Mugabe gestures to reporters after attending the Geneva Conference, 1976
Robert Mugabe, who died on Friday September 6, had a long political career. Starting with his involvement in the nationalist struggle in the 1960s, he led Zimbabwe from 1980 until he was deposed in November 2017.
Following is a gallery of some of the most memorable pictures, from the struggle years, and some through the earlier years of his leadership of the country. While the early years of his rule came in a world divided between East and West, Mugabe had open doors on both sides of the divide.
Robert Mugabe in detention during the struggle. In total, Mugabe was jailed for ten years, including a stint at Harare Central prison. In a speech at Stodart Hall in 1960, a speech that announced his entry into nationalism, Mugabe had told a crowd: “It will be necessary for graduates, doctors, lawyers and all others who join the NDP to accept their leaders even if these may not be university men.” Mugabe and others were arrested and detained. Robert Mugabe, co-leader of the Rhodesian Patriotic Front, during a conference on the issue of Rhodesia in Dar es Salaam. (Undated: Photo by William Campbell/Sygma via Getty Images) Mugabe, accompanied by Edgar Tekere and Rugare Gumbo, arriving in Geneva for a conference on the Kissinger proposals to end the war, 1976 (Getty) Mugabe, Nkomo at the Lancaster House conference leading to Independence. Mugabe: “I wish to assure you that there can never be any return to the state of armed conflict which existed before our commitment to peace and the democratic process of election under the Lancaster House agreement.” ZANU supporters ahead of a rally at Zimbabwe Grounds to welcome Mugabe Robert Mugabe arrives at Zimbabwe Grounds, Highfield, on January 27, Solomon Mujuru on his right and Emmerson Mnangagwa on his left. This was his return from exile, where he had spent almost 5 years. In his speech, Mugabe promised “We will not seize land from anyone who has a use for it. Farmers who are able to be productive and prove useful to society will find us co-operative.” He said in other areas of the economy, he would “try to leave things as they are”. Robert Mugabe, flanked by Emmerson Mnangagwa, Simon Muzenda and Enos Nkala, addresses the press ahead of the 1980 Independence Day ceremony (Photo: Gerald Buthaud) Mugabe and Simon Muzenda on a walkabout in Harare, 1980 President Canaan Banana (right) and Prime Minister Robert Mugabe on April 16, 1980, ahead of the ceremony for the independence. (Photo by Jean-Claude FRANCOLON/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images) Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, visits Zimbabwe to officially confer independence from the United Kingdom, Lord Christopher Soames, Governor of Southern Rhodesia (left), Robert Mugabe, President of Zimbabwe (c), 16th April 1980. (Photo by John Shelley Collection/Avalon/Getty Images) Robert Mugabe with his wife, Sally, who died in 1992. When their son, Nhamodzenyika died of malaria while Mugabe was in prison, Mugabe was denied the chance to go and bury him. Mugabe speaks at Independence Day ceremony, Rufaro Stadium, 1980. “I cannot avoid the love that binds me to you and you to me” Robert Mugabe appears on the NBC’s Meet the Press programme, Washington, 1980 British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher shaking hands with Zimbabwe Prime Minister Robert Mugabe outside 10 Downing Street, London, May 9th 1980. (Photo by Monti Spry/Central Press/Getty Images) In his early years, Mugabe traveled the world seeking investment and support. Here, people crowd around Mugabe as he leaves Convocation Hall in Toronto, Canada, after speaking to a capacity audience. He also held a private meeting with 90 businessmen at the Royal York Hotel. (Photo by Michael Stuparyk/Toronto Star via Getty Images) Washington 1993: Mugabe at the White House, tells a news conference that he and President Reagan, looking on, have generally agreed on issues except those concerning Namibian independence and its linkage to Cuban troops in Africa. Robert Mugabe at a Commonwelath meeting. He was once darling of the Commonwealth, which he hosted in Zimbabwe in 1991, leading to the Harare Declaration on Human Rights that year. However, Mugabe withdrew the country from the Commonwealth in 2003 after a bitter row with Britain and other Western governments over electoral violence and land. (Photo by Sahm Doherty/The LIFE Images Collection via Getty Images/Getty Images) Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II toasts Mugabe during a banquet in the Queen’s honor in Harare in October 1991 Mugabe with George Bush Snr at the White House in 1991. A decade later, George W Bush Jr was to sign into law sanctions against Zimbabwe. Mugabe and Bill Clinton at the White House Hillary Rodham Clinton and her daughter Chelsea escorted by Mugabe and his wife Grace as they arrive at State House, Harare, March 21, 1997. In 2001, Clinton was to co-sponsor ZIDERA, which imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe. (AP Photo/Doug Mills) Mugabe at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France on May 28, 1982. (Photo by Laurent MAOUS/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images) While Mugabe did enjoy relations with the West early on, he maintained his ties with old allies. Here, welcomed to Tripoli by Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi During the war, ZANU had been aligned to China, and ZAPU to Russia. This caused tensions with Moscow in the early years of Mugabe’s reign. Here, Mikhail Gorbachev shakes hands with Mugabe, in the Kremlin. December 3, 1985. (Photo by: Sovfoto/Universal Images Group via Getty Images) Frontline States: Nujoma, Samora, Kaunda and Mugabe “Say hello to Fidel” – Mugabe with long time ally Fidel Castro of Cuba Mugabe at the UN in 1984, where he received an award for leadership in New York Mugabe, forcefully gesturing while speaking at election rally at Tsholotsho. The area, at the time, had already been one of those targeted by Mugabe’s Fifth Brigade during the Gukurahundi massacres (Photo by William F. Campbell/The LIFE Images Collection via Getty Images/Getty Images) Mugabe with former Taoiseach of Ireland Garrett Fitzgerald at a State reception at Dublin Castle during Mugabe’s three-day visit to Ireland in September 1983. (Photo by Independent News and Media/Getty Images) Mugabe was presented with an honorary degree by the University of Edinburgh in 1994. Here, pictured with then rector David Steel. In June 2007 he was stripped of the honour after years of campaigning by politicians and students. Pope John Paul II and Mugabe in Harare, Zimbabwe on September 12th, 1988. The Pope held a mass attended by thousands, some who traveled from outside the country, at Borrowdale Race Course (Photo by Francois LOCHON/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images) Mugabe greets England cricket captain Mike Atherton before the start of the second test match between Zimbabwe and England in Harare, 28th of December 1996. Mugabe once said of cricket: “Cricket civilises people and creates good gentlemen. I want everyone to play cricket in Zimbabwe; I want ours to be a nation of gentlemen.” England, later, boycotted Zimbabwe after land reform began post 2000. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images) Mugabe and Tony Blair, 1997. The two became avowed enemies over land takeovers and the political crisis in Zimbabwe Mugabe with Nelson Mandela in 1998. In 2013, Mugabe was to say of Mandela: “Mandela has gone a bit too far in doing good to the non-black communities, really in some cases at the expense of [blacks]. That’s being too saintly, too good, too much of a saint.” Strong man’s club: Mugabe, Aleksandr Lukashenko of Belarus and Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez joke, before the shooting of the family picture of the XIV Non-Aligned Movement Summit in Havana, 15 September 2006. (AFP) Mugabe with Tsvangirai during the GNU: After a disputed election in 2008, and a runoff poll boycotted by the MDC due to Mugabe unleashing violence on the opposition, Mugabe agreed to a unity government with his long time nemesis Proud father: Mugabe and Grace after attending the graduation of daughter, Bona Mugabe and Grace at the wedding of their daughter, Bona Mugabe kisses his wife, Grace, at an Independence Day ceremony (Jekesai Njikizana) Mugabe shakes hands with Perence Shiri, then head of the Airforce, as he met the uniformed forces during the coup (AP) The Final Act: Mugabe’s last official act as President of Zimbabwe was at a Zimbabwe Open University graduation ceremony, held just as talks with the military continued on his ouster. On the eve of elections in 2018, Mugabe opened his mansion to reporters for a press conference, where he said he would not vote for ZANU PF (Bloomberg/Waldo Swiegers) Mugabe and his family, celebrating his 95th birthday One of the last pictures taken of Mugabe before his death, and posted on social media by his son, Robert Junior