Below are excerpts from Bona Mugabe’s address to a memorial service held for his father in Kutama on September 18:
“Being my father’s only daughter, we had a special relationship. He was my first love, and there’s no love like the love of a daughter to her father. My father was caring, amazing, kind and considerate.
He was grossly misunderstood, but I understood him more than he ever knew. Even though I understood him, he was a very complex man.
My father suffered, true. I wish he could have had more joy in this life. If you check his whole life, starting when he started going to school, his life was never easy. He went to the bush, he was arrested and later released to pursue the struggle. From independence right up to the end, his was a life of struggle. It breaks my heart when I reflect on my father’s life.
But all that hard labour was not in vain. No matter how difficult his life was, you would never hear him saying ‘I can’t go on, I’m giving up.’ He also persevered and the sacrifice was well worth it.
My father was very happy when I was born, that he had a daughter. From a young age, I understood that I was my father’s joy. I was there to ease that pain and bring him joy. Everything I did from a young age was to please my father, because I knew how difficult his life was.
I understood that I was very important to my father. I wanted to go to school and make him proud. As I was growing up, I was very conscious that my father was an old man. I feared that one day he would become sick or wake up not there, so I prayed to God to keep him at least to see me graduate. Then I prayed again to God for him to be there at my wedding and walk me down the aisle, and that happened. Then I would pray again for my father to see my child, in the end he saw two of my children.
I would like to thank God for my father’s life. His life has been so blessed. Even though it was so difficult, there are people like that who are placed on this earth who may seem like they are suffering but their suffering liberated millions of people, like all of us.
I really want to thank my mother. She carried the responsibility of looking after my dad, even during the most difficult times she faced the task alone. She did an amazing job.”