umm Abdillah, Radio Islam Programming - 2014.10.14
Tributes have been pouring in for internationally renown academic, Professor Ali Mazrui. He was household name in Kenya and his intellectual contributions played a major role in shaping African political scholarship. He passed away on Sunday night in the US after an illness. He was 81, and survived by a wife and six children. Muslims for Human Rights (Muhuri) chairperson Mr Khelef Khalifa said the body of Prof. Mazrui would be flown to Kenya for burial.
Mazrui authored over 30 books and hundreds of essays, influencing ideas about Africa among scholars and members of the general public alike. He became a well-known figure outside of academia in 1986, when he wrote and hosted the nine-part television series The Africans: A Triple Heritage, broadcast in England on the BBC and in the United States on PBS. The show’s subtitle refers to the three legacies– Islamic, indigenous, and Western–that have been most apparent in the formation of modern African identity. The accompanying book of the same title became a best seller. Colonial and American conservatives condemned the series for what they perceived as an anti-Western bias. Mazrui was implicit in his view that colonialisation and the West shared the blame for Africa’s ills. He insisted that part of the intent of The Africans was to restore balance to the overwhelmingly pro-Western coverage of African matters generally seen in America, by presenting a purely African perspective.
Pan-African and anti-colonialist views became ongoing themes in Mazrui’s writings over the years. In 1971, a military coup brought Idi Amin to power in Uganda. For a while, Mazrui was one of Amin’s favourite intellectuals. Within a year, however, he was forced to go into exile.
Tanzania's Deputy Minister of Communication, Science and Technology, January Makamba, paid tribute saying Mr Mazrui "taught me to appreciate and value Africa's complex identity and multiple heritages".
Speaking on Sabahul Muslim this morning, Moulana Ashraf Dockrat recalled Prof. Mazrui’s anti-drone talk at the University of Pretoria. He believed drones were not just a method of destruction, but to an extent imposed an American world-view on they people they bombed. Moulana Ashraf deferred to Abdus Samad Bemath of Lenasia for further reference on Professor Mazrui’s works and achievements.