By Br. Alfonce Kugwa
The Vice Chancellor of the Catholic University, Professor Ranga Zinyemba recently raised the flag of the Catholic University high when he was, on 31 March 2023, awarded for his “important contribution to the Zimbabwean business space” as an “outstanding leader in university education.”
The award was a recognition of his exceptional contribution in higher education human capital development not only at the Catholic University but in business and industry through the introduction of the Entrepreneurship for Impact (E4Impact) Master’s Degree in Business (MBA) at the Catholic University of Zimbabwe in association with the Sacred Heart Catholic University of Milan, Italy, in 2019. His experience and aptitude in human development spans over 45years.
“‘Contributions to the Zimbabwean business space’ have been made through my role in higher education human capital development as a university lecturer and administrator over the past 45 years. The Entrepreneurship for Impact (E4Impact) Master’s Degree in Business (MBA) which I introduced at the Catholic University of Zimbabwe in association with the Sacred Heart Catholic University of Milan, Italy, in 2019 has produced over 100 graduates, each of whom has registered or scaled up a private limited company with the Zimbabwe Development Agency (ZDA) as part of the requirements for completion of the programme. The Catholic University of Zimbabwe has therefore added over 100 private limited companies to the job market in Zimbabwe and the Southern Africa Region over the past 5 years,” explained Professor Zinyemba.
Professor Zinyemba’s competence satisfied the Zimbabwe Chief Executive Officers’ (CEO’s) Network Board resulting in his selection as the gold award winner.
He said: “The selection was done by the Zimbabwe Chief Executive Officers’ (CEO’s) Network Board. In their letter inviting me to accept the nomination, they indicated that the Board of the Zimbabwe Chief Executive Officers’ (CEO’s) Network had made the decision following a recommendation from their research team.”
The award was made on the basis of his life contribution to higher education rather than competition among universities.
Professor Zinyemba worked as a lecturer in many universities around the world where he demonstrated high level capabilities in educational proficiency. In Zimbabwe, Professor Zimyemba worked at the University of Zimbabwe in many capacities. He was a member of the University of Zimbabwe Senior Management Team which transformed the University from the University of Rhodesia to the University of Zimbabwe responsive to the needs of the newly independent country.
“I have worked in higher education over the past 45 years as lecturer at universities in Canada, the USA, Malawi and Zimbabwe. At the University of Zimbabwe, which I joined soon after independence in 1982 and worked at for 30 years, I worked in various capacities as lecturer, Proctor, chairman of department, Dean of Students’ Affairs, Deputy Registrar Academic and Registrar. I was a member of the University of Zimbabwe Senior Management Team which transformed the University from the University of Rhodesia to the University of Zimbabwe responsive to the needs of the newly independent country. This transformation is documented in the book pictured below which I contributed to and also edited. Out of the book’s 9 chapters, I wrote 4 chapters and edited the book,” professor Zinyemba said.
Professor Zinyemba also saw the incubation of many universities when he was Registrar at the University of Zimbabwe.
“It was during my tenure as Registrar at the University of Zimbabwe (UZ), which was at the time, the only university in Zimbabwe, that UZ was asked by Government to introduce new universities in the country, starting with the National University of Science and Technology (NUST) in Bulawayo in 1990, the Zimbabwe Open University (ZOU), Great Zimbabwe University (GZU), Bindura University of Science Education (BUSE) and Midlands State University (MSU),” he stated.
Professor Zinyemba joined the Catholic University of Zimbabwe in 2013 as Rector/Vice Chancellor and immediately developed a ten-year Growth and Development Strategic plan (2013 – 2023). During this period, according to Professor Zinyemba, the University has grown student numbers by close to a thousand percent and has grown the University’s learning centres from the one in Harare to eight, one in each of the 8 Dioceses of the Catholic Church in Zimbabwe. The University’s teaching Faculties have also grown from 2 to 4 during the strategic plan period. Many new programmes have been introduced, including Development Studies, Education and Postgraduate programmes. Postgraduate programmes include two taught Master’s programmes: The Entrepreneurship for Impact (E4Impact) MBA which is offered in association with the Sacred Heart Catholic University of Milan.
As an internationally certified Organisation Development(OD) consultant, Professor Zinyemba has worked with other universities in Zimbabwe and the region, Government Departments, NGOs, international organisations and United Nations agencies in organizational development consultancies in various countries in Africa, Afghanistan and Thailand.
Professor Zinyemba has many awards to his name which include Megafest National Business Awards 2016: Vice Chancellor of the Year, 2nd Runner-Up; Megafest Leadership Awards 2016: Outstanding Thought Leader; Megafest National Business Awards 2017: Vice Chancellor of the year; African Education Leadership Awards awarded by the World Corporate Social Responsibility Day, Mauritius 2017; Christian Business Leadership Awards 2017: Vice Chancellor of the Year National; Gentleman Standing with Women Special Mention A; Award provided by the Women’s Business and Leadership Awards; Megafest National Business Awards 2018: Vice Chancellor of the Year Private.