A Great Zimbabwe University (GZU) lecturer collapsed and died last Friday while defending his PhD thesis at the Zimbabwe Open University (ZOU) in Bulawayo, police have confirmed.

Mr Ngonidzashe Makanyire (61) from Chidza Village in Gutu district, Masvingo Province, allegedly started sweating before clutching his chest and collapsing.

The History and Development Studies lecturer died at around 4pm after complaining of dizziness.

Fellow students and academic adjudicators watched in shock as Mr Makanyire breathed his last.

A police source said Mr Makanyire died a few minutes after collapsing.

“He started complaining of dizziness. The adjudicators allowed him to present his thesis while seated. Within a few minutes he fell down and started frothing from the mouth. He died in front of adjudicators, lecturers and students who were listening to his PhD thesis presentation,” said the source.

Mr Peter Madzivanyika, Mr Makanyire’s nephew, had accompanied him to Bulawayo for the thesis presentation.

Mr Madzivanyika yesterday said he was deeply saddened by his uncle’s sudden death.

He said his uncle had taught at GZU for four years and was about to complete his PhD with ZOU.

“He did not show any signs of distress before his death,” said Mr Madzivanyika.

 “We are shocked and we didn’t expect this. I had left him at the ZOU campus, at around 3:30pm. He later phoned saying ‘Ndiri kunzwa kuzarirwa mudumbu’ (I have a stomach problem) and I’m feeling dizzy.”

Mr Madzivanyika said he rushed to the institution but Mr Makanyire said it wasn’t serious and asked him to take his laptop and go.

“But when I was at the stairway I felt reluctant to go and waited for him by the door at the ZOU campus. While I was waiting an official from the institution told me that my uncle had collapsed,” he said.

Mr Madzivanyika said he rushed upstairs to the conference room and found Mr Makanyire frothing and he died a few minutes later.

He said his uncle’s body was taken to the United Bulawayo Hospitals for post-mortem.

“My uncle is survived by his wife and two sons. He will be buried in Masvingo this coming week,” said Mr Madzivanyika.

ZOU Bulawayo regional campus director Professor Onias Mafa yesterday said he was not allowed to talk to the media and referred questions to Mrs Ndai Nyamakura, the director in the vice-chancellor’s office.

Mrs Nyamakura could not be reached on her mobile phone.

Bulawayo police spokesperson Inspector Precious Simango said investigations into the cause of death were underway.

“We received a case of sudden death of a 61-year-old man which happened at ZOU Bulawayo regional campus. Investigations are in progress to ascertain the cause of death,” she said. herald