Grace Ntombizodwa Mugabe
Grace Ntombizodwa Mugabe
Grace Mugabe image via
Former Secretary of the Zanu- PF Women's League
Assumed office
December 6, 2014 to November 2017
Preceded byOppah Muchinguri
Personal details
Grace Ntombizodwa Marufu

(1965-07-23) July 23, 1965 (age 56)
Benoni, Johannesburg, South Africa[1]
Spouse(s)Robert Mugabe
ChildrenRussell Goreraza
Bona Mugabe
Chatunga Mugabe
Robert Mugabe Jr
Albert Mugabe

Grace Ntombizodwa Mugabe (nee Marufu) is a Zimbabwean politician, business person and was the wife of late Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe.

She is also a former member of the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (Zanu-PF) political party. She was the Secretary of the Zanu-PF Women's League after her nomination and subsequent election in 2014.

On 15 November 2017 after the Zimbabwe Defence Forces took over the country, they announced that Robert Mugabe and his family were safe and sound and that their safety was guaranteed. South African President Jacob Zuma said that he had spoken to Mugabe and he had confirmed that he was confined at his home. The Zanu-PF Central Committee met in Special Session at the Party Headquarters in Harare on the 19th of November 2017 in terms of Article 7 Section 37(7) of the Party’s Constitution and Grace among other top officials were expelled from the party.[2]

On 6 September, Robert Mugabe died in Singapore. He was eventually buried in his rural home in Zvimba. The Mugabe family as represented by nephew Leo Mugabe said that Mugabe had requested that Grace not leave the side of his coffin until he was buried.


Grace Ntombizodwa Mugabe (nee Marufu) was on born 23 July 1965 in Benoni, Johannesburg, South Africa.[1] She is the fourth child in a family of five. [3] In 1970, at the age of five she moved back to Zimbabwe to stay in Chivhu, which is in Mashonaland East Province with her mother Idah Marufu.[3] Her father remained in South Africa, working to support the family. [3]

Grace joined the Office of the President and Cabinet in the mid-1980s straight from college after she had completed a secretarial course.[4] At that time she was already married to Stanley Goreraza, a pilot with the Air Force of Zimbabwe. At one time, the couple stayed in the high density suburb of Mufakose in Harare, along Rovambira Street.[4] They had one child together, a son named Russell Goreraza.[4]

Grace's marriage to Robert Mugabe was formalized in 1996 at a wedding in Mugabe's rural home of Zvimba at Kutama College, on the weekend of August 17-18. Official estimates reported a 40,000 attendance[4].Grace and Robert Mugabe have three children together. Bona named after Mugabe's mother, their first child was born in 1990 (two years before the death of Mugabe's first wife Sally, who succumbed to kidney failure on the 27th of January 1992). Robert (Jnr) who was born in February 1992, and Chatunga Bellarmine was born in 1997[4].

Educational Background

Grace Mugabe Graduating at the University of Zimbabwe in September 2014

Grace attended primary school in Chivhu before going to Kriste Mambo High School, a catholic school in Rusape in Manicaland for her secondary education.[3]

University of London

Grace enrolled at the University of London for the Bachelor of Arts (English)[5] degree in 1996 but she was deregistered in December 2004, after she failed to complete the degree programme in the required time period.[6] She was reported to have come out with two passes in the 8 years of study. Some of the subjects she failed included:

  • Approaches to Text - 7 percent[6]
  • Explorations in Literature (I) - 9 percent [6]
  • Explorations in Literature (II)- 18 percent [6]
  • Renaissance Comedy:Shakespeare and Johnson - 7 percent [6]

University in China

Grace Mugabe studied at a Chinese university and graduated with a degree in Chinese.[7]

University of Zimbabwe

On the 12th of September 2014, Grace graduated with a Ph.D. from the University of Zimbabwe's Faculty of Social Studies Department of Sociology. She was capped by Robert Mugabe, who is also the Chancellor of all state Universities in Zimbabwe. Grace also graduated together with then-Vice President Joice Mujuru among thousands of graduates. However, the degree attracted criticism and speculation over the revelation that she apparently did not write a thesis and she did not take the required period of between three and six years to complete it.[8] Some quarters claimed that she had only enrolled at the University two months prior to the graduation. However, in January 2018 the University of Zimbabwe released Grace Mugabe's thesis. Grace Mugabe Thesis 1 Grace Mugabe Thesis 2

Business Interests

Grace Mugabe owns a business called Gushungo Holdings. The former first family owns about 10 farms through Gushungo Holdings (Pvt) Ltd. Gushungo is Mugabe's clan name. The company owns 10601ha of fertile land in the country's northern regions. Mugabe and his family acquired a significant amount of farmland.In 2008, eight years after the land reform programme started Grace took over Gwina Farm in Banket from High Court Judge Ben Hlatshwayo. Gushungo Holdings also owns Mazowe, Sigaro, Leverdale and Bassiville farms, Gwina Farm,1000ha Foyle Farm,1046ha Iron Mask Farm, 1200ha Gwebi Wood Farm,1488ha Leverdale Farm and their personal farm in Norton Highfield Farm which is 445ha.[9] Gushungo Holdings was reportedly accused of having evacuated out 11 small-scale miners occupying 22 hectares of land along Mazowe River to pave way for the expansion of the first family business.[10] The following companies are subsidiaries of Gushungo Holdings.

  1. Alpha Omega Dairy is a subsidiary of Gushungo Holdings. This is a multi-million-dollar project that has become one of the biggest rivals to big brands such as Nestlé Zimbabwe and Dairiboard Zimbabwe. Alpha Omega Dairy was at one point involved in a dispute with Swiss company Nestlé over a milk deal.[11]
  2. Mazowe Children Home. Grace Mugabe also runs an orphanage which was established to help the less privileged children in society.[12]
  3. Amai Grace Mugabe Junior School. Grace Mugabe recently unveiled a new state-of-the-art high school in Mazowe where enrollment was underway for $3 500 per term.[13]

Political Career

Grace Mugabe formally entered politics in July 2014 with a nomination to lead the Zanu-PF Women's League. The nomination was spearheaded by the outgoing Women's League chairperson Oppah Muchinguri and the Youth League.[14] The nomination grabbed the headlines with party supporters converging at Grace's orphanage in Mazoe. She was subsequently elected leader of the Zanu PF Women's league at the Women's League Annual National Conference held in Harare. Thereafter, Grace embarked on a national tour where she toured a number of provinces in a campaign dubbed "Meet the People".

Some of the rallies were attended by Robert Mugabe. Grace used the Meet the People Rallies to denounce apparent factionalism within Zanu-PF. Although she was not clear initially, Grace targeted her attacks at Joice Mujuru, who was said to have led the Gamatox Faction along with Didymus Mutasa. Grace also used the rallies to disassociate herself from factionalism in the party.[15]

Expulsion of Joice Mujuru

As more rallies were held, Grace attacked Joice Mujuru directly, at one point accusing her of visiting witch doctors in an attempt to bewitch the Mugabe family. Eventually, Robert Mugabe joined the attacks on Mujuru, accusing her of corruption and an assassination attempt on him. Mujuru was expelled from the government soon after the party's congress in December 2014, which she didn't attend. Grace Mugabe was generally credited with driving out Mujuru.

December 2014 Confirmation as Women's League Leader

At the December 2014 party congress, Grace was confirmed as the Women's League Chairperson, effectively becoming a powerful woman in the party. Her elevation was considered a victory for the Mugabe loyalists and seen as a befitting reward for her work "exposing" the "rot" in Zanu-PF.

For a more detailed account of events after her election read Meet the People Rallies

Presidential ambitions

Grace Mugabe dismissed claims that she harbored any presidential ambitions in an interview with the Sunday Mail in 2015.[16] She claimed that her focus was on charity work, the family business and her role as Zanu-PF Women's League head.[17] However, Grace Mugabe took a central role during the Zanu-PF Youth Interface Rallies to 'expose' Emmerson Mnangagwa for plotting to succeed Mugabe unconstitutionally. Mnangagwa was eventually dismissed from the post of Vice President of Zimbabwe on 6 November 2017. After his dismissal, Grace was endorsed by the Zanu-PF Youth League and several party provinces for the position of Vice President that had become vacant.



Grace has been accused of living an extravagant lifestyle while ordinary Zimbabweans faced economic hardships.[18] She was nicknamed Gucci by some media houses due to her alleged love for the expensive material and luxurious spending. In December 2014, photos of the first family on a holiday emerged and local critics lamented the luxurious spending while the country was suffering from poverty and underdevelopment.

Land Grabbing

The picture shows the victims houses up in smoke burnt down by the police

In January 2015, Grace forcibly removed more than two hundred families from farms which they were allocated during the controversial land reform program. Spenenken and Arnold farms which form Manzou Estate were said to have been reserved for a commercial game reserve by Grace who publicly expressed her interest in the area. Within 24 hours of the eviction of the resettled farmers, 600 more families were given notices to vacate their small-scale farms on the edges of Mazowe Dam in Mashonaland Central Province. According to the NewsDay publication of 9 January 2015, six truckloads of riot personnel from the Zimbabwe Republic Police and burnt down houses which had remained intact after the initial raid held on the 7th of January 2015. The NewsDay also reported that Grace had publicly announced plans to annex more land to set up a private wildlife sanctuary, hospital, secondary school and Robert Mugabe University."[19]

Dam Grabbing

In July 2017, Grace Mugabe was alleged to have grabbed the state-owned Mazowe Dam, Zimbabwe’s 16th largest dam which was constructed in 1918. Grace reportedly barred villagers from using the huge dam and posted armed police officers to guard the dam and keep villagers and other people away. This reportedly infuriated villagers who used to earn a living through fishing and other activities. "[20]

Assault of Gabriella Engels

In August 2017, Grace was alleged to have assaulted 20-year old South African model Gabriella Engels and her two friends at a Sandton hotel. [21] Grace had gone for medical treatment in South Africa for her ankle, which had been injured in a car accident. She is reported to have accused Engels of cohabiting with her sons Robert Jr and Chatunga Bellarmine before assaulting her with an extension cord. It is alleged that Robert Jr and Chatunga fled from Grace's leaving her to take out her anger on the girls with an extension cord, causing various injuries including a deep gash on Engels' forehead.[22] Gabriella reported the matter to the police sparking a diplomatic crisis between Zimbabwe and South Africa. However, Grace was not prosecuted for the assault after she was granted diplomatic immunity by the South African government.[23]

However, South African civil rights group AfriForum representing Gabriella filed a court application at the Pretoria High Court challenging the Minister's decision to grant Grace diplomatic immunity. The case is yet to be concluded.

The South African opposition party, the Democratic Alliance also filed a Constitutional Court application challenging the government's decision to grant Grace diplomatic immunity again.

Expulsion from the party

After the Zanu-PF Central Committee met in Special Session at the Party Headquarters in Harare on the 19th of November 2017 in terms of Article 7 Section 37(7) of the Party’s Constitution and Grace among other top officials were expelled from the party.[24]press statement announcing Mugabe’s removal, 20 G40 members expelled

Response to Externalisation of Funds

In 2018 after President Emmerson Mnangagwa gave an ultimatum to all the people who externalised funds, the former first lady reportedly admitted having externalised funds. Grace Mugabe reportedly confirmed in an interview to a South African publication that;

“In South Africa, I bought a dilapidated house, I wanted to bring it down, demolish some parts and to renovate the house,” Mrs Mugabe said.

Mugabe also admitted to renting a house in Dubai for Robert Jr when he was studying there and reportedly paid $500 000 per annum in rentals. It was also reported that the Hong Kong property was bought for HK$40 million in 2009 just before the former President’s daughter Bona Chikore was about to begin studies at the University of Hong Kong.Mugabe Admits To Externalising Millions To Buy Mansions [25]

Allegations of demanded US$5 M Bribe From Dangote Through Patrick Zhuwao

Grace Mugabe is alleged to have demanded a US$5 million bribe from Nigerian billionaire businessman Aliko Dangote in order to secure his investments in Zimbabwe. According to the Sunday Times, Grace did not make the request directly. Instead, the request was made through former president Robert Mugabe’s nephew Patrick Zhuwao, who was a cabinet minister then.

Dangote was allegedly informed that

as with all investors which come into Zimbabwe there was a need for him to secure his investments and grease elbows, and therefore a sum of $5-million is requested

Zhuwao denied the allegations and refused to comment further on the matter until the identity of the person who made the accusations was divulged. Said the former minister,

I don’t know Dangote. I have never met him, and when he came to Zimbabwe I wasn’t even in the country. It’s all so laughable, and it’s easy for people to create e-mails and make claims

Revoking of Diplomatic immunity

The South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg, South Africa overturned the decision to grant diplomatic immunity to former Grace Mugabe. Judge Bashier Vally ruled that the decision to grant Grace diplomatic immunity was inconsistent with the South African Constitution, and must be set aside.

Grace was granted diplomatic immunity by South Africa’s former Minister of the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco) Maite Nkoana-Mashabane following her alleged assault of South African model Gabriella Engels in Johannesburg last year. Aggrieved with the decision, the Democratic Alliance (DA) and lobby group AfriForum approached the courts and filed an application to have the decision to grant Mugabe amnesty reviewed and set aside.[26]



  • Grace Mugabe was once a typist in the office of President (Robert Mugabe). Whilst working as the secretary to the President, she was reported to have begun an affair with him. Mugabe's first wife Sally was reported to be terminally ill at that time.[4]This led to the breakdown and collapse of Grace's marriage to Goreraza.


  • She was part of people sanctioned from traveling to Europe and the U.S.
  • She is into charity work and she owns an orphanage in the Mazowe area of Mashonaland Central province.


  1. 1.0 1.1 Zongile Nhlapo (August 16, 2017). "7 Things You May Not Know About The Incomparable Grace Mugabe". Huffington Post. Retrieved August 30, 2017.
  2. Zanu-PF press statement announcing Mugabe’s removal, 20 G40 members expelled , , Published: 19 November 2017 , Retrieved: 20 November 2017
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Herald Reporters (August 30, 2017). "A loving mother of the nation". Herald, Dr Amai's Philanthropic Work Supplement. Zimpapers. Missing or empty |url= (help); |access-date= requires |url= (help)
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 Wongai Zhangazha (July 24, 2015). "Grace Mugabe: From Chivu to Gracelands". The Independent. Alpha Media Holdings. Retrieved August 31, 2017.
  5. "Grace Mugabe's PhD: Academics speak". The Standard. Alpha Media Holdings. September 14, 2014. Retrieved August 31, 2017.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 "Mugabe's 'undertaker' son fails exams". Nehanda Radio. February 20, 2012. Retrieved August 31, 2017.
  7. Up close with Grace Mugabe
  8. , Grace Mugabe’s Ph.D.: Academics speak, "The Standard", published:14 Sep 2014, retrieved:30 Sep 2014"
  9. President Robert Mugabe is one of the biggest landowners in Zimbabwe. A Sunday Times investigation alleged that he and his family own at least 10 farms through Gushungo Holdings (Pvt) Ltd.
  10. First Lady Grace Mugabe evicts 50 families
  11. Mugabe dairy empire growing: Grace
  12. A thank you to Grace Mugabe
  13. Mugabe's under the spotlight – Zimbabwe's first family filmed at home
  14. , Grace Mugabe voted head of Zanu-PF women's league, "Mail and Guardian", published:16 Aug 2014, retrieved:15 Oct 2014"
  15. F. Kwaramba, 'Grace Mugabe for president', "Daily News", published:9 Oct 2014,retrieved:15 Oct 2014"
  16. Daniel Nemukuyu First Lady hailed on succession, Herald, Published: July 27, 2015, Retrieved: July 27, 2015,
  17. Mabasa Sasa First Lady opens up on Presidency, Sunday Mail, Published: July 26, 2015, Retrieved: July 27, 2015,
  18. Spend it like Grace!
  19. E. Mushava, Grace targets 600 more families,NewsDay, published:09 Jan 2015,retrieved:09Jan 2015"
  20. Wongai Zhangazha/Elias Mambo, Grace Mugabe grabs iconic Mazowe Dam,The Independent, published:07 July 2017,retrieved: 27 September 2017"
  21. "Zimbabwe's Grace Mugabe due in South Africa court over assault". BBC News. 15 August 2017. Retrieved 15 August 2017.
  22. "Model involved in nightclub 'brawl' before Grace Mugabe alleged assault". News24. 20 August 2017. Retrieved 20 August 2017.
  23. "Grace Mugabe: South Africa grants immunity despite assault claim". 20 August 2017 – via
  24. Zanu-PF press statement announcing Mugabe’s removal, 20 G40 members expelled , , Published: 19 November 2017 , Retrieved: 20 November 2017
  25. MUGABES ADMIT LOOTING. . . Millions squirrelled away to Hong Kong & SA , The Chronicle, Published: 22 March 2018, Retrieved: 22 March 2018
  26. South African Court Revokes Grace Mugabe's Immunity For Assaulting Model ⋆ Pindula News, Pindula News, published: 30 Jul 2018, retrieved: 30 Jul 2018