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Tributes paid to University of Kent law lecturer Dr Alex Magaisa following sudden death, aged 46

University staff and students have paid tribute to a "gentle, kind" law lecturer following his sudden death, aged 46.

Dr Alex Tawanda Magaisa tragically died after suffering a heart attack yesterday morning.

Dr Alex Tawanda Magaisa, law lecturere at the University of Kent, has died aged 46. Picture: University of Kent
Dr Alex Tawanda Magaisa, law lecturere at the University of Kent, has died aged 46. Picture: University of Kent

In his illustrious career, Dr Magaisa taught thousands of students at the University of Kent (UKC), and also worked as principal advisor to the Zimbabwean Prime Minister.

Professor Lydia Hayes, Head of Kent Law School, said: "Dr Alex Tawanda Magaisa was an incredibly gifted teacher and formidable academic writer.

"For 15 years he has inspired colleagues and students alike.

"He was warm, gentle, kind and charming – a true gentleman – yet passionate and sharp minded, a considerable intellect. We will miss him greatly."

Dr Magaisa, who was born in Zimbabwe in 1975, is also widely remembered for his contributions to reform in his beloved homeland.

Dr Alex Magaisa. Picture: Alex Magaisa/Instagram
Dr Alex Magaisa. Picture: Alex Magaisa/Instagram

He was a key advisor to the constitutional select committee that served the Zimbabwean people by drafting a new constitution that became law in 2013.

He was went on to be chief of staff and principal advisor to Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, helping him lead the Zimbabwean government of national unity in the period 2012-2013.

Dr Magaisa is described by Kent Law School colleagues as "a constitutional law expert, a passionate campaigner and formidable thinker who was admired around the world".

They add: "For many thousands in Zimbabwe, Alex was nothing short of a lion-heart, a hero.

"At Kent Law School we feel his loss immediately and join with Alex’s friends and admirers around the world in recognising his powerful legacy in matters of human rights, democracy, support for the rule of law and constitutional reform.

"Our deepest sympathy goes out to Alex’s family and to anyone who had the pleasure of knowing him."

A memory board has been set up online, where dozens of tributes have already been left by heartbroken colleagues and students.

One former student wrote: "Alex was a truly wonderful professor. He was one of the very few teachers that cared for each of his students individually.

"He was a kind man that took his time to make everyone he knew feel valued. I learnt so much from him and I am sure he touched the lives of so many.

"He ignited my passion for the constitutional law and thanks to him I have excelled. He was my favourite seminar leader and a great man. He spread so much joy across the campus.

"He will not be forgotten."

Another wrote: "He had the most wonderful energy about him and in his own words had a love and obsession of public law.

"Not only a scholar with a brilliant mind, he was a true gentleman with a big heart and a wonderful sense of humour.

"His smile would always light up the room. A very, very sad loss for Kent indeed.

"I feel very privileged to have been taught by him and extend my love and wishes to his family."

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