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Billed as the definitive account of Mugabe’s life, this incisive documentary dramatically illustrates his successful liberation and development of the country but also his ruthless and cunning retention of power at all costs. Experts on Zimbabwe interviewed include Trevor Ncube, Geoff Nyarota, Lovemore Maduku, Simba Makoni and the recently deceased Edgar Tekere in what was sadly his last ever interview.
18 April 1980, Zimbabwe Independence. Robert Mugabe appeared on television and proclaimed national reconciliation, halting a bloody 15 year civil war. “If yesterday I fought you as an enemy, today you have become a friend and ally. If yesterday you hated me, today you cannot avoid the love that binds you to me, and me to you”. His words prevented a coup d’etat and paved the way for 15 years of growth and prosperity for the country at large.
All except for one area: Matabeleland. Here the people aligned to ZAPU opposed him. So 20,000 Ndebele people were slaughtered by Mugabe’s notorious 5th Brigade. He crushed them and swallowed ZAPU. Twenty years later, his grip on power was threatened by a new opposition: the Movement for Democractic Change, Robert Mugabe launched a civil war or ‘chimurenga’, against his own people. Over the next decade he destroyed much of the what he had fought for and built.
Robert Mugabe… what happened?, charts the Shakespearean rise and fall of the man who led a very successful African country, and then ruined it. Mugabe was damned as a terrorist, then knighted by Queen Elizabeth, and is still in power more than 30 years later. The film explores what happened through interviews with some of his closest comrades. It assembles a unique collection of Southern African archive to powerfully evoke each of the decades of Mugabe’s reign. This is a complex and compelling view of Zimbabwe, the country and Mugabe the man.
Directed by Simon Bright
Produced by Michael Auret
Edited by Ronelle Loots
Most watched film at Encounters Documentary Festival 2011
Best Editing – South African Film and Television Awards (SAFTA) 2012