George Kahari
BornGeorge Payne Kahari
(1930-07-20)July 20, 1930
Chiriseri, Bindura
DiedJuly 23, 2021(2021-07-23) (aged 91)
Known forBeing an academic
Spouse(s)Betty Likwambe

Professor George Payne Kahari was a Zimbabwean academic, nationalist, author and diplomat. He died on 23 July 2021.


Kahari was born on 20 July 1930 at Chiriseri in Bindura. His father, a teacher at the Salvation Army’s Howard Institute, later joined the BSA Police from which he retired in 1947. George had only one brother who died young, and George was raised as an only child.[1]

Marriage & Family Life

While at Kutama in 1955 he married a colleague, Betty Likwambe. The couple had six children, four boys and two girls.[1]

Education & Early Career

He attended the Chiriseri village primary school; later he moved to Harare in Salisbury (Harare), and finally completed his primary schooling at the Howard Institute in 1946.

He then went to Dadaya Mission School where he was instructed by Garfield Todd and his wife, Grace, as well as by Ndabaningi Sithole. After leaving school he took a teacher training course at Marist Brothers College at Kutama Mission.

In 1951 he obtained his Higher Certificate for primary teachers. For the next five years, George Kahari taught in both primary and secondary schools at the mission, reading for his B.A. in Sociology, administration and Shona (with the University of South Africa) during his free time.

He subsequently taught at government schools and it was while he was Deputy Head at Shabani Town School (later called Gresham) in 1958 that he joined the local branch of the ANC congress, which was then led by Daniel Ngole.

After a period of teaching at Sakubva in Umtali now Mutare, George Kahari took study leave overseas in 1961-62 and obtained his post-graduate Certificate in Education at Leeds University.

In 1963 he was Headmaster of a school in Highfield and worked closely with Josiah Chinamano on the Education Committee for Highfield Community School. He was transferred at the end of 1963 to Sinoia (Chinhoyi), where for 18 months he acted as Headmaster of a new government school. In May 1965 he joined the staff of the University of Rhodesia as a lecturer in African Languages. In 1976 he was Acting Head of the Department.

George Kahari travelled to the United States on a U.S. Government grant to visit American universities. During 1971-72 he was a teacher’s assistant at the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London.[1]

Second Chimurenga Contribution

Kahari was a central committee member and deputy publicity secretary in the wartime ZAPU and a member of ZANU-PF’s consultative committee after Zimbabwe's independence.[2]

George Kahari was a strong supporter of Joshua Nkomo since he first became involved in politics in 1958.

Kahari was elected a member of the Central Committee of the ANC (Nkomo) at the Special Congress held in September 1975 and was appointed Deputy Publicity Secretary the following year.

In October 1976 Kahari was appointed a member of the Nkomo delegation to the Geneva Conference. When he returned to Zimbabwe then Rhodesia, George Kahari travelled on political missions to both Zambia and Botswana.[1]


He was the former Director of the National Gallery of Zimbabwe and an emeritus professor at the University of Zimbabwe.[2]

As A Diplomat

Kahari served as an ambassador to Germany, Italy and Czechoslovakia.[2]

As An Author

George Kahari profiled and appraised a litany of local authors, including Herbert Chitepo, Mordecai Hamutyinei, Patrick Chakaipa, Joseph Kumbirayi, Paul Chidyausiku, Wilson Chivaura and Janfeck Chekure.

Bernard Chidzero described Kahari’s writing as “a work of art in its own right in the sense that the author is creatively perceptive and interpretive, handling the twin instruments of word and idea in a neat and mutually integrative fashion so that the whole informs as well as delights the reader”.[2]



  1. The Odyssey of Shona Narratives: A Collation and Collection of Articles and Conference Papers (1964-2012)
  2. A Standard Dictionary of Shona-English Names (2015)
  3. The Search For Identity And Ufuru: An Introduction To The Black Zimbabwean Fiction in English. 1956 – 1980, (2009)
  4. The Moral Vision of Patrick Chakaipa: A Study in Didacticism and Literary Eschatology (1994)
  5. Romances of Patrick Chakaipa: A Study of Thematic Techniques and Mythology (1994)
  6. The Rise of the Shona Novel: A Study in Development, 1890-1984 (1994)
  7. Plots And Characters in Shona Fiction, 1956-1984: A Handbook (1990)
  8. Herbert W. Chitepo’s Epic Poem, Soko Risina Musoro – The Tale without a Head: A Critique (1987)
  9. Aspects of the Shona Novel and Other Related Genres (1986)
  10. George Kahari and Hazel Carter, Shona Language Course/devised by George Kahari and Hazel Carter; recorded by G.P. Kahari and H. Carter, African Studies Programme, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin (1986)
  11. The Search for Zimbabwean Identity: An Introduction to the Black Zimbabwean Novel (1980)
  12. The Imaginative Writings of Paul Chidyausiku, Mambo Press (1975)
  13. George Kahari and Hazel Carter, Kuverenga Chishona: An Introductory Shona Reader with Grammatical Sketch (1972)
  14. The Novels of Patrick Chakaipa (1972)[3]


  1. 1997.Black Zimbabwe Literature in English In Paul Ahluwalia and Paul Nursey-Bray (ed) Post–Colonialism: Culture and Identity in Africa (Nova Science Publishers, Inc, Commack, NY 1997), pp. 48-58.
  2. 1992.Problems of Development: An African Point of View. Presented at the University of Munster, 17-21 June 1991, In Gregor Sauerwald et al. (ed), Soziale Arbeit and Internationale Entwicklung, Munster; Hamburg: Lit, 1992, pp. 36-42).
  3. 1990.The History of Writing in Zimbabwe, 1890-1990, In 10 years of Zimbabwe, Art and History of Writing in Zimbabawe (10 Jahre Zimbabwe: Kunst and Geschinchte), elke Kemmerer-Grothaus (Hrsg) (Ubsree-Museum, Bremen, 1990),pp. 118-121.
  4. 1986.Cultural Identity and Problems of Cross-Cultural Communication: Problems of Translation, In George P. Kahari, Aspects of the Shona Novel and other Related Genres (Mambo Press, Gweru, 1986),pp.180-200.
  5. 1986. Intellectual and Social Development in Bernard Chidzero’s Nzvengamutsvairo. ­­In George P. Kahari, ‘Aspects of Shona Novel and Other Related Genres, Mambo Press, Gweru, pp. 30-50.
  6. 1984.Zimbabwean Literature in Shona, In Encyclopedia of World Literature in the 20th Century, IV: R to Z, Frederick Ungar, New York, p.713.
  7. 1984/5.Cultural Identity And Cross-Cultural Communication: Problems of Translation, Zambezia: The Journal of The University Of Zimbabwe Vol.12, 1984/5 pp.55 –7.
  8. 1983.Shona Nomenclature, G.P. Kahari and A.J.C. Pongweni’ Zambezia : The Journal of The University Of Zimbabwe Vol.11, No.ii, pp.161 –7;
  9. 1981.The History of the Shona Protest Song, Zambezia: Journal of the University of Zimbabwe Vol.9, No. 2, pp.79-101.
  10. 1981.Realism and the Contemporary Shona Novel Zambezia; The Journal of the University of Zimbabwe Vol. 10, No. ii, 1982. pp.85 – 10.[3]


George Kahari died on 23 July 2021. He was laid to rest at Warren Hills Cemetery in Harare on 27 July 2021.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 GEORGE KAHARI, Colonial Relic, Published: No Date Given, Retrieved: July 23, 2021
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Stanely Mushava, Professor Kahari’s 50-year odyssey in literature, The Herald, Published: June 23, 2014, Retrieved: July 23, 2021
  3. 3.0 3.1 PROFESSOR G P KAHARI, University of Zimbabwe, {ublished: No Date Given, Retrieved: July 23, 2021