President Mugabe has sent a condolence message to the Malaba family following the death of Reverend Dr Griffiths Malaba at AMI Hospital in Harare on Tuesday due to renal failure.
He was 91.
In a statement yesterday, President Mugabe said Rev Malaba belonged to the early crop of African scholars who excelled in their education during the colonial era.
He said Rev Malaba was his senior college mate at Fort Hare University in South Africa.
“I learnt with a deep sense of shock and sorrow of the death on Tuesday of Reverend Dr Griffiths Malaba after succumbing to renal failure,” said President Mugabe.
“Sadly, he had endured a long battle with hypertension and diabetes.
“Reverend Malaba’s passing on is a terrible blow and great loss to the Malaba family, relatives and friends, and all of us who were privileged to be associated with him in the course of his life. He happens to have been my senior college mate at Fort Hare.
“The late Reverend Malaba belonged to the early crop of African scholars who excelled in their education during the colonial days and demonstrated that blacks had the intellectual capacity and acumen which rivalled, and even surpassed, that of their erstwhile colonisers.”
President Mugabe said Reverend Malaba played a pivotal role in the history of African education before independence.
“His contribution to the development of education in this country, started far back in the 50s at Tegwani Mission, where he was instrumental in the development and growth of the mission school, from primary to secondary education, and a training institution offering various vocational training skills,” said President Mugabe.
“When he left Tegwani Mission, he joined the administrative roles, to becoming Deputy Chief Officer responsible for standards control.”
At independence, President Mugabe said, Rev Malaba was appointed one of the first black members of the Public Service Commission tasked with transforming the institution from an insular one serving the interest of a small Rhodesian white minority into a public institution serving the broader interest of the majority population of black Zimbabweans.
President Mugabe said Rev Malaba also served on the Nziramasanga Commission as deputy chairman.
The Nziramasanga Commission focused on education and training and was commissioned by the President.
“Apart from education, the late Reverend Malaba was a minister of religion under the Methodist Church where he provided moral and spiritual guidance to his church,” said the President.
“We salute his invaluable contributions and services to this country in both his secular and religious life. We join the Methodist Church in mourning this great man of God who devoted his entire life to serving his fellow men with unequalled passion.
“On behalf of Government, my family and, on my own behalf, I wish to express my heartfelt condolences to the Malaba family, especially his wife Josephine and the children, the Methodist Church in Zimbabwe, all of whom have lost a husband, father, and spiritual mentor.”