Mugabe was a complex man, said Bona

Mugabe was a complex man, said Bona
Published: 19 September 2019 (126 Views)
There were few dry eyes by the time Bona Mugabe ended her speech.

Former president Robert Mugabe's eldest child spoke from the heart to an audience that held her father in messianic reverence, elders of a village in Kutama where the man who would go on to rule Zimbabwe for 37 years spent his formative years herding cattle with a book in hand.

Mugabe was a complex man, Bona said, "but I understood him more than he ever knew."

Her father's life was one of struggle from early childhood to the moment he was betrayed by his comrades who conspired to oust him in a military-led coup in November 2017, she said.

Bona said she understood her role around her father from early childhood.

"I knew very early in my childhood that I was my father's joy. I was there to ease that pain and bring him joy. Everything I did from a young age was to please my father, because I knew how difficult his life was," Bona said as her mother, Grace, dabbed her eyes with a piece of cloth.

Before she took to the podium, her father's body a few meters away, few had heard Bona speak at all. When she opened her mouth, she spoke with that unmistakable, deliberate tone of her father – unrushed, elegantly eloquent and in complete control of her thought process.

"I would like to thank God for my father's life. Even though it was so difficult, there are people like that who are placed on this earth who may seem like they are suffering but their suffering liberated millions of people, like all of us," Bona said, her siblings Bellarmine Chatunga and Robert Junior looking on.

Bona said during "nguva yakaoma" (dry seasons), the dark days after the military coup and his failing health, Mugabe would come to sorely depend on his wife, Grace.

"I really want to thank my mother. She carried the responsibility of looking after my dad, even during the most difficult times she faced the task alone. She did an amazing job," Bona said in emotional scenes.

Robert Junior spoke after Bona, and noticeably steered clear of the conspiratorial politics that ended his father's rule.

It was a theme that would be picked by Leo Mugabe, the son of Sabina Mugabe, the former president's elder sister. His brother, Patrick, was unable to attend the funeral, fearful of the vindictive criminalisation of Mugabe's loyalists by the new regime of President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

"I sat down with him and tried to get my uncle to accept what had happened (coup)," Leo said. "He said, ‘nephew, there's no greater betrayal than that by people you trust, people you care for, people who are supposed to be looking after you and they rebel against you. That's very difficult.'

"As a family, it's been tough, but we've forgiven them. We won't forget though, but forgive we must so that we free our hearts. We must forgive those people, maybe one day they will apologise. We'll keep listening to their public speeches, maybe they will one day finally admit, ‘Gushungo we did you wrong'."

- ZimLive

Tags: Mugabe, Bona, Complex,
 

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