Zimbabwe coup: Robert Mugabe’s first wife was Sally Hayfron
- The Forgotten Story of Sally Mugabe, The Beloved Mother of Zimbabwe & Robert Mugabe’s First Wife And True Love, The Woman Whose Death Changed President Mugabe Forever
It is thought that the military takeover was triggered by Mugabe sacking his Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa in favour of his controversial wife Grace.
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Grace, 52, is widely loathed in Zimbabwe for her outrageous spending habits and thirst for power. Her actions have earned her the nicknames ‘Gucci Grace’ and ‘disGrace’
Mugabe and Grace first started having an affair while his first wife Sally Hayfron was dying of kidney disease.
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Unlike Grace, Sally is regarded with affection in Zimbabwe and she is known by many as Amai, or mother.
Who is Mugabe’s wife Sally Hayfron?
Born in 1931 in present day Ghana, Sally met Mugabe at a teacher training college and soon asserted herself as a fervent political campaigner.
The pair got married in 1961 and two years later Sally gave birth to a son, Nhamodzenyika, who died of malaria when he was three years old.
Following the death of Nhamo and the imprisonment of her husband, Sally sought exile in the UK, where she worked for the Africa Centre until her visa expired in 1970.
Robert Mugabe was having an affair with Grace while Sally was dying of kidney disease
At the time of Zimbabwe’s independence in 1980, Mugabe was seen as an anti-colonial hero.
However, he is now widely regarded as a violent despot, who has ruined one of southern Africa’s most promising nations.
Sally went on to become the First Lady of Zimbabwe in 1987 and was elected Secretary General of the Zanu-PF Women’s League in 1989.
After dying of kidney disease in 1992, she was buried at the National Heroes Acre in Harare.
Then, to mark the 10th anniversary of Sally’s death, Zimbabwe issued a limited edition set of postage stamps featuring two photographs of her.
Sally Hayfron is well loved in Zimbabwe unlike Grace Mugabe
Mugabe has always insisted that Sally was aware of his relationship with Grace. At a business conference in 2014, the despot tried to justify the affair.
He said: “Even as Sally was going through her last 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 I am going to die without seeing grandchildren’.”