Jairos Jiri

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Jairos Jiri (1921–1982) was born in Bikita, Southern Rhodesia.

History[edit]

Jiri was a philanthropist. In the early days of his childhood he had a dream of helping the disabled people. He started creating facilities in the 1940s for disadvantaged and disabled people in Rhodesia/Zimbabwe, using Christian principles of charity, patience and non-judgmental tolerance. The Jairos Jiri Association was founded in Bulawayo in 1950. The art centre outlet for the association quickly achieved prominence and by the 1960s was a prime source of curios for tourists. These items were made by disabled people and included tiles and tiled tables and wall plaques, carvings, pottery, painted artworks and sculptures. His rehabilitation centre in Bulawayo also fostered music and dance. By 1974 the centres had expanded and diversified to include homes for the disabled, and legal representation was gained locally and in the United Kingdom. Jairos Jiri centres and his philosophy are still a major resource for community action and charity in Zimbabwe.

Family[edit]

Jairos Jiri had 18 children in total and was divorced three times. He lived with his last wife Ethel Jiri and their six daughters: Patience, Precious, Primrose, Priscilla, Penelope and Pamela who was 11 days old when he died in 1982.

Ethel Jiri died from throat cancer and was buried alongside her husband in Bikita – Mutenyami village. Jairos Jiri was accorded a national hero's status in 1982 but his brother Ziwumbwa refused as he wanted him to be buried in the village. Jairos was buried in the Mutenyami Village in Bikita and the burial was attended by prominent people including the then Prime Minister of Zimbabwe, Robert Gabriel Mugabe.

References[edit]

  • Farquhar, June (1987). Jairos Jiri, the man and his work. Mambo Press. ISBN 0-86922-416-6.