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

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies More

Judge Declares Washington DC Ban on Public Handguns Unconstitutional

Ruling overturns capital city's prohibition on carrying guns in pubic More

Pricey Hepatitis C Drug Draws Criticism

Activists are using the International AIDS Conference to criticize drug companies for charging high prices for life-saving therapies More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid