Celebrating 20 years

United Methodist-related Africa University located in Mutare, Zimbabwe, (www.africau.edu) opened for classes this past August with its largest enrollment to date, 1,634 students coming from 23 African countries.

“These students enjoy excellent facilities and a learning experience that is world-class. More importantly, they are being equipped to respond to the challenges of poverty, disease and conflict across Africa,” according to recently retired Bishop Ernest Lyght, chairperson of the Africa University Board Development Committee and Advisory Development Committee.

He said they in turn, will follow Africa University graduates like the Rev. Julio Vilanculos, the dean of the Cambine School of Theology. He is nurturing a new generation of leaders to make disciples and grow congregations in Mozambique and beyond.

Claude Masuka of the Democratic Republic of Congo is using skills gained in the Institute of Peace, Leadership and Governance at Africa University as he equips community leaders for building a sustainable peace in his conflict-scarred country.

In South Africa, Celeste Sauls, one of few professionals in health economics, is doing research to improve the delivery of vital services to people living with HIV/AIDS and other diseases.

Center visit

To talk face-to-face about AU, Dr. Albert Zvenhamo Chiteka, Dean of the Faculty of Agriculture and Natural Resources, and retired United Methodist Bishop Lawrence McCleskey of Lake Junaluska, N.C., executive vice president for development of Africa University, visited the Indiana Conference Center Dec. 13 to explore with Bishop Mike Coyner, conference leaders and staff members, ways to help build enthusiasm for more support of Africa University in Indiana.

Chiteka’s research interests at AU are in plant breeding and focus primarily on groundnuts. Since joining Africa University in 2004, Chiteka has been a Senior Lecturer at AU in agriculture and natural resources.

20 years

Africa University is doing what it was founded to do. Since opening Africa University in March 1992, The United Methodist Church has built one of the most important and vibrant ministries in its history. It is a ministry whose lifeblood flows from local church giving.

Prayers and faithful giving of Hoosier United Methodists through the Indiana Conference tithe connect members to the life-changing work of young men and women and a foundation for positive change, thanks to their support of the Africa University Fund.

The Africa University Fund relies on the 43 cents per member it gets annually from Hoosier United Methodists. The Indiana Conference plans to give $85,787 to Africa University this year through the Indiana Conference tithe. Combined with other conferences across the United States, AU will be provided $2.5 million for university operations.

Economic difficulties abound globally, and Africa is not immune to the current challenges. Now more than ever, with its growing enrollment, Africa University needs support. Each conference’s share is critical to the university and to Africa’s future.

Lyght thanks Hoosier United Methodists for their commitment to Africa University.

“These students enjoy excellent facilities and a learning experience that is world-class.”

– Bishop Ernest Lyght

A UMNS file photo by Mike DuBose.

United Methodist-related Africa University is located in Mutare, Zimbabwe, a country suffering from an inflation rate of 7,500 percent. During the Sept. 23 Africa University Development Committee meeting in Nashville, Tenn., a Zimbabwean shared the struggles of living in a country with scarce food, water shortages and drought, a lack of foreign currency, electrical outages, political repression, economic hardships and poverty.

A UMNS photo courtesy of Africa University.

Students from Africa University carry trees they will plant along the roadway entrance to Africa University. It was a dream for the students to do this project as part of Change the World.