Zimbabwe will hold a state funeral for former president Robert Mugabe on Saturday, September 14, before a burial ceremony on Sunday, September 15. Picture: Ben Curtis/AP

Harare - Zimbabwe will hold a state funeral for former president Robert Mugabe on Saturday, September 14, before a burial ceremony on Sunday, September 15, according to a government memo sent to diplomatic missions and seen by Reuters.

The funeral will be in Harare's National Sports Stadium, the memo said, without specifying where the burial would be. 

Mugabe, who died aged 95 in a Singapore hospital on Friday after a long illness, dominated Zimbabwean politics for almost four decades from independence in 1980 until he was removed by his own army in November 2017.

Revered by many as a liberator who freed his people from white minority rule, he was vilified by others for wrecking one of Africa's most promising economies and ruthlessly crushing his opponents.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who worked closely with Mugabe for decades before helping to oust him, granted Mugabe the status of national hero on Friday.

Mnangagwa's spokesman George Charamba said in comments to The Sunday Mail newspaper that current plans were for Mugabe to be buried at the National Heroes Acre monument in Harare.

But local newspaper the Zimbabwe Independent reported last month that Mugabe didn't want to be buried at National Heroes Acre - a site reserved for the country's heroes - because he felt humiliated at the way he was removed from power.

The Sunday Mail said Mugabe's body was expected back from Singapore on Wednesday afternoon and that Mnangagwa, members of Mugabe's family and traditional chiefs from Mugabe's Zvimba district would receive the body at Harare's Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport.

The body would then be taken to Zvimba before being moved to the National Sports Stadium, the newspaper added.

Reuters