The personality of Robert Mugabe

I have remarked before that Robert Mugabe was one of the best orators I have ever heard. I am not alone in having been impressed. Below is an assessment of Mugabe’s oratory and personality, by Zimbabwean journalist Jan Raath, published in The Times (London), 12 November 2017, under the headline, “Forty years ago, I too was beguiled by Robert Mugabe, the young guerrilla leader”.

I will treasure the events of yesterday afternoon for the rest of my life. I had driven to the Harare international conference centre to hear a rather dry debate on the impeachment of Robert Mugabe, the man I have been covering for this newspaper since 1975.
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Recent Reading 20

The latest in a sequence of lists of recently-read books, listed in reverse chronological order.

  • Susan Tomes [2014]: Women and the Piano: A History in 50 Lives. Yale University Press. A fascinating series of accounts of women pianists, mostly classical musicians. Of course, there are hundreds or even thousands of others, too many to include in a single book, for example, Australian swing-band leader of the 1930s and 1940s, Miss Dot Crowe.
  • Patricia Boccadoro [2023]: Rudolf Nureyev: As I remember him. The Book Guild.
  • Gershom Scholem [2012]: Walter Benjamin: The Story of a Friendship. New York Review Books Classics. Lee Sigel (Introduction) and Harry Zohn (Translator). This is a fascinating account of the profound friendship Scholem had with Walter Benjamin, when both were in the teens/twenties. The account is detailed but mainly about the content of their reading and discussions, only rarely touching on personal topics. I am not sure if this omission is due to them not ever talking very much about personal matters at the time or the author’s later reticence when writing the book. What comes across very strongly is how exciting it was to be a young Jewish adult interested in ideas in Germany between 1900 and 1930.
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