The burial of Kenyan Scholar Prof. Ali Mazrui, attracted thousands of people who came from all over the world, to pay their last respects. Prof. Ali Mazrui was buried on Sunday 19th October 2014 at his ancestral home in Fort Jesus, Mombasa. The burial was attended by high profile delegates and representatives from many parts of the world including the USA, Kenya, Nigeria, and Uganda – particularly Makerere University. A powerful delegation comprising of the Vice Chancellor of Makerere University, Prof. John Ddumba-Ssentamu, the Deputy Principal of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, Prof. Abasi Kiyimba and Nuha Mwesigwa of the Makerere University Private Sector Forum, MUPSF, travelled on behalf of Makerere University. Mwesigwa narrates that this delegation was recognized and thanked for making it to the burial of Prof. Ali Mazrui – an acclaimed Ambassador of Makerere University. After the burial, a few invited guests headed to the Agha Khan high School hall where tributes were read.
In his condolence message, the Vice Chancellor said Makerere University would continue with the Mazuriana projects. “We at Makerere will always remember Prof. Ali Mazrui for his dedicated service to this institution for the ten years he spent with us. 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, making him one of our most devoted Ambassadors. Makerere University is committed to carrying on the Mazruiana projects comprising of the Mazrui Endowment Chair and the East African Ali Mazrui Centre for Global Studies. This is our humble way of celebrating Prof. Ali Mazrui’s long and illustrious academic life,” he said.
Nuha Mwesigwa, who spoke on behalf of the Governor of Bank of Uganda Prof. Emmanuel Mutebile – the Chairman of MUPSF observed that, “The Mazrui Chair is intended to attract future scholars of exceptional distinction in the objective that any new holder would repeat Professor Mazrui’s illustrious record. The Chair will support nationally and internationally credentialed research professors and lecturers in teaching, research, innovations and knowledge management and exchange plus those engaged in writing and publishing.”
In her remarks, Prof. Mazrui’s widow, Pauline Uti – Mazrui shared that her husband always insisted that he was to be buried in Mombasa besides his late father’s grave. She was grateful that this request had been respected. She said Prof. Mazrui was a strong believer in God’s providence and that their home was always welcome to; since God would provide.
At Makerere University, many who were not in position to travel to Mombasa wrote moving testimonies about the departed scholar in a condolence book opened in the office of the Vice Chancellor. This book is now in the custody of the Mazrui family. Below are some of the written messages in the book:
Prof. Apolo Nsibambi (Former Prime Minister of Uganda): Prof. Ali Mazrui was a versatile academic giant, an orator, an excellent teacher, a loving critic of Governance and he published more than thirty books on topical issues. He was an effective Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences and Head of the Department of Political Sciences and Public Administration. He started the tradition of holding public lectures in the Main Hall. The controversial lectures attracted members of staff, students and people from outside the University. He took the University to the public. We must operationalise the Chair which he started at Makerere University. May his soul rest in eternal peace.”
Amb. Robert Ngesu, Kenyan Deputy High Commissioner (wrote on behalf of the High Commissioner and Staff of the Commission): “Prof. Ali Mazrui was a great Kenyan, a scholar, and an acclaimed academician who will be missed by many who interacted with him. Prof. Mazrui’s academic life was launched at Makerere University where he taught for over ten years, His academic and Scholarly footprints will eternally be in this University.”
Elizabeth Gabona (Commissioner for Higher Education in the Ministry of Education): Your legacy and inspiration will live on forever. Rest in peace.
Prof. Edward Kirumira, Principal of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences: “This is indeed a great loss to the social sciences and humanities fraternity at Makerere University and the continent. Our condolences. We pray that we uphold his legacy. May Prof. Mazrui’s soul rest in peace.”
Dr. Sallie Kayunga Simba (Mak, Department of Political Science and Public Administration), “Prof. Ali. Mazrui was a great man. I have an opportunity to read several of his books. I coordinated his visit to the Senior Staff and Command College, Kimaka. His suggestion towards conflict resolution in Africa is great. He was humble and easy to reach. I will miss him greatly.”
Dr. Muhammad Kiggundu, Chairperson Makerer University Academic Staff Association: “We thank God for the gift of Prof. Ali Mazrui. Me in the field of the study of Islam and Diplomacy, I will always take him as my model. May Allah rest his soul in eternal peace.”
Dr. Tanga Odoi (Makerere History Department): Prof. Ali Mazrui has held Africa and its heritage very well. He applauded the obvious fact that Africans had a history, culture and that the continent is the cradle of man, to the dismay of colonial-Euro centric scholars who thought otherwise. He remains alive through his revered works and we shall all keep him in our hearts. May his soul rest in peace.’’
Jackie Ayorekire, Finance Department Makerere University: “I have always liked Prof. Mazrui for his objective debates and it was sad indeed to hear about his demise. As believers, we should accept that his time had come, and forever remember him and talk about him to the next generation.”
Prof. P.E.T Mugambi (Uganda National Academy of Science): “I wish to pay a deep felt tribute to Prof. Mazrui for his singular contribution to Makerere University, Uganda and Africa as a brilliant intellectual. I joined Makerere University with him as an Academic member of Staff where we worked as colleagues.”
Hon. Irene Ovonji-Odida (Vice Chairperson of Makerere University Council): His contribution to intellectual thought made him a giant. May his soul rest in peace.
Ritah Namisango (Senior Public Relations Officer Makerere University): Prof. Mazrui as you meet your creator, may your soul rest in peace. Let your love for Makerere University continue to inspire us to build for the future.
Stephen Kateega (Deputy Dean of Students): Prof. Mazrui lit a light that will not be extinguished at Makerere University.
Mary Tizikara (Director Human Resources, Mak.): Your legacy will continue to inspire institutions. Rest in peace.
Rosette Senoga (Finance Department): Rest in peace Prof. Mazrui. You have left a foot print.
And so many more…
Compiled by Marion Alina, Public Relations Office
Rotary International President visits Mak
Rotary International President Shekhar Mehta has appreciated Makerere University for supporting and carrying forward the newly introduced programme aimed at advancing peace on the African Continent. Launched in January 2020, the Rotary Peace Centre at Makerere University runs a postgraduate diploma programme in Peace-building and Conflict Transformation. The hands-on program entails coursework that addresses topics including human rights, governance, and the role of the media in conflict. Other studies focus on refugees and migration, as well as resource and identity-based conflicts.
At a high level meeting held with the University leadership on 15th September 2021 at CTF1, President Shekhar Mehta said Rotary International was proud to be partnering with Makerere to promote peace on the African Continent. “The mere absence of war does not translate into total peace. Besides war, there are many other factors undermining peaceful co-existence. It is our duty to address these issues so as to create harmony in our communities. Through the Rotary Peace Centres across the globe, we are undertaking a number of initiatives aimed at promoting peace. Since 2002, the Rotary Peace Centres have trained more than 1,300 fellows who are working to advance peace in more than 115 countries. We are happy to work with Makerere University to foster peace and development on the African Continent,” he noted. President Shekhar Mehta, who was on a three-day tour of Rotary projects in Uganda, was visiting Makerere for the first time since the University won the bid to host the International Rotary Peace Centre, the first of its kind on the African Continent.
President Shekhar Mehta, who was in company of past and current Governors of Districts 9213 and 9214, said peace was a necessary catalyst for the progress of humanity and general development of nation states across the globe. Elected for the 2021-22 term, President Shekhar Mehta, through his year theme Serve to Change Lives, asks Rotarians to participate in service projects where they can make a difference in their communities and the people who live in them. Since he joined Rotary in 1984 as a member of the Rotary Club of Calcutta-Mahanagar, West Bengal, India, President Shekhar Mehta has led many major service initiatives in India and South Asia, including among others, constructing 500 homes for Tsunami survivors at Andaman and Nicobar Islands, and starting the Shelter Kit programme in India which has served about 20 disasters and benefited about 75,000 disaster victims.
Delivering her remarks, the Chairperson Council, Mrs. Lorna Magara appreciated Rotary International for entrusting Makerere University with the mandate to host the first rotary peace centre on the African Continent. “Choosing to house the Centre at Makerere University shows Rotary International’s trust and confidence in Makerere and her vision for building for the future. We are grateful for the opportunity to contribute to the advancement of Rotary International’s agenda. We also sincerely appreciate Rotarians all over the world who have committed funds to support the Rotary Peace Centre at Makerere University,” she noted. Similarly, she appreciated The Rotary Foundation (TRF) of Canada for setting up an endowment fund for the Peace Centre. “This will go a long way in ensuring the sustainability of the Peace Centre at Makerere University. The fund will help in the Capstone week where Fellows will present their social initiatives. These initiatives will showcase how the Rotary Peace Centre contributes to positive peace initiatives all over the world.”
In his remarks, the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe informed the President that the decision to establish the first Rotary Peace Centre in Africa at Makerere University was welcomed with ‘excitement and gratefulness’. “We consider this to be a vote of confidence in our efforts in the peace and conflict resolution agenda. We extend our appreciation to Rotarians in Uganda and beyond for selflessly supporting this noble cause.” The Vice Chancellor appreciated the leadership of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at Makerere, and the Director of the Centre, Dr Helen Nambalirwa Nkabala for their tireless efforts in ensuring the centre achieves the intended objective.
By the end of this year, the Centre will have hosted two cohorts of peace fellows. The first cohort was at Makerere University between February and May, 2021. Currently, these Peace fellows are carrying out their peace initiatives in their communities. The second cohort will report on September 27, 2021. In both cohorts, Peace Fellows were chosen from 20 countries and by the end of the year, the Centre will have had a total of 36 Fellows.