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Bishop reflects as Africa University turns 25

Established in 1992, Africa University celebrated its 25th anniversary on March 25. In celebrating the anniversary of the pan-African university, Bishop Eben Kanukayi Nhiwatiwa, who has presided over the Zimbabwe Episcopal Area since 2004, shares his thoughts on the development, life and future of this United Methodist-related institution.

The bishop was one of the pioneering faculty members of Africa University. He reflected on the university's 25 years with the Rev. Taurai Emmanuel Maforo, communicator for the Zimbabwe Area.

The establishment of Africa University in Manicaland in the valley of Old Mutare is indeed a dream come true. When the site-selection committee came to Zimbabwe as a whole, they had expectations. They wanted an area where there was a concentration of United Methodists. Old Mutare is where The United Methodist Church started in 1897 through the work of Bishop Joseph Crane Hartzell. In so doing, Zimbabwe met the criterion, said Bishop Nhiwatiwa.

They also wanted a country where English was one of the business languages. Provision of the land was liberally made available through the initiative of Bishop Abel Tendekayi Muzorewa, who told the selection committee that the Zimbabwean church would donate whatever land was needed for establishing the university. So it was a great plus.

Then we have the general environment: A country of perpetual peace, as Zimbabwe is, was very helpful for the selection of this university to be established in the country, and particularly in Manicaland. The beauty of that region cannot be subtracted from the decision-making.

If joys would be measured, no scale would remain without being broken. The joy comes when you see the leadership positions held by the graduates, not only in Zimbabwe but throughout the African continent — where our church is and even where we are not yet present.

I am very happy about what the church has been doing. Back to Bishop Muzorewa, providing land, the church was not stingy with the land. The way Bishop Jokomo led as a member of the board and the support through Africa University is a heritage which the bishops left. More recently, the church launched the Episcopal Scholarship fund, which already has the first two students. These are very evident ways of support. Our high schools are being directed to send students to Africa University. We have seen our clergy go there for their bachelor's and master's degrees. These are the basic ways of support we have in this present era of the Zimbabwean church and AU support.

The leadership of Africa University are leaders par excellence. They have always been a constant source of pride for the church. They are leaders who can stand high with any other leader you can think of. We now have Professor Munashe Furusa there who has already shown a mark. He is a very creative leader, a leader with foresight and vision. We say thank you to God for giving us this leadership and staff.

Africa University will keep on growing and will keep on making its brand. Africa University will make people tilt their ears to hear what is the recent thing happening there. It will be the institution of our time and institution of our century and new things will start at Africa University and taken to the rest of Africa and beyond. I see more students graduating from there and more leaders being shaped as their motto says: "Investing in Africa's Future."

Rev. Taurai Emmanuel Maforo, communicator for the Zimbabwe Area

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