Jazz artist and prominet scholar Dr Mandishona dies
Brian Rungano Temba
Music genius, inventor and prolific scholar Dr. Gibson Mandishona has passed away.
He was 79 years old.
In a passionate tweet by Permanent Secretary for Information Publicity and Broadcasting Services Cde Nick Mangwana wrote,
“Very saddened to learn of the demise of Dr Gibson Mandishona, the man ultimately responsible for bringing Bob Marley for Zimbabwe’s Independence in 1980.
Dr Mandishona who is seen with white guitar met Bob Marley in 1979 in Addis Ababa. Together with Dr Herbert Murerwa and the late Cephas Mangwana (seen behind the 2 holding the base guitar) backed him in his gigs in Addis and the relationship which ended with Marley in Zimbabwe started. That encounter changed Zimbabwe’s music taste forever. One can argue that Zim Dancehall can be traced back to that encounter.
Dr Mandishona was a world renown mathematician and a great jazz music player.”
Dr Gibson Mandishona was born in a small town of Chegutu , Zimbabwe in 1944. After attending secondary school in Zimbabwe, he completed BSc (Lond ) with majors in physics and mathematics. He later attended UK universities and attained MSc and PhD degrees in mathematics at the unversities of Kent and Nottingham respectively. In 1975 Dr Mandishona was a university lecturer in mathematics, before he moved to Addis Ababa, where he worked at the United Nations, as a consultant in statistics and demography (1976-1980). During his spare time he followed up activities of a newly developing movement; “intermediate technology”. In 1977 he assisted in the construction of a canvass type windmill, for water pumping in a rural village not far from Addis Ababa.
When Zimbabwe became independent in 1980, Dr Mandishona was recalled home from the diaspora, alongside other specialists, and was appointed director of the Central Statistics Office.
He continued work in this post, whilst experimenting on renewable energy devices on a part-time basis. He built his own prototypes of a biogas plant and a producer gas generator (gasifier). Finally he broke his chains from desk-bound statistical work in 1993, when he was appointed Project Manager of the five-year GEF Zimbabwe Solar Pilot Project (1993-1998). this project oversaw the installation of some 20,000 solar PV systems in rural homes ,business centres, schools, clinics and cooperatives. Dr Mandishona spearheaded the International Solar Energy Society hosting of the World Solar Summit ( 1996) in Harare, Zimbabwe. At the expiration of the GEF solar project in 1998, Dr Mandishona formed The Centre for Renewable Energy and Environmental Technology (CREET), which has been involved in consultancy and practical renewable tasks. Dr Mandishona and CREET have received awards and trophies locally and internationally.
Dr Mandishona was founder chairman of the Scientific and Industrial Research Centre (SIRDC) for ten years; and he is currently chairman of the newly established Harare Institute if Technology (HIT). He was also Dean of Physical Sciences in the Zimbabwe Academy of Sciences (ZAS).