Gabriel Matibili
Known forbeing Robert Mugabe's father
Spouse(s)Bona Matibili
ChildrenRobert Mugabe, Sabina Mugabe, Michael, Raphael, Donald, and Bridgette
  • Constantine Karigamombe[1] (father)

Gabriel Matibili was a Southern Rhodesia-based Malawian most known for having been the father of the late President of Zimbabwe Robert Mugabe.


The historian Stan Mudenge is reported to have said that Gabriel Matibiri's father was Constantine Karigamombe, a man who served King Lobengula in the 19th Century. According to Mudenge, Karigamombe eventually moved to the Zvimba area where the colonial native commissioners - noting his Ndebele cultural traits - began calling him "Matibili," the colonialists' pronunciation of Matabele.[1]

Gabriel eventually had his own family after he married a Shona wife, Bona. Together they had children, one of whom was Robert. They lived in the Kutama Mission village which was led by a catholic priest, Father Jean-Baptiste Loubière.

Around 1930 Gabriel's family was expelled from the mission village after he had an argument with one of the Jesuits. They settled about 11 km from the mission. Their children, however, remained at the mission primary school and stayed with relatives, only going home during weekends.

During this time Gabriel's son, Raphael died, apparently of diarrhoea. In 1934, Gabriel's other son Michael also died of food poisoning. Months later, Gabriel left his family and went to Bulawayo to search for employment. While there, however, he found and married a second wife, effectively abandoning his family at Kutama. He had 3 children with the Bulawayo woman.

10 year's later, in 1944, Gabriel returned to Kutama with his three new children. He, however, died not long after. His children were taken care of by Robert Mugabe and other siblings.


  1. 1.0 1.1 Mugabe's grandfather served King Lobengula, Bulawayo24, Published:23 Sep 2017, Retrieved: 20 Sep 2019