President Cyril Ramaphosa has on behalf of the government and people of South Africa expressed his sincere condolences to the people and government of the Republic of Zimbabwe following the passing of Founding President Robert Gabriel Mugabe.
Paying tribute to President Mugabe, President Ramaphosa said: “South Africans join the people and government of Zimbabwe in mourning the passing of a liberation fighter and champion of Africa’s cause against colonialism.
“Under President Mugabe’s leadership, Zimbabwe’s sustained and valiant struggle against colonialism inspired our own struggle against apartheid and built in us the hope that one day South Africa too would be free.
“During the decades of our own struggle, Zimbabwe’s liberation movement supported our own liberation movement to fight oppression on multiple fronts. After Zimbabwe achieved independence, the apartheid state brutalised and violated Zimbabwe as punishment for supporting our own Struggle.
“Many Zimbabweans paid with their lives so that we could be free. We will never forget or dishonor this sacrifice and solidarity.”
Early in his life, President Mugabe won a scholarship to Fort Hare University where he obtained the first of his seven academic degrees.
President Ramaphosa also acknowledged the role President Mugabe had played in advancing regional solidarity, integration and development through Zimbabwe’s participation in the Southern African Development Community.