In the late 1800s, English businessman and serial eponymist Cecil Rhodes forcibly colonized a huge chunk of southern Africa on behalf of Great Britain that became known as Rhodesia.
Like other African colonies, Rhodesia was harshly segregated. By the mid-1900s, a series of black freedom movements began spreading across the continent, and one of the Rhodesian leaders was an educated, charismatic young man named Robert Mugabe.
Like Mandela in South Africa, Robert Mugabe was imprisoned for several years, a stint that did wonders for his political credibility. Upon release from prison, and with a little help from the international community, Mugabe became Prime Minister of the country.
He governed quite reasonably for the first several years, and if he had walked away from office early on, his legacy would likely be very similar to Mandela’s.
Addicted to his love for power, though, Mugabe stuck around too long and started derailing the economy. By the time he sent his military to go fight in the Second Congo War in 1998, his country was nearly bankrupt. This gave rise to the land theft and hyperinflation for which Zimbabwe is now so renowned.
Today, Mugabe is in his mid-80s and has ruled for decades. Despite the reputation that he has achieved as a ruthless and corrupt dictator, though, many locals still revere Mugabe for standing up to the whites and helping to win their independence.