The rise of Grace

When 24-year-old Grace Marufu was pecking away at the keyboard of a Word Perfect machine, she never imagined she would someday oversee the interior décor at State House. But the demise of Mugabe’s wife, Sally, changed all that. What was once a shameful affair with a man four decades her senior became a marriage.

Grace Mugabe
Grace Mugabe

Instantly, she went from a government typing pool to a mansion with a swimming pool.

Glancing in the rear-view mirror of the ‘Zim 1’ limousine, the typing pool is a long way back. She became known for her overseas shopping trips and her lavish headgear, in mimicry of the Yoruba tradition.

She drew chuckles whenever she appeared on television, stammering ineloquently through her speeches – “I mean, I mean, I mean…”

While her ageing husband slept through AU and Sadc seminars, the first lady whiled away time by grabbing real estate, building palaces and evicting over 300 Mazowe families who had settled on a piece of land she coveted.

Perhaps, like her husband, Grace will insist on being known by a lengthy title; First Lady, Chairwoman of Zanu (PF) Women’s League and Matron of Orphanage. This is after all the land where people are obsessed with titles to the point of inventing doctorates and engineer titles. Engineer so-and-so, Doctor of Such-and-such.

After the announcement was made by current Women’s League chairperson, Oppah Muchinguri, speculations began.

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