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University of Zimbabwe publishes Grace Mugabe’s PhD thesis

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On Thursday, 25 January, the Harare-based University of Zimbabwe published the thesis of the country’s former first lady, Grace Mugabe.

The 226-page thesis, entitled The Changing Social Structures and Functions of the Family, was published after the University acquiesced to public pressure. Despite being submitted in June 2014, the document was never published to the University’s open institutional repository,, which is an online record of all Masters and PhD theses completed between 2012 and 2017.

The awarding of the PhD degree – the highest qualification obtainable at a university, to Grace Mugabe, has been the subject of speculation and political wrangling. Grace Mugabe’s detractors, including students and lecturers at the University of Zimbabwe, allege that Mugabe’s PhD was ill gotten, because of her political connections. She was former President Robert Mugabe’s wife at the time the PhD was awarded, and the assertion by her critics is that she did not dedicate the number of years required for the degree, prioritizing instead her job as first lady. A PhD takes at least three years to complete on a fulltime university enrollment.

Those close to the matter indicate that they never saw Mugabe at the University, and that she allegedly failed to appropriately submit a research proposal – the first step of any research endeavour – which typically takes considerable time due to the back and forth between the PhD candidate and supervisors. It is also interesting to note that the thesis uses Grace Mugabe’s maiden name, and as such the PhD is credited to Grace Ntombizodwa Marufu.

The conditions, which led to the bestowing of the PhD qualification to Grace Mugabe, are under investigation.

You can read Grace Mugabe’s full PhD thesis here.

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