Get more Mail & Guardian
Subscribe or Login

Mugabe turns 91 with million-dollar birthday bash

Crowds of supporters clad in Zanu-PF party regalia emblazoned with the president’s image sang and danced as he arrived for the party being held at a luxury hotel in the famed Victoria Falls resort.

Assisted by his wife Grace the frail Zimbabwean leader, who was surrounded by family members, threw 91 balloons into the air.

Elephants were slaughtered for the feast, which was held on the hotel’s golf course, with white marquees erected to accommodate the guests.

Seven huge cakes were on display in one of the tents. One giant 91 kilogram creation depicted the Victoria Falls.

Critics lampooned the scale of the festivities, calling them “obscene” in a country where millions live in poverty.

‘Forward with Mugabe’
Mugabe, who has ruled Zimbabwe since independence from Britain in 1980, is the world’s oldest leader.

One of the banners decorating the venue praised him as “the icon of Zimbabwe’s revolution” while supporters chanted: “Forward with President Mugabe”.

While hailed by many African peers as a liberation hero, critics accuse him of turning what used to known as southern Africa’s bread basket into a basket case by trampling human rights, democracy and the rule of law.

Mugabe’s violent seizure of white-owned farms triggered food shortages and hyper-inflation, while Europe and the United States imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe over elections seen as rigged.

In an interview marking his birthday, Mugabe admitted he blundered by giving ill-equipped black farmers vast tracts of farmland under his controversial land reforms. “I think the farms we gave to people are too large. They can’t manage them,” Mugabe said.

He also shrugged off questions over an incident earlier this month in which he missed a step and stumbled from a podium.

“I have yet to come across to a person who has not fallen. It was a slight fall, missing a step,” Mugabe told state-controlled television. – AFP

Subscribe for R500/year

Thanks for enjoying the Mail & Guardian, we’re proud of our 36 year history, throughout which we have delivered to readers the most important, unbiased stories in South Africa. Good journalism costs, though, and right from our very first edition we’ve relied on reader subscriptions to protect our independence.

Digital subscribers get access to all of our award-winning journalism, including premium features, as well as exclusive events, newsletters, webinars and the cryptic crossword. Click here to find out how to join them and get a 57% discount in your first year.

Related stories

WELCOME TO YOUR M&G

If you’re reading this, you clearly have great taste

If you haven’t already, you can subscribe to the Mail & Guardian for less than the cost of a cup of coffee a week, and get more great reads.

Already a subscriber? Sign in here

Advertising

Subscribers only

Family wants clarity on SANDF soldier killed in friendly fire...

Corporal Simanga Khuselo join the peacekeeping mission in the DRC to save money to build his family a home

SA soldiers have been fighting in a distant land for...

Troops were sent to the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 2001 as part of the UN peacekeeping mission that became an offensive against rebels

More top stories

Roads decimate West Africa’s chimpanzee population

The species face mounting pressure from roads and infrastructure development in Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Mali, Senegal and Sierra Leone

South Africa gets major investment to treat Covid-19, TB, cancer,...

President Cyril Ramaphosa welcomed the investment, noting that it ‘is a leapfrog to cutting edge technology’

Mining industry vaccinates over 200 000 workers, mandatory vaccination not...

Minerals Council aims to get 80% of its workforce vaccinated by November

Despite inflation risks, the monetary policy committee keeps rates on...

Inflation rose well beyond the Reserve Bank’s midpoint target in August
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…
×