On behalf of the Makerere University Council, Senate, Management, Staff and Students, I join the rest of the world in celebrating the life of a renowned educationist, scholar and mentor, Prof. Ali Mazrui.
Prof. Ali Mazrui joined Makerere University College as a political science Lecturer in 1963. His name quickly became synonymous with academic excellence and a deep rooted desire for socio-economic growth on the African continent. For the ten years he spent at Makerere University, 1963 – 1973, Prof. Mazrui is dearly remembered for his distinguished service. He laid a firm foundation for the Department of Political Science where he served as Head of Department and Professor. He also became the first African Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences at Makerere Universit. Colleagues remember that during his tenure, Prof. Mazrui introduced courses in international relations and law, which have since gone a long way in making the Department more relevant to both local and international issues. He was also passionate about setting up an Institute of Diplomatic Studies to further give leverage to this Department, although this did not come to pass.
Makerere University made a mark the world over, at a critical time of shaping the post-colonial direction of many countries on the continent; through holding highly memorable public debates. Prof. Ali Mazrui was one of the outstanding key note speakers whose addresses the audience always looked forward to, thanks to his well-researched and vibrant discussions in the historic Main Hall. His lectures in the Main Hall were always parked to maximum capacity, right from his inaugural one on ‘Ancient Greece in African Political Thought.’ Makerere University will also remember him for the highly coveted role he played at the University’s graduation ceremonies; where he was the officially appointed University Orator — entrusted with drafting citations for honorary degrees awarded by the university. Prof. Mazrui consistently acknowledged Makerere University as the academic institution that made him who he was. He always paid tribute to his alma mater wherever he went.
In 2009 Makerere University honoured Prof. Mazrui by initiating the Mazrui Endowment Chair and the East African Ali Mazrui Centre for Global Studies. These two constituted the Mazruiana projects at Makerere University. In so doing, Prof. Ali Mazrui gave permission for his name to be utilized in perpetuity. For this Makerere University is sincerely grateful.
Through his works, Prof. Ali Mazrui impacted the continent in many ways including focusing research on key areas for Africa’s transformation. He was a selfless scholar, who indeed served in many of the leading universities in the world. He inspired many young scholars to pursue further studies and engage in research. Ali Mazrui was widely consulted on many issues including constitutional change, educational reform and leadership. It is little wonder that Prof. Mazrui received many recognitions including being recognized among the top 100 public intellectuals the world over by the American journal of Foreign Policy of Washington, DC, in 2005.
Prof. Ali Mazrui indeed lived a fulfilling life. We at Makerere University compare him to a continuous stream of knowledge, never wavering in refreshing all along its path. He was a great tutor and we thank the Lord for blessing us with one of his finest creations.
• A condolence book has been opened at the Office of the Vice Chancellor, Main Administration Building, Makerere University for all who wish to pass on their condolence messages.
• Memorial prayers will be held at the Makerere University Mosque to coincide with the burial of Prof. Ali Mazrui in Mombasa. The date will be communicated as soon as it is confirmed with the family of the deceased.
• A delegation from Makerere University will attend the burial in Mombasa.
May his soul rest in eternal peace.
Professor John Ddumba-Ssentamu