Masvingo Bureau — HIGHER and Tertiary Education Minister Isaak Stanislaus Gorerazvo Mudenge has died. He was 71.
The veteran nationalist and historian, who was Masvingo North legislator, collapsed and died in his room at a Masvingo hotel yesterday. He was here to address the 39th Southern African Society for Education conference.
His keynote address was slated for 2pm.
On Wednesday, the minister was in Bulawayo where he ordered institutions of higher learning to stop turning away students who do not have Mathematics at Ordinary level and instead initiate internal remedial bridging programmes for them.
Although the cause of death was not clear late last night, sources said Cde Mudenge began sweating and feeling dizzy before going to his room where he collapsed.
A doctor was called from the city to attend to him, but he his efforts were in vain.
Delegates waited for the minister's address for two-and-a-half hours before cancelling the event when news filtered through that he could not make it.
Cde Mudenge's body was taken in an army hearse to the mortuary.
Zanu-PF spokesperson Cde Rugare Gumbo confirmed Cde Mudenge's death last night.
"I can confirm that Cde Mudenge died in Masvingo today (yesterday). Further details will be provided in the next 24 hours," he said.
The political leadership in Masvingo was struggling to come to terms with Cde Mudenge's death yesterday.
Politburo member Cde Dzikamai Mavhaire refused to divulge details, referring all questions to the national leadership in Harare.
"In cannot comment about Cde Mudenge's death. If I do so, I will be jumping the gun because he was not only a Zanu-PF Politburo member, but a Cabinet Minister.
"The announcement has to be made by the senior national leadership," Cde Mavhaire said.
Zanu-PF Central Committee member and Masvingo Rural District Council chief executive officer Cde Clemence Makwarimba expressed shock at Cde Mudenge's death.
"I last spoke to him at around 11am and later in the afternoon I spoke to someone who was seated together with Cde Mudenge at the hotel. So his death is shocking," he said.
Cde Mudenge was born in a family of six in Zimuto, near Fort Victoria on December 17, 1941.
He started school at Gaths Mine, Mashaba, from where he moved to Gokomere Mission for his primary and secondary education in 1956.
He did his O-levels at Goromonzi High and in 1965 went to the University in Salisbury, where he read history honours.
He was expelled from the university in June 1966 for protesting against UDI and spent a year at Gonakudzingwa as a detainee.
On his release, he went to the University of York, England, where he continued with his studies in history, graduating in 1968 with an upper second class (2.1).
He then went to the University of London where he did his PhD and was awarded his doctorate in 1972.
After a period lecturing at Sierra Leone University, Freetown, he took up an appointment in the same capacity with the University of Lesotho in 1973.
In 1975, he was made a senior lecturer and four years later, an associate professor in history.
He then became the secretary for External Affairs for Zanu in Lesotho in 1977 before his appointment as permanent secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs at independence in 1980.
Dr Mudenge left the ministry when he became Zimbabwe's Permanent Representative to the United Nations until 1990.
In 1991, he became Zanu-PF secretary for Political Affairs before his appointment as Minister of Higher Education between 1992 and 1995.
He was appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs in 1995, a post he held until 2005.
From 2005 until the time of his death, Cde Mudenge was Higher and Tertiary Education Minister.
An accomplished historian, Cde Mudenge wrote several books on African history.