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Mugabe speaks on love life


PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe has disclosed that his late wife Sally knew about his relationship with his former typist Grace Marufu as he wanted to have children before his mother died.


In a documentary interview to be televised in South Africa on June 2, produced by Dali Tambo, the son of the late African National Congress president Oliver Tambo, as part of his People of the South programme, published by the Guardian, a British newspaper, Mugabe spoke at length about his married life.

Both Mugabe and Grace were interviewed by Tambo for the documentary.

Responding to a question on what attracted him to Grace, 40 years younger than him, Mugabe said: “It was not just the fact that one was attracted. After Sally was gone, it was necessary for me to look for someone and, even as Sally was still going through her last few days, although it might have appeared to some as cruel, I said to myself well, it’s not just myself needing children, my mother has all the time said: ‘Ah, am I going to die without seeing grandchildren?’

“So I decided to make love to her. She happened to be one of the nearest and she was a divorcee herself, and so it was. We got our first child when my mother was still alive.”
Mugabe’s only child with Sally, Nhamodzenyika, who was born in 1963, died in 1966.

He said Sally, who died from kidney failure in 1992, knew that he was in a relationship with Grace and accepted it.

“I did tell her (of the relationship) and she just kept quiet and said fine, but she did ask: ‘Do you still love me?’ I said yes. And she said: ‘Oh, fine’.”

Mugabe said he had remained faithful to Grace, whom he married in 1996, as he promised when the relationship began.

“When I said I wanted to marry her, I meant it,” he said during the interview. “I said to her from that moment on if I had any girlfriends, I would leave them and that’s what I have done to recognise you and you alone as my partner. Whether you believed it or not, that’s what it has been.

“And I valued her, I valued the transformation that you (Grace) brought to my life and the kids that you gave me and the happiness that they brought and the happiness you brought, and I remain very grateful for that. And that is why sometimes perhaps when you tend to be angry with me or perhaps I’ve not acted as quickly as you thought I should on certain matters, I have not reacted, I just kept quiet and allowed that to win.”

Mugabe said theirs had been a fruitful and blessed marriage that was a model from which a lot of people could learn.

“This is how we have lived,” he said. “I do hope we continue that way and that our children also benefit from our oneness and that (Grace) you also benefit from the little that you can learn from me, that interaction, and also even our relatives can learn from us how marital life should be, and especially the younger ones. So please continue to love the children, but of course, above all, to love this boyfriend called Robert Mugabe.”

On what kind of man he would want his daughter Bona to get married to, Mugabe says: “. . . it must be a person of her own choice. My hope would be first, qualities of a good husband will live with her, because he loves her through thick and thin and not just look at her now as she still is that flower, attractive, blooming. She will have kids and quite a lot of what is now the real charm will disappear and the face will start having wrinkles. So he should not pit her at that time against up-and-coming younger ones, which is what most people do and as a result we gets lots of divorces.”

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