Obit: Ali Mazrui, African literary giant, citizen of the world, passes on – Tola Adenle

October 25, 2014

Africa, Arts & Culture

The announcement of Ali Mazrui’s death has just been received from a sister, a friend, Remi Omodele.

ALL OF US knew Mazrui or, at the very least, we all know ABOUT him and a little higher than ‘about him’, there are thousands of those on the periphery of the world he bestrode – a real colossus – who know about Who & What Mazrui represented, including this blogger.

In the days when I contributed Sunday essays to The Nation on Sunday, in my attempt to put a wannabe in his place when he believed he tore Soyinka apart by comparing two Greats, I wrote in part:

I am sure that if those more knowledgeable than us take Haruna’s critique apart – that’s what it tried to be – Mazrui’s title may be found to be apt but not for this “essay”. I’ve read both men’s writings and I respect both but even though one can struggle to understand the personification in Mazrui’s title – academics understandably have their issues – it does not fit Haruna’s piece.

May his fiery soul rest in perfect peace as he joins his ancestors.

The link below leads to materials – all courtesy Ms. Omodele – that should enlighten those who know little about Mazrui’s world, including a letter that becomes a second tribute by one of those who really knew him. TOLA.


SATURDAY, OCTOBER 25, 2014. 5:28 a.m. [GMT]

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6 Comments on “Obit: Ali Mazrui, African literary giant, citizen of the world, passes on – Tola Adenle”

  1. folakemiodoaje Says:

    May his soul rest in peace.



  2. Says:

    Brother Ali Mazuri will be remembered by those of us who came across him personally as one of the giants not just in African literary circles but in the whole continent, and a real citizen of the world. May Allah give him Eternal rest.



    • emotanglobal Says:

      Dear Doctor,

      Thanks for this. Those who were lucky like you to have met him describe a man whom you can never forget once you’ve met him. He left giant footsteps in the literary world beyond our continent.

      May he find eternal rest with Allah.




  3. ADEYEMI Says:

    Truly, Africa has lost another a titan into archive of antiquity! Antiquity or permanent oblivion? This is a debate for another day.

    Mazrui preached and campaigned to his fellow Africans to pursue and yearn for true independence and unconditional sovereignty. He journeyed all over the nooks and crannies of Africa talking to political leaders, business owners, peasants, housewives, students, etc. advancing the gospel seeking freedom from modern economic slavery. Sadly, as in several other cases, his own knows HIM not!

    A colossus in the annals of Africa’s literary history has gone! A great historian/philosopher is gone.

    I hope his works will not be left to gather dusts on the shelves of antiquity. Mazrui made giant strides on planet earth. May he rest peacefully in the world beyond.



    • emotanglobal Says:

      Dear Mr. Adeyemi,

      Nice to hear from you, and thanks for your contribution on the passing of a real colossus as distinguished from the lightweights in every human endeavor bandied around in our native Nigeria as “colossus”.

      Mr. Mazrui was most things an academic should be, including being brilliant, but he – like very few African academics, took on battles they might know they could never win but still soldier on. He fled Idi Amin’s Uganda but not before publicly criticizing the dictator who had wanted him on his cabinet.

      You’re very correct, Africa has lost “another” titan who stood up for his beliefs, whose scholarship is evident in the body of work that will long outlive him and, don’t worry; his dozens of books will not “gather dust on the shelves of antiquity” because these are read for pleasure AND research all over the world.




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