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Nationalist, academic Professor George Kahari dies aged 91

By Nompumelelo Sibanda

ONE of the last remaining of crop of Zimbabwe’s preeminent nationalists, Professor George Kahari, has died.

The former Zimbabwean Ambassador to Germany had just turned 91 this week.

The respected academic died around 2 AM on Friday, 23 July 2021.

Professor Kahari’s death was confirmed by former Cabinet Minister, Professor Jonathan Moyo, and journalist Hopewell Chin’ono, separately on Twitter.

“It is saddening that Professor George Kahari, who turned 91 only three days ago, is no more,” said prof Moyo, who worked wit h Kahari when he was in Government. “He was an unwavering ZAPU nationalist, a great man of letters, a suave diplomat and a consummate gentleman.

“May his memory be a blessing to his family and all who knew him!”

Chin’ono, who only weeks ago had met Professor Kahari, described the highly-respected man as his friend who he will sadly miss.

“I am saddened to let you know that Prof George Kahari died this morning at 2 AM. He was a good friend of mine and an international scholar and author of note.

“He came to see me on the 19th of June, I didn’t realize that he was saying goodbye. He turned 91 two days ago. Rest In Peace.”

Kahari was born at Chiriseri in Bindura. His father was a teacher at the Salvation Army’s Howard Institute and later joined the British South Africa Police. He had one brother who died young, and was raised as an only child. Besides Germany, he also served as Zimbabwe’s Ambassador to Italy and to Czechoslovakia.

After his stint as a diplomat, Professor Kahari was the first black director at the National Gallery of Zimbabwe. He was one of the founders of the Catholic University of Zimbabwe, which he helped establish in 1999.

Chin’ono said Professor Kahari attempted to foil the rigging of elections by Mugabe in 2008, when he was a commissioner with the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission.

“ZEC wanted to suppress the election results. Prof Kahari who was a ZEC commissioner walked into the hotel foyer. ‘Tadyiwa, Morgan ahwina,’ the Prof shouted. ‘They want us to cook the results,’ he told reporters. Through him the world knew the truth,” said Chin’ono. However, that version by Chin’ono was never captured by media.

Commenting on that remark, some observer said: “As a ZEC Commissioner, that Tadyiwa statement was the most unashamedly partisan and unprofessional statement. He was not in any way better than his colleagues who had kept quiet.”

Another said: “Celebrating a conflicted ZEC Commissioner not even authorized to speak on behalf of ZEC at that time, are we Mr Hope? The very fact that he spoke in Shona to international Journos shows just how decrepit his professional conduct had become. Va Prof for that matter!”

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