News / Africa

S. African, Zimbabwe Leaders Take Different Path

South Africa's former President Nelson Mandela waves as he arrives to attend the 2010 World Cup football final Netherlands vs. Spain on July 11, 2010 at Soccer City stadium in Soweto, suburban Johannesburg.
South Africa's former President Nelson Mandela waves as he arrives to attend the 2010 World Cup football final Netherlands vs. Spain on July 11, 2010 at Soccer City stadium in Soweto, suburban Johannesburg.
Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe is one of the world leaders expected to attend the funeral of former president Nelson Mandela. The two men were both once hailed as liberation heroes, but their paths diverged.

The late South African president served one term and retired, while his Zimbabwean counterpart has remained in office for more than 33 years.

Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe addresses the crowd gathered to commemorate Heroes Day in Harare, Aug. 12, 2013.Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe addresses the crowd gathered to commemorate Heroes Day in Harare, Aug. 12, 2013.
x
Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe addresses the crowd gathered to commemorate Heroes Day in Harare, Aug. 12, 2013.
Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe addresses the crowd gathered to commemorate Heroes Day in Harare, Aug. 12, 2013.
Last week, Mugabe took almost 48 hours to comment on the death of Mandela, who succumbed to a recurring lung infection. Since then it has been business as usual for Mugabe.  

On Sunday, he addressed the funeral of a senior army official for about an hour and never mentioned Mandela’s death. Nor did he observe a moment of silence in honor of the late great leader in a ceremony that was broadcast live on all state-owned radio and tv stations.

Mandela once famously said of his Zimbabwean counterpart, "He was the star, and then the sun came out.”

He summed up feelings about Mugabe in a meeting with former French president Nicolas Sarkozy. He said, “Before I was released from prison, he was the most popular African leader in this area, but when I was released, the media said this is the end of Mugabe from the point of view of popularity.  In fact, he himself did not want me to come out of jail,” said Mandela.

Independent political analyst Ibbo Mandaza explained why it appears Mugabe and Mandela did not like each other.

"People like Mugabe regard South Africa as a later comer in the process toward independence. Whereas South Africa has implicitly seen itself as the big brother in the region. So that tension has always been there. Not only in respect of Mandela, but also in respect of Mbeki and Zuma," said Mandaza.

Thabo Mbeki took over as South Africa’s president, before passing the baton to current president Jacob Zuma. As the curtain comes down on the legacy of South Africa’s first black president, former SADC secretary general Simba Makoni said there can be no comparison with Zimbabwe’s first black president.   

Makoni is a former minister in Mugabe’s government. He was an independent candidate for Zimbabwe president in 2008 and is now in opposition politics in Zimbabwe.

“The comparison is inappropriate. I do not know that President Mugabe has emancipated Zimbabwean people," said Makoni. "We know that Zimbabweans are now poorer than they were in 1980. There are so many things that President Mugabe has done. I think we will be doing a disservice to President Mandela to try and do a comparison. It is the wrong comparison. President Mandela demonstrated to us and to the whole world that you do not have to be in high public office to serve your people. ”

That was a direct reference to Mugabe's statement it was “the Mandela way” of serving one term and quit. The 89-year-old Zimbabwean leader has not yet announced when he will step down.  

The late Nobel prize-winner visited Zimbabwe once during his term in office, and the main street to Zimbabwe’s parliament is named Nelson Mandela Avenue. That is one of the way Zimbabweans will remember him, and another is by South African currency that features Mandela's face and is legal tender in Zimbabwe.

You May Like

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More