Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe was an African leader who sharply divides opinion. As man and leader he has come to embody the contradictions of his country’s history and political culture: as a symbol of African liberation, he remains respected and revered by many on the African continent, but this heroic status contrasts sharply, in the eyes of his detractors, with repeated cycles of gross human rights violations, capital flight, and mass emigration precipitated by the policies of his government and his demonic image in Western media.
In this timely biography, intended for a general audience, Sue Onslow and Martin Plaut explain Mugabe’s formative experiences as a child and young man; his role as an admired Afro-nationalist leader in the struggle against white settler rule; and his evolution into a political manipulator and survivalist. They also address the emergence of political opposition to his leadership and the uneasy period of coalition government. Ultimately, they reveal the complexity of the man who led Zimbabwe for its first four decades of independence.