Tribute to Dr Alex Tawanda Magaisa
By Lucy Rumbidzai Chivasa
Born on the 10th of August 1975 and died June 5, 2022, Alex Tawanda Magaisa was a Zimbabwean academic and law lecturer at Kent law School of the University of Kent, United Kingdom. He suffered a cardiac arrest at Margate Hospital in England on 5 June 2022.
Doctor Magaisa was a lot of things to many people, and the nation cannot ignore the impact and global reach which his blog, The Big Saturday Read (BSR) has made. One of the greatest attributes that the late Dr Alex Magaisa had, was his unmatched ability to simplify the law jargon in a way that would make an ordinary person – even an old man at his Njanja home – grasp.
Writing in his BSR, Magaisa created and built a conversation around Zimbabwe’s social, political and economic issues and the law, and before long, he had built his legion of followers, and for many, there was no doubt that Magaisa’s writing were meant to drive the country’s narrative for a free Zimbabwe where the government abides by the constitution to the letter.
The BSR website, which Magaisa leaves behind, contains hundreds of articles analysing trending issues ranging from politics, policy as well as socio-economic developments in Zimbabwe as they related to the law. In it, he unpacked the constitution several times through the BSR and through being a panellist during crucial debates.
Despite being an academic and law lecturer at Kent law School of the University of Kent, United Kingdom, Magaisa was a Zimbabwean at heart. He served his country whenever he was required, and that is why he took time to come back to Zimbabwe during the inclusive government era to serve as a Co-chair of the technical committee in the constitutional making process in Zimbabwe and as Advisor to the former Prime Minister of Zimbabwe, the late Morgan Tsvangirai from 2009 to 2013.
Magaisa was a husband, brother, father, lecturer, uncle friend and comrade who had a special interest in informing people about their surroundings especially things that related to the law. Affectionately known as WaMagaisa as was his signature on the BSR blog, Doctor Magaisa became popular for his love to unpack constitutional matters as well as current affairs in simpler terms that everyone can understand.
The BSR was not only popular with the young but even the elderly people loved the BSR at some point the blogger shared feedback from one of his readers in Bikita who traditionally used to get data bundles and the weekly BSR from her daughter.
These messages show the impact and reach of the BSR.
Doctor Magaisa was a constitutional law expert and a passionate campaigner and a solid thinker who had a gift of explaining things so that anyone could understand. This made him a campaigner who took his time to educate people on human rights. He made enormous contributions to the human rights discourse through his ability to simplify the law.
Rest In Peace WaMagaisa your ability to explain things and break them down to everyone will be missed.
Lucy Chivasa is a Constitutional and Human Rights Lawyer and alumni of the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung Youth Leadership. She writes in her personal capacity.