‘We’re free, we’re independent’: Zimbabweans speak of Mugabe’s legacy

Robert Mugabe

Harare – There were loud cheers, wailing and thumping music from the Rufaro Stadium in Harare where former president Robert Mugabe’s body lay in state for the second day ahead of his state funeral at the National Sports Stadium on Saturday.

Thousands flocked to the stadium as traditional music and reggae songs were played as Zimbabweans had their final chance to say goodbye to their hero.

President Cyril Ramaphosa said in a statement he would attend Mugabe’s state funeral, where he would be flanked by cabinet ministers International Relations Minister Naledi Pandor, Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, Police Minister Bheki Cele and State Security Minister Ayanda Dlodlo.

“The president’s attendance signifies South Africa’s regard and gratitude for the role played by the late former president Mugabe in his capacity as leader of Zimbabwe’s pre-independence liberation movement and as President of the Republic of Zimbabwe in support of South Africa’s struggle against apartheid,” said Khusela Diko, a presidential spokesperson.

Meanwhile, Mugabe will also be buried at the National Heroes Acre, his family conceded on Friday.

But Melody Gambe, 37, a Vaya e-hailing driver – Zimbabwe’s answer to Uber – said she was former marketing manager for a newspaper company in the country.

She was now driving e-hailing taxis to make ends in Zimbabwe’s tough economy. .

“I am a Vaya driver because I can’t get anything in the market, I have to make ends meet,” she said.

Gambe, who lives in Harare city with her sister, said Zimbabweans deserved a future free of corruption.

“The future I want is where I am able to live my dream. I have a degree and I’m studying towards a masters, I want to have a doctorate and I want the finer things in life.

“But I can’t even start a family now because I don’t know what I’ll give my children,” she said.

Asked what the solution is, she said: “(The problem) is everyone is thinking of themselves, we are now self-centred, if I get something it’s for me myself and I.

“We now have a deep-rooted cancer, which is corruption, so I think we need to deal with that to have the future we want,” said.

Zimbabwe Struggle veteran Betty Dandadzi said Mugabe was a hero of the people. Video: Sihle Mlambo/IOL.

Betty Dandadzi simply said Mugabe was a hero of the people, and blushed.

She is a member of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association, and said she was in the trenches with Mugabe around 1975.

“He was a very good man, I remember he would say our revolution is coming,” she said speaking outside the Rufora Stadium where Mugabe’s body was lying in state.

Fati Banda speaks of Mugabe’s positive legacy. Video: Sihle Mlambo/IOL.

And making a quick buck for her children was Fati Banda of Westwood, Harare, who was selling lanyards with Mugabe’s picture with the words “Rest In Peace Our Hero”.

“He has left us with a legacy, we are free, we are independent,” she said.