On this date in 1924, Robert Mugabe was born. He is an African politician and revolutionary leader and president of Zimbabwe. An educator by trade and a politician by practice, Mugabe has been the preeminent political leader in Zimbabwe for nearly two decades.
From the Kutama Mission in Zvimba in what is now northwestern Zimbabwe, Mugabe taught at the mission school between 1941 and 1943. After several other brief teaching jobs around Zimbabwe (then Southern Rhodesia), Mugabe won a scholarship to the University of Fort Hare College in South Africa. There he was introduced to literature on communism, Marxism, and Gandhian passive resistance. After completing his bachelor's degree, he returned to Zimbabwe to teach, then taught in Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia) and later in Ghana. In 1960 Mugabe returned home to enter politics.
He first joined the nationalist group the Zimbabwe African People's Union (ZAPU), but in 1964, after several arrests and a falling-out with its leadership, Mugabe went to Tanzania and joined the newly formed Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU). ZANU inaugurated the war for independence that same year. On returning to Southern Rhodesia, Mugabe was again arrested and spent most of the next decade in prison, earning bachelor degrees in law and administration while there. In prison, ZANU CONTINUES