Minister Mthethwa on the passing of World Renowned African Scholar, Ali Mazrui

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14 Oct 2014

It is with sadness that we have learned of the passing on world renowned and leading African academic, scholar, writer, intellectual and, above all, critical thinker Ali Mazrui who died at 81 following illness.

Professor Mazrui was one of the most authentic, brilliant, wise and analytical voice to emerge from the African continent in the post-colonial period. The debate and discourse on the African condition and its fate following independence and freedom would be incomplete without him.

As scholar, intellectual, critical thinker and intellectual Ali Mazrui has, over half-a-century, build a solid reputation as one of the most insightful and eloquent voices in the African continent and global scene on the meaning of independence and freedom.

But it was his special attention to the power of culture that Professor Mazrui challenged and transformed the domination of politico-military perspective in world affairs to turn to culture.

He first ignited the South African nation to think about the complex issue of national identity and fusion of Western and African heritage in the continent through his television series, The Africans in the late 1980s that provoked a lot of discussion and debate in the country.

The subject matter of his writings ranged from politics, sociology, philosophy, languages, literature, history, heritage, religion, spirituality and demanded that people from all walks of life participate and contribute to discourse and dialogue.

He never hesitated to promote Pan-Africanist insight and perspective to inspire self-worth and pride among indigenous people of the continent. He was bold in his articulation of the thought and view that Africans must draw inspiration from their own indigenous knowledge systems, languages, history and culture to reclaim and assert their role and position in global affairs.

Significantly, in his illuminating and compelling writings of over 20 books – including Cultural Forces in World Politics - and countless speaking engagements he remained an African scholar and intellectual who chose sides to be among his people in the battle against the legacy of colonialism.

Indeed, Ali Mazrui was a unique scholar and intellectual in post-colonial African politics, more in the mold of revolutionary modernizer of globalization than embracing developments without critical thoughts.

He was unwavering in his commitment to use his scholarship, knowledge and insights for the development of Africa and her people.

Indeed, we offer our condolences to his family, the academic fraternity and all critical thinkers who derive their inspiration from towering African thinker and philosopher.

His spirit will live among us as we move forward with the African Agenda 2063.

For further details, contact the Spokesperson for the Minister, Sandile Memela at 0828003750.