Sunday, July 27, 2014

(HERALD ZW) Bridget Mugabe dies
January 20, 2014 silence muchemwa Headlines, Top Stories
Herald Reporters

President Mugabe and First Lady Amai Grace Mugabe are consoled by Minister of State for Presidential Affairs Cde Didymus Mutasa at State House in Harare yesterday. Looking on are Acting President Cde Joice Mujuru and Cde Phillip Chiyangwa. – (Picture by Innocent Makawa)

PRESIDENT Mugabe’s sister Bridget Zve-nhamo Mugabe, who has been in hospital since 2010, died yesterday. She was 78. Bridget succumbed to heart failure at Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals yesterday morning after spending more than three years on a life support unit.

She collapsed at the burial of her sister Sabina at the National Heroes Acre in 2010 and was admitted at Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals where she has been in the intensive care unit until her demise yesterday.

Relatives and friends yesterday gathered at State House where they paid condolences to the First Family.
Acting President Joice Mujuru, Ministers Didymus Mutasa (Presidential Affairs), Walter Chidhakwa (Mines and Mining Development), Sydney Sekeremayi (Defence) and service chiefs were among the mourners.

Family spokesperson Mr Kaitano Mugabe told reporters at State House that Bridget would be buried at her rural home in Zvimba tomorrow.

He said Bridget’s body would be ferried to Zvimba today where it would lie in state before tomorrow’s burial.
Mr Mugabe described Bridget as a woman of rare character who was fearless and courageous. Her death, he said, had left a void in the family and her legacy would be forever cherished.

“During the liberation struggle when President Mugabe and his brother (Donato) were in prison, she paid school fees for the children,” he said.

“It was difficult for her but she did her best together with her sister Sabina who died in 2010. In the early 1960s, she was an active member of Zanu and she contributed immensely to the liberation struggle.”

He said Bridget trained as a Science teacher and taught at Ngezi and St Michael’s among other schools, adding that although they lost a beloved family member, they were happy that she had played her part.

“Obviously as a family we are aggrieved but God has done his will. We thank God for the time she spent with us,” he said.
“I think she will rest in peace because she played her part.”

Bridget is survived by daughter Lorraine and several grand children.
In 1966 Cde Mugabe was arrested for her role in the war of liberation.
She was one of the few cadres who assisted the seven gallant fighters who fired the first shots of the Second Chimurenga in Chinhoyi.
While she was a teacher at St Peter’s School, Bridget was one of the zanu-pfmembers who supported the group during their brief stay at Chinhoyi and thereafter survived torture at the hands of the Rhodesian security forces.

In an interview conducted by Moeletsi Mbeki, then a Herald staffer in 1986, Cde Bridget Mugabe said the freedom fighters told her what they expected her to do for them.

“It was like they were talking to their sister and I took them like my brothers. Each time they felt like calling in, they would come and tell me the time to have their food ready and at the agreed time, two or three of them would come back to collect the food,” she said.

Besides helping to feed the seven battle of Chinhoyi guerillas, she was given another task to distribute leaflets that had been brought by the guerillas from Zambia.

But before she could give them away, police became suspicious that she was helping the gallant fighters so she decided to burn them before they were seen by the police.

She left Chinhoyi on the day of the battle on April 28, 1966 and went to her home in Kutama where she was arrested together with her late brother Donato who was accused of helping another group of guerillas who had shot and killed a white farmer and his wife at Nevada Farm near Chegutu then known as Hartley.

She was tortured for over a month at Nevada Farm before she was released after she refused to talk.

“I remember one white Special Branch man pushing the nozzle of a revolver into my ear, freeing the safety catch and then demanding that I talk. They just beat me for the sake of beating and they went on and on until they were tired,” she said.

She added: “The ill-treatment did not just stop at physical assault, there were many attempts to humiliate me as well. One day a black Special Branch man made me sit on chicken droppings in the fowl-run and then slowly pulling out the metal rollers in my hair one by one. He struck me several times before spitting in my face.”

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