, JOHANNESBURG, May 26 – Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe criticises Nelson Mandela for being too soft on whites, in a documentary giving a rare and intimate look into the family life of one of Africa’s longest serving and most vilified leaders.
In a cosy lunch setting with his wife and children, the 89-year old speaks on a wide range of issues from his controversial hold on power, to his relationships with former British premiers Tony Blair and Margaret Thatcher.
The two-and-a-half hour interview, described in detail by British and South African media ahead of its airing, shows the usually bellicose and sharp-tongued Mugabe as a loving family man.
Dali Tambo, the son of South African anti-apartheid hero Oliver Tambo, produced the documentary, which will be broadcast on South African public television next Sunday.
In the programme, Tambo dines with Mugabe’s family at his wife Grace’s dairy farm.
The interview comes just months before crucial general elections in the country which in recent decades has gone from being the breadbasket of southern Africa to its biggest problem child.
One of Africa’s most popular liberation leaders, Mugabe has clashed with the West over controversial policies which saw white-owned farms violently seized over a decade ago.
In neighbouring South Africa, where white land ownership is still a flashpoint, Mugabe says former president Nelson Mandela was not hard enough.
He said former colonial masters Britain with whom he has had a fraught relationship over the land grabs” will praise you only if you are doing things that please them”.
“Mandela has gone a bit too far in doing good to the non-black communities, really in some cases at the expense of (blacks),” Mugabe said of his former South African counterpart.