Condolence Message – Professor Emeritus Ngwabi Mulunge Bhebe
“When the Sun has Set, No Candle Can Replace It” – George R. R. Martin.
The Vice-Chairperson of the Zimbabwe Council for Higher Education (ZIMCHE), Professor P. Mapfumo, the Chief Executive Officer, Professor K. P. Dzvimbo, the entire ZIMCHE Council, the Executive Management and Staff wish to convey their deepest sorrow and heartfelt condolences to the Bhebe and Ntabeni families, over the untimely passing on of Professor Emeritus Ngwabi Mulunge Bhebe, an eminent historian, distinguished academic, scholar, educationist, higher education administrator par excellence and exemplary nationalist.
A luminary in the field of history and a titan in higher education, Professor Emeritus Bhebe’s academic and professional life was, in many ways, exceptional, shunning mediocrity; he pursued excellence in all his endeavours and was an inspiration to all those around him. His impact as one of the country’s most celebrated historians and academics is immeasurable. His dedication to the pursuit of knowledge and his unwavering commitment to higher education have left an indelible mark on our nation and beyond. Prof. Bhebe received numerous awards and honours as the world and higher education institutions regionally and globally recognised his academic and intellectual contributions.
As the founding Vice-Chancellor of the Midlands State University (MSU), his visionary leadership laid the foundation for academic excellence, shaping the minds of countless students who have made significant contributions in their respective fields. His intellectual genius as a Vice Chancellor spurred many MSU academics to achieve greater heights as professors and creative researchers.
Prof. Bhebe has been the Chairperson of the ZIMCHE Council since 2009, spearheading the development and advancement of the higher education sector. His role as the ZIMCHE Council Chairperson exemplified his commitment to the advancement of higher education in the country and beyond. As the ZIMCHE, we mourn the loss of a visionary leader whose strategic direction over the years has spurred us on in our pursuit to deliver a harmonised, quality-assured Zimbabwean higher education system. As the ZIMCHE, we are much poorer without this luminary. Albeit painful, we remain eternally grateful for his contributions and the impact he made on the ZIMCHE and higher education at a local, regional, and international level.
An organic and meta-intellectual, Professor Bhebe’s influence extended far beyond our borders, as evidenced by his distinguished service as the Zimbabwe representative on the UNESCO Executive Board, Council Member of the Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU), Alternate Member of the Governing Board of the Association of African Universities (AAU), and Founding and Executive Member of the Southern African Regional Universities Association (SARUA).
The conferment of the historic Order of the Star of Zimbabwe Silver medal by His Excellency, the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, Cde. Dr. Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa, was a well-deserved recognition of Prof. Bhebe’s outstanding achievements and contributions to our nation. His multifaceted roles, from historian par excellence to a seasoned educationist and higher education leader and administrator, reflect a lifetime dedicated to the betterment of our academic, historical and cultural landscapes.
In this time of our and the nation’s profound loss, we remember Prof. Bhebe for his remarkable professional achievements and the kindness, wisdom, and humility he brought to every interaction in the field of higher education. His legacy will continue to inspire generations to come and will endure for a very long time to come.
May the memories of Prof. Bhebe bring solace to his widow Dr. Faith Ntabeni-Bhebe, his children and grandchildren, the Bhebe and Ntabeni families, friends, and colleagues. Furthermore, may his enduring contributions and unparalleled legacy be a source of inspiration for Zimbabwe’s present and future generations of Vice Chancellors, Boards in Higher Education, academics, historians, and both graduate and undergraduate students. As universities, we shall forever miss his continued quest for excellence, dedication to originality, and a de-colonial epistemic in higher education and the politics of our nation. In that sense, he was a true meta-intellectual because of his unwavering commitment to national politics and regimes of truth in the lecture room, the universities, and the Boards that he chaired.
May His Soul Rest in Eternal Peace!