Stephen (known to most as Steve) Mavi was born on 29 September 1948. He joined the National Herbarium and Botanic Garden of Zimbabwe in 1965 at the age of 17 as a technical assistant in the Herbarium. By the time he retired in April 1998, he had risen to the grade of Senior Research Technician within the Institute. Upon his retirement he continued to do work in ethnobotany.
Steve was one of the best field botanists ever produced by the Institute. He collaborated with numerous organisations and researchers and provided taxonomic expertise on Zimbabwean plants and their uses. In 1986 was awarded the Natural Resources Gold Medal in recognition of his contributions to conservation education.
Steveís main passion was ethnobotany, in particular traditional medicinal plants and their uses. His interest in this area led to the production of a number of publications including the following:
Rhodesian botanical dictionary of African and English plant names. Wild, H. Revised and enlarged by Biegel, H.M. and Mavi, S. Government Printers, Salisbury, 1972.
The traditional medical practitioner in Zimbabwe. His principles of practice and pharmacopoeia. Gelfand, M., Mavi, S., Drummond, R.B. and Ndemera, B. Mambo Press, Gweru, 1985.
Food plants of Zimbabwe. Tredgold, M.H. in collaboration with Biegel, H.M. and Mavi, S. Mambo Press, Gweru, 1986.
Steve died on 20 June 2002 and was laid to rest on 22 June 2002 at Grenville Cemetery in Harare. He is survived by his wife and three children. His contribution to Zimbabwean botany will forever be remembered and his expertise will be greatly missed by all those who worked with him.
óby Soul Shava