The president, who at 89 is Africa’s oldest and one of its longest-serving leaders, lamented not being able to reminisce with colleagues about chasing girls and riding bicycles in the 1930s and 50s.
He said that the only person who came close to understanding was Didymus Mutasa, the Zanu PF secretary for administration, who is 78.
Other politicians involved in the liberation struggle with Mr Mugabe, such as former vice-presidents Joshua Nkomo, Joseph Msika and John Nkomo, have passed on.
“They are gone and those who remain, you look down upon them because they are young. They have not had the same experience, the same length of life and, therefore, the same advantage of gathering as much knowledge and experience as yourself,” Mr Mugabe was quoted as saying in an interview with national broadcaster ZBC to mark his 89th birthday at the weekend.
“And so you can’t discuss with them things that happened in the 1930s or even 1950s. You take my Cabinet as it is: there is no one I can talk to about how we used to approach girls or we would go to this and that place, riding bicycles. There are others like Mutasa. He comes close, but others are just children.
“You feel that loneliness. You have lost others and sometimes you think of it and it makes you very lonely.”
Even within his own family, Mr Mugabe struggles to find sage advice. His wife Grace, his former secretary, is 41 years his junior and his only surviving sibling, Bridgette, has been in a coma since 2010 when she collapsed during the burial of their elder sister Sabina.
“The consoling part of it is that, well fine, there are young ones and young minds you can talk to,” Mr Mugabe said. “You can also try to educate, you can also try to relate a bit of history to and so on and so forth. But they remain young ones who listen much more than they share ideas with you.”
Mr Mugabe is not the first to highlight his loneliness at the top among Africa’s leadership. Last year, Nando’s restaurant chain produced a spoof advertisement entitled Last Dictator Standing in which Mr Mugabe sat alone at a table on Christmas Day, daydreaming about water pistol fights with Muammar Gaddafi, the former Libyan leader, and tank rides with Uganda’s Idi Amin.
The advertisement was pulled by the South African food chain after a youth group loyal to Mr Mugabe called for a boycott.