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Mugabe, Robert (b. 1924)

Eliakim M. Sibanda


Born in 1924 at Kutama Mission in Zvimba Reserve, west of the Rhodesian capital of Salisbury (Harare), Robert Mugabe spent his formative years under the tutelage of an Irish Jesuit, Father Jerome O'Hea, founder of a teacher training center and hospital at the mission. Mugabe graduated from Kutama with a teaching diploma in 1945, and in 1951 earned a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Fort Hare in South Africa. In 1958, while at Takoradi Teacher Training College in Ghana, Mugabe was a witness to that country's independence from Britain. Under Kwame Nkrumah's leadership, Ghana was an exemplar of radical African nationalism, anti-colonialism, and liberation. Ghana reinforced Mugabe's view that liberation for Africa under Marxist principles was a necessity, and he emerged as a leading nationalist figure on his return to Rhodesia in 1960. In 1960, Mugabe was elected publicity secretary of the National Democratic Party (NDP) under party president Joshua Nkomo. After Nkomo agreed to the constitution of 1961, which fell short of gaining majority rule for the NDP, Mugabe was approached by party executives concerning his interest in forming an alternative party. While nothing materialized, Mugabe soon after became more vocal and militant in opposition to British rule. In 1961, the Rhodesian government banned the NDP for violence and destruction of property against the white settlers. ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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