Their only son, Michael Nhamodzenyika Mugabe, born 27 September 1963,
died on 26 December 1966 from cerebral malaria in Ghana where Sally was
working while Mugabe was in prison. Sally Mugabe was a trained teacher who asserted her position as an independent political activist and campaigner.
Mugabe called on Zimbabwe’s media to refer to his wife as “Amai” (“Mother of the Nation”), although many Zimbabweans resented the fact that she was a foreigner.
She was appointed as the head of ZANU-PF’s women’s league, and was involved in a number of charitable operations, although was widely regarded as corrupt in these dealings.
During Mugabe’s premiership she suffered from renal failure, and initially had to travel to Britain for dialysis until Soames arranged for a dialysis machine to be sent to Zimbabwe.
While married to Hayfron, in 1987 Mugabe began an extra-marital affair with his secretary, Grace Marufu; she was 41 years his junior and at the time was married to Stanley Goreraza. In 1988 she bore Mugabe a daughter, Bona, and in 1990 a son, Robert.
The relationship was kept secret from the Zimbabwean public, although Hayfron was aware of it.
According to her niece Patricia Bekele, with whom she was particularly
close, Hayfron was not happy that Mugabe had an affair with Marufu but
“she did what she used to tell me to do: ‘Talk to your pillow if you
have problems in your marriage. Never, ever, humiliate your husband.’
Her motto was to carry on in gracious style”.
Hayfron died in 1992 from a chronic kidney ailment.
Following Hayfron’s death in 1992, Mugabe and Marufu were married in a large Catholic wedding ceremony in August 1996. As First Lady of Zimbabwe, Grace gained a reputation for indulging her love of luxury, with a particular interest in shopping, clothes, and jewellery.
These lavish shopping sprees have led to her receiving the nickname “Gucci Grace”.
She too developed a reputation for corruption. In 1997, Grace Mugabe gave birth to the couple’s third child, Chatunga Bellarmine.