Founding NUST Vice-Chancellor Makhurane honoured

THE founding NUST Vice-Chancellor, Professor Phinias Mogorosi Makhurane has been posthumously awarded the Order of the Star of Zimbabwe Silver Medal for his outstanding contribution to the development of the country.

His Excellency, the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, Cde Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa, conferred the Order of the Star of Zimbabwe Award to Prof Makhurane for his academic excellence and unshakable commitment to promoting the welfare of his fellow human beings, dedication to duty, and a degree of humanity that is both refreshing and inspiring in Zimbabwe’s journey towards Vision 2030.

Prof Makhurane, who was the founding Vice-Chancellor of NUST in 1991 until his retirement in 2004, was a decorated academic, researcher, astute administrator, and a selfless nationalist who was the lead consultant in the education of refugees in the ZAPU camps in Zambia.

He was the first black Zimbabwean to attain a degree in physics and mathematics, the first black Zimbabwean to acquire a PhD in the sciences and the second black PhD graduate in Zimbabwe.

As the representative of the Geneva-based International University Exchange Fund (IUEF) in Zambia and Botswana during the liberation struggle, Prof Makhurane distinguished himself as a selfless nationalist who sourced educational materials and funded the education of political prisoners and refugees from the liberation wars in Southern Africa.

He raised a generation of students and African scholars during his time in various universities in Southern Africa as lecturer, reader, professor and administrator including the University of Zambia, University of Botswana, University of Lesotho and University of Swaziland.

In 1981, Prof Makhurane returned to the newly independent Zimbabwe to serve as the Vice-Principal and Deputy Vice-Chancellor at the University of Zimbabwe where he tirelessly worked to expand the university’s infrastructure.

The farsighted Prof Makhurane was appointed chairman of the Foundation Committee of NUST after expressing the need for the expansion of Zimbabwe’s university education to cope with the increased output of advanced-level school leavers in post-independence.

The visionary, astute administrator and decorated academic was the founding Vice-Chancellor of NUST, the country’s second university in post-independence.

Under his leadership, NUST evolved from a mere concept into the country’s first science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) oriented centre of academic excellence.

He was the first Vice-Chancellor to introduce industrial attachment to universities in Southern Africa to replace vacation training.

Upon his retirement, he was appointed as Technical Advisor on Higher Education in the President’s Office, tasked with drawing up legislation that supervises quality control of tertiary institutions and led into the formation of the Zimbabwe Council for Higher Education (ZIMCHE), which he became its first Chief Executive Officer.

He was the inaugural chairman of the African Virtual University, and a member of the Namibian Presidential Commission on Higher Education whose report led to the establishment of the University of Namibia.

The decorated academic and administrator, held several national, regional and international level positions including chairing the Eastern and Southern Africa Universities Research Programme, Zimbabwe Schools Examination Council (ZIMSEC), Zimbabwe Institute of Public Administration and Management (ZIPAM), National Council for Higher Education, Scientific and Industrial Research Development Centre (SIRDC), Revival for Hope Foundation, Edward Ndlovu Memorial Library, Wildlife Association of Zimbabwe, Council for Gwanda State University and member of the Executive of Commonwealth Universities, consultant of the European Commission on the Development of the Faculty of Science of the University of Swaziland, Namibian Presidential Commission on Higher Education, University of Zambia council and University of Venda council.

He was awarded honorary doctorates from NUST, University of Zimbabwe and Midlands State University; and Presidential Certificate of Distinction (Zimbabwe) for contribution to Science and Technology Education.

Prof Makhurane, who was declared a national hero, was a rare good model that Zimbabwean society, particularly the youth would be well advised to emulate in achievement of the country’s Vision 2030.

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