By John Masuku
It was sad to hear about the passing on of my former fellow broadcaster Professor Claude Gumbucha Mararike on Thursday.
I first worked with him in the ZBC newsroom, which was part of the News and Current Affairs department at Pockets Hill in the early 1980s under Ambassador Mark Marongwe (Comrade Grey Tichatonga), the current permanent secretary in the Defence and War Veterans Affairs ministry.
Prof Mararike had worked in the media in Botswana, including Radio Botswana for 10 years and was to spend 11 years at ZBC.
He was on the Radio News desk while I was sub-editor-cum-Ndebele, Shona and English Television newsreader with likes of Simon Makaza, Forbes Kahari, Luke Mnkandla, Choga Crispen Gavhure Tichatonga and Lorraine Garwe(nee Ndlovu) when TV was still black and white before the advent of colour television.
There I worked with Douglas Justice Dhliwayo my current executive producer of Economic Forum on ZBC-TV who described the departed professor as his great mentor.
Later I was to work with Prof Mararike at the then educational channel Radio Four where he doubled as head of the station deputised by Mavis Moyo as well as Controller: Mbare Studios.
He then moved to the training department in the directorate of Human Resources and Corporate Affairs at Pockets Hill before joining the University of Zimbabwe’s Sociology Department as a lecturer.
A dedicated sociology scholar and traditionalist, Prof Mararike did some of his degrees while working at ZBC and motivated most young radio and television personalities then to further their education at the University of Zimbabwe.
Resultantly, my former colleagues and I were persuaded and I remember Prof Mararike writing to me about the board’s approval for me to study full time while doing all my work as head: Radio One (Classic 263) and later Radio Four (National FM).
The late televion newsreader Shingirayi Virimayi Tungwarara and radio sub-editor Cuthbert Chengeta read Law. Dr Nyasha Madzingira (nee Maposa), aka Tawanda Chemanewako, who was a popular presenter of Kwaziso/ Ukubingelelana on Radio Two (Radio Zimbabwe) studied Sociology, ending up lecturing alongside her mentor Prof Mararike and later being an expert in population and census studies. Newsreaders Joseph Madhimba and late reporter Mike Munyati advanced in Economics and English respectively, Lydia Mavhengere, Nyasha Masiiwa (Magwaza Chimurenga) and I studied Political Science and Public Administration during the lectureships of well-known living and late academics like Elphanos Mukonoweshuro, John Makumbe, Jonathan Moyo, Hasu Patel, Diana Patel, Mthuli Ncube, Eldred Masunungure, Dr Admore Kambudzi, Kingston Sukuta and many others.
Reuben Barwe also furthered his History studies having come from universities in Botswana and Nigeria.
Journalism and Media degrees were not yet being offered and many universities now offering them had not yet been established. There were no semesters, but terms one, two and three.
In his family Prof Mararike was mentor to some of his young brothers we ended up being close to as regular visitors namely Godfrey who later became Harare City Council legal advisor.The other one called Munoda was a young student at the University of Zimbabwe.
Prof Mararike held a BA, BSc Hon in Sociology, an MPhil and a doctorate, spending a long time as a lecturer in the Department of Sociology at the University of Zimbabwe until he was awarded a professorship.
He taught Rural Development and Theory and Practice of Personnel Management and other courses.
Among several academic articles he wrote Indigenous Leadership Styles, Can Grapes be Picked from an Orange Tree? as well as Radio Formats, Scriptwriting and Presentation.
One day “Mhofu” as I always called Prof Mararike, who hailed from Buhera, came to my office at Mbare Studios to personally hand me his book, Grassroots Leadership: The Process of Rural Development in Zimbabwe, based on his academic thesis looking at rural development and the real concerns of “living people”. It is a study of what transformative and intrumental participation is all about.
Then he was very active in the affairs of the Manicaland Development Association (MDA) which national hero Willard Zororo Duri once headed as acting chairman while a Mr Nyatsanza once headed the Secretariat.
In later years Prof Mararike became a regular feature on the ZBC-TV programme Zvavanhu which was described as promoting patriotism in some circles while other viewers said it was full of ruling party propaganda pushed by Prof Mararike and his fellow panelists like Dr Vimbai Gukwe Chivaura, Prof Sheunesu Mupepereki ( both late) and Dr Tafataona Mahoso who recently retired as the CEO of the Zimbabwe Media Commission.
Daughter Vivian confirmed Prof Mararike’s death on Thursday.
The writer John Masuku is a radio and television journalist, media consultant/trainer. Contact him on Twitter: @john_masuku or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org