Biography

Grace Mugabe Biography, Early Life, Education, Personal Life, ZANU-PF Career, Controversies, Net Worth, Social Media

Grace Mugabe Biography

Grace Ntombizodwa Mugabe (née Marufu; born July 23, 1965) is a Zimbabwean entrepreneur, politician, and widow of late President Robert Mugabe. She was Zimbabwe’s First Lady from 1996 until her husband resigned in November 2017, a week following his ouster from office. S

he began as Mugabe’s assistant and ascended through the ranks of the ruling ZANU-PF party, eventually becoming the leader of the Women’s League and a significant player in the Generation 40 faction.

At the same time, she developed a reputation for privilege and excess during a time of economic crisis in the country. Her extravagant lifestyle earned her the nickname Gucci Grace. She was removed from the party, along with other G40 members, after Zimbabwe’s 2017 coup d’état.

Mugabe was named one of the top 100 most influential Africans by New African magazine in 2014.


                                              Grace Mugabe: History ‧ Bio ‧ Photo
Full Name: Grace Ntombizodwa Mugabe
Stage Name: Grace Mugabe
Born: 23 July 1965 (age 58 years old)
Place of Birth: Benoni, South Africa
Nationality: Zimbabwean
Education: Kriste Mambo Secondary School, University of Zimbabwe
Height: 1.58 m
Parents: Morgan Mugumba, Idah Marufu
Siblings: Reward Marufu, Sam Marufu, Junior Shuvai Gumbochuma
Spouse: Robert Mugabe (m. 1996–2019), Stanley Goreraza (m. 1983–1996)
Boyfriend • Partner: N/A
Children: Robert Mugabe Jr., Bona Mugabe, Chatunga Bellarmine Mugabe, Russell Goreraza
Occupation: Politician • Businesswoman
Net Worth: $100 million (USD)

Grace Mugabe Early Life & Education

Grace Mugabe was born on July 23, 1965, in Benoni, South Africa, as the fourth child of migrant parents. She has siblings Junior Shuvai Gumbochuma, Reward Marufu, and Sam Marufu.

In 1970, she moved to Rhodesia to live with her mother, Idah Marufu, in Chivhu, while her father stayed in South Africa. Morgan Mugumba (88), Grace’s purported father, died from COVID-19 problems and was buried at Mkoba Cemetery.

Grace Mugabe attended Chivhu Primary School and Kriste Mambo Secondary School in Manicaland, which influenced her academic and personal development.

Despite attending a Roman Catholic Boarding School for her basic schooling, Grace did not continue her education or attend college after graduating from secondary school.

Grace Mugabe's Personal Life
               Grace Mugabe’s Personal Life

Grace Mugabe’s Personal Life

Grace Ntombizodwa was born in Benoni, South Africa, as the fourth of five children to migrant parents. In 1970, she relocated to Rhodesia to live with her mother, Idah Marufu, in Chivhu, while her father continued to work in South Africa to support his family. She attended Chivhu Primary School before moving on to Kriste Mambo Secondary School in Manicaland.

She married Air Force pilot Stanley Goreraza, and their son, Russell Goreraza, was born in 1984 when Grace was 19 years old.

While working as the president’s secretary, she became his mistress while still married to Stanley Goreraza, and they had two children: Bona, born in 1988 and named after Mugabe’s mother, and Robert Peter Jr.

Following the death of Mugabe’s first wife, Sally Hayfron, the couple married in a lavish Catholic ceremony dubbed the “Wedding of the Century” by the Zimbabwe press. Grace Marufu was 31 years old when she married Robert Mugabe, who was 72.

Their second child, Robert Mugabe Jr., was born in the early 1990s. In 1997, she gave birth to Chatunga Bellarmine Mugabe, the couple’s third child.

Grace Mugabe enrolled as an undergraduate student in the School of Liberal Arts at Renmin University in China in 2007, where she studied Chinese. She graduated in 2011. She claimed, however, that she was not fluent in Chinese after completing the degree. Her mother, Idah Marufu, died on August 31, 2018, at the age of 84.

Grace Mugabe ZANU-PF Career

Grace Mugabe criticized Vice President Joice Mujuru in late 2014, alleging that she conspired against her husband, President Mugabe. Finally, the accusations against Mujuru led to her exclusion as a contender to follow Mugabe, thereby making her an outcast within ZANU-PF by the time it had a party conference in December 2014.

Meanwhile, Grace Mugabe’s political stature grew. She was nominated to lead the ZANU-PF Women’s League, and delegates to the party congress confirmed her nomination by acclamation on December 6, 2014. She joined the ZANU-PF Politburo after taking over as leader of the women’s league.

Since 2016, rumors have circulated that the first lady is leading one of ZANU-PF’s covert factions, the G40 (Generation 40). The other faction, Lacoste, is assumed to be commanded by Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa. Factionalism in ZANU-PF at the time was primarily focused on the Mugabe succession issue.

The animosity between Grace Mugabe and Mnangagwa reached a climax in late September 2017, when both groups pointed fingers at each other during ZANU PF public rallies. Mnangagwa told an audience at Mahofa’s funeral service that he had been poisoned at a ZANU PF Youth Interface rally in Gwanda.

Soon after Mnangagwa’s remarks, President Robert Mugabe announced a surprise cabinet change, which many believe is a power-shifting exercise. Mnangagwa, like other alleged sympathizers, lost the justice ministry. Grace Mugabe’s political prominence in ZANU PF reached its pinnacle in October 2017.

Grace was influential in the removal of then-Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa in November 2017, after reprimanding him for fostering splits within Zanu PF. Grace soon announced her aspiration to become Vice-President.

The country was in a state of high tension, and when Emmerson Mnangagwa sought safety outside of Zimbabwe, General Constantino Chiwenga led a bloodless coup. Grace Mugabe was noticeably absent at this time, despite conflicting claims of her location. On November 19, Grace Mugabe and 20 of her colleagues were dismissed from the ZANU-PF. Robert Mugabe died on September 6, 2019, while both Mugabes were in Singapore.

Sanctions

After European Union observers were barred from examining Zimbabwe’s 2002 elections, the EU imposed sanctions on 20 Zimbabwean leaders, which were later expanded to include Grace Mugabe and 51 others in July, prohibiting them from traveling to participating countries and freezing any assets they held there. In 2003, the United States implemented similar limitations.

Grace Mugabe Controversies

  • Real estate
  • Diamond trade allegations and lawsuit
  • Shopping
  • Education
  • Various assaults
  • Ivory smuggling
  • Mazowe Dam

1. Real estate

During her time as First Lady, Grace Mugabe oversaw the construction of two palaces. The first, usually referred to as “Graceland,” was chastised for its excess. Grace Mugabe later revealed that she had paid for it using her resources. It was eventually sold to Muammar Gaddafi of Libya. The second was constructed in 2007 and cost approximately $50 million. The ZANU-PF party funded the construction as a way to thank Robert Mugabe for his political service.

In 2002, Grace Mugabe toured farm estates in Zimbabwe, looking for a new home for herself and her family. She chose Iron Mask Estate, which was previously held by farmers John and Eva Matthews.

The family owns land in Malaysia, and it was claimed in early 2008 that Grace Mugabe planned to relocate there with her children. The move was intended to relieve the burden of leadership and to address fears that the first family may be assassinated. She also purchased property interests in Hong Kong, including a diamond-cutting business and a house in Tai Po, New Territories.

According to IOL news, this home buy was planned as a weekend getaway for their daughter, Bona, who was studying at the University of Hong Kong under an assumed name, and she and her husband plan to flee to China if they are deposed in Zimbabwe.

Legislators from the pro-democracy movement encouraged the Hong Kong government to investigate whether to follow worldwide practice in excluding certain foreign politicians, as many people may be interested in purchasing property, making investments, or pursuing education in Hong Kong. Lee Wing-tat said Beijing should decide because this was a foreign affair.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China’s spokesperson, Jiang Yu, stated that she was unaware of the Mugabes’ purported house purchase in Hong Kong and declined to comment further. According to a lecturer at the University of Hong Kong, Beijing is attempting to avoid involvement in the matter. The Beijing central government downplayed the worries, stressing that Falun Gong followers were permitted to purchase property in Hong Kong.

In 2015, it was reported that Zimbabwe was involved in a court fight over ownership of the Tai Po property where Bona Mugabe had lodged while studying in Hong Kong. The property was purchased in June 2008 for HK$40 million ($5.14 million) through a company controlled by Taiwanese-born South African billionaire Hsieh Ping-sung and transferred into his name in 2010. The Mugabes maintain that the mansion belonged to the Zimbabwean government, whereas Hsieh, a former Mugabe friend, claims that there was no doubt that the house belonged to him.

2. Diamond trade allegations and lawsuit

In December 2010, Wikileaks released US diplomatic cables that resurfaced earlier allegations that high-ranking Zimbabwean government officials and well-connected elites, including Mugabe’s wife Grace, are generating millions of dollars in personal income by hiring teams of diggers to hand-extract diamonds from the Chiadzwa mine in eastern Zimbabwe.

Grace Mugabe was reported in 2010 to be suing a Zimbabwean publication for reporting on Wikileaks assertions that she had gained “tremendous profits” from the country’s diamond mines. The president’s wife wants $15 million (£9.6 million) from the Standard newspaper.

3. Shopping

Grace Mugabe is noted for her extravagant lifestyle, and the Western media has dubbed her “Gucci Grace“. The Daily Telegraph dubbed her “notorious at home for her profligacy” in its coverage of a 2003 trip to Paris, during which she was reported to have spent £75,000 (approximately US$120,000) on a short shopping spree; and in the years preceding 2004, she withdrew over £5 million from the Central Bank of Zimbabwe.

When Grace Mugabe was included in the 2002 sanctions, one EU parliamentarian stated that the prohibition would “stop Grace Mugabe going on her shopping trips in the face of catastrophic poverty blighting the people of Zimbabwe”. She faces similar sanctions in the U.S.

4. Education

Grace Mugabe received a doctorate in sociology from the University of Zimbabwe in September 2014, just two months after enrolling in the study. Her husband, Robert Mugabe, the University Chancellor, presented her with the degree. Her doctoral thesis was not published in the university archive among other grads, and she has been asked to return her PhD. The awarding of the degree prompted a backlash in the Zimbabwean academic community, with some suggesting that this may hurt the university’s credibility.

Grace Mugabe’s PhD thesis was uploaded on the University website on January 22, 2018, without a doctoral committee signature page. Levi Nyagura, the vice chancellor of the University of Zimbabwe, was detained in 2018 by the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission and accused of abuse of power following an inquiry into the PhD.

5. Various assaults

Mugabe’s propensity for violence and volatile temper earned her the nickname “Dis-Grace” at home. There have also been occurrences abroad: The Times claimed on January 18, 2009, that while on a shopping vacation in Hong Kong with her daughter Bona Mugabe, a university student, Mugabe ordered her security to assault Sunday Times photographer Richard Jones outside her luxury hotel. She then joined the attack, repeatedly striking Jones in the face while wearing diamond-encrusted rings, causing wounds and abrasions. She was later granted immunity from prosecution ‘under Chinese diplomatic standards’ due to her status as Mugabe’s wife.

Grace is accused of assaulting Gabriella Engels, a 20-year-old model, and two friends who were with her two younger kids, Robert Jr. and Chatunga, at a hotel in Sandton, Johannesburg, in August 2017. Grace is accused of hitting the woman and her sons with an extension cord, resulting in multiple injuries, including a severe gash on Engels’ forehead.

This came after accusing the woman of living with her sons. After Engels filed charges for “assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm,” Grace was scheduled to appear in a Johannesburg court on August 15, 2017, but failed to do so; she was later given diplomatic immunity. After Emmerson Mnangagwa deposed President Robert Mugabe, Gabriella Engels tweeted that she would exact retribution on Grace Mugabe. On July 30, 2018, the South African High Court revoked Grace’s diplomatic immunity and allowed the lawsuit surrounding her assault on Engels to proceed.

6. Ivory smuggling

On March 26, 2018, a police spokesman announced that they were investigating an alleged ivory smuggling case involving Grace. The spokesman for Zimbabwe’s National Parks and Wildlife Agency alleged that Mugabe and top members of her staff compelled park authorities to issue export permits for ivory pieces during her husband’s administration.

7. Mazowe Dam

In 2017, Grace’s Mazowe Citrus Estate acquired 60% of the Mazowe Dam. On August 24, 2018. Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa ordered a clause requiring the Mugabe family to abandon the Dam and hand over their part to the Environment, Water, and Climate Ministry.

Grace Mugabe’s Net Worth

Grace Mugabe, who formerly served as Zimbabwe’s First Lady, is estimated to have a net worth of around $100 million. This substantial wealth has been linked to a variety of sources, including her close relationship with her husband’s political network and successful commercial ventures.

Grace Mugabe’s Social Media

  • Instagram handle: Dr. Grace Mugabe @gracemugabezw
  • Twitter handle: Grace Mugabe (@GraceMugabe65)

 

Who Is Grace Mugabe?

Grace Ntombizodwa Mugabe is a Zimbabwean entrepreneur, politician, and widow of former President Robert Mugabe. She served as the First Lady of Zimbabwe from 1996 until her husband’s resignation in November 2017, a week after he was removed from power.

What is the origin of Grace Mugabe?

Grace Ntombizodwa was born to migrant parents in Benoni, South Africa, as the fourth of five children. In 1970, she relocated to Rhodesia to live with her mother, Idah Marufu, in Chivhu, while her father continued to work in South Africa to support his family.

When did Grace marry Robert Mugabe?

Grace and Stanley Goreraza separated in 1995 or 1996, after which Grace married Robert Mugabe in 1996.

Who is the biological mother of Bona Mugabe?

Nyepudzayi Bona Mugabe (b. April 18, 1988) is a Zimbabwean businesswoman. She is the only daughter of former and late Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and his wife Grace Mugabe, who also have two sons.

 

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