Africa University, the top United Methodist-related institution in Africa, is getting a new vice chancellor, effective July 1 this year. Dr. Munashe Furusa, currently serving as dean of the College of Arts and Humanities at California State University in Dominguez Hills, was unanimously elected as the new chief executive of the institution during the AU Board of Directors meeting on March 18. Furusa replaces Professor Fanuel Tagwira, who has held the post of vice chancellor since 2009. Tagwira plans to take a sabbatical and then return to the Faculty (department) of Agriculture at AU.
The chancellor of Africa University, Bishop David Yemba, announced the decision on Wednesday April 3 during the worship service at the AU chapel. Bishop Yemba, who is the episcopal leader of the Central Congo Area in the Democratic Republic of Congo, also serves as chair of the AU Board.
“We wanted someone who is able to face challenges such as growth,” said Yemba, who noted that the university has grown from two faculties to seven in more than 20 years.
He said Furusa will build on the work of the first three vice chancellors of Africa University, who laid the foundations for the institution, consolidated relationships, and managed human and financial resources.
“It is also expected that the new vice chancellor will be called to be more aggressive in the area of fund-raising. We believe Furusa will be able to fulfill this mission,” Yemba said.
Bishop Marcus Matthews, the episcopal leader of the Baltimore-Washington Conference and vice chair of the AU, praised the selection of Furusa.
“We are fortunate that a scholar of Furusa’s eminence and wide experience in Africa and the United States has agreed to serve as the next vice chancellor of Africa University,” Matthews said. “His extensive contacts in the international business and education communities will raise the profile of Africa University around the world.”
The Rev. Dr. Kim Cape, general secretary of the United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry, said Furusa was the unanimous choice of both the search committee and the AU Board.
“He was the final choice from 70 applicants. He impressed both students and faculty during his visit to the campus,” Cape said.
Furusa, a first-generation college student, received his doctorate in African literature and critical theory, and his master’s and bachelor’s in English from the University of Zimbabwe. Africa University, established by The United Methodist Church in 1992, draws students from all over Africa. The current enrollment of 2,000 represents students from 29 countries, and nearly 5,000 graduates are changing the face of Africa as they become leaders in the church, government, business and civil society.
Furusa has been honored with several university recognitions, including the university’s Excellence in Service Award, the Lyle E. Gibson Dominguez Hills Distinguished Teacher Award, and the Frederick Douglass Award for Outstanding Leadership and Service. He was twice awarded the Cheikh Anta Diop Award for Outstanding Research in Africana Studies.
He has several publications including “The Borders in All of Us: New Approaches to Global Diasporic Societies,” and “African Womanhood in Zimbabwean Literature: New Critical Perspectives on Women’s Literature in