Lovemore Mataire Senior Reporter
Prominent University of Zimbabwe academic Dr Vimbai Chivaura who died of liver cancer on Monday at the Avenues Clinic in Harare has been declared a liberation war hero. Family spokesperson Mr Vengai Chivaura said the conferment of liberation war hero status had forced the family to shift the burial date to today. “The conferment of the liberation war hero status came after recommendations from Harare Province. We are happy with the recognition and tomorrow Dr Chivaura will be laid to rest at his Dovendale Farm in Concession, Mazowe,” said Vengai.
In a letter addressed to the Secretary to the President and Cabinet Dr Misheck Sibanda, Zanu-PF Secretary for Administration Dr Ignatius Chombo said: “His Excellency, the President and First Secretary of Zanu-PF President R.G Mugabe has conferred the liberation war hero status on the late Dr Vimbai Gukwe Chivaura who died on the 24th of November 2015.”
Today, a church service will be held at the University of Zimbabwe Chapel at 10am and thereafter mourners will leave for Concession for burial at 2pm.
Dr Chivaura was 64.
He is survived by four children.
Dr Chivaura joined the Faculty of Arts as a Research Fellow in 1983 and was formally appointed to the position of lecturer in the Department of English on May 1, 1986. His appointment, together with other African lecturers like Dr Thorel Tsomondo, Dr Rino Zhuwarara, Dr Ranga Zinyemba, Mr Musaemura Zimumya, Ngugi wa Thiong’o and Kimani Gecau, saw the radical transformation of the Department of English into what it is today.
Out of their respect and acknowledgement of artistic creativity, intellectual development and exchange, and mutual enrichment embedded in performing arts, they assisted the Faculty of Arts to create and establish the Department of Theatre Arts which Dr Chivaura chaired between 1994 and 1999.
Dr Chivaura served in different capacities on committees at the University of Zimbabwe including the institution’s disciplinary committee from 2007 to 2012. He mentored numerous students and academics during his tenure as senior lecturer in the English department, the Faculty of Arts and the institution as a whole.
As part of community service, Dr Chivaura was a part-time lecturer at the Zimbabwe Staff College, National Defence College, Zimbabwe Film and Television School for Southern Africa, Trust Academy, Harare Polytechnic, Speciss College and the University of Zimbabwe Evening School.
An avowed Afrocentricist, Dr Chivaura was passionate about African Pride or Zvavanhu as evidenced by his co-hosting of the programmes with Prof Ushenunesu Mpepereki, Dr Tafataona Mahoso and Prof Claude Mararike. Dr Chivaura published the Human Factor Development Book series together with Prof Mararike.