In 1980 tens of thousands of people waving banners, dancing and chanting slogans, thronged the streets of Zimbabwe’s cities, celebrating the dawn of a new era under Robert Mugabe, a giant of the African liberation struggle. 

Yet when his death was announced on Friday the messages on social media were decidedly mixed:  “An icon of anti-imperialist struggle”, a “big loss to Africa”, “good riddance to this evil tyrant”, “rot in hell” and “the African continent is better off without Mugabe”.

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