Mandela and Mugabe – Jan Raath

via email by Jan Raath 7 December 2013

The adoration across the globe for Nelson Mandela is so overwhelming, it seems unthinkable that there could be an exception. One does stand out, however.

Zimbabwe’s President Mugabe. He has made it clear that he disliked and resented the iconic South African, for stealing his role as Africa’s senior statesman.

In February this year, he was asked in an interview for his opinion of Mr Mandela. He had “gone a bit too far in doing good to the non-black communities,” said Mr Mugabe, who refers insultingly to whites as “boers.”

They first met in 1990, when Mandela flew to Harare soon after his release from prison. A public reception was arranged at the Great Hall at the University of Zimbabwe. It was packed tight. The doors open and the two walked in to a sudden joyous roar. Mr Mandela grinned, waved, shook hands.

Mr Mugabe’s posture and his smile stiffened as they walked down the aisle. He looked like a village mayor accompanying a visiting pope, and he knew it.

Mr Mandela visited briefly after being elected president in 1994, and a press conference was held by the two of them at Harare airport. Mr Mugabe was asked a question and circumlocuted for five minutes. No-one took down a word.

Mandela took the next question and told the journalist there was not enough time reply. “So next time you see me, we can go to a bar, and you can buy me a rum, and then I will tell you.” The press conference collapsed in an uproar of mirth. Mr Mugabe remained unsmiling.

In 1996 he flew to Lesotho for the funeral of its late King Moshoeshoe II. The Zimbabwean aircraft was kept circling endlessly over Maseru airport, until the pilot radioed the control tower for an explanation. “We are waiting for President Mandela to land first,” was the reply. Mr Mugabe was apoplectic with rage, passengers said.

And two years later they were both in Malawi for a summit of the Southern African Development Community, the region’s political bloc, for the establishment of a special committee on security.

Mr Mugabe began by trying to bully the other leaders into making the chairmanship permanent, with him in the chair. In a series of angry exchanges between the two, Mr Mandela resolutely opposed him and blocked the motion.

Kelvin Maposa, a Harare security guard, was watching the mass grieving on television yesterday (Fri., Dec. 6). “Is that what is going to happen when Mugabe dies?” I asked. “Oh no,” he grinned. “We are all going to be happy, celebrating.”


  • comment-avatar
    ZimJim 8 years ago

    Lets all send “Uncle Bob” a bucket for Christmas, in the hope that he will kick one!

  • comment-avatar
    Canuck 8 years ago

    Chalk and Cheese……..

  • comment-avatar
    Tafadzwa 8 years ago

    When Mugabe dies, he will be lucky to get visitors from outside SADC. There will be thousands of his countrymen who will openly celebrate his demise

    • comment-avatar
      ZANU PF SHARE THE MONEY 8 years ago

      People will come for one purpose – to confirm that he is dead. After that they go partying.

  • comment-avatar
    Donette Read Kruger 8 years ago

    If Mandela had a plan to hand back the land to the Indigenous of SA he would have chosen to remain as President of SA.
    However, after 27 years of incarceration, that was a battle he was unprepared to undertake especially against white Multinationals. Instead he chose the other route, to be wined and dined around the world, and the West’s guilty pleasure was to fawn over him.
    That is what South Africans thought Freedom from Apartheid would give them – FREE Education and Health. Zimbabweans too anticipated these gifts but instead they got land. Diamonds account for nothing no matter where the man in the street walks.

    • comment-avatar
      Guest 001 8 years ago

      Mandela stepped down because he had always wanted someone young with fresh ideas to lead the country.After all he believed in a homeland (volkstat )for all tribes/groups.Thats why he established the Orangierland for Afrikaners.Also the land distribution programme has been in place since democracy in the SA constitution.
      You guys if you don’t understand SA and Mr. Mandela ask and you will get the answers.

  • comment-avatar
    grateful 8 years ago

    @Tafadzwa…don’t worry cause this I one person everyone will come to see him off…cause they all will want to confirm his passing…that’s how great this guy is

  • comment-avatar
    Michael 8 years ago

    I like ZimJim’s suggestion, its worth a try who knows luck may be on the side of the people.

  • comment-avatar
    Angela Wigmore 8 years ago

    True, pointed article Jan. Do hope you have submitted it to British newspapers. The lefties wont publish it of course! (I’m actually surprised Bob was invited to the Memorial. What a coup that would have been for South Africa to have snubbed him!)

  • comment-avatar
    MikeH 8 years ago

    In your dreams mugabe ….. you don’t even come up to Madiba’s toe nails in any way whatsoever.

  • comment-avatar
    Washumba 8 years ago


  • comment-avatar
    Chatambudza12 8 years ago

    What a disgrace for him to attend the funeral!

  • comment-avatar
    Angela Wigmore 8 years ago

    Having been invited, he could not refuse to attend. It’s just a pity that the SA government did not have the guts to leave him off the guest-list.

  • comment-avatar
    ZANU PF SHARE THE MONEY 8 years ago

    This guy, Mugabe thinks he’s smart. The timing of his new statements in the Herald are evoked by the Mandela worldwide aura, and he feels totally eclipsed in ever being so revered. If he thinks he will come any where near Mandela’s worldwide acclaim at his own death he would be in fool’s paradise. Kana muno muZimba macho hatimbouya kuheroes acre kwacho. Nxaaaaaaaaa !!

  • comment-avatar
    Nimrod Mupanesengende 8 years ago

    Jan Raath and Angela Wigmore, why is it that we Africans do not hand pick European heros? By the same token, why do Europeans pick African heros? You only like Mandela because he left apartheid intact in South Africa. By so doeing, Mandela will be your albatros in a few years to come because very soon, the Africans will rise against white wealth and black poverty in South Africa. Then, only then will you realise that your celebration of Mandela, selfish praise of him, if I might add, was short lived. Africa could not have been represented at the funeral and the occasion would not have had an African flavour if Mugabe did not attend. Besides, it is not up to people like you, not that you matter in any sense anyway, to decide who should attend an African former President’s funeral. That is a decision for Africans and rithtly, President Mugabe was invited to attend another African’s funeral. You are all wasting your time, just as most of your people wasted their time trying to defend apartheid and Rhodesia. Oh, yes, they did everything possible, including sending their young children to their death in defending apartheid. In the end, it was all a waste of time. It was a waste of time then and you are wasting your time today, talking rubbish about Mugabe. Nothing will change. Mugabe remains and will remain Africa’s great hero, like it or not!!!!!

  • comment-avatar

    Mugabe has always been childish spoilt brat. When Bennett and Mandela took the limelight for their principles and integrity, Mugabe couldn’t handle it.

  • comment-avatar
    Mike Nyathi 8 years ago

    Proverbs 11:10 – ‘When the wicked perish, there are shouts of joy’

  • comment-avatar 8 years ago


  • comment-avatar

    To all fellow Zimbabweans: Isn’t it time to drop the hatred and nasty remarks and wishing someone dead. I also want a new and Godly President-desperately- but hatred and bitterness only destroy. I think sometimes that God allows our Mudara to stay because of the murky states of our own hearts. We need to sort ourselves out too. The bible clearly tells us that we are not to rejoice in the demise of an enemy. When we bless those who despitefully use us we heap coals of burning fire on their shoulders. Vengeance is Mine says the Lord. Common guys! What makes us different from ZPF and Bob if we have the same gunge in our lives???

  • comment-avatar
    Nyoni 8 years ago


    • comment-avatar
      adalandoinda 8 years ago

      Donett Kruger.
      Zimbabwe got all three. FREE EDUCATION,FREE HEALTH,OUR LAND.We just need to marry resources and capital, effective governance mechanisms and Zimbabwe will b a BRICSZ.

  • comment-avatar
    Richard 8 years ago

    To Nimrod, the only waste of time was for for whites coming to Africa to teach the blacks to read and write. It seems we have served our purpose to build an infrastructure like nothing seen in Africa until the colonialist arrived. Its racists like yourself think that its ok now, because you don’t need whites anymore! Well you have taken a country that was working to international standards, and have turned into a piece of c*%p. Well done comrade!

  • comment-avatar
    Johann 8 years ago

    Isn’t it ironic, the country (SA) that supposedly suffered so badly under a white racist minority regime happens also to be the wealthiest and most developed one and the country (ZW) who’s now been governed for 30+ years by a black racist minority (zanu pf only)regime happens to be becoming the poorest, least developed one. The logic suggests the white racist minority regime was the better of the two evils.

  • comment-avatar
    Umtali John 8 years ago

    Mandela: we celebrate your life and mourn your death.
    Thugabe: we mourn your life and will celebrate your death.

  • comment-avatar
    ''I love Mandela'' 8 years ago

    In the end, popular opinion will prevail.
    A few people might mourn Mugabe’s passing when it comes, but millions will rejoice once he is gone; not because he was a liberator; not because he had his point of view as he is entitled to his own opinions; but millions will rejoice because he a bitter, unforgiving, greedy and selfish dictator.
    Anyone can say what they want but next to Mandela, Mugabe is and always will be totally invisible.