President Mnangagwa has described the late Professor Chengetai Jonas Mudadirwa Zvobgo as an academic par excellence who contributed immensely to the education systems of Zimbabwe and Africa.
Prof Zvobgo died at St Giles Medical Rehabilitation Centre in Harare on Wednesday after a long illness related to a stroke he suffered a year ago.
He was the younger brother of the late national hero and veteran nationalist Dr Eddison Zvobgo.
“I was deeply saddened and pained to receive the news of the death yesterday of Professor Zvobgo, young brother to our late national hero, Dr Eddison Zvobgo. While we were aware that he has not been well for some time after suffering a stroke for which he was receiving treatment at a local rehabilitation centre, prayers and expectations were pinned on his speedy recovery and wellness. Regrettably, this was not to be,” said President Mnangagwa in a statement.
President Mnangagwa said the late Zvobgo’s contribution to the body of knowledge in both Zimbabwe and African history is well recognised and evidenced by several books and academic journals that are to his credit.
“We note with great satisfaction that the late Professor Zvobgo has left behind a rich legacy traceable in the academic world through distinguished service as a history professor of repute. His contribution to the body of knowledge in both Zimbabwe and African history is well recognised including several books and academic journals to his credit.
“He will be sorely missed by the academic community to which he was a respected figure.
“On behalf of the Government, my family, and on my own behalf, I wish to convey my heartfelt condolences to the Zvobgo family, especially the Professor’s children Knowledge, Wendy and Clara, who have lost a loving father and their pillar of strength. May they all take comfort from the knowledge that our prayers are with them during this, their darkest hour of grief.
Family spokesperson and Vice Chancellor of Great Zimbabwe University, Prof Rungano Zvobgo described his elder brother as a strong-willed individual who was determined to make the best of every situation.
“He was a unifying force for the family,” he said.
“He would use humour to lighten heavy situations whilst referring to the Bible for words of wisdom and encouragement. In him, we have lost a father, brother, uncle and friend whose life is a celebration of determination and valour.
“Chengetai was a brilliant history professor who loved his students and friends.”
Prof Zvobgo graduated with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in History from the University of California (UCLA); a Master of Arts in African History from UCLA; a Post-Graduate Diploma in Education from Makerere University (Uganda) and a PhD in African History from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland.
He was a distinguished academic who authored several journal articles on Zimbabwe.
Prof Zvobgo published books such as “A History of Zimbabwe, 1890-2000” and “Postscript; Zimbabwe, 2001-2008”; “The Wesleyan Methodist Missions in Zimbabwe, 1891-1945”; “A History of Christian Missions in Zimbabwe, 1890-1939” and “The Struggle for Zimbabwe 1935-2004 Eddison JM Zvobgo.”
Prof Zvobgo is survived by three children — Knowledge, Wendy and Clara.
Funeral arrangements are yet to be announced.