South Africa has conveyed its condolences to the people of Zimbabwe following the passing of its founding President Robert Gabriel Mugabe.
“President Cyril Ramaphosa has, on behalf of the government and people of South Africa, expressed his sincere condolences to the people and government of the Republic of Zimbabwe following the passing of founding President Robert Gabriel Mugabe,” the Presidency said in a statement.
Mugabe, who served as Zimbabwe’s first post-independence President, passed away in Singapore at the age of 95.
“South Africans join the people and government of Zimbabwe in mourning the passing of a liberation fighter and champion of Africa’s cause against colonialism.
“Under President Mugabe’s leadership, Zimbabwe’s sustained a brave struggle against colonialism, which inspired our own struggle against apartheid and built in us the hope that one day, South Africa too would be free,” said President Ramaphosa.
In his tribute, President Ramaphosa said during the decades of South Africa’s own struggle, Zimbabwe’s liberation movement supported South Africa’s liberation movement to fight oppression.
“After Zimbabwe achieved independence, the apartheid State brutalised and violated Zimbabwe as punishment for supporting our own struggle. Many Zimbabweans paid with their lives so that we could be free. We will never forget or dishonour this sacrifice and solidarity,” said the President.
In his early life, Mugabe won a scholarship to Fort Hare University, where he obtained the first of his seven academic degrees.
President Ramaphosa also acknowledged the role Mugabe played in advancing regional solidarity, integration and development through Zimbabwe’s participation in the Southern African Development Community (SADC).
Mugabe is survived by his wife Grace and their four children Bona, Robert, Chatunga and Michael. SAnews.gov.za