Professor David Jambgwa Simbi was born on 6 June 1952 near Nyazura. He enrolled at Dowa Council Primary School in 1959, transferred to Nyazura Mission in 1966 and finally Solusi Secondary School in 1970. David’s first employment was as a Technical Laboratory Assistant and Temporary Secondary School Teacher at Solusi after his ‘O’ Levels in 1972. In 1974, David secured a place and enrolled at Glenside Hospital in Bristol, UK for a Mental Health Nurse Certificate at Brunnel College.
Concurrently, he studied for his Ordinary national certificate in Maths, Physics and Chemistry. David immediately enrolled for a BSc in Applied Chemistry at the University of Portsmouth in 1977. Graduating with BSc Hons degree in 1981, David was offered a PhD scholarship in Metallurgy specializing in Corrosion Engineering at the University of Leeds and successfully defended his thesis in 1984.
After completing his PhD David returned to Zimbabwe, and in 1985 was appointed a Manager responsible for Technical Development at ZISCO Steel (Pvt) Ltd. In 1988, David joined the University of Zimbabwe as a lecturer in and was promoted to Senior Lecturer in 1994. He was approached and requested to take up the post of Works Executive at ZISCO in 1999 in a bid to resuscitate and operationalise Blast Furnace No. 4 and returned to the UZ upon completing his task in 2000.
In 2002, he was promoted to Associate Professor and eventually Full Professor in 2005. Professor Simbi contributed immensely to the Metallurgical Engineering field at the University of Zimbabwe and other Universities within the region. He chaired the Department of Metallurgy for 2 terms between 1991-94 and 1996-99 and also serving as Deputy Dean from 1997-1999 and briefly in 2003 before taking over the full reigns as Dean of the Faculty of Engineering towards the end of the same year. In 2005 he was appointed the Pro Vice Chancellor of Chinhoyi University Technology (C.U.T) and has been the Vice Chancellor of C.U.T from 2006.
Professor Simbi has held several Visiting appointments (Visiting Research Fellow, Visiting Senior Lecturer and Visiting Professor such prestigious institutions as University of Cape Town, University of Zambia, British Steel Corporation, Duisburg University and Aachen University of Technology both in Germany. He also sits on a number of Boards including Tobacco Industries Marketing Board and SIRDC and he is also the current Chairman of Kwekwe Polytechnic Advisory Council. He was also the Vice Chairman of the Manicaland University of Applied Sciences Foundation Committee. Professor Simbi has taught and continues to teach several courses in Metallurgy and Chemical Engineering ranging from pyrometallurgy, corrosion engineering, construction materials, fuels, energy and environmental studies. He has also successfully supervised 13 MPhil students and 6 DPhil students. Professor Simbi has published over 50 papers in refereed journals. He has also reviewed a number of books mainly in corrosion and has also published numerous technical reports of consultancies. He is currently working on a text book on Corrosion for undergraduate.
Professor Simbi acknowledges the contributions made by various professionals and people in his academic development. Notable ones are: his cousin, the late Professor Made, the former UZ librarian who took care of all his educational needs during secondary school, his several mentors from the University of Portsmouth and the University of Leeds, his long time colleague and friend, Dr. Chinyamakobvu for providing the necessary competition when it came to research publications and of course his father and mother, who unknowingly provided his foundation as a seasoned metallurgist and chemical engineer.
Lastly, Professor Simbi does not live on his own. He is a very happily married man to Margaret Masenda-Simbi and the couple has been blessed with three children 2 girls and 1 boy. He draws most of his inspiration from his family, Mrs. Simbi and the children and God Almighty.