Makerere University has joined Kenya, Africa and the world to mourn the death of renowned scholar and former lecturer Prof Ali Mazrui.
Mazrui, who passed on Monday morning in the US, taught at the country’s leading university for 10 years since 1963.
According to relatives, Mazrui died at Binghamton Hospital in New York aged of 81, after battling months of ailment.
Makerere University Vice Chancellor Prof Ddumba Ssentamu described the deceased as a “selfless scholar” who served in many of the leading institutions in the world.
The University has opened a condolence book at the Vice Chancellor’s Office, for those who wish to pass on their condolence messages.
According to Prof Ddumba, memorial prayers will be held at the Makerere University Mosque to coincide with his burial, at a date to be confirmed after consultation with family members.
Prof Mazrui was Makerere’s first ever African Dean of Faculty of Social Sciences, and is remembered by colleagues for introducing a number of courses in International Relations and Law, which have greatly transformed the now turned School of Humanities.
“Makerere will also remember him for his role at the university graduation ceremonies where he was appointed the official University orator, tasked with drafting citations for honorary degrees,” said Prof Ddumba.
In 2009 the University honoured him by initiating the Mazrui Endowment Chair and the East African Ali Mazrui Centre for Global Studies.
“On behalf of the Makerere University Council, Senate, Management, Staff and Students, I join the rest of the world in celebrating the life of a renowned educationist, scholar and mentor, Prof. Ali Mazrui,” said Ddumba.
Prof. Ali Mazrui joined Makerere University College as a political science Lecturer in 1963.
Ddumba said Mazrui’s name quickly became “synonymous with academic excellence” and a deep rooted desire for socio-economic growth on the African continent.
For the ten years he spent at Makerere University, 1963 -1973, Prof. Mazrui is dearly remembered for his distinguished service.
Ddumba said the deceased laid a firm foundation for the Department of Political Science where he served as Head of Department and Professor.
“Colleagues remember that during his tenure, Prof. Mazrui introduced courses in international relations and law, which have since gone a long way in making the Department more relevant to both local and international issues. He was also passionate about setting up an Institute of Diplomatic Studies to further give leverage to this Department, although this did not come to pass,” he added.
The University Chancellor said the institution made a mark the world over, at a critical time of shaping the post-colonial direction of many countries on the continent; through holding highly memorable public debates during Mazrui’s reign.
“Prof. Ali Mazrui was one of the outstanding key note speakers whose addresses the audience always looked forward to, thanks to his well researched and vibrant discussions in the historic Main Hall. His lectures in the Main Hall were always parked to maximum capacity, right from his inaugural one on “Ancient Greece in African Political Thought.”
“Makerere University will also remember him for the highly coveted role he played at the University’s graduation ceremonies; where he was the officially entrusted with drafting citations for honorary degrees awarded by the university.”