|Born||Vernon Benele Mwamuka|
January 12, 1955
Bonda Mission Hospital
|Died||December 30, 2001(aged 46)|
|Cause of death||Car Accident|
|Education||St Augustine's Mission|
|Alma mater||University of Zimbabwe|
|Known for||Being the architect of NUST, Joina City, Construction House|
Vernon Benele Mwamuka was Zimbabwe’s world renowned and first black architect. Mwamuka still stands out as one of the most prominent architects Zimbabwe has ever produced.
Vernon Benele Mwamuka was born on 12 January 1955 at Bonda Mission Hospital and was married to Margaret. He did his primary education at Vengere Primary School in Rusape and his secondary education at St Augustine's Mission, Penhalonga. After completing his studies – passing with flying colours, three A’s and a B in Maths, Physics, Biology and Chemistry – Mr Mwamuka briefly enrolled with the University of Zimbabwe in 1975.
He got a scholarship to study architecture at the University of Glasgow in Scotland, completing his studies in 1978.Mr Mwamuka proceeded to do a post-graduate diploma in architecture in London.After completing the diploma, Mr Mwamuka left for the United States where he worked for DBTM, an architectural firm, between 1979 and 1980.
He returned home in 1981 and joined the then Ministry of Construction before joining an architectural firm, Harvey Buffet.He rose to become a senior partner and the firm changed its name to Harvey Buffet Mwamuka Mercuri.
In the early 1990s, Mr Mwamuka broke away with another Italian born senior partner, Eugene Mercuri to form Mwamuka Mercuri and Associate Architects.
His architectural monuments includes Southampton Life Centre (now Intermarket Life Centre), Construction House, Kopje Plaza, Old Mutual Centre, Joina City (Harare), Africa University (Mutare), National University of Science and Technology (Bulawayo), the Four Ways Mall in Johannesburg, the School of Hotel and Catering (Bulawayo), the Harare Domestic Airport and the Bulawayo International Airport.
“All these completed commissions attest to Mwamuka’s creative identity.“His works have left a unique aesthetic impact on the immediate environment revitalising the surrounding urban expanse as in the case of the Kopje Plaza (West of Harare’s skyline).
“The Kopje Plaza changed the skyline of the Kopje area where a number of neglected buildings had become an eyesore and a sign of urban decay,” Mr Manhambara said.He described Mr Mwamuka as humble, true and principled professional.
“He helped many students and wanted more blacks to take on architecture as a career. He loved sciences and loved to help young people.”
Mr Mwamuka died in a road accident on 30 December 2001 while returning from Bulawayo. He had attended the ground-breaking ceremony for the re-building of Bulawayo International Airport – renamed the Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo International Airport.
- Sydney Kawadza, , The Herald, Published: 20 October, 2016, Accessed: 14 February, 2021