ZIMBABWE – President Robert Mugabe turned 92 today and elders from Zvimba have congratulated him, saying living that long can only be through the love and will of God.
President Mugabe was born on 21 February 1924, and celebrations dubbed the ’21st February Movement,’ have since been marked since 1986 in honour of the liberation icon’s values for both political and economic emancipation of Zimbabweans.
While this year’s event will be marked in Masvingo on 27 February, Zimbabweans could not wait to wish him well on his 92nd birthday today.
Gogo Agatha Nyere, who is younger sister to President Mugabe’s late mother, Mbuya Bona, vividly narrated how Cde Mugabe grew from a young rural boy in Kutama to become a president.
Gogo Cecillia Mupariwa Zindoga, a neighbour at Cde Mugabe’s rural home, says the whole Kutama neighbourhood feels blessed by the gift of long life bestowed on the president as he is a man of the people.
An uncle to the president though younger, Mr Philemon Kutama, knows the beginnings of the road that led to a herd boy from Kutama rising up to lead Zimbabwe and Africa.
“It was during our boyhood that he developed an avid culture of reading. As the youngest of the herd boys of that time, I had
to assume the duties of monitoring the movement of cattle as the elder, Robert [Mugabe], buried his face into books,” he said.
Mr Kutama added that Cde Mugabe’s rise from just a herd boy to become president was not an overnight thing but a difficult road punctuated with prison, suffering, hunger, tears and blood.
President Mugabe’s love for books did not end during his time as a boy as he went on to become a teacher before acquiring a degree from Fort Hare University in South Africa.
He also taught in Ghana before returning home to enter politics.
During his time in prison between 1964 and 1975, Cde Mugabe also studied and acquired more university degrees.
As he celebrates 92 years, the main message from those who have also known him for decades is that, such a long life cannot be due to the will of man but the love of God.