SETAC Globe - Environmental Quality Through Science
 
  8 December 2011
Volume 12 Issue 12
 

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In Memoriam: Professor Michael Kishimba

Fred Heimbach RIFCON GmbH, Dr. Patricia Fai Vice/Acting President, SETAC Africa, Paul van den Brink SETAC President


Professor Michael Kishimba
Professor Michael Kishimba

Tribute to Professor Michael Kishimba
Fred Heimbach, RIFCON GmbH

Since 2004 I got to know Michael Kishimba as a reliable and committed colleague, one of the leading scientists in the environmental scientific arena of Africa. Since then I was able to meet him at his University in Dar es Salaam quite often, whenever I traveled to Tanzania. I now miss a good friend. Michael was well respected in the scientific community in Africa and around the world. He functioned as a key contact person between scientists in Africa and the western world. However, his primary focus was not his scientific career (although he became a well known and world-wide respected university professor), but he felt committed to environmental issues in East Africa and his country. He was aware about environmental problems in Tanzania, and he got involved addressing these problems. Since he was a straightforward and upright person, he was even well respected by his government – although governments in developing countries usually do not like to tackle environmental issues. One day he told me an occurrence which nicely indicates Michael’s attention and his acceptance and recognition even by the Tanzanian government: Obsolete stocks of expedient insecticides are one of the major environmental problems in many African countries including Tanzania. One day Michael tried to trace one of these stocks and he got personal permission from the Tanzanian president to evaluate the governmental files for this stock: however someone removed all documents beforehand. I consider this a very good example of Michael’s commitment and respect as a person and environmental scientist in a very poor country, as well as for the issues such a person faces in his country. Michael, we will miss you not only as a good friend, but also as a scientist engaged in environmental issues of East Africa.


Tribute to Professor Michael Kishimba
Dr Patricia Fai, Vice/Acting President, SETAC Africa

I first met Professor Michael Kishimba in Arusha, Tanzania as a student when he organized the 3rd SETAC Africa meeting in October 2006 in association with the African Network for the Chemical Analysis of Pesticides (ANCAP), which I attended. That meeting was a huge success in terms of participation of scientists from all over the world as well as the large number of new SETAC Africa members. The meeting was described by the then out-going SETAC Africa president Dr. Victor Wepener as one of the largest gatherings of African environmental scientists in recent years. In addition, short courses were organized which were greatly appreciated by all the students, including me, who attended. The success of this meeting could be attributed to the fact that Prof. Kishimba was a very well-respected scientist in Africa who was humble and able to make long-lasting friendships. As a result, he could collaborate with SETAC Europe and secure their support for the meeting as well as get renowned scientists from all over the world to attend and make high-level presentations. In addition, he was able to get a Minister from his government to open the conference and others from the ministry to attend and make presentations. From my experience, this is no easy task so it must have been possible due to the grand personality of Prof, Kishimba, which I always found very inspirational. Since then, he remained committed to SETAC Africa and became its representative at the SETAC Europe Council in 2007 and eventually the president in 2008. Under his leadership SETAC Africa continued to grow and spread to other parts of Africa and he was very eager to get SETAC Africa to a level that it could become an independent geographic unit (GU). It is sad that he has not lived long enough to see this happen. He was prevented by ill health from attending the 5th SETAC Africa meeting in Buea, Cameroon (31st May – 3rd June, 2011), where a decision was made by the council to request a GU status for SETAC Africa. His term of office as president expired at this meeting and Prof. Kishimba died on Tuesday 18th October, 2011 as the immediate past president of SETAC Africa. We in SETAC Africa have lost a great and charismatic leader, scientist, adviser, father, brother, friend, colleague and teacher; a loss that is hard to replace. We miss Prof. Michael Kishimba a lot already, especially at this very important period of transition into a GU.

Prof. Kishimba, we promise to do our very best to build on the solid foundation you have laid and get SETAC Africa to make great impacts in Africa. May your soul rest in perfect peace.


Tribute to Professor Michael Kishimba
Paul van den Brink SETAC President

It is with much sadness that I share the news on the passing of Professor Michael Kishimba of the Chemistry Department of University of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania. Michael Kishimba was the immediate past president of SETAC Africa and died on the 18th October of this year and was buried four days later. Between 2007 and 2010 Michael was a member of the council of SETAC Europe to represent SETAC Africa branch. In 2008, I had the pleasure to host Michael during the SETAC Europe council meeting in Wageningen, The Netherlands. Michael held several positions in various societies in Africa, most notably as Executive Secretary of the African Network for the Chemical Analysis of Pesticides (ANCAP), Secretary General of the African Association of Pure and Applied Chemistry (AAPAC), and as a Member of the Chemical Options Technical Committee of UNEP. His links with the international foundation for science helped the training of young African scientists. He was also one of the major ‘players’ in organizing the highly successful SETAC Africa Conferences in Arusha in 2006 and Kampala in 2009, of which we now see a picture of all the delegates, including Michael. In fact, it was under his leadership that the Arusha conference was organized. Michael’s contributions to the field of environmental chemistry in Africa are invaluable, as well as his efforts to establish and develop SETAC Africa. I will remember Michael as a true SETAC friend and as an outstanding scientist. I wish SETAC Africa, his friends and family all the best to cope with this loss.



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