Robert Gabriel Mugabe is born to Gabriel (a Malawian) and Bona Mugabe in Khutama Mission, Zvimba District north east of Salisbury in Southern Rhodesia. In 1934 his father, who was a carpenter left for South Africa and then to Bulawayo to look for work and never came back leaving his mother to bear the burden of taking care of him alone. He is the third born of six children. He has two older brothers Michael and Raphael, young brother Donato and two sisters Bridget and Sabina. His older brothers both die young. He is educated by Jesuits and attended secondary school at Kutama College. Speaking in 2014:
Michael was born in 1919 and Raphael in 1922. I played together with Michael until 1934 when he died of poisoning. Raphael died when he was only six months so I could not see him. Donato also died then Sabina, now Bridgette. That was Mbuya Bona’s family. Michael and Raphael passed on, so I became the first born. After the poisoning, my father was not happy and said there was something wrong at our home before going to Bulawayo in 1934. Bulawayo was fine, actually better than Harare in terms of social life. So most of the young men from different areas preferred to go to work in Bulawayo. I was not happy after he had taken his time to come back home and wrote a letter to him expressing my displeasure.