|Africa University?s chief executive to step down|
Rukudzo Murapa, vice chancellor of United Methodist-related
Africa University, announced his retirement Oct. 10. Murapa has been
vice chancellor at the Old Mutare, Zimbabwe school since 1998. A UMNS
file photo by Mike DuBose.
By Andra Stevens*
Oct. 24, 2007 | OLD MUTARE, Zimbabwe (UMNS)
Rukudzo Murapa is retiring as chief executive of Africa University
after almost 10 years of leading the United Methodist-related school.
Murapa’s last day of work will be Dec. 31, and he will take a leave
of absence until his retirement becomes effective on Feb. 29, 2008.
The vice chancellor said he would not seek to extend his contract
when it ends next February. He shared the news with the executive
committee of the Africa University Board of Directors at its Oct. 10
meeting in London.
The board will present its interim plan for the governance and
operations of the university during its next meeting in late November.
The plan will become effective Jan. 1.
Bishop Nkulu Ntanda Ntambo, who serves as chancellor and chairman of
the board for the 1,300-student university, expressed gratitude for
Murapa’s service and for developing a university “from which all African
people can take pride.”
Ntambo said Murapa “has borne in his heart and proven through his
efforts that he has a profound love for this university.” He called
Murapa a man of vision.
“He must be thanked for his deep and sound sense of diplomacy, which
has largely profited the university and which has helped to open up
contacts with a diverse group of institutions, diplomatic missions,
organizations, universities and non-governmental organizations
worldwide,” said Ntambo.
Growth and diversity
Africa University had only been in existence for six years when Murapa
took over day-to-day leadership from the founding vice chancellor, John
W. Z. Kurewa, in 1998. At the time, the university had four faculties,
41 faculty members and 600 students. Enrollment has since more than
doubled, with a diverse student population from 26 African countries.
Its reputation has spread based on its effectiveness at research,
training and community engagement.
The growth has come despite economic challenges and political crises
in Zimbabwe, which is plagued by food shortages, electrical outages,
skyrocketing inflation and more than 80 percent unemployment. “Africa
University is surviving, enduring and determined to succeed,” Murapa
said in a recent interview with United Methodist News Service.
Murapa encouraged faculty and students to work at the community level
to solve problems, improve quality of life and bring about sustainable
development in Africa. Model initiatives include a broad-based
collaboration with the United Movement to End Child Soldiering on
rehabilitation, advocacy, support and education for former child
soldiers and abductees in northern Uganda.
He also created the Institute of Peace, Leadership and Governance,
the first of its kind in Africa. The institute’s curriculum relates
issues of peace and development to the quality of governance systems and
leadership performance in Africa.
“It takes a truly magnanimous leader to be able to do this,” said
Grace Muradzikwa, who first knew Murapa as her professor at Africa
University and now serves as secretary of the board. “His contributions
in developing Africa University will be felt well into the next
The Rev. Jerome King Del Pino, top executive at the United Methodist
Board of Higher Education and Ministry, said Murapa “has made
significant contributions that have established a strong foundation for
the present and future development of Africa University.”
He said the board and its staff and the faculty, staff and students
at Africa University look to build on Murapa’s accomplishments as the
university changes leadership.
“I am strongly persuaded that the university’s continued development
and sustainability will remain a high priority for The United Methodist
Church as it extends its global commitment through higher education to
make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world by
developing leaders for the African continent,” del Pino said.
*Stevens is the director of public information and public affairs at Africa University.
News media contact: Linda Green, (615) 742-5470 or email@example.com.
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