Thursday, 23 January 2014

Mugabe: I was left to fend for my mother

Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe wipes his face during the burial ceremony for his sister, Bridget, at the family homestead in Zvimba, west of the capital Harare on January 21, 2014.  AFP PHOTO / JEKESAI NJIKIZANA
By Kitsepile Nyathi
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Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe has spoken of how he got angry with his father for abandoning him at a young age, leaving him to fend for his mother and siblings.
The 89 year-old leader delved into his family’s history on Tuesday as he buried his last surviving sibling Bridgette who died on Sunday after three years in a comma.
He said most of his siblings died young forcing his father to abandon the family thinking it was cursed.
“Michael was born in 1919 and Raphael in 1922. I played with Michael until 1934 when he died of food poisoning,” President Mugabe said.
“Raphael died when he was only six months so I could not see him, Donato also died then Sabina, now Bridgette. Michael and Raphael passed on so I became the first born.
“After the poisoning, my father was not happy and said there was something wrong at our home before going to Bulawayo in 1934.”
His father remarried and spent a decade in the city over 500 kilometres away from President Mugabe’s rural home.
The former teacher said he was angry that his father had abandoned the family, leaving him to look after his mother and siblings at a very young age.
“I was not happy after he had taken his time to come back home and wrote a letter to him expressing my displeasure,” President Mugabe said.
“There was a good life in Bulawayo with beautiful Ndebele girls and our father had taken one.”
He added that his father had two sons with the second wife and only returned home shortly before his death.
President Mugabe, who will turn 90 on February 21, had not been seen in public since last year. His public appearance after Bridgette’s death on Sunday ended speculation that he is gravely ill.

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