By Staff Reporter
FOUNDING National University of Science and Technology (NUST) Vice Chancellor, Professor Phenias Makhurane has been declared a national hero but he will not be laid to rest at the Heroes Acre.
Prof Makhurane, who was 79, died last Saturday at Mater Dei Hospital in Bulawayo after battling diabetes and hypertension for a long time
He will be buried at his rural home in Gungwe, Gwanda South, on Saturday in line with his wishes.
Vice president Kembo Mohadi confirmed the decision to declare the renowned scholar and former ZAPU representative to Sweden a national hero.
“We had a Politburo meeting in Harare yesterday (Wednesday) to discuss the passing on of our brother Professor Phineas Makhurane,” said Mohadi in Bulawayo
“We looked at the request that had come from Matabeleland South Province asking us as a party to confer Prof Makhurane with some status.
“We then deliberated and found that Makhurane deserved to be a national hero and we unanimously agreed as the Politburo, including the President himself, to accord our brother with a national hero status.”
Mohadi added; “He was someone who was consistent in the party and never deviated.
“We were together with Makhurane in Zambia and at one time he was in charge of the international university education fund under which quite a number of liberation movement cadres acquired their higher and tertiary education. We also looked at his contribution at Gwanda State University.
“After independence, he continued to contribute to the country’s education and we then all agreed that in terms of the upliftment of the nation of Zimbabwe educationally, Cde Makhurane excelled and he had contributed quite a lot to what Zimbabwe is today and therefore that recognition should not go unnoticed.”
Family spokesperson Joshua Mpofu told mourners at at Prof Makhurane’s Bulawayo home that he had wised to be laid to rest at his rural home.
“We sat down as a family and deliberated on the issue of burial and it was resolved that his (Prof Makhurane) wishes should be honoured hence he will be buried at Gungwe,” said Mpofu.
Born in Gwanda in 1939, Prof Makhurane and studied at Chegato in Mberengwa, Manama in Gwanda, Mnene again in Mberengwa and Fletcher High School in Gweru .
He then studied for a degree in Mathematics and Physics at the University of Rhodesia (now University of Zimbabwe) after which he went to the United Kingdom for a master’s as well as PhD in Physics.
Prof Makhurane taught at the University of Zambia as well as the University of Botswana.
He returned home at independence in 1980 to join the University of Zimbabwe from where he was later appointed NUST vice chancellor in 1991.
Prof Makhurane is survived by his wife, four children and six grandchildren.