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Bulawayo holds funeral service for Prof Makhurane

by Staff reporter
06 Dec 2018 at 05:44hrs | Views
BULAWAYO will today hold a funeral service for the founding Vice Chancellor of the National University of Science and Technology (Nust), Professor Phineas Makhurane, an academic giant who pushed for the teaching of sciences in the country.

Prof Makhurane, described by many as "double brain", died last Saturday at Mater Dei Hospital in Bulawayo after battling diabetes and hypertension for a long time. His family said the service would be held at the Bulawayo Amphitheatre from 9AM to midday.

Family spokesperson, Mr Joshua S Mpofu, said the service was being held ahead of Prof Makhurane's burial on Saturday.

"We are inviting everyone to come in their numbers to celebrate the life of Prof Makhurane through a memorial on Thursday. This is being done because on Friday we shall travel to the rural home in Gungwe, Gwanda South for his burial on Saturday," said Mr Mpofu.

He said Prof Makhurane's family had requested that people should not to wear political party regalia during the memorial service.

"Prof Makhurane wasn't a person who delved into politics and as such we as a family, request people not to come clad in party regalia. We'd like the memorial to be apolitical and about celebrating the life of the late Prof Makhurane," said Mr Mpofu.

Nust, in a statement, said there will be a send-off procession at the university tomorrow from 12:45AM enroute to Gwanda for burial on Saturday.

"All academics are urged to wear their academic dress at both the memorial service and the send off procession," read the statement. Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development Minister Professor Amon Murwira described Prof Makhurane as a giant and rare breed of academic.

"Professor Makhurane belonged to the academic breeding stock that means a high breed of a professor who actually gave rise to the development of many academics and academic institutions in Zimbabwe before and after Independence. First, as a deputy vice chancellor of the University of Zimbabwe and a professor, second as a founding member of Nust and thirdly before Independence he was responsible for awarding international scholarships to many people in the country including very prominent people," said Prof Murwira.

He said the country had lost a luminary in the local tertiary education system.

"Prof Makhurane fought his fight through education, as you know education is the one that can transform lives. To us, we have lost a giant and at his death he was actually the chairman of the Council of Gwanda State University. So we really have lost a giant but whose works are there for all to see.

They are not difficult to describe because you can see the product. We really have lost quite a luminary in our scientific and educational field and we say Lala ngokuthula, zororai murugare," said Prof Murwira. Midlands State University founding Vice Chancellor and Professor Emeritus, Prof Ngwabi Bhebhe, who worked closely with Prof Makhurane before and after independence described him as a brilliant academic who accommodated all.

"Prof Makhurane was a great fellow with a lot of humour. He was a wonderful man with a lot of humour that's one thing I enjoyed his company for. Professor Makhurane could never be classified by tribe. People argued that he was a Karanga, Ndebele, people argued that he a Msotho simply because he was at home everywhere in Zimbabwe. That's the kind of man he was. I encountered a group of people arguing about his identity simply because he fitted everywhere. That was Professor Makhurane," said Prof Bhebhe.

"I knew him from when he was young. By then he could be at home in Masvingo, he could be at home in Mberengwa, he could be at home in Harare or Zambia. That was Professor Makhurane".

He said he worked with Professor Makhurane at the University of Botswana, in Lesotho and Swaziland where they developed sound academic programmes at the institutions.

"But remember he did not teach for long because he then moved to administration because when we were building the different universities in Lesotho and Swaziland, he was in Botswana and some of our friends like Stan Mudenge were in Lesotho. I was based in Swaziland and we managed to see to the building of the three universities from one original university which was based in Lesotho and by that time as we were doing so, he was moving out of the classroom and going into administration and be became deputy vice chancellor at the University of Botswana," said Prof Bhebhe.

"We worked together to develop not only the infrastructure for the universities but also to develop sound academic programmes. At Independence he was able to move over to the University of Zimbabwe and he applied to become deputy vice chancellor and he was deputy to Professor Walter Kamba. I did not join them, I delayed coming back by two years. I worked with him at the University of Zimbabwe when he became vice chancellor and I was also vice chancellor so I worked with him in all capacities before he applied to go and found Nust and I was also subsequently appointed to go and found the Midlands State University here."

He said they shared ideas and communicated almost on a daily basis because Prof Makhurane had a head start in university administration and he learnt a lot from him.

"I knew him very well other than his wife, I think I knew him on a very very personal basis," he said.

He said Prof Makhurane and his friend Prof Teddy Zengeni were the first to attain PHDs in physics, describing them as two brilliant African students. He described Prof Makhurane as a brilliant teacher who simplified physics theories to his students for better understanding.

"He was so friendly and free with information, very free with ideas, very free to assist his colleague and he also would listen to his colleagues if they had anything to offer. That is the kind of man that I will remember and cherish," said Prof Bhebhe.

Renowned local bio-chemist, Prof Christopher Chetsanga said Prof Makhurane was passionate about the teaching and development of science and technology in the country.

"We worked together at the University of Zimbabwe for a number of years. He was pro-vice chancellor and there was a time I became pro vice chancellor there and we worked together.

"He was very talented in sciences. He was a very practical person and quite friendly to people but he was very much dedicated to seeing results presented timeously," he said.

He said when the decision to start a second university was made, a committee chaired by Prof Makhurane was set up and he was a committee member.

"I was a committee member and so we worked very well together. And when Nust opened its doors we used to consult each other and he was a dedicated to his job as Vice Chancellor.

"We were both interested in getting Zimbabwe educated especially in the area of science and technology, so it was a subject that we constantly talked about. We felt that if we had a well developed area of science technology, the country would develop because science and technology is best used when we industrialise by setting up companies that use the technology from people who are being trained," said Prof Chetsanga.


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