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THE late founding NUST Vice-Chancellor, Professor Phineas Makhurane, who was declared a national hero by the ZANU-PF politburo on Thursday, will be buried at his home in Gwanda as per his wishes, according to his family.
Professor Makhurane’s family has also requested that people should not wear political party regalia during the memorial service and burial ceremony.
Family spokesperson, Mr Joshua S Mpofu, said: “We are inviting everyone to come in their numbers to celebrate the life of Professor Makhurane. On Friday we shall travel to the rural home in Gungwe, Gwanda South for his burial on Saturday”.
“Prof Makhurane wasn’t a person who delved into politics and as such we as a family, request people not to come clad in party regalia. We’d like the memorial to be apolitical and about celebrating the life of the late Prof Makhurane,” said Mr Mpofu.
Makhurane’s family are not the first to spurn a Heroes Acre burial. In October 2010, the ZANU-PF politburo declared the late Matabeleland Governor Welshman Mabhena a national hero – but his family said he did not want to be buried in the National Heroes Acre in Harare alongside numerous ZANU-PF stalwarts because of his falling out with Mr. Mugabe in the early 2000s.
Mabhena served as secretary general of the Zimbabwe African People’s Union or ZAPU, one of the main liberation parties which was absorbed by Robert Mugabe’s ZANU after infighting in the late 1980s to form ZANU-PF.
The ZANU-PF politburo designated Mabhena a national hero but the Mabhena family told a delegation led by then Vice President John Nkomo that the deceased left instructions that he should not be buried at the National Heroes Acre in Harare.
Welshman Mabhena’s brother Norman told the media at the time that the politician disapproved of President Robert Mugabe’s policies and saw Heroes Acre as a ZANU-PF monument.
Meanwhile, Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development Minister Professor Amon Murwira has described Prof Makhurane as a giant and rare breed of academic.
“Professor Makhurane belonged to the academic breeding stock that means a high breed of a professor who actually gave rise to the development of many academics and academic institutions in Zimbabwe before and after Independence. First, as a deputy vice chancellor of the University of Zimbabwe and a professor, second as a founding member of Nust and thirdly before Independence he was responsible for awarding international scholarships to many people in the country including very prominent people,” said Prof Murwira.
Renowned local bio-chemist, Prof Christopher Chetsanga said Prof Makhurane was passionate about the teaching and development of science and technology in the country.
“We worked together at the University of Zimbabwe for a number of years. He was pro-vice chancellor and there was a time I became pro vice chancellor there and we worked together .
“He was very talented in sciences. He was a very practical person and quite friendly to people but he was very much dedicated to seeing results presented timeously,” he said.
He said when the decision to start a second university was made, a committee chaired by Prof Makhurane was set up and he was a committee member.
“I was a committee member and so we worked very well together. And when Nust opened its doors we used to consult each other and he was a dedicated to his job as Vice Chancellor.
“We were both interested in getting Zimbabwe educated especially in the area of science and technology, so it was a subject that we constantly talked about. We felt that if we had a well developed area of science technology, the country would develop because science and technology is best used when we industrialise by setting up companies that use the technology from people who are being trained,” said Prof Chetsanga.