The Sunday Mail
All Hail Cde Robert Gabriel Mugabe; the son of Ambuya Bona Mugabe. Here was a village boy, who rose from a deprived background and defied the odds to become the founding leader of independent Zimbabwe.
As the nation continues to mourn him today, many hearts would be consoled by the fact that the former President virtually lived a full life and never relented on his ideals which he regarded as paramount in achieving total liberation of all Africans on the continent and the Diaspora.
While his detractors are fervently pushing a narrative of a conflicted leader; the majority of Africans regard the man as their saviour; a self-less freedom fighter and one who was the voice of conscience in the pre- and post-colonial era.
He is one of the African leaders who championed the restoration of the black man’s dignity.
As siblings of forefathers who bore the brutal brunt of slavery and colonialism, majority Africans regard Mugabe as their shining black prince, who defied odds and fought for the liberation of Africans. His flame of inspiration shall undoubtedly remain eternal.
Cde Mugabe could have been many things to strangers, but to majority Africans he was a pan-Africanist, who believed in the unity of Africans. He believed that as long as blacks were divided, their voice on the international arena remained fragmented- creating conduits for imperial forces to further exploit Africa’s abundant resources. There is no doubt that Cde Mugabe’s beliefs continue to inspire millions of people still fighting for a just international system. He was an avid student of history, who was conscious of the artificial colonial boundaries that divided Africa.
His statement that: “We of Africa protest that, in this day and age, we should continue to be treated as lesser human beings than other races,” reinvigorated Africans to realise the sanctity of unity.
Cde Mugabe’s quest for unity and self-reliance saw him advocating for industrialisation and beneficiation of Africa’s resources. This he did through the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and also the African Union (AU).
As an exemplary leader, he concretised his quest for self-reliance by auctioning cattle worth US$1m to raise money for the AU Foundation to help end the ‘donor dependency syndrome’.
Such was a man, who never relented on anything he focused his mind on. He never relented his views on homosexuality and is famously quoted saying; “We need continuity in our race, and that comes from a woman.” He regarded gays as worse than pigs given that the latter was able to identify a female.
Granted, like all mortals, the man was prone to human frailties, but his flaws will never outweigh his immense contribution to the well-being of the African race.
Cde Mugabe’s stature and contribution to the African cause ranks high among African luminaries like Kwame Nkrumah, Ahmed Sekou Toure, Abdul Nasser, Julius Nyerere, Samora Machel, Kenneth Kaunda, Amilcar Cabral, Marcus Garvey and African-American civil rights activist Malcolm X.
Even faced with sanctions and a serious threat to his life, Cde Mugabe championed the land reform programme meant to correct historical inequities that favoured the minority whites. He was unequivocal in declaring that: “The land is ours. It’s not European and we have taken it, we have given it to the right people.”
He left an enduring legacy in education, in which he enunciated the “education for all” policy in the early days of Zimbabwe’s independence. The policy brought free primary education to previously marginalised Africans. Cde Mugabe was arguably the most educated President in the world with seven degrees, covering different disciplines including education and law.
His fervent belief in education made Zimbabwe the envy of many, as it achieved the feat of a highest literacy rate in Africa. Zimbabwean professionals are much revered throughout the world because of Cde Mugabe’s policy on education.
As recounted by one fellow journalist, Cde Mugabe is not a single story. His life and deeds can never be compartmentalised in one instalment. A lot would be written about the Son of the Soil, who placed Zimbabwe on the world map because of his fearless quest for a just world.