Disgraced First ‘Lady’ – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary

The undignified flight from South Africa of the disgraced Zimbabwean First ‘Lady’ after viciously attacking a young woman in Johannesburg has made her an object of derision throughout the world.


Grace’s crazed attack tells a lot about her sense of being above the law – fostered by the impunity with which the Zanu PF elite plunder and abuse Zimbabwe and her people.

Grace lost her cool when she went to see her two dissolute sons at a Johannesburg hotel and apparently found yet another party going on. She predictably exploded with rage, lashing out with an electrical extension cord leaving a 20 year old model Gabriella Engels bleeding from head wounds. Grace’s ten or so bodyguards stood back and did nothing.

Ms Engels said later that she was offered a bribe to keep quiet and told to name her price but refused. When police began criminal investigations President Mugabe appealed to his friend Zuma to grant retroactive diplomatic immunity.

Zuma of course has form in flouting the law as demonstrated when, two years ago, he let the Sudanese President Al-Bashir escape being sent to the International Criminal Court by allowing him to be spirited out of South Africa.

But Grace may not be off the hook. A group supporting Ms Engels say that if the South African authorities do not hold Grace to account they will help a private prosecution. This would cause serious embarrassment if Grace was to visit her new acquisition – a luxury house in Johannesburg costing R45 million (about $3.5 million).

 Other points

  • Thanks to Fungayi Mabhunu for donning our Mugabe mask in a tableau at the Vigil depicting Grace (Salani Sally Mutseyami) beating Ms Engels (Alice Majola) with an extension cord. 
  • Zanu PF’s contempt for justice was illustrated this week when President Mugabe said people implicated in the murder of white farmers during the land seizures would never be prosecuted.
  • Thanks to those who arrive early to help set up: Isabell Gwatidzo, Fungayi Mabhunu, Alice Majola, Theodora Mandishaya, Eunice Mucherechedzo, Esther Munyira, Charles Mupawose, Sally Mutseyami, Patience Muyeye and Mduduzi Ndlovu. Thanks to Patience, Sally, Theodora and Cathrine Musa for looking after the front table, to Nomusa Dube, Alice, Newman Richard and Junior Madzimure for handing out flyers and selling wristbands and to Fungayi, Charles, Ben Semwayo, Rumbi Sambana, Babula Gwatiringa, Junior, Eunice Mucherechedzo, Theodora, Alice, Isabel, Mdudduzi and Esther for putting up the banners and general help in setting up.

For latest Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/. Please note: Vigil photos can only be downloaded from our Flickr website. The facebook page for our sister organisation Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR) (https://www.facebook.com/ROHR-Zimbabwe-Restoration-of-Human-Rights-301811392835) has been hijacked by destructive elements from a group calling itself ZHRO. Please be advised that any postings on this page are not posted by ROHR.

FOR THE RECORD: 29 signed the register.


  • Zimbabwe Action Forum. Saturday 26th August from 6.30 pm. Venue: The Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, London SE1 8XX. We will move to the RFH at the end of the Vigil at 6 pm.
  • ZAF meets regularly after the Vigil to discuss ways to help those back in Zimbabwe to fight oppression and achieve true democracy.
  • ROHR National Executive meeting. Saturday 2nd September from 11 am. Venue: The Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, London SE1 8XX.
  • The Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR) is the Vigil’s partner organization based in Zimbabwe. ROHR grew out of the need for the Vigil to have an organization on the ground in Zimbabwe which reflected the Vigil’s mission statement in a practical way. ROHR in the UK actively fundraises through membership subscriptions, events, sales etc to support the activities of ROHR in Zimbabwe. Please note that the official website of ROHR Zimbabwe is http://www.rohrzimbabwe.org/. Any other website claiming to be the official website of ROHR in no way represents us.
  • Swaziland Vigil. Saturday 2nd September from 10 am to 1 pm outside the Swaziland High Commission, 20 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6LB.
  • Zimbabwe Yes We Can Movement holds meetings in London as the political face of ROHR and the Vigil.
  • Zimbabwe Vigil Highlights 2016 can be viewed on this link: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/vigil-news/campaign-news/843-zimbabwe-vigil-highlights-2016. Links to previous years’ highlights are listed on 2016 Highlights page.
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