HARARE (REUTERS) – Just a handful of mourners attended a memorial service for Queen Elizabeth in Zimbabwe’s capital on Thursday.
The death of the British monarch has stirred mixed feelings across Africa about the legacy of colonialism on the continent.
At the Anglican Church in Harare some congregants expressed fond memories for Zimbabwe’s former colonial ruler.
Elizabeth visited Zimbabwe in 1947 with her parents and again as queen in 1991, when she was hosted by former president Robert Mugabe.
At the time of her first visit Zimbabwe was a British-ruled colony with some autonomy – known as Southern Rhodesia and with a white minority government.
Outside the church some Zimbabweans, like Rownward Manzungu, said colonialism is inextricably linked with Elizabeth’s 70-year reign.
”I do not think it’s necessary to celebrate her life. In the past, she led the colonial era. It is painful that they took our land while we were left to suffer. We will never forget. When she died, I was indifferent. She was old so I guess it was now time.”
Langton Muza said he didn’t see the need for a memorial, and that it has no benefit for common Zimbabweans.
The southern African country left the Commonwealth network of mostly former territories of the British Empire in 2003.
That was after Mugabe came under criticism over disputed elections and the seizures of land from white farmers.
In 2008 Elizabeth stripped Mugabe of the honorary knighthood she had awarded him in 1994 – citing the abuse of human rights and disregard for the democratic process.