Robert Mugabe

Essay by JViljoen April 2014

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Robert Mugabe the leader

When we consider the authoritarian leadership style we unconditionally connect the word "Dictator" to it. This leads one to consider men and women who fit the classic description of dictator. One name tends to jump out from the vast number of names. That name is Hitler. However, in more recent times the world has seen its fair share of authoritarian leaders. Africa has seen its fair share of them too. One African leader branded by many as a dictator is the Zimbabwean president, Mr. Robert Mugabe.

He has been called: "President, Robert, Mugabe, Uncle Bob, Bob, that lunatic, crazy dictator, the Hitler of Africa." You could call President Mugabe whatever you wanted but in the end no student of Contemporary African Politics, History, or Social Issues can claim to have studied their subject well without having had to consider Mr. Mugabe's impact on the Southern African region.

We even need to consider the impact he has had in Africa and Europe. The man is not defined by the names he is called but by the effect he has had and still has.

Born on 21st of February 1924 near the Kutama Jesuit Mission in the Zvimba District northwest of Salisbury young Robert Gabriel Mugabe spent his time tending cattle, making bird traps, and being a loner. He didn't associate much with the other children in his village. He didn't play hunt or play fight with the other boys. He enjoyed the solitude. He surely didn't grow up to be the local bully.

Robert Mugabe qualified himself as a teacher. He taught at schools in Zambia and Ghana, where he met his wife Sally, but his love for his people struggling under white minority rule in the country of his birth drew him back to Zimbabwe. He...