PROFILE: Oh, god don’t piss off Mugabe…

10 04 2008

Mugabe with his wife
His wife must be tiiiii-ny, Mugabe is a little man!!….

The Indie, bless their little cotton socks have gone were no man has dared or bothered to tread-they’ve tried to understand the reason why Mugabe became who is is now.

I’m all for this shit like BIG TIME. But you can’t say that the catalyst for his hatred of England was the deportation of his wife-that’s nutty in itself.

But what is slightly interesting is that if like me, you presumed that when he first got into power he was trying to do justice for the folk of Zimbabwe but got carried away with power and the like; you’ll find it refreshing to know that his hatred of the ‘hah-white maan‘ does not stem from the fact that they were, erm, a little racist and all that jazz but that England pissed him off about his wife.

Think of all the famous modern political love stories: Winston and Clementine Churchill; Tony and Cherie Blair; Margaret and Dennis Thatcher; Nelson and Winnie Mandela; or even the amants de nos jours, the French president and Carla Bruni-Sarkozy. To this glamorous list of leaders, whose relationships inspired their rise to power and helped shape their early years in office, can now be added the unlikely name of international hate-figure Robert Mugabe.

Jeez.

In letters and telegrams written to Harold Wilson and his Labour government, Mugabe emerges as a man both sensitive and humble, who was prepared to plead with the British government in order to persuade the Home Office not to deport his wife from London.

The papers also disclose how Westminster mishandled the formative stages of its own relationship with Mugabe and gave the Rhodesian dissident his first lesson in the heartless expediency of British foreign policy. Mugabe watchers will now surely wonder whether this could have been the moment that finally set the Zimbabwean rebel against his former colonial rulers.

Mugabe’s political achievements may now be overshadowed by the brutality of his regime, but in his early career he was an inspirational leader among the ranks of the fledgling Zimbabwe nationalist movement in the 1960s.

And then what? It sucks…I do care…but……WTF…

In 1960, a proud Mugabe returned home with Hayfron on his arm and immediately introduced her to his mother, to whom he was very close. The next year, with his mother’s blessing, the couple were married in a simple church ceremony in St Peter’s Catholic Church in Harare, then a black township of Salisbury. Their marriage was not a typical African relationship, where the woman would stay at home cooking and raising children. Rather, a shared political goal for a free Zimbabwe meant they both had key roles to play in Rhodesia’s burgeoning independence movement. While Mugabe rose up through the ranks of Joshua Nkomo’s Zimbabwe African People’s Union (Zapu), Sally helped enfranchise and mobilise the women of Salisbury.

In 1963, Mugabe left Zapu to help establish the rival Zimbabwe African National Union (Zanu), a pan-Africanist movement formed by the Reverend Ndabaningi Sithole and influenced by Maoism. It was an exciting time for the couple and their relationship was strengthened by the news that Sally was pregnant with their first child. Sadly, she lost the baby, but fell pregnant again in 1963 and, to the great delight of Mugabe, gave birth to a boy in Sep-tember, whom they named Nhamodzenyika.

By the mid-1960s, Mugabe’s political activism had brought him to the attention of the Rhodesian state government and, in 1964, he was arrested for “subversive speech” and sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment in the country’s notorious Salisbury Prison. For the first time since they had met in 1958, the couple were forced to separate.

A year later, on 11 November 1965, Rhodesia’s white- minority government led by Ian Smith officially broke from British rule in what became known as the Unilateral Declaration of Independence (UDI).

It was the same year that Nelson Mandela, already three years into his 18-year prison term, published his seminal work No Easy Walk to Freedom. Like Mandela, Mugabe used his time in prison to shape his political thinking. He immersed himself in study and, through correspondence courses, managed to attain seven degrees, including ones in law and engineering to add to his teaching qualifications.

Meanwhile, after her husband’s detention, Sally Mugabe had continued to be involved in subversive activities in Rhodesia and spent six weeks in one of Salisbury’s prisons for demonstrating against white rule. Later, she was found guilty of organising African women to directly challenge Smith’s Rhodesian constitution, which resulted in her being charged with sedition and sentenced to five years’ imprisonment, part of which was suspended. ‘

The political climate made it too dangerous for her to stay in Salisbury and so, in 1963, she escaped the security services by fleeing first to Ghana with her son and then, in 1967, to self-imposed exile in London, where she found work as a secretary at the Africa Centre in Covent Garden. From the safety of Britain, she campaigned tirelessly for the release of her husband and other Rhodesian dissidents. She also supported her husband’s studies by researching documents that the Salisbury Prison authorities had banned. Sometimes this meant transcribing very dry texts line by line and then posting them to her husband in prison.

There is no doubt that Sally Mugabe’s support for her husband helped sustain him during his time as a prisoner in Salisbury. But, in 1970, while still locked up, Mugabe discovered his wife’s immigration status was at risk and that the British government was planning to throw her out of the country because her visa had expired.

Now, documents released at the National Archives show that Mugabe was so enraged by the decision that he went to extraordinary lengths to help her. In March of that year, he wrote to James Callaghan, the then-Home Secretary, about his wife’s situation. This letter went unanswered, prompting Mugabe to send a telegram to Harold Wilson on 8 June, asking the Prime Minister to grant his wife British citizenship. Again, there was no official response.

Ten days later, he pursued this request with a three-page, handwritten letter to Wilson setting out the case for reconsideration on the grounds of exceptional circumstances, pleading with the Prime Minister to understand his wife’s predicament: shortly before Sally had come to England in 1967, tragedy struck the Mugabes when Nhamodzenyika died after succumbing to a severe attack of malaria. He was just three years old. With her husband in prison, Sally was left to bear the emotional burden of the loss alone. The confidential papers show that she later suffered a mental breakdown while living in London.

One of her supporters, Tony Hughes, secretary of the African rights group Ariel Foundation, wrote at the time that the strain of the bereavement, combined with the stress of her imminent deportation, had taken a great toll on Sally’s mental state, and in a letter to the government, he wrote of the proposed deportation: “It is certainly unfair for the British government to add to the misery of her already broken life.”

Shit….wanna go on….read below..

Nice. Real nice.

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