Ringing out Mugabe's softer side

HARARE - South African TV viewers can expect to see Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe in a different mood in two weeks’ time.

Normally militant and spewing out anti-British rhetoric when on TV, Mugabe will be relaxed and all smiles when he appears on the popular chat show People of the South.

The 89-year-old controversial president will be interviewed by the programme’s long-time presenter Dali Tambo and the show will be aired on SABC3 on June 2 at 8.30pm.

Mugabe, who has led Zimbabwe for more than 30 years, will talk about his life from childhood through to 1980 when he took over the reins of government from the British and the Ian Smith regime then in office.

Viewers will learn that the elderly president qualified as a teacher and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in English and History from the University of Fort Hare in South Africa before teaching in his home country.

In the interview Mugabe will reveal why his political thinking was heavily influenced by Ghana’s independence in 1959.

Also, how his political involvement with Zanu led to his incarceration for 10 years, during which time he and his Ghanaian wife Sally lost their three-year old son.

On his release Mugabe was sent into exile in Mozambique from where he and his Zanu party waged a guerrilla war against the forces of the Smith regime.

The bush war ended with the Lancaster House Agreement that led to the birth of Zimbabwe under a Patriotic Front government that Mugabe soon came to dominate.

Mugabe’s rule became controversial in early 2000 when war veterans took over white-owned farms without compensation for the owners.

Mugabe will recount growing up listening to his grandfather’s stories of brutal land grabs by Cecil John Rhodes and his men.

He will also open up about his relationship with his current wife Grace Mugabe while still married to his first wife Sally.

“This is a very revealing picture of him... you won’t really get to see the likes of Mugabe this way ever again,” says Tambo.

Other politicians who will grace Tambo’s porch in this season of the show include ANC NEC members Gwede Mantashe and Zweli Mkhize. About his latest choice of subjects, Tambo says: “I love politicians.
“I love seeing the other side of them.”

Tambo says he is surprised at how “emotional” politicians can be.

“Once they allow themselves to be vulnerable, they get to show you that (what) you’re doing is a job and that job doesn’t define who you are,” he says. — Sunday World

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