PAN-JUMBIE

Ex-envoy: Mugabe loved Exodus steel orchestra

TT – It was not well known in TT, but the late Robert Mugabe was mesmerised by Exodus Steel Orchestra.

So said former envoy to South Africa Harry Partap, who met and chatted with Mugabe five years ago.

The Zimbabwean president, whose rule for 40 years earned him a bloody reputation for torture and divisiveness, died on Thursday at 95. Despite his more recent reputation, he was also Zimbabwe’s freedom fighter and African liberator.

Partap, a retired journalist, presented his diplomatic credentials to Mugabe at the State House, Harare, and had discussions with him.

Partap told Newsday yesterday that weeks before, Exodus had toured Zimbabwe and Mugabe was thrilled by its performance.

“He kept repeating to me, ‘Good performance; those are commendable skills,’” Partap said,

So much did Mugabe love the sound of pan, Partap added, that he expressed interest in an exchange cultural programme between TT and Zimbabwe.

But, he said, “It got no traction, even though the High Commission in Pretoria (South Africa) took up the challenge.”

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