Dexter Mark Chavunduka
BornDexter Mark Chavunduka
DiedJuly 19, 2012(2012-07-19) (aged 78)
Toronto, Canada
Resting placeWarren Hills Cemetery
EducationEdinburgh University
  • Veterinary Surgeon
Known forBeing first black veterinary surgeon.
Spouse(s)Jane Chiza

Dr Dexter Mark Chavunduka was the first black Zimbabwean veterinary surgeon.

Personal Details

Birth: 27 April 1934 at St Augustine's Mission, Penhalonga to Solomon Chavunduka from Hwedza and Lillian Sanyangore from Makoni in Rusape district. He was the seventh child in a family of nine, all of whom are deceased. Dr Chavunduka married Jane Chiza in Scotland, UK, during his studies and they had four children (Schona, born in Scotland; Mark, Fiona and Moira). His son, Mark, a well-known journalist, passed away in 2002.[1]

School / Education

He started his education in Dowa, an African Farming Purchase area in Rusape district. It was after his father had retired there in 1939 from an agriculture-teaching job at St Augustines Mission, Penhalonga. His father was to have an influence on Dr Chavunduka’s choice of professional career. There were no schools in Dowa at the time, but Dr Chavunduka’s parents were determined to have their children educated.

His father hired a teacher and arranged for classes under a Baobab tree. His parents started building classrooms out of pole and dagga and grass thatched roofs, which was the foundation of modern day Dowa Council Primary (Dowa Primary School) and Secondary schools. Dr Chavunduka also studied at St Mary’s Hunyani, and at Domboshawa Government School in Harare as well as St Augustine’s Secondary School. He did his matriculation at Adams College, Natal, Durban and went on to study for a Bachelor of Science Degree (Zoology and Botany) at Roma University College (now University of Lesotho.)

In 1959, he went to University of Edinburgh in Scotland, where he studied Veterinary Medicine. He was the first African veterinary surgeon in Zimbabwe when he graduated in 1964 and returned to the country. [1]


In 1982, Dr Chavunduka was appointed permanent secretary in the then Ministry of Natural Resources. He also served on the boards of the Agricultural Marketing Authority, Veterinary Council of Zimbabwe and on Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee, among other things. Dr Chavunduka wrote 15 books on animal husbandry in Shona and English and these were also translated into Ndebele.

In the 1990 Parliamentary Election (see A History of Zimbabwean Elections) Makoni East returned to Parliament:

Turnout - 27 102 voters or 80.37 %

He was also a member of Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (Edinburgh) and received a World Veterinary Day Commemorative Award Citation (30 April 2011) in recognition of his exceptional accomplishments, by a first black veterinary surgeon in Zimbabwe. In 1983, he retired from public office and went into private practice, after which he bought a veterinary surgery at Newlands in Highlands.

Dr Chavunduka later worked for the World Lutheran Foundation in Zimbabwe, the Agriculture Rural Development Authority (Arda) and also as a consultant for the Botswana Meat Company. He held the post of the party’s deputy secretary for production and labour in Manicaland Province. [1]


He died on July 19, 2012 in Toronto, Canada.[1] Dr Chavunduka had been ill for some time following a car accident from which he never fully recovered.[2]

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  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Chavunduka: Death deals Zim a blow, Herald, published: August 3, 2012, retrieved: July 11, 2017
  2. Chavunduka dies, NewsDay, published: July 31, 2012, retrieved: July 11, 2017