By Anna Chibamu/Costa Nkomo
SOUTH Africa has mourned the death of Zimbabwe’s founding leader Robert Mugabe who died at age 95, in Singapore.
President Cyril Ramaphosa in the wake of xenophobic violence that reportedly claimed 10 lives this week reminded South Africans that Zimbabwe had borne the brunt of the Apartheid regime’s brutality for supporting the ANC’s independence struggle.
“Under President Mugabe’s leadership, Zimbabwe’s sustained and valiant struggle against colonialism inspired our own struggle against apartheid and built in us the hope that one day South Africa too would be free.
“During the decades of our own struggle, Zimbabwe’s liberation movement supported our own liberation movement to fight oppression on multiple fronts. After Zimbabwe achieved independence, the apartheid state brutalised and violated Zimbabwe as punishment for supporting our own struggle,” said Ramaphosa.
In a statement South Africa’s ruling party the ANC said while it had differed with Mugabe, only history will judge the former Zanu PF leader.
“Though the ANC and its leadership may have differed, often vociferously, with Comrade Mugabe on matters of national interest – as fraternal organisations we held as sacrosanct the principle of sovereignty.
“History alone will be the decider over whether the courses of action taken by leaders in the intersts of their countrymen, were the correct ones,” party secretary general Ace Magashule said.
“We remember the immortal words of William Shakespeare, that the deeds men do live after them, and yet “the good is oft interred with their bones.”
Magashule added: “To our friends in Zanu PF be comforted that you have lost a leader whose service to his country will forever be inscribed. We mourn with you the passing of our friend, statesman, leader and a revolutionary.”
The ANC Magashule said Mugabe was a unifier of Africans.
“Throughout his life, the late Comrade Mugabe as an ardent and vocal advocate of African unity and self-reliance and will always be remembered for his rallying cry: ‘Africa is for Africans, Zimbabwe is for Zimbabweans,” the ANC said.