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

Elusive Deal With Iran Could Yield Foreign Policy Legacy for Obama

A new Iranian leader -- and a strategic shift by the United States -- opens narrow window for nuclear agreement with Tehran More

Column: Saudi-Iran Meeting Could Boost Fight Against Islamic State

The fact that Iranians and Saudis are talking again does not guarantee a breakthrough, but it could make it easier to build a broad coalition against IS More

Thai Ruler Gives Top Cabinet Posts to Junta Inner Circle

Thailand's army chief has kept an iron grip on power as he extends the government, hand-picking an interim parliament that subsequently nominated him prime minister More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015i
X
Carol Pearson
August 30, 2014 7:14 PM
A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assault

After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Growing Business Offers Paint with a Twist of Wine

Two New Orleans area women started a small business seven years ago with one thing in mind: to help their neighbors relieve the stress of coping with a hurricane's aftermath. Today their business, which pairs painting and a little bit of wine, has become one of the fastest growing franchises across the U.S. VOA’s June Soh met the entrepreneurs at their newest franchise location in the Washington suburbs.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Week

The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Asian Bacteria Threatens Florida Orange Trees

Florida's citrus fruit industry is facing a serious threat from a bacteria carried by the Asian insect called psyllid. The widespread infestation again highlights the danger of transferring non-native species to American soil. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Aging Will Reduce Economic Growth Worldwide in Coming Decades

The world is getting older, fast. And as more people retire each year, fewer working-age people will be there to replace them. Bond rating agency Moody’s says that will lead to a decline in household savings; reducing global investments - which in turn, will lead to slower economic growth around the world. But experts say it’s not too late to mitigate the economic impact of the world’s aging populations. Mil Arcega has more.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.

AppleAndroid