First Lady Grace Mugabe, just like her husband, President Robert Mugabe, at the weekend shared her agony with relatives over the continuing wayward behaviour of sons — Robert Junior and Chatunga Bellarmine — whose unacceptable ways led to their ejection from an upmarket private residence in South Africa last month.
Grace was forced to make an emergency trip to Johannesburg last month to make new accommodation arrangements for Robert Junior and Chatunga after they were told to leave their plush residence due to numerous complains about their behaviour.
Robert Junior and Chatunga Bellarmine are resident in Johannesburg where they are studying following the First Family’s decision to relocate Junior, who had been based in the United Arab Emirates.
“Sometimes we are tempted even through our children. Manzwa mukomana (Moses Gumbochuma) anga achitaura pano kuti ndaiita misikanzwa. Vashoma vanhu vanotaura vachidaro. Vana vanoita misikanzwa (You heard the boy who was saying he used to be naughty. There are a few who will confess that, children are naughty),” said in remarks carried by the State media.
“All is not lost, you can still pick yourself up, wotanga woita chikoro zvakare. Iko zvino kwaane mweya inobata vana vedu. Mweya wekunwa, madrugs, and kuda kuita zvinhu zvisiri zvezera ravo. (These days there is a spirit of alcoholism and drug abuse and they want to do things not consistent with their age.
“Zvese izvozvo if you give up, ndiani anozvigadzirisa? Ana mai vazhinji vakashinga, tine moyo minyoro. Izvezvi ndikati simuka utaure zvemwana wako ka, madzimai tingaite rufu pano madzimai achingochema pano. (If you give up on them who will fix it. You need to be patient. Mothers are strong, if I say to mothers stand and tell us about your kids, this will become a funeral with mothers crying),” Grace told guests in Shamva over the weekend.
“I have said to my husband I have stopped living for anyone, ndakuzvigarira hupenyu hwangu; soul yangu ndeyangu ndega, ikange yabuda haibudi neye mwana wangu.
“I am telling you because vana havana basa kuti ndeva President or ndevani (I now want to live my life. It does not matter that they are the president’s children.
“All kids are now naughty these days. I have seen parents wearing torn clothes because their kids are demanding malabels epamusoro. In schools and universities, vana vari kuita zvefashion, and vana vacho havanzwisise (children are concentrating on fashion and they are naughty. ” she said.
The errant and fun-loving Mugabe sons, despite their status in society, have found it difficult to lead restricted lifestyles and have often been pictured mingling with ordinary Zimbabweans at football matches and upmarket entertainment venues.
Of late both Mugabe and Grace have been showing signs of exasperation with the Zanu PF leader publicly warning Chatunga to lay off fun and concentrate on his studies.
Speaking at Grace’s lavish 50th birthday celebrations that took place on Chatunga’s then 18th birthday, in 2015 Mugabe— who spoke from the heart — said he feared that his son could be headed for disaster if he did not improve on his discipline.
It was also revealed at those celebrations that Mugabe left it to his wife to discipline the children.
“I say congratulations to Bellarmine, Bellarmine Bellarmine, and I want to say in this environment perhaps it will give him more encouragement and greater sense of seriousness, that you are now a grown person, mature.
“Not yet eligible to marry, but to certainly devote to your studies with greater seriousness, we want you to go through. You’re ‘A’ Level, let us not see you fail.
“The constant retreats to restaurants, refusing to eat at home should stop now,” Mugabe said then.
As if to confirm his father’s fears, Chatunga gave the gathered guests at the bash a glimpse of his lack of maturity —while giving a speech at the party.
Rather thoughtlessly, the then 18-year-old directed people to give him applause because he was “handsome”.
Chatunga was expelled from a top Harare private school, St George’s College, in 2013 — over gross-indiscipline, prompting his parents to resort to home schooling.
During an interview that the First Family had with South African journalist Dali Tambo a few years ago, Grace also revealed that her son preferred spending time playing video games rather than studying.
In 2009, Chatunga reportedly flunked his Grade 7 examinations, managing to score 14 points in the exams at the prestigious Hartmann House — and ranking among the very few students who failed in his class.
While Mugabe was a high flier at school, earning several academic achievements in the process, only his daughter Bona appears to have taken after him.
She is a holder of an Accountancy degree and made her family proud when she wed pilot Simba Chikore in 2014.