The global academia was Monday October 13 engulfed in an outpouring of grief following the death of Prof. Ali Al’amin Mazrui, Africa’s foremost scholar on African and Islamic studies. Mazrui who until his death was the Director of the Institute of Global Cultural Studies at the State University of New York at Binghamton, will be remembered for monumental scholarly capability and insights that has shaped international discourse for decades.
At Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, where the literary icon and mentor to many served as the inaugural non president Chancellor between 2003 and 2009, staff and friends reminisced over the demise of Prof. Mazrui. The death of Mazrui equally struck a raw cord with students who in their primary and secondary education levels remembered reading books and poems authored by the fallen hero.
Vice Chancellor, Prof. Mabel Imbuga who learned of Mazrui’s death from United Kingdom where she is on official visit, has eulogized the scholar as a man under whose guidance and wisdom, JKUAT threaded its way into global academic and research attention, a feat that has defined the institution to date.
”Professor Mazrui easily interacted with students and staff as a way of fostering dialogue, a situation that has remained part of the current JKUAT culture,” Prof. Imbuga intoned.
The Vice Chancellor equally recalled how the Professor of Political Science intellectually nudged JKUAT alumni to aim for more and never wait for greatness to be placed on their laps
“Drawing parallels of great and historical personalities like Alexander the Great, Napoleon Bonaparte, President Barrack Obama, Prof. Mazrui always reminded our students that the historical figures simply persevered to greatness,” averred Imbuga.
But Mazrui’s death sent shockwaves beyond the gates of JKUAT. At the national level, senior government official led by President Kenyatta could not hold back their grief.
In his condolence message, President Kenyatta eulogized Mazrui as a towering academician whose intellectual contributions played a major role in shaping African scholarship.
“His brilliance raised him to the apex of scholarly distinction and earned him respect and following among his peers globally,” Kenyatta said.
In his academic and professional journey, Prof. Mazrui has authored over 30 books and lectured or worked in five continents. He leaves behind a wife, six children and fond memories of a man who used his intellectual endowments to make humanity better.