Dr Mu­gabe wears many hats

The Manica Post - - First Lady Birthday Feature -

FIFTY-TWO years ago in some small town in apartheid South Africa, a girl was born to mi­grant par­ents from across the north­ern bor­der, it­self a colony where black peo­ple were de­nied rights and treated as sec­ond class cit­i­zens.

The leader of the racist regime in her coun­try of ori­gin, Ian Dou­glas Smith had de­clared that he did not be­lieve in black ma­jor­ity rule ever in Rhode­sia — not in a thou­sands years.

Hap­pily, he was proved wrong. Most mirac­u­lously, the girl born in Benoni, South Africa to mi­grant “Rhode­sian” par­ents, would not only see self-rule — she is now the First Lady of the in­de­pen­dent Repub­lic of Zim­babwe.

Zim­bab­weans af­fec­tion­ately call her “Mother of the Na­tion” and she fits the bill ef­fort­lessly be­cause apart from the of­fice she holds as First Lady, she has demon­strated a deep con­cern and care for the peo­ple of Zim­babwe and in par­tic­u­lar the vul­ner­a­ble, dis­abled and or­phaned. She added a feather to her cap, and an­other weight of re­spon­si­bil­ity, when she was asked to lead the Zanu-PF Women’s League. Sad­dled with so many roles, she is in­evitably a cel­e­brated per­son­al­ity from whom many peo­ple ex­pect a lot.

But it is worth­while to look back on the jour­ney this woman has taken in the last 51 years.

Born on July 23, 1965, in South Africa, Dr Grace Mu­gabe was the fourth child in a fam­ily of five. In 1970 she moved back to Zim­babwe to live with her mother in Chivhu while her father stayed and worked in South Africa sup­port­ing his fam­ily from there.

The First Lady at­tended pri­mary school in Chivhu and then pro­ceeded to Kriste Mambo in Man­i­ca­land for her sec­ondary ed­u­ca­tion. Of her time grow­ing up in ru­ral Mashona­land East, the province from where both her par­ents come from, Dr Mu­gabe said that it was an eye opener for her as she had to ad­just to ru­ral life from the South African life she had known.

“I ac­tu­ally ap­pre­ci­ate the ex­pe­ri­ence I got there (ru­ral ar­eas). “Today I can eas­ily iden­tify with ru­ral peo­ple. It made me the per­son I’m today,” she said.

In 1996 she mar­ried Pres­i­dent Robert Mu­gabe. The cou­ple has three chil­dren to­gether: Bona, Robert Ju­nior and Chatunga while she has an­other child, Rus­sell Gor­eraza from her pre­vi­ous mar­riage.

Dr Mu­gabe said that grow­ing up she was very close to her si­b­lings and es­pe­cially close to her mother Idah Marufu. This has im­pacted her re­la­tion­ship with her own chil­dren with whom she shares a sim­i­lar bond.

She has ex­tended this love to her work and the var­i­ous ini­tia­tives she has un­der­taken to as­sist the un­der­priv­i­leged peo­ple of Zim­babwe as the Mother of the Na­tion.

In Ma­zowe, Dr Mu­gabe runs an or­phan­age where she takes care of or­phans from around the coun­try whom she has adopted.

There is also the Amai Mu­gabe Pri­mary School which caters for around 200 pupils who ben­e­fit from the in­vest­ments she has made in the school. Dr Mu­gabe is a woman with a gen­er­ous heart and is one of the big­gest phi­lan­thropists in Zim­babwe.

Not only does she have a gen­er­ous heart but she runs suc­cess­ful busi­nesses no­tably Al­pha and Omega Dairy, which is a sub­sidiary of Gushungo Hold­ings.

The dairy com­pany em­ploys 500 peo­ple and has 2 000 dairy cat­tle with a ca­pac­ity to pro­duce 80 000 litres of milk per day.

Gushungo Dairy Farm also pro­duces maize, soya beans, sugar beans and cit­rus. It is an ex­am­ple of the suc­cess of in­dige­nous busi­nesses and a project in line with the coun­try’s eco­nomic blue print- Zim-As­set. Dr Mu­gabe is a grad­u­ate of the Peo­ple’s Univer­sity of China where she stud­ied the

Chi­nese lan­guage.

In 2014 she was awarded a PhD in So­cial Stud­ies from the Univer­sity of Zim­babwe.

Her ca­reer in pol­i­tics be­gan when she was nom­i­nated for the post of Sec­re­tary for the Zanu-PF Women’s League in 2014. Fol­low­ing this nom­i­na­tion, the First Lady went on a “Meet the Peo­ple” tour to the var­i­ous prov­inces. At the ral­lies Dr Mu­gabe showed her res­o­lute na­ture by de­nounc­ing fac­tion-

al­ism and was in­stru­men­tal in root­ing out the foiled at­tempt by for­mer Vice Pres­i­dent Joice Mu­juru to usurp power from Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe. At the congress held in De­cem­ber 2014, she was ap­pointed Sec­re­tary for the Women’s League.

Dr Mu­gabe is a re­mark­able woman who has committed her time, ef­fort and re­sources to the peo­ple of Zim­babwe.-Bulawayo Bureau

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Zimbabwe

© PressReader. All rights reserved.