We regretfully announce the passing of CAS Leadership Council Member, Dr. Farai Shonhiwa

December 15, 2021

It is with great sadness that we share the news of Dr. Farai Shonhiwa’s (HBS '10) recent passing. Farai graduated from the Harvard Business School, where she was also co-president of the Africa Business Club. The Africa Business Club hosts the world's largest student-run event focused on business in Africa. Farai was qualified as a medical doctor and completed all Chartered Financial Analyst levels.

Farai's expertise in healthcare strategy placed her as the Head of Healthcare at Centum Investment Group in Kenya, where she was responsible for the execution of East Africa's largest listed investment company's healthcare strategy before becoming the Group Strategy Director. Most recently, she was an independent advisor for strategic and operational services to clients across a range of sectors including healthcare, finance, and education.

The Harvard Center for African Studies was fortunate to have Farai on our Leadership Council where she partnered closely with Professor Emmanuel Akyeampong, Oppenheimer Faculty Director, with support from members from our Leadership Council, Africa Advisory Board, and faculty Executive Committee, in our most recent strategic planning process. She compiled a project plan that meticulously mapped out the process for developing our comprehensive strategic plan to address strategic and operational questions that have been integral in guiding our Center's work. Her kind enthusiasm and dedication to improve the Center will continue to benefit CAS long into the future.

We send our deepest condolences to Farai’s close family and friends.

A message in memoriam from the CAS Leadership Council Co-Chair, Sangu Delle (AB’10, MBA’16, JD’16):

Farai and I overlapped at Harvard. She completed her MBA at Harvard Business School from 2008 to 2010 while I was completing my junior and senior year across the bridge at Harvard College. Six years later, in my capacity as founding Co-Chair of the newly created Leadership Council at the Center for African Studies, I was tasked to create a shortlist of outstanding and dynamic young leaders on the African continent to be members of the Leadership Council and to engage with CAS and its Advisory Board members to shape CAS’ and Harvard University’s broader engagement with Africa. Farai was a no-brainer and at the top of this shortlist and joined our inaugural Leadership Council board. As Head of Healthcare and later Group Strategy Director for Centum, East Africa’s largest listed investment company with over $700 million of assets under management, Farai had quickly cemented a reputation as a visionary business leader with vast strategic and operational experience across Africa. At CAS, we benefited from her brilliance and dynamic leadership as she assisted us with our strategic plan. Farai was a hands-on, dedicated, passionate and diligent Leadership Council member who was always first to raise her hand to help and would deliver with the inspirational excellence that became synonymous with her name. I was so impressed with Farai’s contributions to CAS that I was thrilled to have her join the Board of Directors of Meridian Health Group, one of my company’s subsidiary healthcare companies in Kenya, where she was Chair of our Human Resources and Compensation Board Committee. As Archbishop Desmond Tutu Fellows, Farai and I had a shared passion for driving Africa’s socio-economic transformation. But beyond her extraordinary legacy of excellence in the professional spheres, Farai was a wonderful, thoughtful, and inspiring woman with an infectious laughter and a generosity that sprung from deep within her soul. It was a rare privilege to call her a dear friend and a sister. She will be deeply missed, and her legacy will carry on in our hearts as we continue her work of building Africa’s healthcare future. Rest in power, sis.

A message in memoriam from the CAS Leadership Council Co-Chair, Kayode Ogunro (AB ’05, HBS ’10):

To know Farai was to have the quintessential big sister. With each conversation she spoke life into me, looked out for me, and challenged me to be my very best self. Farai was a fellow co-conspirator on all things Harvard and Africa. While at HBS, we had the pleasure of serving together as Co-Presidents of the Africa Business Club (where she was a keen auditor of all party expenses I gleefully incurred). In recent years, we served together as members of Harvard CAS’s Leadership Council and never missed an opportunity to catch-up whether in Lagos, Joburg, or Boston. While Farai’s passing has been very painful, she leaves an indelible mark on the lives of so many people, including mine. Chinny and I would like to offer our deepest condolences to Fungai (HBS ’10) and the entire Shonhiwa family. We thank God for Farai’s life and all the memories we keep in our hearts.

“Well done, good and faithful servant!”