Monday, 13 October 2014
THE POWERFUL EAST AFRICAN ACADEMIC ALI MAZRUI DIED IN NEW YORK
Professor Ali Mazrui is died at 81. Mazrui to be taken and buried in Mombasa as he had asked for He was a respected scholar who documented history in both films and writings. His checkered career saw him study in the Manchester University and Columbia University before he started teaching at Makerere University where he had been denied admission for ‘not meeting the entry mark. The best appointment he ever got locally was to be the Chancellor of Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology. Professor Mazrui did not fear controversy and intellectual debates. He rendered his arguments on film, on papers and public lectures with well researched presentations in which he allowed his critics enough room to rebut his arguments. Professor Mazrui leaves behind an intellectual legacy many will be proud of and at least dozens of literature we can imbibe in.
Mazrui's research interests included African politics, international political culture, political Islam and North-South relations. He is author or co-author of more than twenty books. Mazrui has also published hundreds of articles in major scholastic journals and for public media. He has also served on the editorial boards of more than twenty international scholarly journals. Mazrui was widely consulted by heads of states and governments, international media and research institutions for political strategies and alternative thoughts.He first rose to prominence as a critic of some of the accepted orthodoxies of African intellectuals in the 1960s and 1970s. He was critical of African socialism and all strains of Marxism. He argued that communism was a Western import just as unsuited for the African condition as the earlier colonial attempts to install European type governments. He argued that a revised liberalism could help the continent and described himself as a proponent of a unique ideology of African liberalism.
At the same time he was a prominent critic of the current world order. He believed the current capitalist system was deeply exploitative of Africa, and that the West rarely if ever lived up to their liberal ideals and could be described as global apartheid. He has opposed Western interventions in the developing world, such as the Iraq War. He has also long been opposed to many of the policies of Israel, being one of the first to try to link the treatment of Palestinians with South Africa's apartheid.Especially in recent years, Mazrui has also become a well known commentator on Islam and Islamism. While rejecting violence and terrorism Mazrui has praised some of the anti-imperialist sentiment that plays an important role in modern Islamic fundamentalism. He has also argued, controversially, that sharia law is not incompatible with democracy.In addition to his written work, Dr. Mazrui was also the creator of the television series The Africans: A Triple Heritage, which was jointly produced by the BBC and the Public Broadcasting Service (WETA, Washington) in association with the Nigerian Television Authority, and funded by the Annenberg/CPB Project. A book by the same title was jointly published by BBC Publications and Little, Brown and Company.