Robert Gabriel Mugabe (Shona pronunciation: , English: /muːˈɡɑːbiː/ moo-gah-bee; born 21 February 1924) is the President of Zimbabwe. As one of the leaders of the liberation movement against white-minority rule, he was elected into power in 1980. He served as Prime Minister from 1980 to 1987, and as the first executive head of state since 1987.
Mugabe rose to prominence in the 1960s as the Secretary General of the Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU) during the conflict against the white-minority rule government of Ian Smith. Mugabe was a political prisoner in Rhodesia for more than 10 years between 1964 and 1974. Upon release with Edgar Tekere, Mugabe left Rhodesia in 1975 to re-join the Zimbabwe Liberation Struggle (Rhodesian Bush War) from bases in Mozambique.
At the end of the war in 1979, Mugabe emerged as a hero in the minds of many Africans. He won the general elections of 1980, the second in which the majority of black Africans participated in large numbers (though the electoral system in Rhodesia had allowed black participation based on qualified franchise). Mugabe then became the first Prime Minister after calling for reconciliation between formerly warring parties, including white Rhodesians and rival political groups.