26 February 2020
Story by Jeanette Dadzie
Marketing and Public Affairs Officer
Office of Advancement and Public Affairs
In a night of celebration and thanks, Africa University Board members Mrs Margaret Makadzange, Mrs Mwazvita Madondo, Mrs Grace Muradzikwa and former Africa University Director of Planned Giving, Nashville, Tennessee, Ms. Elaine Jenkins were honoured for their service and ministry with Africa University.
Margaret Makadzange who has served on the board for 11 years and was the chairperson of the Grounds and Infrastructure Committee oversaw the implementation of some of the University’s major campus development projects that have taken place within the past six years namely the Highland Park Women’s Residence and Student Union buildings as well as the Ubuntu Retreat Centre. During the dinner, Vice Chancellor Professor Munashe Furusa commended the diligence and commitment of Mrs Makadzange saying, “She was an amazing steward of the grounds of this University. She took the time to visit the new buildings that were under development and meticulously oversaw their progress into what they are today. We are truly blessed to have had her serve with us.”
Mrs Makadzange’s championing of the AU cause extended to creating ambassadors of the University among clergy within the United Methodist Church and beyond, trained to spread the message of the transformation that the institution is leading on the continent.
Africa University received from the retiree’s assurance of the bond that shall remain with the institution. In her farewell speech, Mrs. Makadzange said, “Once Africa University has you, you never leave the calling. Though this is an occasion of retirement, I have not left Africa University. I shall continue to offer my support and in saying this, I shall be contributing to the Zimbabwe Annual Conference Scholarship Fund for the new applicants who are set to begin their studies this August.” The Zimbabwe Episcopal area currently supports two students at Africa University with fully funded scholarships that cover the duration of their studies. The first beneficiaries are set to graduate at this years’ 2020 graduation ceremony in June.
Ms Elaine Jenkins, whose career with the institution spanned 18 years with Africa University’s Development Office in Nashville, generously established a scholarship in honour of her parents Esau and Janie B. Jenkins in celebration of her retirement and legacy. Elaine went on to say, “Thank you so much for supporting my ministry at Africa University. For as long as there is an heir within the Jenkins family, there will be an endowed scholarship in the name of my parents here at Africa University. In addition to this, I have included the University in my will!” Elaine’s contributions to the AU Development Offices’ Planned Giving portfolio have been tremendous with her efforts seeing USD 8.3 million raised towards the Seeding Hope. Shaping Opportunities Campaign that aims to raise USD 50 million that will define how Africa University will help to shape the future of the continent through the increase of the institutions’ endowment through investing in capital development projects that shall ultimately translate into changed lives and communities.
Accompanied by her niece Ms. Adrienne Saunders, Ms. Jenkins was afforded the opportunity to witness first-hand the incredible impact of the work done over the years and to revel in the continental powerhouse that AU has become in Pan- African Education. Ms. Jenkins said, ‘I remember vividly a story Mr. Salley used to recount upon the inception of Africa University where it was said that firstly, this University would never be built and secondly, that nothing good could ever come out of Africa. Here we are some 28 years later and we marvel at what we have created together through our shared vision and passion for the continent!”
Mrs Madondo and Mrs Muradzikwa who have dedicated 14 years and 20 years of service respectively oversaw the development of Africa University from its governance structure to strategically positioning the institution as a forerunner of diversity, inclusion and the advancement of the Pan-African agenda in higher education in Africa.
The Africa University Board of Directors is as diverse as its student and staff community and comprised of 9 members from the United State of America, 2 from Europe and 18 from across Africa (Mozambique, Sierra Leone, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Zimbabwe, Kenya, and Cameroon). The February Board Session that ran from the 24th to the 27th saw the addition of 3 new Board members, Dr. Yeabu Kamara – Sierra Leone, Ms. Celstine Mukalay- DRC and Mr. Denias Zaranyika- Zimbabwe.