Robert Mugabe

Mugabe in 2016, photo by Golden Brown/

Birth Name: Robert Gabriel Mugabe

Date of Birth: 21 February, 1924

Place of Birth: Kutama, Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe)

Date of Death: 6 September, 2019

Place of Death: Gleneagles, Singapore

Ethnicity: Shona, possibly some Ndebele

Robert Mugabe was a Zimbabwean revolutionary and politician. He was President of Zimbabwe, from 31 December, 1987 to 21 November, 2017. He was previously also Leader and First Secretary of ZANU–PF (Zimbabwe African National Union), from 18 March, 1975 to 19 November, 2017, Prime Minister of Zimbabwe, from 18 April, 1980 to 31 December, 1987, Secretary-General of the Non-Aligned Movement, from 6 September, 1986 to 7 September, 1989, and Chairperson of the African Union, from 30 January, 2015 to 30 January, 2016.

Robert’s father, Gabriel Matibiri, was a carpenter. Robert’s mother, Bona (Shoniwa), taught Christian catechism to the village children.

Robert was married to Sally Francesca Hayfron, until her death, and then to Grace Mugabe, until his death. He had a son with Sally, and three children, including businessperson Bona Mugabe, with Grace.

Robert’s paternal grandfather, Constantine Karigamombe (also known as Matibiri), served King Lobengula, a Ndebele king, in the 19th century.

It appears that Robert was mostly or entirely of Shona background.

4 Responses

  1. Oaken05 says:

    Wikipedia (with proper sourcing) says that both of his parents were of the Zezuru clan of the Shona people. Where are we getting that his father was Ndebele?

    • madman says:

      The next sentence mentions that his grandfather served a Ndebele king, and it’s also sourced. Quote from the source: “PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe has Ndebele ancestry as his grandfather served King Lobengula, historian and Higher Education Minister Stan Mudenge claims.”

      Though I don’t quite know how to interpret the article. It also says “His grandfather, a strong powerful figure, was in the service of King Lobengula in the 19th Century, during which he acquired and absorbed the Ndebele culture and language.”

      My guess is that Mugabe’s father was either Ndebele or mixed Shona and Ndebele, by ancestry.

      • Oaken05 says:

        Yeah, my interpretation is that when you take the two sentences together – especially given the sentence put first – it implies a father of mixed Shona and Ndebele ancestry, though it’s not clear. Maybe it should read “Ndebele, possibly Shona/other” or something to imply that there is a possibily more than just Ndebele ancestry there.

        Another theory given “acquired and absorbed the Ndebele culture” is something quite common for that area of the country: The grandfather could have been Kalanga or some other smaller group down that way who absorbed the culture. It’s quite common for the indigenuous Kalanga to culturally assimilate and “become” Ndebele, though sometimes you can tell their Kalanga ancestry by their names, still.

        Seems to me in any sense that the way the article is written that his grandfather was not “pure” or even originally Ndebele, that he assimilated to the culture. I’d add “other” by Ndebele at least.

  2. Manila says:

    He finally resigns.

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