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Bridget Mugabe Dies After Three-Year Coma

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and his wife Grace at the 2010 funeral of his sister, Sabina
The last words of President Robert Mugabe’s late sister Bridget, were “my sister’’ before collapsing in 2010 when her elder sister, Sabina, was being buried at the national heroes acre.

Bridget, 78, who had been in a comma since that day, died Sunday at Parirenyatwa Hospital, her home for the last three years.

Her death, close friends say, has particularly been painful for most people in the Mugabe family as she never recovered from the comma following Sabina’s death.

Bridget’s death, on the other hand, has ended speculation that President Mugabe may be in declining health or even dead as rumors swelled in the country that he was bed-ridden and in bad shape. Some peddled the perennial January rumor that he had died. His spokesman George Charamba last week told the media that Mr. Mugabe was in good health and on his annual break.

Mr. Mugabe was seen Sunday receiving guests with his wife Grace at State House. They were coming to offer their condolences on the death of his sister.

The President described Bridget as a woman of rare character, adding she was also fearless and courageous. Her death, Mr. Mugabe said, had left a void in the family and that her legacy would be forever cherished.

Speaking in an exclusive interview with VOA, Father Fidelis Mukonori, a close friend of the Mugabe family who worked with the late Bridget beginning 1974, said she was very close to her sister and never recovered her speech from that time until her death yesterday at Parirenyatwa Hospital where she was on life support.

A memorial service was held for Bridget at the Doves Morgan Chapel in Harare Monday and her body has since arrived in Zvimba for burial Tuesday.

Father Mukonori described Bridget as a hard worker, adding she excelled during their time at Silveira House, a Catholic organization owned and run by the Jesuit Province of Zimbabwe.