The Sunday Mail
WHILE his remains will be interred at the National Heroes Acre after completion of a mausoleum currently being constructed at the national shrine, over the past week thousands of Zimbabweans gave the late former President, Cde Robert Mugabe, their final salute.
His body arrived in the country on Wednesday, five days after his death at Gleneagles Hospital in Singapore.
Hundreds thronged the airport, while thousands more lined the streets in symbolic guard of honour for the cortege.
Earlier on the day, activities had already begun at the Blue Roof, the former president’s home in Harare’s Borrowdale suburb.
People of all shades and hue gathered to celebrate a life well-lived.
Various bands serenaded locals, international visitors and VIPs at his Borrowdale home.
These included the likes of Suluman Chimbetu, gospel choir Zimpraise and energetic performer Sabastian Magacha, among others.
Sound gear was provided by three different suppliers, making the PA system bigger than most A-list commercial shows that are regularly held in the country.
Caterers were at the beck and call of mourners, all of whom were well pampered.
Those who could not make it to Borrowdale turned Rufaro Stadium — the citadel of domestic football — into a hive of activity.
For two days, Thursday and Friday, thousands thronged the arena to bid farewell to the liberation stalwart.
Most scrummed for the opportunity to send-off Cde Mugabe, which resulted in a mini-stampede, creating scenes only reserved for the most loved Hollywood stars.
That the former president was an important figure in world politics is an indisputable fact as was seen at the State Funeral held at the giant National Sports Stadium yesterday.
That he was a revered statesman was made apparent by the presence of a number of African Heads of State and representatives from China, Cuba and Russia.
Among the African luminaries in attendance were Zambia’s founding President Dr Kenneth Kaunda (95), Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo of Equatorial Guinea, Sam Nujoma of Namibia, Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya and President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa.
President Nguema was the last sitting Head of State to see former President Mugabe before he died.
He was in tears of grief upon arrival at the airport on Friday.
Yesterday, Cde Mugabe was accorded the Last Respect-National Salute, which is a combination of a fly past and a 21-gun salute.
It is the highest honour accorded in military tradition.
Ninety-five doves were released, signifying the 95 years that Cde Mugabe lived, 37 of which he was leader of Zimbabwe.