Mugabe says Mandela 'too soft on whites' in documentary

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe criticises Nelson Mandela for being too soft on whites, in a documentary giving a rare and intimate look into the family life of one of Africa's longest serving and most vilified leaders.

In a cosy lunch setting with his wife and children, the 89-year old speaks on a wide range of issues from his controversial hold on power, to his relationships with former British premiers Tony Blair and Margaret Thatcher.

The two-and-a-half hour interview, described in detail by British and South African media ahead of its airing, shows the usually bellicose and sharp-tongued Mugabe as a loving family man.

Dali Tambo, the son of South African anti-apartheid hero Oliver Tambo, produced the documentary, which will be broadcast on South African public television next Sunday.

In the programme Tambo dines with Mugabe's family at his wife Grace's dairy farm.

The interview comes just months before crucial general elections in the country which in recent decades has gone from being the breadbasket of southern Africa to its biggest problem child.

One of Africa's most popular liberation leaders, Mugabe has clashed with the West over controversial policies which saw white-owned farms violently seized over a decade ago.

In neighbouring South Africa, where white land ownership is still a flashpoint, Mugabe says former president Nelson Mandela was not hard enough.

He said former colonial masters Britain -- with whom he has had a fraught relationship over the land grabs -- "will praise you only if you are doing things that please them".

"Mandela has gone a bit too far in doing good to the non-black communities, really in some cases at the expense of (blacks)," Mugabe said of his former South African counterpart.

"That's being too saintly, too good, too much of a saint," he is quoted from the documentary in South Africa's Sunday Independent.

Despite Mugabe's disagreements with former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher, who died in April, he says he preferred the Iron Lady to her later successor Tony Blair.

"Mrs Thatcher, you could trust her. But of course what happened later was a different story with the Labour Party and Blair, who you could never trust," said Mugabe.

"Who can ever believe what Mr Blair says? Here we call him Bliar."

But despite having governed for 32 years, Africa's oldest ruler also insists on staying in power.

According to The Guardian in Britain, the topic of the upcoming vote unleashes Mugabe's fiery rhetoric as he bangs his fist on an armrest and insists: "There is a fight to fight."

"My people still need me," he told Tambo.

"And when people still need you to lead them, it's not time, sir, it doesn't matter how old you are, to say goodbye."

Mugabe is currently sharing power with his rival Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai after violent disputed polls in 2008. No date has yet been set for this year's elections although Mugabe is pressing for them to go ahead as soon as possible.

Tambo, 54, brushed off criticism that the programme -- which will air as part of his "People of the South" television series that profiles celebrities and public figures -- polishes Mugabe's image ahead of the vote.

He told the Sunday Independent that he had also interviewed Rhodesian leader Ian Smith for a previous series.

Mugabe was "warm, charismatic and very humorous", Tambo said.

According to The Guardian, Mugabe pours out his heart during the meal on his love for his wife and their "oneness".

In unusual candour Mugabe also explains his affair with Grace while still married to his sickly first wife Sally -- he wanted to give his mother grandchilden.

"As Sally was still going through her last few days, although it might have appeared to some as cruel, I said to myself 'well, it's not just myself needing children, my mother has all the time said, ah, am I going to die without seeing grandchildren'."

He married Grace, his secretary over 40 years his junior, after Sally Mugabe died in 1992.

The couple have three children.

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • Redford to college graduates: World needs you; be fearless

    WATERVILLE, Maine (AP) — Two-time Academy Award winner Robert Redford is encouraging college graduates to be fearless in a world of challenges and to become collaborators with others and the environment to overcome life's daunting difficulties. …

  • Actress, comedian Anne Meara, nominated for 4 Emmys, dies
    Actress, comedian Anne Meara, nominated for 4 Emmys, dies

    LOS ANGELES (AP) — Anne Meara, the loopy, lovable comedian who launched a standup career with husband Jerry Stiller in the 1950s and found success as an actress in films, on TV and the stage, has died. …

  • Actress Anne Meara, wife of Jerry Stiller, dies
    Actress Anne Meara, wife of Jerry Stiller, dies

    LOS ANGELES (AP) — Actress and comedian Anne Meara, whose comic work with husband Jerry Stiller helped launch a 60-year career in film and TV, has died. She was 85. …

  • France wins big, Italy, Blanchett lose out in Cannes
    France wins big, Italy, Blanchett lose out in Cannes

    By Michael Roddy CANNES, France (Reuters) - French film "Dheepan" won the top Palme d'Or prize for director Jacques Audiard at the 68th Cannes International Film Festival on Sunday, crowning a good night for French cinema but a bad one for Italy and actress Cate Blanchett. The choice of a film that revolves around the lives of Tamil refugees from Sri Lanka's civil war moving to France was seen as sending a political message, but the awards overall left some critics and festivalgoers …

  • U.S. comedian Anne Meara, mother of actor Ben Stiller, dies at 85
    U.S. comedian Anne Meara, mother of actor Ben Stiller, dies at 85

    (Reuters) - New York-born actress and comedian Anne Meara, known for her opposites-attract comedy routine with husband Jerry Stiller, died over the weekend, her family said on Sunday. Meara, the mother of actor Ben Stiller, died on Saturday, her family said in a statement through a representative, but provided no details about the circumstances of her death. "She is survived by her husband and partner in life Jerry Stiller," the statement said. …

  • Famed Detroit jazz trumpeter Marcus Belgrave dies at 78
    Famed Detroit jazz trumpeter Marcus Belgrave dies at 78

    DETROIT (AP) — Marcus Belgrave, a jazz trumpeter who graced stages and studios with Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, Dizzy Gillespie, Joe Cocker and Motown artists galore, died Sunday. He was 78. …

  • Audiard's 'Dheepan' wins Palme d'Or in upset Cannes finale
    Audiard's 'Dheepan' wins Palme d'Or in upset Cannes finale

    CANNES, France (AP) — The 68th Cannes Film Festival was brought to a surprising close Sunday with Jacques Audiard's Sri Lankan refugee drama taking the festival's coveted top honor, the Palme d'Or. …

  • David Letterman drives into retirement with Indy 500 tribute
    David Letterman drives into retirement with Indy 500 tribute

    INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — David Letterman has a new No. 1 on his personal Top Ten list of reasons he loves the Indianapolis 500. …

  • Beyonce's unretouched L'Oreal photos only latest in her long history of Photoshop controvers …

    Beyonce's unretouched L'Oreal photos only latest in her long history of Photoshop controvers …

    Celebrity News - Fri, Feb 20, 2015 1:47 AM PHT
    Beyonce's unretouched L'Oreal photos only latest in her long history of Photoshop controvers …

    Beyonce’s #Flawless image is embroiled in controversy once again. On Wednesday, a web site called The Beyonce World leaked 224 allegedly raw photos of the musician. The images showed Bey in full makeup for the 2013 L’Oreal ad campaign — but with the kinds of “imperfections” we all have — beauty marks, bumps, creases. In the wake of Cindy Crawford’s unretouched photos, the images have been praised by critics of a beauty industry that sets impossibly high standards, standards that Queen Bey …

  • Taylor Swift reveals ‘Style’ video

    Taylor Swift reveals ‘Style’ video

    omg - Sat, Feb 14, 2015 12:14 AM PHT
    Taylor Swift reveals ‘Style’ video

    The 25-year-old released the video for her third cut from platinum selling album 1989. …

  • My mother-in-law’s personal encounter with the pope

    My mother-in-law’s personal encounter with the pope

    Write Away - Wed, Jan 28, 2015 2:29 PM PHT
    My mother-in-law’s personal encounter with the pope

    For my mother-in-law Mrs. Elsa Yrastorza Yuzon, flying and soaring in the skies is part of her normal routine. But it reached new heights when Pope Francis boarded Shepherd One. …