Canaan Sodindo Banana, clergyman and politician, born March 5 1936; died November 10 2003 He served as the first President of Zimbabwe from 18 April 1980 until 31 December 1987. A Methodist minister, he held the largely ceremonial office of the presidency while his eventual successor,Robert Mugabe, served as Prime Minister of Zimbabwe.
During his lifetime, Banana brought together two of the country’s political parties, the Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU) and the Zimbabwe African People’s Union (ZAPU), became a diplomat for the Organisation of African Unity, and headed the religious department of the University of Zimbabwe. His later life was complicated by charges of sodomy—a crime in Zimbabwe—which he denied and for which he was later imprisoned. [vsw id=”R6kkg3dxqOI” source=”youtube” width=”425″ height=”344″ autoplay=”no”]