PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe’s family last month splurged more than US$60 000 on furniture as part of its wedding gift for their daughter Bona, who tied the knot a fortnight ago with Emirates pilot Simba Chikore at their plush Borrowdale mansion.
The elegant furniture is in addition to other lavish presents, which included the historic Mt Pleasant house where Mugabe lived just before he became prime minister in 1980, and the US$100 000 and 55 head of cattle publicly announced at the wedding.
Although the house was not presented publicly, top officials privy to the wedding preparations said the house on Quorn Avenue underwent major renovations ahead of the nuptials on March 1.
A new high security wall was erected hurriedly. Work on the wall started sometime in February and was completed in time for the wedding.
Driving past the house, builders could be seen working late into the night.
Passing by the house at night gives the impression of broad daylight thanks to about 15 external security lights mounted on the white security wall — three to the left of the black security wall and 12 to the right.
Renovations were done to the interior of the house, while the grounds were beautifully manicured. The outside of the house was left untouched, except for the repainting.
The furniture, bought at TV Sales and Home’s furniture outlet, Your Space at Sam Levy’s in Borrowdale, was delivered to the Mt Pleasant home a week before the wedding.
A packed 10-tonne truck had to make two deliveries to the house. The furniture included an exquisite brown leather sofa lounge suite valued at over US$4 500, one smart 65-inch television with a camera costing around US$8 000, two 55-inch smart televisions with cameras whose price ranges from US$5 000 to about US$6 000, elegant stand-alone lamp shades, bedroom suites and top-of-the range kitchen appliances.
Business came to a standstill when the First Lady, Grace, accompanied by bride–to-be, Bona, visited the shop.
A shopper who watched the two choose the furniture for the whole house said they paid for the furniture using a credit card. The glitzy wedding, held at Mugabe’s private Chinese-style mansion located in the upmarket Borrowdale Brooke area, was attended by several sitting and former heads of state, who were part of 5 000 guests.
The heads of state who attended were Jacob Zuma of South Africa, Teodoro Obiang Nguema of Equatorial Guinea, Michael Sata of Zambia and Joseph Kabila of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Former heads of state included Jerry Rawlings from Ghana and Ketumile Masire and Festus Mogae from Botswana.