Zimbabwe's former leader Robert Mugabe, who ruled his country for 37 years from independence until late 2017, died aged 95. Picture: Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi/AP

Johannesburg - The ANC says it mourns the passing of "our brother Comrade President Robert Gabriel Mugabe, who passes away having devoted his life to the service of his country and his people".

Zimbabwe's former leader Robert Mugabe, who ruled his country for 37 years from independence until late 2017, died aged 95, President Emmerson Mnangagwa said on Friday.

Mnangagwa gave few details, but media reports said the increasingly frail Mugabe died in Singapore, where he had frequently travelled for medical treatment over the last few years.

In a statement on Friday ANC Secretary General Ace Magashule said: "In his Independence Day speech delivered on March 6, 1957, the father of Ghana's independence, Kwame Nkrumah delivered the rousing words that went on to nourish and sustain the hopes of all Africans who at the time yearned for independence and self-determination.

'We have awakened..we will not sleep anymore. Today, from now on, there is a new African in the world.

"The new Africa is ready to fight his own battles and show that after all, the black man is capable of managing his own affairs."

Magashule said the life of Mugabe came to epitomise the "new African" - who having shrugged off the colonial yoke, would strive to ensure his country took its rightful place amongst the community of nations: firmly in charge of its own destiny.

"The revolutionary struggle of Zanu-PF was an inspiration to the then-banned and suppressed African National Congress (ANC) who was fighting the apartheid government in South Africa.

"Comrade Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF has over the years been a longstanding friend and supporter of the African National Congress (ANC), from the exile years through to democracy. Our fraternal relations, grounded in the mutual aspirations of human rights, political dignity and social justice - have endured over the years...

"To the Mugabe family, we extend our heartfelt condolences. To our friends in Zanu-PF be comforted that you have lost a leader whose service to his country will forever be inscribed. We mourn with you the passing of our friend, statesman, leader, revolutionary."

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