We mourn the departed academics


NOVEMBER has turned out to be a very bad month, not just for the academic world, but the nation as well.
Mumwedzi uno waMbudzi/Kunyanga kaLwezi we have lost intellectual warriors of the highest order in the mold of University of Zimbabwe academics Dr Vimbai Gukwe Chivaura, Professor Sam Moyo and National University of Science and Technology (NUST) former Vice-Chancellor Professor Lindela Ndlovu and Dr Lawton Hikwa.
These fallen comrades were giants in their respective fields and their contribution in our intellectual space benefitted not only those closely associated with them, but the nation at large.
As I have written before, whether we know it or do not know, whether we appreciate it or not, we are presently engaged in what I call the ‘Quad Chimurenga’, a struggle for intellectual space.
I have called it the Quad Chimurenga because it follows hot on the heels of the Third Chimurenga.
This new struggle as I have said is intensely cerebral, calling for the highest level of intellectual endeavour, mastery and excellence in scholarship.
In order to fully and sustainably exploit the resources that bring food to the table, we must have a vision of where we are going and what we need to do to improve our lives.
Without doubt we have to ideologically and intellectually engage the same enemy whom we beat on the battle field.
We have to intellectually engage the same enemy who retreated from our farms and now engages us from the safety of publishing houses, research institutes and cultural centres in various parts of the world.
We have asked our scholars to set the appropriate research agenda, an agenda celebrating our Zimbabweaness, heritage, cultures and instill the pride in us as a nation.
And characters like Dr Chivaura were deep in the trenches at the frontline of the intellectual struggle to emancipate the mind.
Without doubt, future generations will see him as one of those who created new frontiers not only in our discourse of the struggle, but also the way we must engage the West and other detractors.
He was committed to and deep in the struggle in a way that was no different from that of the guerillas who fought in the Second Chimurenga.
He gave his all and committed himself to the struggle without much thought to what he lost along the way.
It is common knowledge that some in the academic world have chosen not to be true or fully serve their nation in return for the opportunity to travel the metropoli of the West.
Dr Chivaura sought no international accolades or praise, but delivered that which he felt benefited the continent, especially his fellow Zimbabweans.
Most striking was his uncompromising consistence.
Where many hesitated to venture, there you would see him serving no one, but the African scholar in him.
He shrank not from challenges posed by Western scholarship.
He ruthlessly and mercilessly dissected it presenting its shallowness where Africa is concerned.
Through his work in the various media, he was transforming the intellectual landscape.
Without doubt other scholars will sit, debate, feed and build upon his foundation as we develop the ideas of Afrocentricity, hunhu/ubuntu and all those values dzechivanhu/ezesintu.
We have to pick up the baton and continue from where he has left and his spirit will guide us.
We invite others to write more and celebrate our departed academics who were in the process of transforming the country and continent.


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