On Sunday, the Archbishop of York put his dog collar back on a decade after he cut it up live on television in protest at Robert Mugabe’s rule in Zimbabwe.
Dr John Sentamu stunned BBC viewers when in 2007 he took his clerical collar off live on air in a powerful protest at the country’s misrule. And a decade on, he was handed the chopped up remains back, and vowed to return to wearing a dog collar in celebration of the fall of the tyrant.
The Archbishop also revealed he had a premonition the tyrant would be ousted after 37 years in charge of the country.
He said he had a dream that moved him to light a candle shortly before a coup was launched against the aged leader.
He told the show: “When I wake up or dress up and I am getting out of the house normally, I tie the top button and put on my collar. But for nearly 10 years I haven’t been able to put on my collar, and it has meant I remember Zimbabwe every day.”
The moving scenes on television came just days after Mugabe was finally forced from office and was replaced with Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Dr Sentamu, who was born in Uganda and is brother to Miracle Centre Cathedral’s Pastor Robert Kayanja, made his powerful protest on the BBC’s Andrew Marr show in 2007, telling viewers: “From now on, I’m not going to wear a dog collar until Mugabe is gone.”
The protest was so unexpected the presenter was left speechless at the highly symbolic gesture. And on Sunday, he returned to the same show to put his collar back on to celebrate the fall of the tyrant, who had ruled the country with an iron fist and overseen its near total economic collapse.
On Dec 9, 2007 Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu cut his dog collar into pieces on BBC's Andrew Marr Show promising never to wear one again until #RobertMugabe left office. 10 years later, he got his wish #Zimbabwe pic.twitter.com/Ichu46xUzj— The Observer (@observerug) November 27, 2017
Sentamu was handed the chopped up pieces of his old collar, but said that just as it is time for a fresh start in Zimbabwe, he will wear a fresh collar.
He said: “I could attempt to put this one back. I could try to put them all together using superglue.”
When the presenter said it would be a ‘ropey’ collar, he replied: “I think the lesson for Zimbabwe is the same - they can’t just try and stitch it up. Something radical, something new needs to happen. I need a new collar.”
And he reveled that he had a premonition Mugabe would be ousted from office after decades of misrule. The Archbishop said he “heard a little voice” telling him to light a candle - and when it burned out, Mugabe would be gone.
And he said he heard the “little voice” in his head just before November 14 - the day the Army launched their coup.
He said the same voice returned and told him to light another candle a few days later to signal that Mugabe would finally be ousted.
He said this burnt out on November 21 - the day the leader finally accepted his fate and went.