‘Mugabe stars in ngozi thriller’


LONDON — British playwright Fraser Grace, whose play Breakfast with Mugabe is running off-Broadway in New York until October, has claimed that the Zimbabwean leader does not always get an accurate portrayal.

Report by Telegraph

Mugabe was recently elected to serve a seventh term amid allegations of massive vote rigging and this week announced a new Cabinet made up of hardliners from his Zanu PF party.

Grace’s play delves into the mind of one of the world’s most vilified leaders, the 89-year-old Mugabe who has been in power for 33 years.

In Grace’s Breakfast with Mugabe, the President is seen a depressed patient, pursued by the spirits of a dead comrade.

Grace, who directs the Writing Drama course at Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge, said: “When Mugabe was in the news, he was portrayed entirely as a monster.

“And my starting position was that monsters are made, not born.

“There is little doubt some of the ways he behaves are monstrous, but interestingly he had many of the same experiences as Nelson Mandela: liberation, prison, both suffered terrible humiliations and oppression under colonial rule.”

However, Mandela, South Africa’s first black President, is credited with uniting his country after apartheid rule.

The play has only four characters, Mugabe and his wife Grace, bodyguard Gabriel and white Zimbabwean psychiatrist Andrew Peric, all of them trying to gain the upper hand.

Peric, played by actor Ezra Barnes, first runs into the formidable Grace Mugabe, largely known as the secretary-turned-mistress who married Mugabe shortly after his first wife died and who lives a lavish lifestyle that has earned her the nickname “The First Shopper” at home.

Alternately warm and menacing, Grace, played by actress Rosalyn Coleman, goads Peric as he waits for her husband, assuring her his intentions in treating the President are pure.

“And what in Zimbabwe do you think is pure?” she scoffs.

“Do what you are told or you will not be treating your patient for long.”

Mugabe, in a hauntingly accurate portrayal by Michael Rogers, sought help from the psychiatrist, yet he fights against being vulnerable to a white man, and their interactions are tense, electric and emotional.

As the psychiatrist probes Mugabe about the ghost — known as ngozi — haunting him, the President hits out angrily with his trademark sharp tongue about Peric’s white ancestors robbing Africans of their land and their voice.

Peric, who has a keen understanding of Shona culture, is described by actor Barnes as “post-racial” and tries to defend himself. Like many whites whose forefathers moved to the continent, he considers himself African.

Their sessions bring up Mugabe’s possible demons: his betrayal of his first wife, his abandonment by his father as a boy and the death of his own child during his 11 years of imprisonment by Ian Smith’s white minority regime.

The play was first produced by the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-upon-Avon and then made it to the West End and will now run in New York until October 6.


  1. First there was a movie, The Interpreter, now a broadway show? Varungu vazopererwa manje! Malume Guks and Musona do you ever stop to wonder why the pathological obsession?

    Do they perhaps want to deny you the icon and hero in your possession in the hope that you will drop him and he stops being a menace to the current structures of their world order.

    It’s an age old trick, criticize your cultural beliefs as primitive so that you drop them for theirs then you and your offspring are lifetime clients! Common guys make you intellect and education count for something. Ask yourself why the obsession with little Zimbabwe and insignificant Mugabe?

  2. Its really a shame why some people see a spec in someone’s eye while they cant see a log in their own. my question is; you white guys do you really see yourselves as holy? why is it about Mugabe and Mugabe and Mugabe all the time? yes we acknowledge that he destroyed our economy but let me tell you this; Mugabe didn’t destroy America, Mugabe didn’t destroy the UK; he destroyed Zimbabwe. so better shut up your filthy mouths and leave us alone. we will solve our own problems and stop demonizing our people. you are causing more harm to Zimbabwe by your deeds than the harm Mugabe is causing. you are causing divisions amongst Zimbabweans and you call yourselves holy.

    • I don’t see white people as holy. I am one white Zimbabwean citizen who doesn’t really think about politics, history, race etc. I just live my life, look after my family, work, go fishing, play sports, enjoy a good braai with some beer at the lake etc.

      I also don’t think many people are obsessed with Mugabe either. To be honest, most European youth in the world don’t even know who he is or where Zimbabwe is: they couldn’t care less.

      A lot of Zimbabweans of all races live in European or Caucasion majority countries, facing no problems, and integrating well in to the population.

      I think art and culture is important, and if people want to make movies or theater about leaders, whether critical of the leader or now, then why can’t they do it? People in China, UK, India, Canada etc. are critical of their leaders all the time. No country is one hundred percent unified. I remember when I was in Germany that a lot of indigenous Germans were very critical of their leaders – past and present – making cartoons, plays and movies about them.

      • You are right, a lot of us don’t give a hoot about Mugabe. My problem is this “why has the white population in Zim refused to integrate? You still want to maintain your little fiefdoms hey? White South Africans have accepted reality but Zimbabwean White Africans refuse to integrate, why? If you give me a good and honest answer I will take you out to Braai kwa Mereki!!!

        • People tend to keep to their culture and religion, not matter where you go in the world. Just two examples: 1) I remember visiting a Nigerian neighbourhood in London, where they spoke their languages, had restaurants, funeral homes, religious institutions etc. 2) I visited an area called China Town in Vancouver, BC, Canada and a lot of the singage was in Cantonese and Mandarin. A lot of Chinese restaurants, a traditional garden etc.

        • A lot of people with roots in Rhodesia who are Caucasian do keep within their own communites to a degree, but just because that’s what most people do. It isn’t about racism. If you grow up with your neighbours, go to the same schools, churches, parties etc. that’s who you end up living your life with.

  3. @farai. You have finished it! The obsession with Zimbabwe and Mugabe makes the ordinary Zimbabwean want to know why so. The next time Mugabe says “beware of the imperialists”, we are all likely to take heed because we can see the evil machinations and chicanery smoke-screening this demonization of Mugabe. Africa at large now feels Mugabe has a point after all, discounting his black spots!

  4. Johnny Rotten, you don’t think politics, history and race? Since when? You lie! The entire social fabric of the West’s world order is based on politics, history and race. Have you ever asked yourself why in every major university in the west there is a school of African Studies? All white folk are obsessed and afraid of the black men, our women you love but the men they give you chills!
    You demonise our heros (Mugabe) and want us to accept yours(Mandela) you fight against our initiatives (African Rennaissance) promoting yours(ESAP) Continue demonizing him we will continue voting for him! It’s Definately about politics, history and race!


    • There have been plenty of movies made about George Bush and Tony Blair etc. Also, a lot of people in the West were against their behaviour and protested against the war.

      Just a few things my ancestors invented:


      – Electricity
      – Airplane
      – Motorcar
      – TV
      – Radio
      – Internet
      – Deodorant spray
      – Oven
      – Telephone
      – Landline
      – Cell phone

      You have a big mouth and a small brain buddy. Get a life and an education.

  6. VaAnexia Pulmer, in our culture we do not mock, condemn or criticize our elders in public fora, are you able to respect that? If not, then culturally we are incompatible and have irreconcilable differences. Since we are the majority and tisu tirikutonga, we will expect (no, actually demand) that in your pursuit of your freedom of expression you respect our cultural norms.

    RGM is a betrayer? More than the chap who called for sanctions against his own country? He siphons national resources? More so than the guys who for 20 years were shipping truckloads of alluvial soil samples from Chiadzwa to SA? I do understand that if you are a whity this guy certainly messed it up for you guys! No more pigment based privilege!

    • I normally see these kind of comments on News24 and always wish some these MDC zealots could read such comments from the white folks (the friends with money mind you). Go on Johnny Rotten tell them how great the whiteman is. Now mazvinzwira mega that because the whiteman invented the earoplane it means he can do whatever he wants even grabbing other people’s land and rule over all nations

      • I didn’t say that because we have a history of being the most inventive tribe within the human family, that that gives us a license to oppress others. Colonialism was wrong, as wrong as the neo-colonialism we are witnessing the Chinese embark upon

  7. enjoying the comments, but not the derogatory ones. Mr/ Rotten, u raise good points. It really isn’t about demonising President Mugabe. The film industry will always do what they do best- and its all about the Benjamins. Anyone who’s watched “Escape from Guantanamo Bay” will notice that its not only President Mugabe who’s mocked. I have interacted with very good whites locally, who see a person as a person. My wish is this: that we all be genuinely united into one big family.
    I respect the concept of personal space- even local Indians don’t mix. BUT we should perhaps also recognize and accept that there are some black Africans who may want to exact some kind of revenge for all the past atrocities, or are simply overly paranoid. Maybe these need intense psychotherapy, but maybe they are right that not all whites will see blacks as equals.
    But we still can live together harmoniously can’t we?

    • Also a lot of black people will not accept whites or see them as equals. I have been insulated because I don’t have a totem, or because my skin is easily burnt.

      To be honest, I judge people based on their character and not the colour of their skin. I have black people in my life, and there are white people I can’t even stand to be around. What I mean is that I don’t choose friends and employees based on skin colour, but things in common and character.

  8. I married a black women and we have three children, so no one can say I am a racist. I have friends from all different backgrounds. I even play the guitar and sing in three of the official languages of Zimbabwe. I am a citizen of the planet, and the only race I belong to is the human race.

  9. Mukwasha Rotten, you don’t stop being a racist because you married a black woman and have half caste children in as much as having a black jacket doesn’t mean you like black people. In any case it’s not about whether you like black people or not it’s about whether you respect me as a human being with a culture and way of life that can be different from yours. Whether you accept that I have dominion over the land and resources on it and you don’t make it your life mission to dispose me of these to advance yourself. It’s about whether you accept that I can take care of myself and my environment as a black person and have done so successfully for generations.

    • That just shows how little you value woman – comparing a woman to a possesion like a jacket – a woman is a mere possesion to you. I can’t be with a woman that I don’t love and respect on every level. So…

      About your racist remark calling mixed-race children “half-caste” just shows how racist and ignorant you are.

  10. Mukwasha, do your people understand that without colonialism and the plunder you visited on my people all the achievements you claim would have not been possible. Do you even feel any remorse over slavery and colonialism and that these were the most savage acts men ever visited on fellow humans.

    Can you imagine what would be at play if Africa had colonized Europe and enslaved it’s people. You would demanding retribution, compensation and reparations for the next hundred generations. France is still being compensated by countries it colonized to this day! That’s how you folk are wired. Now you want to worry on our behalf over the Chinese. We are okay with that relationship thank you very much. It’s FDI when it comes from you and neocolonialism when it’s from the Chinese! Guess what, we trust them more and nothing you say about them will change that.

    You want to be accepted as an equal and live in harmony? Not whilst you stand on my head and abuse my resources! There are just not enough resources to go round for both of us. You stole from me and your life is built around looted wealth, don’t get too comfortable, I will retake what is rightfully mine, that you can bet on!

    • My life isn’t built around looted wealth. All of my family’s money was made in Europe – we spend that money here though, which is good for the local economy. We also used that money to buy a company here, and we gave 51% ownership to our employees as shares, even though we weren’t required to.

      One thing I can say, we aren’t afraid here, and we are very comfortable. I don’t think there will ever be a civil war in Zim. Most of the partners of the leadership in this country are white, and most of the people behind the Chinese deals are also white, so you better grow up little boy and stop living in a fantasy world.

  11. Mukwasha Rotten, Europe before the colonies was made of medieval villages where people wore sacks and ate pig fat. European wealth was created from the plunder and looting of the colonies. Now since your wealth was made in Europe is it not safe to conclude that your family wealth is stolen? Also is it not conceivable that one day the rightful owners will demand compensation and reparations for this theft sending you back to sacks and pig fat?

    • You are so wrong here it is funny. Europe was able to colonize people because they were already more technologically advanced then the rest of the world.

      How do you think Europeans got here? In 1890, when they arrived in this area, they had trains, wagons, blacksmith, medicine, reading and writing, ships to get accross the ocean, amazing architecture.

      In Europe, even 1000 years ago there was running water and modern buildings, cars pulled by horses etc. Here we didn’t even know how to make a single wheel even just over 100 years ago.

      The Europeans have always been more technologically advanced then the rest of the world.

      Even now, it was white people who put a man on the moon, who did the first open heart transplant, brain surgery etc.

      Let us not hate the white people, but also let’s not allow them to hate us just because they were first to do a lot of things, we are here now and it’s our turn to colonize them USING THEIR OWN TECHNOLOGY AND POLITICAL SYSTEMS!

  12. @ Hood, I read the same history book too but have you ever stopped to think that Europe used Egyptian inventions to advance their savagery. Egyptians who were black, were a very civilized and advanced society but they never colonized or attacked anyone, it was not in our culture. Zvayi yera!

    Europe colonized other people because Europeans were uncultured, cannibalistic savages. Romans were respondible for spreading Egyptian (black) civilisation to Europe. Europeans then sailed to distant lands to loot and steal. They then imposed laws to stop us reclaiming what was rightfully ours! And you call that civilized?

    Give me one new to the world invention and I will give you it’s foundational science based in Africa. Cardiac surgery, look up Viviene Theodore Thomas, he was black.

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