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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  • Gudo Guru

    Very sad indeed. No one tried CPR. Is that not cardiac arrest

  • Jokonia

    Chidza mahini iwe asi hauzivi kuti kunenzvimbo inonzi chidza kwaGutu

  • Madara


  • Tarubva Chibva

    I think PHDs have become a fade to the extent that a Church now has the acronym of that highly sought qualification.

    Blame on all those brandishing their fake ones

  • Gamba ReManyika

    I agree with basic life support in schools. Something like first aid and general emergency preparedness like how to deal with fire, water, wind, road emergencies, etc. Let’s think about it. It’s sad we have lost an academic. But it’s true, the rigour of a PhD by research is really stressful, especially in Zimbabwe!

  • Fred Moyo

    Its good to have basic first aid training. A life was going to be saved!

  • Nelia

    We used to call him Gidiza……a black strong male who taught me shona at Gutu High School in 2003

  • Cde Mzvinavhu(Prof)

    May his soul rest in peace. True ., but stressing oneself when you have only few years to work under normal circumstances is not necessary. Ko iwo ma PHDs ndo practical skills wave ku retire? You missed my point. Can you imagine an aspiring accountant doing articles to be a Chartered Accountant at 61 years. Kuita apprenticeship at 61 yrs. Kuda ngungonzi Dr!

  • Cde Mzvinavhu(Prof)

    Yes we dont support fake PHDs. We have many chaiwo for our national needs. But the pressure on this hardworking soul seems to have been too much. My point is that we old ones must give space to the young . Why would I fight to get that qualification at that age and compete with the many unemployed youths , when my time is up?

  • Glory to God

    The learned Prof says, ” My point is that we old ones must give space to the young.” This is a fake comment from him. Can he say the same thing about the leadership of his revolutionary party?