HARARE – Former president Thabo Mbeki has described the late former Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe as an important player in the remaking of the African continent.
Mugabe died last week in Singapore at the age of 95.
He had ruled the southern African nation for 37 years until he was toppled in a military coup in 2017.
Mbeki landed in Zimbabwe on Friday afternoon ahead of Mugabe’s funeral over the weekend.
“Many people in the continent and elsewhere around the world are coming to say this final farewell to President Mugabe because that is the stature he enjoyed on the continent and globally,” Mbeki said.
“I say a final farewell to somebody who was a very important player in the remaking of the continent.”
Mbeki said he last saw Mugabe in 2017 when he discussed his potential retirement from office.
On Saturday, a large memorial service will be held for Mugabe at a stadium in Harare.
It's set to be attended by African leaders and dignitaries from far and wide.
The Presidency has confirmed that President Cyril Ramaphosa will also attend the funeral.
Ramaphosa will be accompanied by Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Dr Naledi Pandor, Minister of Defence Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, Minister of Police General Bheki Cele and Minister of State Security Ayanda Dlodlo.
"The President’s attendance signifies South Africa’s regard and gratitude for the role played by the late former President Mugabe in his capacity as leader of Zimbabwe’s pre-independence liberation movement and as President of the Republic of Zimbabwe in support of South Africa’s struggle against apartheid," the Presidency said in a statement.