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Sukulwenkosi Dube-Matutu, Matabeleland South Bureau Chief 

HER mother was a teacher and her father was a headmaster so it does not come as a surprise that she ended up  a university vice chancellor.

This is Gwanda State University (GSU) Vice Chancellor, Professor Doreen Zandile Moyo, the only female vice chancellor at all the country’s State universities who has plans to steer the institution towards being a world class institution.

Prof Moyo assumed duty as VC at the university on March 1 in 2021 after being appointed by President Mnangagwa. 

She was installed as Vice Chancellor of university at the institution’s inaugural graduation ceremony at GSU Epoch Mine Campus in Filabusi, Matabeleland South in November last year.

Prof Moyo has been credited with transforming GSU after the construction of several buildings at its Epoch Mine Campus.

The institution has recorded significant development under her leadership. Some of the projects she has championed include rehabilitation of the old Epoch Mine infrastructure for staff and student accommodation which has enabled the institution to accommodate all students and staff.

The university has also embarked on infrastructure development for teaching, research, innovation and industrialisation. Construction of an engineering laboratory and innovation complex is underway with the project expected to be completed next month.

In line with the country’s education 5.0 thrust, the university has also embarked on establishment of an agro-innovation and industrialisation park. 

Untitled 8 9 Gwanda State University VC Prof Doreen Zandile Moyo

Currently the agro-innovation park has infrastructure such as cattle and goat paddocks, cattle pens and holding facilities, dip tank, solar powered borehole, 202 heifers, 240 breeding goats and a fowl run with 2000 layers.

Prof Moyo said her aim is to steer the recently opened university towards being a world class institution.

“The vision of Gwanda State University is to be a world class centre for learning, research and innovation which proffers solutions to global challenges through value addition, beneficiation and industrialisation. My vision for Gwanda State University is in tandem with its five-year Strategic Plan (2021-2025) that seeks to develop state of the art infrastructure at the Epoch Mine Campus and Gwanda Campus. 

“Construction of the Gwanda Campus, which is yet to commence, is of paramount importance as it will enable the university to roll out the seven faculties and 23 degree programmes as well as seven centres of excellence that are envisioned in the Strategic Plan,” she said.

Prof Moyo said as the world is celebrating women during the month on March she believes her journey will be a lifetime example to other women and the girl child that they can attain their dreams and reach great heights. She said every youngster has to aim at setting a new record. Prof Moyo also said women can mentor fellow women. 

Prof Moyo said she has managed to rise under the guidance of good role models and it is her desire to mentor as many young women as possible. 

International Women’s Day is commemorated each year on March 8 and the whole month of March is Women’s month.

Prof Moyo said the International Women’s Month is of great significance as it is an opportunity for women to be rightfully honoured and appreciated by their families, employers and the nation at large. She paid attribute to her late mother who was a pillar of strength to their family. 

“A lot has been done to empower women at the work place and awarding of scholarships to deserving girls to further their studies. Most job adverts now boldly state that female candidates are strongly encouraged to apply. Women and young girls should fully utilise these opportunities that come their way,” she said. 

“As a Vice Chancellor, I can do the job very well as women pay attention to detail and have empathy that seems to be lacking in today’s hectic world. It’s my desire to work extremely hard to dispel the notion that a woman is bound to perform less than a man. I am being mentored by very accomplished serving and past female Vice Chancellors of universities in Africa as I am a member of the Forum for African Women Vice Chancellors (FAWoVC).”

Prof Mayo said she is also conducting collaborative research on parasites of wildlife that interface with humans in a bid to enrich herself.

She was born in 1965 in Gwanda and is the second born child in a family of seven children, four girls and three boys. Her father, the late Willian George was a school headmaster and her late mother Ellah Senda-Ndlovu was a teacher. Prof Moyo spent the early part of her childhood in Kezi, Matabeleland South Province. In 1979 at the height of the liberation war, her family moved to Bulawayo where she spent her teenage years.

She did her primary education at Donkwe-Donkwe Primary School in Kezi. In 1979 the school was closed due to the escalating war and her family moved to Bulawayo where she completed Grade Seven at Matshayisikhova Primary School in Luveve. In 1980, she proceeded to Mpopoma High School where she pursued studies up to Advanced Level. At A Level she studied Biology, Chemistry and Mathematics. In 1986 she enrolled at the then- only university in the country- the University of Zimbabwe and graduated with a Bachelor of Science Honours Degree in Biological Sciences in 1986, having majored in Parasitology and Microbiology. She took home a book prize.

In 1989, Prof Moyo worked as a Research Assistant in the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Zimbabwe. In 1990 she enrolled for a Master of Philosophy Degree in Veterinary Parasitology in the Department of Paraclinical Veterinary Studies, Faculty of Veterinary Sciences at the University of Zimbabwe. 

She was awarded a DAAD, Germany scholarship and graduated in 1992. 

In 1993 she was awarded a European Union scholarship to do a PhD programme in Veterinary Parasitology at the Faculty of Veterinary Sciences, University of Zimbabwe and the Utrecht University in the Netherlands. Her research focused on gastrointestinal parasites of cattle under different management systems in Zimbabwe.

“I used to spend three months per year in the Netherlands conducting immunology research and the rest of the year was spent in the field and laboratory in Zimbabwe. Looking back, I wonder how I managed to juggle my studies and family as two of my children were born during that time,” she said.

In 1999 Prof Moyo graduated with a Doctor of Philosophy Degree from the University of Zimbabwe. In 2000 she was appointed founding Chairperson of the Department of Biological Sciences at the inception of Midlands State University, a post she held for 10 years.

“I enjoyed interacting with my students who have made me very proud. A good number of them have made it in life and have good jobs locally, regionally and internationally. It is always pleasant to get an email from them or read about their success in newspapers. I rose through the academic ranks to senior lecturer and associate Professor. 

“In 2010 I was appointed Executive Dean of Research and Postgraduate Studies at the Midlands State University. In 2017, I was appointed acting Pro-Vice Chancellor, Research and Academic Affairs at Midlands State University and in 2018 I became the substantive Pro-Vice Chancellor, Research and Academic Affairs,” Prof Moyo said.

She was the first female to be appointed Pro-Vice Chancellor at MSU, a position she held before being appointed VC for Gwanda State University.  — @DubeMatutu

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