GZU lecturer dies defending PhD thesis

Danisa Masuku Bulawayo Bureau
A Great Zimbabwe University (GZU) lecturer collapsed and died last Friday while defending his PhD thesis at the Zimbabwe Open University (ZOU) in Bulawayo, police have confirmed.

Mr Ngonidzashe Makanyire (61) from Chidza Village in Gutu district, Masvingo Province, allegedly started sweating before clutching his chest and collapsing.

The History and Development Studies lecturer died at around 4pm after complaining of dizziness.

Fellow students and academic adjudicators watched in shock as Mr Makanyire breathed his last.

A police source said Mr Makanyire died a few minutes after collapsing.

“He started complaining of dizziness. The adjudicators allowed him to present his thesis while seated. Within a few minutes he fell down and started frothing from the mouth. He died in front of adjudicators, lecturers and students who were listening to his PhD thesis presentation,” said the source.

Mr Peter Madzivanyika, Mr Makanyire’s nephew, had accompanied him to Bulawayo for the thesis presentation.

Mr Madzivanyika yesterday said he was deeply saddened by his uncle’s sudden death.

He said his uncle had taught at GZU for four years and was about to complete his PhD with ZOU.

“He did not show any signs of distress before his death,” said Mr Madzivanyika.

“We are shocked and we didn’t expect this. I had left him at the ZOU campus, at around 3:30pm. He later phoned saying ‘Ndiri kunzwa kuzarirwa mudumbu’ (I have a stomach problem) and I’m feeling dizzy.”

Mr Madzivanyika said he rushed to the institution but Mr Makanyire said it wasn’t serious and asked him to take his laptop and go.

“But when I was at the stairway I felt reluctant to go and waited for him by the door at the ZOU campus. While I was waiting an official from the institution told me that my uncle had collapsed,” he said.

Mr Madzivanyika said he rushed upstairs to the conference room and found Mr Makanyire frothing and he died a few minutes later.

He said his uncle’s body was taken to the United Bulawayo Hospitals for post-mortem.

“My uncle is survived by his wife and two sons. He will be buried in Masvingo this coming week,” said Mr Madzivanyika.

ZOU Bulawayo regional campus director Professor Onias Mafa yesterday said he was not allowed to talk to the media and referred questions to Mrs Ndai Nyamakura, the director in the vice-chancellor’s office.

Mrs Nyamakura could not be reached on her mobile phone.

Bulawayo police spokesperson Inspector Precious Simango said investigations into the cause of death were underway.

“We received a case of sudden death of a 61-year-old man which happened at ZOU Bulawayo regional campus. Investigations are in progress to ascertain the cause of death,” she said.

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  • Development Proponent

    MHDSRIP. He was indeed a determined individual at 61. It would however also have interested your readers to know the what subject his thesis was on.

  • heya?

    That is so sad. Real academia is highly stressful and I hope the institution will still grant it to him posthumously. After all there are some who have PhDs they did not work for. Those who really worked for it havarimbinyuki zvinoita vakangopiwa ava.

    However did someone promptly administer CPR? Not that people will not die but all I have read is that he was frothing. Might immediate intervention have helped?

  • bad reporting

    Chitsa -Gutu not Chidza.

  • Robertchatunga

    So sad. This man’s chances of survival could have been improved if the nation could educate the people about the symptoms heart attack and to seek help early. I have a feeling that this man had a massive heart attack. I also think it is very important for all people to be taught basic like support which can be the difference between life and death. If Dokora instead of thinking of pledges which are politically motivated should come up with a curriculum which include basic life support in schools. Yes people die but some death could be prevented.

  • hove

    Pity no-one was trained as a first responder this clearly looks like it was a heart attack. We keep losing people to heart attack because of ignorance of how to react

  • Tiriparwendo

    very sad

    • Kachasu

      Very sad indeed

  • yowe

    A certain “Doctor” out there has no idea what defending a thesis means….this particular doctor managed to get a PHD without even getting a first degree

  • Ngomalungundu

    May his soul rest in academic peace. Dr Nzuwa,Mudede ,et all. In a country where retirement in the public sector is not fashionable, one struggles to defend a PHD thesis at 61. Why,when the retirement is supposed to be at 65. Strange?

    • haiwawo

      Why not? Whereas some look at at education as something you do to get a job, others enjoy the process and the rigour of it and there is no age limit to that. He was already at a university.

      Iwe kana uchida kugara nepawakagumira ita. Wosiya vanoziva kuti kufunda hakuperi vaite.

  • kazukuru

    Cardio pulmonary rescucitation could have saved this man. Even a villager can perform it. And training takes less than 30 mins. Now we have a whole doctor david parirenyatwa minister of health with no national health vision to deal with such simple basics. One wondres where his priorities lie.

  • Emru Kunanti

    The guy had been feeling sick before the defence. Why wasn’t it called off? I know some academics would have said he is afraid of defending his thesis. Some academics think a defence is an opportunity to murder someone, now it happened literally

  • Moe_Scyslack2

    At least he was defending a PhD thesis kwete vamwe vanonyorerwa nevamwe vanongopihwa mahara.

  • Moe_Scyslack2

    Old souls giving space to the young? You don’t support fake PhDs? What happened to you Mzvinavhu? Asi you are no longer a blind Zanuoid follower and have seen the light?