Solomon Guramatunhu is a Zimbabwean medical doctor that specializes in the surgical and medical care of the eyes. He attended Waterford Kamhlaba United World College of Southern Africa, obtained his undergraduate medical degrees from the University of Zimbabwe and postgraduate qualifications in ophthalmology from the Royal College of Surgeons of England and the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh.“Waterford etched into my constitution the fact that I am a full and equal member of the human race, expected to make my contribution to the betterment of society.”
“Waterford changed my life story in ways I had never imagined or dreamt about,” says Solomon Guramatunhu.
As a black child from the Rhodesian village of Inyazura (now Nyazura, Zimbabwe), Solomon would not have been able to access a first-class private school education in his own country.
He heard about Waterford and its founder Michael Stern from one of WK’s pioneer students, Professor Alan McGregor (WK 1963-1967). Mr Stern and Alan managed to secure a place and a scholarship for Solomon.
Solomon remembers being amazed when he arrived at the school in 1973: “Multiracial, multicultural, the general ambience was almost utopian.”
He was also struck by the beauty of Waterford’s setting and says he has vivid memories of taking walks and meditating on the mountains behind the school.
He also remembers the compassion which his peers showed him when his mother died in October that year. “The comfort and personal care I got from other students – in particular Hemant Nowbath – is unforgettable.”
Solomon says that WK taught him that all human beings are the same and that race, culture, religion and class need not be a barrier to achievement.
“Waterford etched into my constitution the fact that I am a full and equal member of the human race, expected to make my contribution to the betterment of society,” he says.
Waterford gave him the solid foundation on which he built his career, but it also inspired his involvement in projects that benefit underprivileged communities and society at large.
After Waterford, he studied medicine at the University of Zimbabwe. He then specialized in ophthalmology in Scotland, obtaining qualifications with England’s Royal College of Surgeons, as well as the Royal College of Surgeons Edinburgh.
He worked as the Chief Government Ophthalmologist for the Republic of Zimbabwe and feels privileged to have had the opportunity to establish the post-graduate training programme in ophthalmology at the University of Zimbabwe.
When other medical specialists fled the recent economic and political crises in the country, Solomon stayed and built a state-of-the-art eye clinic. He also founded Eyes for Africa, which offers free cataract surgeries to rural people in Zimbabwe and surrounding countries.
Solomon is a firm believer in the power of education and contributes to a number of educational initiatives in his country. He serves as the Chairman of Bindura University of Science Education and is the Patron of ZIMCARE TRUST, which raises funds for schools for the blind and deaf.
He is also the patron of the Zimbabwe Rural Schools Library Trust, which tries to get Zimbabweans to go back to their primary schools and fund the construction of libraries and computer centers. Leading by example, Solomon is involved in funding the first library and computer center at the primary school in Nyazura village where he learnt his ABCs.
Solomon appreciates the arts and is the current Chairman of the National Gallery of Zimbabwe. He is passionate about Shona sculpture and collects works by the first generation of sculptors. In the little free time he has, he also enjoys scuba diving and Latin and ballroom dancing.