Police believe Mugabe author committed suicide

Johannesburg – Police didn’t find a suicide note at the home of author and journalist Heidi Holland but believe the 64-year-old took her own life.

\r\n

Holland’s body was discovered by her gardener at her Melville home on Saturday morning.

\r\n

Gauteng police spokeswoman Lieutenant-Colonel Katlego Mogale said it appeared that Holland had hanged herself.

\r\n

“It will be up to the district surgeon to establish a time of death and how it happened,” said Mogale.

\r\n

Holland is best known for her book on the life and career of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, Dinner with Mugabe, which was published in 2008.

\r\n

The book includes her interviews with Mugabe, first as a freedom fighter, then later as president.

\r\n

On Sunday, on Facebook and Twitter, friends were shocked that the vivacious woman known for entertaining guests in the kitchen of her B&B had killed herself.

\r\n

“I never knew of her to suffer depression and I’ve known her for three decades,” wrote journalist Charlene Smith on Facebook.

\r\n

The DA said on Sunday she had been “a person of considerable insight into the persona of Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe. Ms Holland, author of Dinner with Mugabe, was one of the serious democratic voices of our time.

\r\n

“A great host to all at her Melville B&B… South Africa has lost a warm host to the global family of progressive individuals who have, at one or another, passed through her culturally rich B&B in the heart of Johannesburg,” the DA added.

\r\n

David Ingham, a neighbour, saw a different side to the author.

\r\n

He remembers her as one of the driving forces behind Melville’s rejuvenation.

\r\n

“At times she had to manoeuvre through a political minefield, but she was very good at keeping various people focused,” he said.

\r\n

Ingham had a drink with Holland about a month ago, and at the time, thought that she appeared gaunt.

\r\n

Holland worked as a freelance writer and contributed to a number of local and international publications.

\r\n

She had been a columnist for The Star and had worked for the Rand Daily Mail.

\r\n

Holland was the author of several other books, including The Colour of Murder, a book on the Van Schoor family and the murder trials its members faced, and a book on the ANC entitled The Struggle: A History of the African National Congress.

\r\n

Holland was working on a new book about racism. It had a working title of “I’m Not racist, But… “ – The Star

\r\n