Cape Town – As South Africa prepares for the funeral of former president Nelson Mandela, a report has revealed a "strained relationship" that existed between the struggle icon and Zimbabwean leader and liberator Robert Mugabe.
Mandela died on Thursday at his home in Houghton at the age of 95.
A Standard report said although Mugabe and Mandela shared revolutionary backgrounds in the fight against racial segregation, they later differed on how they handled the racial issue.
They both adopted a reconciliation approach with their people’s former oppressors, but Mugabe later changed and chose to "strike fear in the heart of the white man" when he felt that his rule was under threat, the report said.
Earlier this year, Mugabe labelled Mandela as too much of a "saint" for doing good to whites who previously oppressed the black majority.
Mandela also on the other hand revealed in a 2008 interview where he met with former French president Nocolas Sarkozy that Mugabe didn't want him released from prison.
"Before I was released from prison, he was the most popular African
leader, but when I was released the media said this is the end of Mugabe
from the point of view of popularity. In fact he himself didn’t want me
to come out of jail," Mandela said.
According to International reports Mugabe was somewhat jealous of Mandela’s popularity as a bastion of black people’s rights and a symbol of the fight against racial segregation.
Mandela only visited Zimbabwe three times after his release from prison, but continued to inspire the people of that country.
Mugabe sent his condolence message over the weekend and described Mandela as "the greatest icon of African liberation".