found him personable and honourable in his dealings. He also had a warm side to him which I saw quite clearly sometimes".

Colin Legum, a journalist with The Observer, argued that Mugabe had a "paranoidal personality", in that while he did not suffer from clinical paranoia, he did behave in a paranoid fashion when placed under severe and sustained pressure. Mugabe biographer Andrew Norman suggested that the leader may have suffered from antisocial personality disorder. Several Mugabe biographers have observed that he had an obsession with accruing power. According to Meredith, "power for Mugabe was not a means to an end, but the end itself." Conversely, Onslow and Redding suggested that Mugabe's craving for power stemmed from "ideological and personal reasons" and his belief in the illegitimacy of his political opposition. Denis Norman, a white politician who served in Mugabe's cabinet for many years, commented that "Mugabe isn't a flashy man driven by wealth but he does enjoy power. That's always been his motivation".

According to Holland, Mugabe's first wife, Sally Hayfron, was Mugabe's "confidante and only real friend", being "one of the few people who could challenge Mugabe's ideas without offending him". Their only son, Michael Nhamodzenyika Mugabe, born 27 September 1963, died on 26 December 1966 from cerebral malaria in Ghana where Sally was working while Mugabe was in prison. Sally Mugabe was a trained teacher who asserted her position as an independent political activist and campaigner.

Mugabe called on Zimbabwe's media to refer to his wife as "Amai" ("Mother of the Nation"), although many Zimbabweans resented the fact that she was a foreigner. She was appointed as the head of ZANU–PF's women's league, and was involved in a number of charitable operations, and was widely regarded as corrupt in these dealings. During Mugabe's premiership she suffered from renal failure, and initially had to travel to Britain for dialysis until Soames arranged for a dialysis machine to be sent to Zimbabwe.

While married to Hayfron, in 1987 Mugabe began an extra-marital affair with his secretary, Grace Marufu; she was 41 years his junior and at the time was married to Stanley Goreraza. In 1988 she bore Mugabe a daughter, Bona, and in 1990 a son, Robert. The relationship was kept secret from the Zimbabwean public; Hayfron was aware of it. According to her niece Patricia Bekele, with whom she was particularly close, Hayfron was not happy that Mugabe had an affair with Marufu but "she did what she used to tell me to do: 'Talk to your pillow if you have problems in your marriage. Never, ever, humiliate your husband.' Her motto was to carry on in gracious style". Hayfron died in 1992 from a chronic kidney ailment.

Following Hayfron's death in 1992, Mugabe and Marufu were married in a large Catholic ceremony in August 1996. As First Lady of Zimbabwe, Grace gained a reputation for indulging her love of luxury, with a particular interest in shopping, clothes, and jewellery. These lavish shopping sprees led to her receiving the nickname "Gucci Grace". She too developed a reputation for corruption. In 1997, Grace Mugabe gave birth to the couple's third child, Chatunga Bellarmine. Robert Mugabe Jr. and his younger brother, Chatunga, are known for posting their lavish lifestyle on social media, which has drawn accusations from opposition politician Tendai Biti that they are wasting Zimbabwean taxpayers' money.


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