First Lady becomes first African to receive PhD from top Indian University

15 May, 2022 - 00:05 0 Views
First Lady becomes first African to receive PhD from top Indian University First Lady Dr Auxillia Mnangagwa receives her Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) (Honoris Causa) from Honourable Shri. Ravi while GD Goenka University Chancellor Mrs Renu Goenka (left), Zimbabwean Ambassador to India Dr Godfrey Chipare and Vice Chancellor Prof (Dr) Tabrez Ahmad (far right) look on during the conferment of the Doctorate in Gurugram Haryana, India.

The Sunday Mail

Tendai Rupapa
Senior Reporter

First Lady Dr Auxillia Mnangagwa made history as she became the first African to be accorded a Doctorate in Philosophy (Honoris Causa) by the reputable GD Goenka University of India because of her sheer hard work, focus, love and humility.

First Lady Dr Auxillia Mnangagwa in the Academic procession during the conferment of Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) (Honoris Causa) at GD Goenka University in Gurugram Haryana, India.

These attributes have earned her global acclaim, with the who’s who of the world literally falling over each other to get an opportunity to work with her Angel of Hope Foundation in transforming lives of ordinary people.

In the twinkling of an eye, the Foundation – founded in 2018 to mobilise resources for the less privileged – has turned into a source of pride for her and the entire nation because of the mountains it has moved.

Everything seems to be falling into place.

Honesty has also played a major part in her success as she ensures that all the resources mobilised reach the intended beneficiaries.

She was conferred with a Doctor of Philosophy (Honoris Causa) by the university in recognition of her accomplishments in raising the standards of marginalised communities, saving women from cervical cancer, protection of children, human rights and great philanthropic works.

First Lady Dr Auxillia Mnangagwa follow proceedings during the conferment of her Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) (Honoris Causa) at GD Goenka University in Gurugram Haryana, India.

GD Goenka group of institutions was founded in 1994 and offers high-quality professional and educational programmes of international standards.

The internationally-recognised university has partnerships with varsities in the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Taiwan, Turkey, France, Canada, Uzbekistan, Chile, Denmark, China and Italy.

One could only marvel and watch as the former village girl from Chiweshe, Mashonaland Central Province, walked gracefully with other doctors in the procession, while resplendent in her colourful academic regalia.

She was played the song “Makorokoto” by Machanic Manyeruke, which lit the auditorium as people danced, ululated and whistled.

She also had the opportunity to interact with Zimbabwean students at the institution of higher learning.

First Lady Dr Auxillia Mnangagwa interacts with Zimbabwean students Felistas Ncube and Sidumisile Gumbo, two of the four students who are studying at GD Goenka University after she was confered with a Doctor of Philosophy (Honoris Causa) at the University in India last week. Pictures: John Manzongo

According to the citation, Amai Mnangagwa was honoured as founder and patron of Angel of Hope Foundation for vigorously spearheading philanthropic work, spreading its outreach to the most marginalised communities and advocating for their inclusion and integration into the mainstream of society.

“During the Ordinary Session of the 23rd General Assembly of the Organisation of African First Ladies for Development (OAFLAD) held in Niger, July 2019, he was elected Vice President of OAFLAD to crown her for her outstanding work, which has been recognised and acknowledged beyond the national borders of Zimbabwe. The First Lady launched the National Human Papilloma Virus Vaccination, an anti-cancer programme expected to benefit over 800 000 girls aged between 10 and 14. She has also been providing accessible and free cervical, breast and prostate cancer screening through her mobile clinic screening programme.

“She has received accolades from the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education in Zimbabwe and other stakeholders for her keen interest in embracing issues bedevilling adolescents by way of interactive sessions on a countrywide schools programme discussing issues around child abuse, early marriages, teen pregnancies, drug abuse and school drop-outs.”

In recognition of her exemplary contribution to the field of women and girl-child upliftment, the university saw it prudent to award her with a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree (Honoris Causa).

And she rightfully deserves it.

First Lady Dr Auxillia Mnangagwa being dressed in her gown during the conferment of the Doctorate in Gurugram Haryana, India.

Zimbabwe’s Ambassador to India Dr Godfrey Majoni Chipare agrees as much and supports the university’s decision to honour the mother of the nation. Ambassador Chipare said the First Lady was the first African to be accorded such an honour.

“First of all, as the humble envoy of His Excellency, Cde Dr ED Mnangagwa, President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, permit me to extend my congratulations to the First Family for the historic achievement made by Her Excellency Dr Auxillia Mnangagwa in being conferred by GD Goeka University of India with an Honorary Doctorate in Philosophy (Honoris Causa). She is the first African to be accorded this honour. It gives me special joy that I had the opportunity as ambassador to curate this event for the First Family, the Government and people of Zimbabwe,” he said.

Dr Chipare said the overwhelming response and outpouring of solidarity were unprecedented as evidenced by the extensive media coverage of her visit and activities of Angel of Hope Foundation. The benefits of the partnership, he said, included potential to boost Indian investments in the Zimbabwean economy and reverse medical tourism between India and Zimbabwe. He said the fact that the First Lady, Dr Mnangagwa, had been honoured was healthy for brand Zimbabwe.

“Relations between India and Zimbabwe are excellent. We welcome the visit by the First Lady because it indicates that Zimbabwe is indeed open for business. First and foremost, it was unusual that we received so many guests, especially for the celebratory dinner for Her Excellency, the First Lady, which was intended to take two hours, but ended up a five-hour fiesta attended by more than 36 ambassadors from Africa, Caribbean, Latin American. It was a great demonstration of love and support for Zimbabwe and by extension Her Excellency, the First Lady. The recognition of Her Excellency, the First Lady, for her philanthropic work enhances brand Zimbabwe,” he said emphatically.

Amai Mnangagwa has quietly worked on the integration of the San Community in Plumtree and the previously marginalised Doma community with the rest of the country, introducing them to modern houses, toilets, market gardening and other projects to move away from being hunters and gatherers. The world had been watching her sending children from these communities to school to ensure they, like other citizens, contribute meaningfully to the development of the country. Such things were never done by any First Lady in the history of the nation.

First Lady Dr Auxillia Mnangagwa delivers her speech at a welcome and congratulatory dinner hosted for her after she was confered with a Doctor of Philosophy (Honoris Causa) by GD Goenka University in India.

She has on numerous occasions left her baronial home to spend nights in tents and risking life and limb travelling in treacherous roads to spread love to the poor. Amai Mnangagwa is grateful to her husband, the President, for his tremendous support and encouragement.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank my husband for his tremendous moral support and encouragement even as busy as he is as Head of State and Government.

“He accepted my passion and is understanding when I spend weeks on end in remote areas around the country and has to be left alone back home. He understands that the plight of the disadvantaged is my passion and he accepts that most of the times I sleep in tents when I am in very remote areas with the aim of assisting those in need. He spares time to support me in my endeavour. He is indeed generous with constructive suggestions. I want to thank him most heartily,” she said.

The First Lady has also, as health ambassador, led from the front in spreading Covid-19 awareness, promoting the screening and treatment for non-communicable diseases as well as fighting domestic violence. The award came as the First Lady worked with women across the nation to promote the consumption of traditional dishes which are rich in nutrition and other medicinal properties.

“She is also engaging men through a male engagement programme she is taking to all the country’s provinces. Male engagement is, according to the mother of the nation, a way of involvement, looking for inclusive solutions in the whole country.

The First Lady engages them as she leads from the front in the search for solutions to social challenges like domestic violence, mischief among children, drug abuse, child marriages and general lack of morals, among many other ills that are tearing families apart.

A strict observer of local tradition and culture, Amai Mnangagwa does not bulldoze men, but she humbly requests to meet them and accords them respect befitting their social standing.

It was a historic achievement that will remain entrenched in the history of the nation.

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