Robert Mugabe's guards fail to censor another unfortunate photo on first state visit to South Africa in 21 years

The 91-year-old President of Zimbabwe appeared to debut a surprise new style ahead of his address in Pretoria on Wednesday

Jenn Selby
Friday 10 April 2015 08:19 BST
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Zimbabwean president, Robert Mugabe arrives in Pretoria, South Africa, for a state visit to the country
Zimbabwean president, Robert Mugabe arrives in Pretoria, South Africa, for a state visit to the country (AP)

Images of Robert Mugabe spectacularly falling down a flight of stairs on his return to Zimbabwe from Ethiopia captured the heart of the internet when they first surfaced in February.

Despite the best efforts of his security team to force journalists to delete the evidence, the photograph quickly went viral. Pretty soon, the 91-year-old President found himself falling everywhere from Harry Potter’s Quidditch pitch to Beyoncé’s “Single Ladies”.

He sacked his guards for failing to divert the embarrassment. And he’s unlikely to be particularly thrilled by his latest accidental photographic gaffe – one that appears to show the African leader wearing a wig and a pair of earrings, thanks to a well-positioned woman standing just behind him.

Mugabe was standing outside the Union Building in South Africa on 8 April when the shot was taken.

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe falls after addressing supporters
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe falls after addressing supporters (AP)
Mugabe fell on his return from an African Union meeting in Ethiopia
Mugabe fell on his return from an African Union meeting in Ethiopia (AP)
Mugabe, 90, was elected chairman of the African Union and is set to celebrate his 91st birthday on 21 February
Mugabe, 90, was elected chairman of the African Union and is set to celebrate his 91st birthday on 21 February (AP)

Of course, the President did have a far more serious reason to be in the country on his first state visit in 21 years – lambasting Western involvement in African affairs.

Speaking during a televised press conference alongside South African President Jacob Zuma in Pretoria, he said: “We want a political environment in which we are not interfered with by outsiders and we become masters of ourselves in Africa.

“We don't think we are getting a fair deal at the United Nations.

“The five countries there who are permanent members... Control the entire system.”

He further called on the rest of the developing world to take a stand against the United States, France and Britain, saying the governments' “messy, reckless, brutal approach” to foreign affairs has left the Arab world “torn apart”.

“African resources belong to Africa. Others may come to assist as our friends and allies but no longer as colonisers or oppressors, no longer as racists.”

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