The troubled Mugabe sons, Robert jr, 25, and Chatunga Bellarmine, 21, deserve some sympathy. This kids are on the news most times for one wrong reason or the other.

Their President Robert and Grace Mugabe are very rich but broadly disliked in Harare, their hometown.

The Mugabe boys grew up protected from the public in many ways and were always surrounded by security.

The births of Robert jr and older sister Bona – born when their father was married to his first wife, Sally – were kept secret until Bona started school.

Bellarmine Chatunga was born after Robert and his second wife, Grace, married after Sally Mugabe’s death.

Sally had been hurt by her husband’s infidelity with Grace, according to friends in the ruling Zanu-PF.

Sally and Robert Mugabe’s young son died of malaria in Ghana when Robert was in detention in the former Rhodesia.

The Mugabe sons were also isolated because they were always out and about with security and grew up in Zimbabwe’s never-ending financial and political crisis. And their parents have few visitors, few friends.

Harare is a dull town. There isn’t much night life or diversions, and although they followed football and went to official events with their parents, and had all the gadgets, they didn’t have much fun with children of their own age.

As with most children of Zimbabwe’s political elite, they studied in South Africa or abroad as Zimbabwe’s shabby tertiary institutions lack facilities and do not have a good academic reputation in most disciplines.

They are, after all, sons of the only leader Zimbabwe has known. 90% of the population have no jobs.

Robert jnr failed all his examinations and this was admitted by his father, in public, he became a superb basketball player. Grace implied that US “sanctions” prevented him from furthering his sports career in the US. But the children were not prohibited from travelling there.

Chatunga is thought to be more outgoing then Robert jr. He always has a great deal of money on him, according to close observers.

Mugabe chartered an Air Zimbabwe Boeing 767 and rushed to Dubai to pick up his sons so they could leave the United Arab Emirates without incident.

The Mugabes have not denied that their hastened departure was connected to alcohol or drugs.

Since leaving Dubai, Robert jr is reported to be studying design at the University of Johannesburg, while it is unclear if Chatunga is studying.

He is said to always have the readies for expensive imported booze on the brothers’ frequent visits to the posh Taboo nightclub in Sandton.

Without their mother’s knowledge, apparently, they had rented two flats within a Sandton hotel for about R60 000.

It was here that Grace Mugabe arrived last Sunday and allegedly attacked 20-year-old model Gabriella Engels, who had met Chatunga only the day before at the Taboo nightclub.

The sons were still in Joburg on Friday, and it is not clear whether they will continue with their lives in South Africa or return to quiet, dull Harare.