23/11/2017 12:26 SAST | Updated 23/11/2017 12:26 SAST

Where Are The Mugabes?

Zimbabwe's once-feared first family are lying low while the dust settles, it seems...

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe (C), with his son Robert Jr.
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe (C), with his son Robert Jr.

The Mugabe family seems to have vanished, as many wonder whether they will remain in Zimbabwe now that Robert Mugabe has been dethroned.

There is a picture of Grace and Robert Mugabe circulating on social media, believed to have been taken on Wednesday, but it gives no idea of their location, or who took it.

South Africa's department of international relations and cooperation on Wednesday confirmed that the couple had not applied for asylum, so it seems unlikely at this stage that they are planning to migrate to South Africa to be closer to their sons.

Mugabe has been not been seen in public since he avoided impeachment proceedings by resigning abruptly on Tuesday night.

Last week, he was confined to his mansion in Harare, "The Blue Roof", and he later moved to State House, where he was pictured meeting with the military and negotiators.

He then attended a graduation ceremony at the Zimbabwe Open University –– the first time he had been seen in public since the military put him under house arrest.

Philimon Bulawayo / Reuters
Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe attends a university graduation ceremony in Harare, Zimbabwe, November 17, 2017. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo

According to unconfirmed reports, Mugabe then travelled to Zambia with that nation's former president, Kenneth Kaunda.

At the time, Nick Mangwana, the leader of Zanu-PF's London branch, posted online: "We don't normally blog rumours here. But there are strong indications that president Mugabe left for Zambia with president Kaunda. Hopefully to allow a smooth transition."

Grace Mugabe has remained as hard to find as she was after reportedly assaulted Gabrielle Engels at a South African hotel while visiting her sons earlier this year.

The former first lady and free-spending shopaholic was said to have fled to Namibia last week, after the military took control of the country, but that rumour remained unconfirmed by Wednesday night.

The Mugabe sons, who live in Sandton and love to post proof of their big-spending antics online, have been keeping a lower social media profile than usual.

Just a week before the so-called "soft coup" hit Zimbabwe, younger son Chatunga was bragging about his notoriously luxurious lifestyle online again. He posted a video of himself pouring champagne over his expensive watch, with brother Robert Jr and other friends at a party.

The moment the generals kicked their dad out of his job, however, the pair remembered that they're committed political activists. They took to social media to share archived videos of their father denouncing military intervention.

In the Instagram video, Mugabe is seen in an old BBC interview saying that he intends to rule the country with "firmness".

"I am not going to have anybody advocating the overthrowing of government and remain in the country, he is not one of us if he does that. The alternative is to put him in detention, and I don't want to do that," Mugabe is heard saying in the video.