Dr Tizirai Gwata

Tizirai Gwata was a practicing medical physician and served as the first black Mayor of Harare (then called Salisbury) from 1981 to 1984. He was also the first full-time black lecturer of medicine at the University of Rhodesia.


Gwata attended Mudzamiri primary school in rural Buhera for Standards 1-3 moving on to do his upper primary education at Makumbi (Makumbe) Mission School. From 1958 - 1966 he attended Goromonzi High School for A levels, a privilege not afforded to many blacks at the time and Goromonzi High School was one of the only schools in the country at the time that accepted blacks for A level education. Due to high demand and limited A level vacancies, Goromonzi High School only accepted the top-performing black students from across the country. He chose to study Mathematics, Biology, Chemistry and Physics, and on completion of his A levels, due to achieving high results he was shortlisted by scouts to attend university. The opportunity to attend university was very limited for blacks at the time [1] and Gwata was one of a group of only six to be accepted into the University of Rhodesia's medical school. They were to be of the first black students in the school of Medicine.


Medicine After earning his masters at Makerere University and he worked as a doctor in Uganda for some years. He then returned to Rhodesia and started working at Gatooma General Hospital in Gatooma (later renamed Kadoma). After to years in Kadoma, Gwata was then was employed by the University of Rhodesia, becoming the first full-time black lecturer of medicine at the University [2] and worked there until his election as a city councilor in 1981. He also became a director of a medical supply company Surgimed (PVT) Ltd and currently continues to run his own private practice in Harare.

Politics Dr. Gwata was sworn in as mayor on 10th April 1981 taking over from Mayor Jack Whiting, and presided over the changing of the name of the city from Salisbury to Harare.[3] The name Salisbury honored the British prime minister, Lord Salisbury [4], at the time of settlement and it seemed appropriate that the new name was chosen to instead honor the name of the local chief of the area at the time.[5]