Ezekeil Gwinyai Kwembeya
Ezekeil Kwembeya was born on 18 November 1972 in Mutare, Zimbabwe. He grew up in Rimuka Township, Kadoma, and attended Tafadzwa Primary School. From there, he went to Rimuka High School and obtained his Cambridge ‘O’ Level Certificate in 1989. He was awarded a Lion’s Club scholarship to attend Jameson High School, where he obtained his Cambridge ‘A’ Level Certificate in 1991. In 1992, he enrolled for a BSc Degree at the University of Zimbabwe. During the end-of-year vacation in 1993, he worked as a Research Assistant at the University Kariba Research Station where he did gut content analysis of Limnothrissa miodon in Lake Kariba. He completed his first degree in December 1994, majoring in biology and geography. It was during this time that he developed a keen interest in botany.
He enrolled for the Special Honours degree in 1995, in which he majored in botany and ecology. He did a research project entitled “The physiological and morphological effects of 2-4-D herbicide on early seedling growth of Cucurbita pepo”. After graduating, Ezekiel was immediately employed as an ‘A’ level geography teacher at Christ Ministries College, Harare, in 1996. His consistent interest and passion for botany led him to do voluntary work at the National Herbarium of Zimbabwe whenever he was free.
In November 1996, he was employed as a Research Officer at the National Herbarium (SRGH) under the SABONET project. In early 1997, he earned himself a permanent post as a Research Officer. In November 1997, he attended the SABONET Pteridophyte Identification Course in Zomba, Malawi, which sparked off his interest in pteridophytes, as well as opening up a lot of networking opportunities. In 1998, he co-authored A Checklist of Zimbabwean Vernacular Plant Names with Ratidzayi Takawira.
He was awarded a SABONET scholarship to study for a Masters degree in Systematics and Biodiversity Sciences at the University of Cape Town (UCT). The title of his project was “Studies in the Dryopteris inaequalis complex”. He completed his coursework in February 2000 and was awarded the degree in December 2000. Ezekeil feels the time he spent at UCT provided him with a sound knowledge of scientific methodology, which will enable him to do meaningful research work in botany.
Upon returning to Zimbabwe in February 2000, Ezekeil was promoted to the position of Curator of the National Botanic Garden of Zimbabwe. He was also appointed a committee member of the SABONET National Working Group. In January 2001, he became curator of the National Herbarium (SRGH), a position he still holds. The recently held SABONET Herbarium Managers’ Course provided him with valuable tools to use in his job at SRGH. He greatly appreciates the opportunities that the SABONET programme has offered him.
Earlier this year, he attended the Tropical Bryology and Lichenology Training Course in Nairobi, Kenya. This has seen his research interests expanding to include all the cryptogams. He would like to focus on the importance and conservation of Tropical African cryptogamic biodiversity.
In his spare time, Ezekeil enjoys travelling, reading, and listening to music.
SABONET News 6.3: 157