You can now read 5 articles in a month for free on BostonGlobe.com. Read as much as you want anywhere and anytime for just 99¢.

Heidi Holland, 64; journalist wrote of Mugabe’s ascent

Ms. Holland, shown with Nelson Mandela, the former president of South Africa, wrote a book about South Africa’s African National Congres

Louise Gubb/Associated Press/file 1993

Ms. Holland, shown with Nelson Mandela, the former president of South Africa, wrote a book about South Africa’s African National Congres

JOHANNESBURG — Journalist and author Heidi Holland, who chronicled the rise of Zimbabwe’s president Robert Mugabe from freedom fighter to power-obsessed leader, died Saturday at her home in South Africa, police said. She was 64.

Lieutenant Colonel Katlego Mogale said a gardener found Ms. Holland’s body Saturday in her home in Melville, a suburb of Johannesburg, dead, apparently from a suicide. Mogale said there were no signs of foul play, nor any items missing from her home to suggest a burglary.

Continue reading below

Ms. Holland grew up in Zimbabwe, then white-controlled Rhodesia, but described in her 2008 book ‘‘Dinner With Mugabe’’ her sympathy for the future president and others fighting to wrest control of the nation back to black Africans.

She recounted first meeting Mugabe in 1975 at a dinner, and having to leave her toddler son at home alone to drive him to a train he was about to miss.

Ms. Holland interviewed Mugabe in November 2007, after he ordered white-owned farms seized, which saw hundreds of thousands of black farm laborers lose their jobs, fertile lands wasted, and nearly a third of the population flee.

Later in his rule, he unleashed soldiers and ruling party members on opposition supporters, who killed and injured with impunity.

Though Zimbabwe is now run by a unity government, it remains fragile and there are few signs that Mugabe, who has ruled the nation since 1980, will give up power willingly.

‘‘I think he’s in denial, I think he can’t face what he’s done in Zimbabwe because that isn’t what he intended to do,’’ Ms. Holland told the Associated Press in 2008. ‘‘He did genuinely, I think, want to be the savior of his people, the liberator of an oppressed nation.’’

Ms. Holland recently published ‘‘100 Years of Struggle: Mandela’s ANC,’’ a book about South Africa’s governing African National Congress.

She has had articles published in a number of newspapers as a freelance journalist, and had an occasional column in Johannesburg newspaper The Star.

Ms. Holland leaves sons Jonah Hull, a correspondent for satellite news channel Al Jazeera English, and Niko Patrikios.

Subscriber Log In

You have reached the limit of 5 free articles in a month

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com
Already a subscriber?
Your city. Your stories. Your Globe.
Yours FREE for two weeks.
Enjoy free unlimited access to Globe.com for the next two weeks.
Limited time only - No credit card required!
BostonGlobe.com complimentary digital access has been provided to you, without a subscription, for free starting today and ending in 14 days. After the free trial period, your free BostonGlobe.com digital access will stop immediately unless you sign up for BostonGlobe.com digital subscription. Current print and digital subscribers are not eligible for the free trial.
Thanks & Welcome to Globe.com
You now have unlimited access for the next two weeks.
BostonGlobe.com complimentary digital access has been provided to you, without a subscription, for free starting today and ending in 14 days. After the free trial period, your free BostonGlobe.com digital access will stop immediately unless you sign up for BostonGlobe.com digital subscription. Current print and digital subscribers are not eligible for the free trial.