LIVE: Africa remembers ‘Zimbabwe’s founding father’ former president Robert Mugabe

Mugabe described as ‘a loner and a studious child’

Born on February 21, 1924, into a Catholic family at Kutama Mission northwest of Harare, Mugabe was described as a loner and a studious child, known to carry a book even while tending cattle in the bush.

After his carpenter father left the family when he was 10, the young Mugabe concentrated on his studies, qualifying as a schoolteacher at the age of 17.

An intellectual who initially embraced Marxism, he enrolled at Fort Hare University in South Africa, meeting many of Southern Africa’s future black nationalist leaders.

After teaching in Ghana, where he was influenced by founder president Kwame Nkrumah, Mugabe returned to what was then Rhodesia, where he was detained for his nationalist activities in 1964 and spent the next 10 years in prison camps or jail.

During his incarceration, he gained three degrees through correspondence, but the years in prison were wrenching.

– Al Jazeera