Robert Mugabe’s Biography: Age, Net Worth, Wives, Children, Parents, Siblings, Career, Books

May 20, 2024 0 Posted By Haruna Ayuba

Robert Gabriel Mugabe, born on February 21, 1924, and passed away on September 6, 2019, was a Zimbabwean revolutionary and politician. He served as Prime Minister of Zimbabwe from 1980 to 1987 and then as President from 1987 to 2017.

Mugabe was the Leader of the Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU) from 1975 to 1980 and later led its successor political party, the ZANU – Patriotic Front (ZANU–PF), from 1980 to 2017. Initially, he identified as an African nationalist, then a Marxist–Leninist during the 1970s and 1980s, and later a socialist from the 1990s onwards.


  • Full Name: Robert Gabriel Mugabe
  • Date of Birth: February 21, 1924
  • Age: 100 years old (as of 2024)
  • Gender: Male
  • Place of Birth: Kutama, Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe)
  • Nationality: Zimbabwean
  • Profession: Politician, Revolutionary
  • Height: 1.63 m (5 ft 4 in)
  • Parents: Gabriel Mugabe and Bona Mugabe
  • Siblings: Michael Mugabe, Sabina Mugabe, Bridgette Mugabe
  • Spouse: Sally Mugabe (1958–1992), Grace Mugabe (1996–2019)
  • Children: Nhamodzenyika Mugabe, Bona Mugabe, Robert Peter Mugabe Jr., Bellarmine Chatunga Mugabe
  • Relationship Status: Deceased
  • Net Worth: $80 million

Early Life and Education

Robert Gabriel Mugabe was born on February 21, 1924, in Kutama, Southern Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe, as the third of six children born to Gabriel Mugabe and Bona Mugabe. His father was a carpenter, and his mother was a Christian catechist for the village children.

The Jesuits, a Roman Catholic religious order, trained them. Mugabe’s family belonged to the Zezuru clan, a small branch of the Shona tribe, and his paternal grandfather was Chief Constantine Karigamombe.

The Jesuits heavily influenced Mugabe, developing self-discipline and a devout Catholic faith. He excelled at school but was often taunted by other children. The family was expelled from the mission village. After the deaths of his brothers, Mugabe’s father left in search of employment.

In 1949, he received a scholarship to attend the University of Fort Hare in South Africa’s Eastern Cape. There, he became involved with the African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) and attended African nationalist gatherings.

At these meetings, he encountered several Jewish South African communists who introduced him to Marxist concepts. He graduated from the university in 1952 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in history and English literature.

Personal Life

Sally Hayfron, Mugabe’s first wife, was described as Mugabe’s “confidante and only real friend” and one of the few people who could challenge his ideas without offending him. Their only son, Michael Nhamodzenyika Mugabe, passed away in 1966 while Sally was working in Ghana and Mugabe was in prison.

Sally was a trained teacher and an independent political activist. Mugabe referred to her as “Amai” (“Mother of the Nation”), but some Zimbabweans resented her foreign background. She was also involved in charitable operations but was widely seen as corrupt. After suffering from renal failure, she had to travel to Britain for dialysis until a machine was sent to Zimbabwe.

While still married to Sally, Mugabe began an affair with his secretary, Grace Marufu, who was 41 years his junior and married to someone else at the time. They had two children together before Sally died in 1992. Mugabe and Marufu were then married in a large Catholic ceremony in 1996. As the First Lady of Zimbabwe, Grace became known for her love of luxury.


Southern Rhodesia achieved internationally recognized independence on April 18, 1980. Shortly after midnight, Mugabe was sworn in as the new country’s first Prime Minister. He delivered a speech at Salisbury’s Rufaro Stadium, announcing the renaming of Rhodesia to “Zimbabwe” and expressing a commitment to racial reconciliation.

Soames assisted Mugabe in facilitating a smooth transition of power, for which Mugabe remained appreciative, referring to Soames as a good friend.

Despite Mugabe’s unsuccessful attempts to persuade Soames to stay in Zimbabwe for a few more years and his failed efforts to convince the UK to play a “guiding role” for his government due to the lack of experience among ZANU–PF members in governing, Mugabe formed a government of national unity by inviting members of rival parties to join his cabinet.

Throughout the country, statues of Cecil Rhodes were taken down, and squares and roads named after prominent colonial figures were renamed after black nationalists.

In 1982, Salisbury was renamed Harare. Mugabe enlisted North Korean architects to design Heroes’ Acre, a monument and complex in western Harare to commemorate the struggle against minority rule.

Zimbabwe also received significant aid from Western countries, as their governments hoped that a stable and prosperous Zimbabwe would support South Africa’s transition away from apartheid and minority rule. The United States provided Zimbabwe with a $25 million three-year aid package.

At the same time, the UK funded a land reform program. It supplied military advisers to assist in integrating the guerrilla armies and old Rhodesian security forces into a new Zimbabwean military. Members of both ZANLA and ZIPRA were incorporated into the new army.

The parliament amended the constitution of Zimbabwe in the latter part of 1987. On December 30, Mugabe was declared the executive President, consolidating the roles of head of state, head of government, and commander-in-chief of the armed forces into a new position.

This gave him extensive powers, including the ability to dissolve parliament, impose martial law, and run for an unlimited number of terms.

The amendments also eliminated the reserved parliamentary seats for white representatives, diminishing the parliament’s relevance and independence. Prior to the 1990 election, reforms were made to increase the number of seats to 120, with a portion appointed by the President and the Council of Chiefs, making it challenging for the opposition to gain a majority.

The main opposition party, the Zimbabwe Unity Movement (ZUM), was launched in 1989 by Edgar Tekere, who accused Mugabe of betraying the revolution and establishing a dictatorship. Threats were made against those considering voting for ZUM in the election through ZANU–PF propaganda.

Despite this, Mugabe was re-elected President with a significant majority, and ZANU–PF secured the majority of parliamentary seats. Mugabe had aimed to establish Zimbabwe as a one-party state but postponed these plans in 1990 due to transitions in other countries.


  • Nansen Refugee Award (1988)
  • Confucius Peace Prize (2015)

Net Worth

According to multiple reliable sources, Robert Mugabe’s net worth was around $80 million at the time of his death.


Robert Mugabe passed away on September 6, 2019, at the age of 95, in Singapore, where he had been receiving medical treatment.


On November 6, 2017, Mugabe decisively dismissed his first vice president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, sparking speculation about Grace’s potential succession.

However, Grace failed to garner favor among the traditional ZANU–PF stalwarts. This led to a significant turn of events on November 15, 2017, when the Zimbabwe National Army took action, placing Mugabe under house arrest at his Blue Roof residence.

The operation targeted individuals within Mugabe’s inner circle, labeling them as “criminals.” Subsequently, on November 19, Mugabe was ousted as the Leader of ZANU–PF, with Mnangagwa assuming his position. The party issued an ultimatum, giving Mugabe until noon the next day to resign or face impeachment proceedings.

Refusing to step down in a televised speech that same night, Mugabe found himself in the midst of an impeachment resolution introduced by ZANU–PF deputies on November 21, 2017, with backing from the MDC–T. According to the constitution, a two-thirds majority from the House of Assembly and Senate in a joint sitting was required to remove a president from office.

However, with support from both major parties controlling the majority of seats, Mugabe’s impeachment and subsequent removal appeared imminent. As discussions unfolded in a joint session, Mugabe opted for a different course, submitting his resignation letter, which was read aloud by the Speaker of the House of Assembly.

Prior to his resignation, Mugabe and his wife negotiated terms ensuring immunity from prosecution, the protection of their business interests, and a substantial payment of not less than $10 million. In July 2018, the Zimbabwe Supreme Court upheld Mugabe’s resignation as voluntary despite his subsequent remarks.

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  • Our War of Liberation (1983)
  • Challenges for Social Movements In Post Mugabe Zimbabwe
  • Robert Mugabe on Aspects of Zimbabwean Foreign and Domestic Policies (1981)

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