Today, we’re back on the story of Sally Francesca Hayfron Mugabe, the first wife of Zimbabwean dictator Robert Mugabe. The more I read about Sally, the more I adore her. I think she would have been an amazing person to know. Almost everything you read says she was a tempering influence on him. When she was alive and in his life, she could settle him down, make him be more reasonable, mitigate much of the vindictive anger that he used against others. Her love calmed him, sweetened him.
She was born into a powerful and political family in Ghana. She was a good student, loved politics and trained to be a teacher in Ghana. Sally was in her formative teen years during the period that Ghana struggled to separate from Britain. She was 24 years old in 1957, the year Ghana gained its independence. In 1958, she became entranced with the young man from Rhodesia who taught African history at the famous Achimoto School. Founded in 1927, the Achimoto School was famous for its all-inclusive philosophy, teaching boys and girls, blacks and whites in the same way, at the same time, from the beginning. The young Mugabe shared his frustration at his country’s subservience to Britain. He wanted to bring freedom to his people. Sally became his most ardent supporter. They were married in 1961.
During the next 20 years, they helped lead Rhodesia to become the independent nation of Zimbabwe (1980), they both endure imprisonment for political reasons, they lost their only son to malaria, Sally came to known as Amai (mother) for her work in Zimbabwe, Robert started an affair (and later married) Grace Marufu.