A crowd of thousands of Harare residents grew suddenly, eerily silent Wednesday afternoon as an unmarked plane rolled slowly down the tarmac, bringing home the body of the man who many consider the father of Zimbabwe.
The flag-draped casket carrying the body of former President Robert Mugabe was somberly welcomed in Harare by top officials, by the military elite, and by thousands of mourners as it returned to the country that Mugabe ruled for 37 years.
“The entire nation of Zimbabwe, our people, across the board, are grieved and are in mourning because the light which led us to independence is no more,” he said, as Mugabe’s widow, Grace, clad head-to-toe in black lace, dabbed at her eyes with tissues. “But his works, his ideology, will continue to guide this nation.”
But Mugabe’s final resting place remains up in the air. According to local media, Mugabe’s family wants him interred in his rural village, instead of the iconic Heroes’ Acre cemetery. The burial is scheduled for Sunday.