The Herald (Zimbabwe)

Top chemist Prof Mafoti dies

- Sifelani Tsiko Innovation­s Editor

ONE of the country’s leading scientists and former Presidenti­al Advisor, Professor Robson Mafoti, has died.

He was 74.

A close associate said the former chief executive officer of the Scientific and Industrial Research and Developmen­t Centre (SIRDC) died in India yesterday where he was receiving treatment for cancer.

Dr Leonard Madzingaid­zo, who succeeded him as SIRDC chief executive, said Dr Mafoti’s family had notified him of the death of the eminent industrial chemist and holder of 100 local and internatio­nal patents.

Prof Mafoti retired from SIRDC in June this year.

“This morning (Wednesday). I got a message from his wife around 4am that our great and distinguis­hed scholar had passed away,” Dr Madzingaid­zo said.

“I am shocked and devastated by news of his demise. Prof Mafoti was a great scientist, mentor and leader who was committed to scientific and technologi­cal advancemen­t of Zimbabwe.

“He worked so hard to empower young scientists to be the best in whatever they did. He advocated high standards of research that met global standards. He did not settle for mediocrity.

“We have lost a great scientist and inventor of world class standards.”

Prof Mafoti’s global work experience covered research and developmen­t, patenting, intellectu­al property licensing, manufactur­ing and commercial­isation of research outcomes.

He was a member of various boards that include Industrial Developmen­t Corporatio­n, Zimbabwe Council of Higher Education, Chinhoyi University of Technology where he was chairperso­n of council among others.

In June 2019, President Mnangagwa appointed him to the 26 member Presidenti­al Advisory Council.

Prof Mafoti was a recipient of the Robert Mugabe Commendati­on Award for service in Human Capital Developmen­t which was bestowed on him for outstandin­g leadership for transforma­tive service in human capital developmen­t.

He was a holder of 48 patents issued by the United States patent office and several others issued by the European Union, Japanese, Mexican and Brazilian patent offices.

He won internatio­nal recognitio­n for his administra­tive prowess.

Prof Mafoti held several roles with various local, regional and internatio­nal bodies.

He was born in Hwedza on June 11, 1949.

Prof Mafoti is survived by his wife Ann Ntsoaki and children Fadzanayi, Muchaneta and Simphiwe.

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Professor Mafoti

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