Grief-stricken Period For Zim’s Academia

By Sij Ncube

HARARE, November 25, 2015 – ZIMBABWE’S academia has been plunged into yet another week of mourning following the death of prominent scholar Dr Vimbai  Gukwe Chivaura who succumbed to liver cancer, in a period of grief in which the country’s academia has lost three top academics in less than a month.

Chivaura (68), a senior English lecturer at the University of Zimbabwe, died at Harare’s Avenues Clinic after being diagnosed with cancer.

He was perceived a Zanu PF apologists and this was not missed in some condolences posted on social media with some opposition supporters accusing him of being complicity in the killing of MDC supporters.

Washington-based journalist-broadcaster, Blessing Zulu said: “Rest in Peace my former lecturer Dr Vimbai Chivaura, we had our differences especially on politics and the direction our country was taking, but it was always an intellectual debate. We agreed on one thing that mattered though, that despite our differences we are all Zimbabweans.

His death follows that of celebrated academic Professor Sam Moyo who died on Saturday due to injuries sustained in a motor vehicle accident in India.

Moyo’s death also came hard on the heels of the sudden death of former Nust vice chancellor Professor Lindela Rowland Ndlovu last week who suffered a heart attack while at a health institution in Bulawayo. Prof Ndlovu was buried in Bulawayo on Sunday.

But it is the sad news of the death of Chivaura which has again plunged the country’s academia into mourning in a month which will go down in history as a black month for local academicians at a time it is still mourning Moyo whose body is still to arrive in Harare and Prof Ndlovu.

The deaths also follow that of another prominent academic Lawton Hikwa also of Nust who died last month in Bulawayo after a short illness.

Alex Magaisa, who has written a moving obituary on  Moyo, agrees it is really a bad patch for the intellectual foundation of the country.

“All these were important leaders in their own disciplines. Tonnes of wisdom and knowledge have been lost in this dark period. It presents a unique but daunting challenge for those of us in the intellectual trenches to carry their legacy,” said Magaisa.

MDC-T spokesperson Obert Gutu chipped in.

”We are extremely sorry for the loss. Our deepest condolences to the families of the three academics,” said Gutu.

Higher and tertiary education minister Professor Jonathan  Moyo also recently lost his daughter Zanele under controversial circumstances while studying at the University of Cape Town in South Africa.