Dr Josephat Martin (Fanyana Mutyambizi) Harvey

We present three obituaries of Martin Harvey. These are: (i) An obituary by Heneri Dzinotyiweyi which appeared in Newsday (9 March 2011); (ii) An article by Milton Kamwendo which appeared in The Sunday Mail (Zimbabwe) (22 July 2018); and (iii) a blog by Peter written on 10 April 2011. We also give a list of Martin Harvey's publications. First we give two additional pieces of information about Martin Harvey.

(a) Martin Harvey is listed as a participant at the Proceedings of the International Congress of Mathematicians held in Helsinki, Finland, from 15 August to 28 August 1978.

(b) The Yearbook of the Faculty of Actuaries in Scotland 1987 contains the following entry: 1986 Harvey, Josephat Martin, B.Sc., Ph.D., 2 Shelley Lane, Strathaven, Harare, Zimbabwe.


1. Obituary: Dr Josephat Martin (Fanyana Mutyambizi) Harvey

The following obituary by Heneri A M Dzinotyiweyi appeared in Newsday (9 March 2011). Its author, Heneri Dzinotyiweyi, is a professor of mathematics and Minister of Science and Technology Development. We give a version of the obituary below:


Dr Josephat Martin (Fanyana Mutyambizi) Harvey 12 November 1949 to 18 February 2011

"What does it all add up to?" was the title of a farewell lecture by the late Nigerian mathematician, Professor Adegoke Olubummo, when he retired from the University of Ibadan in the mid 1990's after lecturing there all his professional life.

He had started that profession with a firm belief that Nigeria, being such a big country endowed with many natural resources, would embrace mathematics and accelerate its development better than even the smaller European countries.

Now he was reflecting on the reality of his experience, far from the dreams he started with.

I was reminded of that lecture when I received the sad news that Dr Josephat Martin Harvey, a talented Zimbabwean mathematician, had passed on quietly in his sleep in the morning hours of 18 February 2011.

Martin is late but I know his works will live forever. I have been privileged, not only to know Martin, but even more, to see him in action;

I have seen him displaying a very unusual talent - a gift of nature, a gift from God - where he would enter into deep thought and end up acting like a prophet with new ideas of mathematics flowing through his pen as new mathematical theorems, theorems that are elsewhere not found except under his name.

That is what Martin left us to study and build on. I am humbled to write this obituary on Martin.

Martin was born on 12 November 1949 and was the eldest in a family of three children, all brought up by a hard-working mother who strove to send all her children to school, through the usual battle against racism.

Being the eldest child and with their mother having to work long hours every day, Martin had to cook for and look after his younger siblings.

From that early experience, he acquired good organisational skills - qualities that continued to characterise his approach to work throughout his profession.

He also developed a strong sense of responsibility; indeed I could see several members of the audience moved to tears as his daughter, his son, his surviving sister and close relatives, one after another, underlined his love: "Martin would never let you down," was their common message at his burial service.

His mother worked in South Africa, in Malawi and of course in Zimbabwe, taking the family with her throughout.

Martin took advantage of that exposure to learn as much as possible from what each place could offer.

For instance he became fluent in the languages he encountered: Shona, Zulu, Ndebele, Chewa, English and French.

He did his primary school education at Mbare and Empandeni Mission in Zimbabwe and also in Malawi at Henry Henderson Institute over the years 1956 to 1962.

This was followed by secondary school education in Malawi at Blantyre Secondary School from 1963 to 1964 and then in Zimbabwe at Saint Ignatius College from 1965 to 1968.

It was from St Ignatius College that news of an exceptionally talented student of mathematics started spreading to other secondary schools all over Zimbabwe.

There, Martin obtained the Cambridge School Certificate with a first division in nine subjects in 1966 and then passed the Cambridge Higher School Certificate with Grades A in Physics, A in Pure Mathematics and D in Applied Mathematics in 1968.

Not only did he do so well in mathematics, but he was the first student in the country to pass A-level mathematics as a double course, i.e. two separate mathematics subjects.

At that time most students entered university after passing mathematics with low grades: E, D and good ones would get C.

It was considered exceptional to get a B, and an A was simply a rarity.

Performing so well in mathematics at a time racism excluded black students from the subject and insults were commonly levelled at them through phrases such as "blacks cannot think in three-dimensions" turned Martin into a hero of the deprived black students all over the country.

Martin was adored, became a source of pride and was commonly cited as an example to show that black students could do well in mathematics.

Martin did his B.Sc. from 1969 to 1971, majoring in Mathematics and Physics, winning prizes for the best science student every year and passed the degree with an Upper Second Class.

In 1972 he became the first student to study for the (one year) B.Sc. Special Honours in Mathematics which he passed with a First Class.

With that exceptional achievement, Martin could have gone for graduate studies at Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard or any other university and a scholarship would not have been a problem to obtain, despite the racial discrimination at the time.

However his sense of responsibility to look after the family dominated his decision and thus resolved to pursue his profession locally.

This should be understandable for then Martin had married a beautiful wife, Alda Winny (née Tanyongana); she could not have let him out of her sight anytime.

Fortunately, despite the racism then prevailing in the country and in some sections of the University of Zimbabwe, the Department of Mathematics had impartial staff that genuinely sought to promote teaching and research in mathematics and was actively seeking to attract any students talented in the subject.

Martin was therefore readily employed, becoming the first black member of staff, first as a teaching assistant from 1972 to 1974 and as lecturer from 1975 onwards.

Alongside his teaching responsibilities he embarked on research for a D.Phil. degree in Mathematics under the supervision of Dr Gavin Hitchcock.

Apart from a brief research visit to the University of St Andrews in 1978 to 1979, Martin did most of his research at the University of Zimbabwe.

It was a lonesome experience, with only his supervisor and one other pure mathematician, Professor Alastair Stewart, available to exchange ideas meaningfully on his research.

Mathematicians generally need collaborating company to sustain intensive levels of thinking needed to inspire the brain to come up with solutions to problems under investigation.

That is particularly critical at the initial level of doing research. Despite that isolation, Martin succeeded and became the first person to receive a doctorate in mathematics at the University of Zimbabwe in 1980.

That laid the foundation for continued research with his results published in various international journals of mathematics and also presented at a wide range of conferences.

Martin's published works are in the mathematics field of topology with an emphasis on category theory.

This is a Zimbabwean who has raised the country's flag internationally for indeed it would not be surprising to find that every good university in the world is likely to house some of Martin's published results.

Thus Martin's mathematics can be found in universities in Africa, North America, Asia, China, Europe, Russia, etc.

Martin also served the University of Zimbabwe as a member of various committees and related administrative positions.

Following our national independence in 1980, the University of Zimbabwe naturally faced challenges of transformation with black scholars having to be accommodated, with all appointments based on merit and no discrimination.

Martin was unanimously elected Dean of the Faculty of Science in 1984. That shows the level of trust scholars in the Faculty of Science had in him.

Martin became the first black to hold that position in the university.

Though the university provides rules and regulations for running its faculties, Martin sought to improve efficiency by producing a Dean's manual that subsequent deans found vital to apply and continue to use to this day.

I joined the University of Zimbabwe soon after our national independence in 1980 and found Martin a highly motivated colleague in developing mathematics and its relevance to national development.

Though our fields of specialisation were different, there were common areas on which to exchange views.

These were areas that fed well into our independent research activities.

We both viewed mathematics in a very broad manner encompassing abstract and pure mathematics, applied mathematics, mathematical physics, statistics and computer science.

We dreamt of building a School of mathematics encompassing all these disciplines and saw the School, one day, becoming the heart of mathematical sciences in Southern Africa where scholars would also engage in problem-solving of issues of national and regional development.

We even wrote a joint paper highlighting how we saw this evolving and presented it at the Inaugural Conference of the Southern Africa Mathematical Sciences Association (SAMSA) held at the University of Botswana in 1981.

I did not realise that our discussions on the wider applications of mathematics would get Martin carried away to the point of changing his career path.

He got interested in applications of mathematics to finance and ultimately studied Actuarial Science and eventually became one of the few actuaries Zimbabwe has produced.

So Martin retired from the University of Zimbabwe in 1985 to begin his actuarial science career with Old Mutual, later Zimnat and then Southampton Assurance Company.

Actuarial Science, being an applied field of mathematics, relies on logic and thrives on respect for certain fundamentals.

The collapse of the economic fundamentals in the 2 000 years frustrated the role of an actuary and Martin left the country to join the University of Western Cape as a senior lecturer in mathematics. He held that position till his death.

Alongside all his professional activities, Martin was a poet and he wrote extensively.

He was an artist and produced oil paintings and played the jazz flute.

He read, thought and scribbled here and there his thoughts on Philosophy inspired by his belief on the convergence of religions.

He saw himself as a philosopher in every sense of the word.

At the time of his death Martin was busy compiling into book form his poetry, short stories and writings on philosophy - a challenging assignment that I hope members of the family will endeavour to complete.

Martin was blessed to have 5 children: Jabulani, Bongani, Marcia and the late Tulani and Vumani.

His wife, Winny, his sister Lucy Sibongile Mombeshora, his mother and six grand children are among the surviving members of Martin's immediate family.

Now Martin is late. We bade farewell to him at the burial of his body in Harare on 28 February 2011.

Will his life story inspire our scientific community, our young students of mathematics, our universities and indeed all Zimbabweans?

How can that be assured of happening? The British mathematician, Maclaurin, who discovered mathematical series that are now taught in A-level mathematics, was a professor at the University of Aberdeen in the 1720s.

Today the small lecture theatre he used is the university's eyecup. Whenever there is a distinguished visiting mathematician to give a lecture, the whole audience is made to squeeze into the small lecture room and hold the lecture there despite the existence of better modern lecture theatres nearby.

The university also teaches mathematical series more intensively than is normally done in most universities - just to raise and keep the tradition of series in the memory of Maclaurin.

Will Zimbabweans do the same or something else in memory of Martin?

I trust that what Martin left behind constitutes a good foundation to build on to answer the question, "What does it all add up to?"

Martin, rest in peace.

2. Martin Harvey - Shine with mathematical brilliance

Milton Kamwendo wrote an article in The Sunday Mail (Zimbabwe) about Martin Harvey several years after his death. The reference is as follows:

M Kamwendo, Shine with mathematical brilliance, The Sunday Mail (Zimbabwe) (22 July 2018).
https://www.sundaymail.co.zw/shine-with-mathematical-brilliance

We give a version of the article below:


Shine with mathematical brilliance

In the early 1980s two brilliant Zimbabwean Mathematicians met at the University of Zimbabwe. They became friends, they sparred mentally and their quick and deep minds fertilised great ideas and inspiring thoughts and possibilities with Mathematics as the engine. They naturally became brothers for life.

On February 18, 2011, one of them sadly passed on. His surviving friend, a professor of Mathematics, Heneri Dzinotyiweyi, was the best qualified to write an obituary in honour of his colleague. He obliged and wrote a riveting ode to his friend in the NewsDay of March 9, 2011. The obituary shed some beautiful light on the life story of a great and talented mathematician, Dr Josephat Martin Harvey. This inspired me to write this instalment.

Past is not equal to future

The name you are born with is not always the name you will die with. The past is not equal to the future. You can change your life's equation. Dr Martin Harvey, as he was popularly known as, was born Funyana Mutyambizi on November 12, 1949. He was the eldest of three children born to a hardworking mother who strove to fend for her children and send them to school. It was difficult, the employment opportunities were limited and the racial and gender segregation of the time did not make things any easier.

Martin had to mature quickly and learn to cook and look after his siblings. Wherever opportunity called, Martin Harvey's mother took her children along. His mother worked in South Africa, in Nyasaland (now Malawi) and Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe).

Do not complain too quickly because what you go through is a gift that life gives you. Use the opportunities you get for there is blessing in every adversity. Think beyond your struggles and challenges, and fight the right battles. Be obsessed with where you are going and attack life with a crusader mentality. Faced with seeming chaos, a mathematical mind will apply chaos theory to see and model patterns that an undisciplined mind will miss.

Be intentional and focused, work with clarity while others complain with alacrity. For Martin, he used his family's frequent movements to learn languages that he may never have mastered. He became fluent in Shona, Zulu, Ndebele, Chewa, English and French. Whenever you have an opportunity to learn a language, seize it. Whenever there is something you can learn, seize that opportunity. You can never be made smaller by learning something new.

Lay foundations 

From 1956 to 1962, Martin Harvey did his primary school education in Mbare and at Empandeni Mission in Zimbabwe, before proceeding to Henderson Institute in Malawi. He then did his secondary school education in Malawi at Blantyre Secondary School from 1963 to 1964 and moved back to Saint Ignatius College, in Zimbabwe from 1965 to 1968. It was while he was at St Ignatious that his fame for mathematical brilliance started.

There, he obtained the Cambridge School Certificate with a first division in nine subjects in 1966 and then passed the Cambridge Higher School Certificate with Grades A in Physics, A in Pure Mathematics and D in Applied Mathematics. This was in 1968 and his results were an international and rare feat for an African boy.

Your circumstance must never stop you from being the best you can be. You are not limited, stop citing the conditions of your life as the reason for your circumstances. Nothing can stop a determined soul. You can blaze your trail on the map of greatness.

Despite the challenges that Martin faced, he shined. Under the prevailing system then, black students were considered incapable of "three dimensional thinking". Martin's record broke that myth. Do not allow your life to be controlled by superstition and myths. Shine where you are and do the best with whatever you have. Greatness is possible, make it your magnificent obsession.

Do not let other people's prejudices become your reality. Be the best at whatever you are. You may not be a mathematical prodigy or genius, but whatever you are doing, do it with all your heart. Shower it with excellence and big dreams. Excellence has wings that lift you to opportunities that are beyond your current limitations.

Proceed and do not stop 

You may walk slowly, progress may be stalling, but never walk backwards or look backwards. Martin Harvey went on to University of Zimbabwe and did his BSc in Mathematics and Physics from 1969 to 1971, scoping the best science student book prizes yearly. He kept on his Mathematical path. In 1972, he proceeded to become the first student to study for the B.Sc. Special Honours in Mathematics and passed with a First Class.

With such a distinction, he could have easily secured a scholarship to study abroad. Your greatness does not depend on the physically geography of your location, but the mental geography that locates your thinking. He resolved so take responsibility for his family and pursue his academic path at home in Zimbabwe. Love your country and be a patriot.

When you show commitment, it will show. When you excel at what you do, doors open. The talented, Martin was readily offered employment by the University of Zimbabwe as the first black member of staff then. He was a teaching assistant from 1972 to 1974 and lectured from 1975 onwards, while pursuing his Doctor of Philosophy in Mathematics, supervised by Dr Gavin Hitchcock.

For the most part, he had to work alone as he pursued his chosen path. Do not fear the lonely hours that you sometimes have to endure as you pursue your dream.

You cannot make noise and do productive work at the same time. Focus is a necessary part of the journey of greatness. Martin Harvey became the first person to receive a Doctorate in Mathematics at the University of Zimbabwe in 1980. His research was in the Mathematics field of Topology with an emphasis on category theory. He went on to publish his results in several academic journals and presented at conferences.

Your work in private will always benefit more people than you think. Do not give up or stop trying. Your lone struggle will be a blessing to many. You can do great things where you are and impact the world with your ideas. Harvey's Mathematics today can be found across the world in all the leading universities. Ideas know no boundaries.

In 1984, Dr Martin Harvey was elected Dean of the Faculty of Science, becoming the first black to hold that position at the university. Always keep scaling your ambitions and moving forward. Broaden your interests and keep thinking and working. Harvey did not settle after his Doctorate. He became interested in the applications of Mathematics to finance and went on to study Actuarial Science, eventually qualifying as an actuary.

Always ask what the next step is for you. If what worked in the past for you no longer works, do not park in despair and despondency. Tackle the next problem. Retiring from the University of Zimbabwe in 1985, Harvey began his actuarial science career with Zimbabwe's leading insurers. His journey took him through Old Mutual, later Zimnat and then Southampton Assurance Company. One tag never left him - he was a noted mathematician who loved his craft.

Alongside all his professional activities, Martin was a poet and he wrote extensively. He was an artist and produced oil paintings and played the jazz flute, he loved life. He read widely, thought deeply, scribbled often, fiddled as a philosopher of the convergence of all things.

In Mathematics you normally meet this abbreviation - "QED", standing for quod erat demonstrandum. This is used to denote the end of a proof to some proposition. I guess that I will now insert "QED". Only one problem remains unsolved in my mind - how did Funyana Mutyambizi end up being known as (Josephat) Martin Harvey?

3. The Matherati: Martin Harvey

The following was published by Peter on 10 April 2011 in http://vukutu.com/blog/2011/04/the-matherati-martin-harvey/


Writing in Bertinoro, Italy, I have just learnt of the death earlier this year of J. Martin Harvey (1949-2011), a friend and former colleague, and one of Zimbabwe's great mathematicians. Martin was the first black student to gain First Class Honours in Mathematics from the University of Rhodesia (as it then was, now the University of Zimbabwe), the first person to gain a doctorate in mathematics from that University, and the first black lecturer appointed to teach mathematics there. (Indeed, his three degree certificates name three different universities - Rhodesia, London, and Zimbabwe - but all were granted by the same physical institution.) He later became an actuary, one of the few of any colour in Zimbabwe, but this was a career that lost value with the declining Zimbabwe dollar: actuarial science is about financial planning under uncertainty, and planning is impossible and pointless in an economy with hyper-inflation. He then became part of the great Zimbabwean diaspora, lecturing at the University of the Western Cape, in South Africa.

Martin was a true child of the sixties, with all the best qualities of that generation - open, generous, tolerant, curious, not pompous, democratic, sincere. He was a category theorist, and like most, a deep thinker. Martin was a superb jazz flautist, and on his travels would seek out jazz musicians to jam with. He wrote and recited poetry, and indeed could talk with knowledge on a thousand topics. I once spent a month traveling the country with him on a market research project we did together, and his conversation was endlessly fascinating. Despite our very different childhoods, I recall a long, enjoyable evening with him in a shebeen [an unlicensed establishment or private house selling alcohol] in rural Zimbabwe talking about the various American and Japanese TV series we had both seen growing up (which I mentioned here). Among many memories, I recall him once arguing that a university in a Marxist state should have only two faculties: a Faculty for the Forces of Production, and a Faculty for the Relations of Production. There was great laughter as he insisted that the arts and humanities were essential to effective production, and so belonged in the former faculty; this argument was typical of his wit and erudition.

Our mutual friend, Heneri Dzinotyiweyi, another great Zimbabwean mathematician, has a tribute here. I send my condolences to his wife, Winnie Harvey, and family. Vale, Martin. It has been an honour to have known you.

4. Papers by J Martin Harvey.
We give a list of Harvey's papers:
  1. J M Harvey, Reflections and factorization, Math. Colloq. Univ. Cape Town (1974), 19-22.

  2. J M Harvey, T0-separation in topological categories, in Proceedings of the Second Symposium on Categorical Topology, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, 1976, Quaestiones Math. (1-3) (1977/78), 177-190.

  3. J M Harvey, Topological functors from factorization. Categorical topology, in Proceedings International Conference, Free Univ. Berlin, Berlin, 1978 (Lecture Notes in Math., 719, Springer, Berlin, 1979), 102-111.

  4. J M Harvey, A note on topological hom-functors, Proc. Amer. Math. Soc. 85 (4) (1982), 517-519.

  5. J M Harvey, Categorical characterization of uniform hyperspaces, Math. Proc. Cambridge Philos. Soc. 94 (2) (1983), 229-233.

  6. J M Harvey, Reflective subcategories, Illinois J. Math. 29 (3) (1985), 365-369.


JOC/EFR May 2019

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