Amazing Grace: Let us say a prayer for Zimbabwe First Lady




The wife of Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, Grace Mugabe.

“I’m going to fight cyber bullying as first lady”, said Melania Trump in November last year. Trump even backed her up by saying that she’d make not one, but two speeches about it in due time.

The first lady of Niger Lalla Malika Issoufou is joining forces with the first ladies of Burkina Faso and Benin to fight for an end to female genital mutilation in West Africa.

And then, of course, there are literally thousands of first ladies who have stood on the front lines for a host of other worthy causes and continue to do so.

But… “I am going to beat that girl with an extension cord until she bleeds”, is not a “cause” any first lady has ever fought to be a part of. Until…. Grace Mugabe.

The Zimbabwean first lady faces claims that she beat 20-year-old model Gabriella Engels on Sunday. The attack allegedly happened because the model was hanging out with the Mugabe sons at a Sandton hotel.

Engels says she was attacked with an extension cord and hit repeatedly by the first lady until her head started to bleed. Engels has several wounds from the assault.

The South African police are not helping matters by dragging their feet and the family remains frustrated.

Meanwhile, Grace Mugabe continues to float like a butterfly and sting like bee. First, by just refusing to pitch up at the Wynberg magistrate’s court on Tuesday, not handing herself over to the police, and now, she is playing the diplomatic immunity card. Which effectively means she will get off scot-free.

This woman scares me. I would not put it past her to just move through the world with her diplomatic immunity as a free pass to just go around f***ing people up. “Hey, you know what I might do while I’m in South Africa. Give a youngen a beat down. First, I will say I did it because I was protecting my kids. And then I will merely state that I can do what I want because… DIPLOMAT! Losers!”

She has, of course, gotten away with such nonsense before.

In 2009, a British photographer in Hong Kong was having a slow news day so he decided to snap some wonderful pics of Grace Mugabe outside her hotel. The first lady of fisticuffs didn’t like that, so she just walked up to him and handed him a bit of a beating. No filter.

It’s also reported that in July this year, Mrs Mugabe verbally attacked the presidential spokesperson George Charamba, whom she accused of writing “useless” articles and supporting a rival faction angling to take over from President Mugabe.

In both cases, the first lady walked away unharmed.

Zimbabwean president for the past 321.3 years (approximately), Robert Mugabe has now just arrived in the country to get involved. He is healthy enough to travel again.

I’m sure South Africa is keen to hear his statement. We all know how rational he is. His spectacles are also as old as Egypt, so his perspective will undoubtedly be filled with wisdom. But of course, respectfully, we must all wait on said statement because the Robster and Jacob have to catch up first. Until they’re done “holding discussions”, we won’t know where the case stands. And quite frankly, we don’t know where Grace is at the moment either, or what she’s doing.

In my mind, she’s doing the right thing. Seeing a divorce lawyer. Because I mean, I get it Grace. If I was married to old Robbie “rule until the next ice age” Mugabe, I would also walk around being pissed off all day, wanting to hit things.

Haji Mohamed Dawjee is a commentator on gender equality, sexuality, culture, race relations and feminism as well as ethics in the South African media environment.