News and Views
Ali Mazrui, top Kenyan academic, dies in the US
Renowned Kenyan academic Ali Mazrui has died in the US aged 81 after being ill for several months.
Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta said Africa had been robbed of one of its greatest scholars.
Mr Mazrui had been “towering” academic whose “intellectual contributions played a major role in shaping African scholarship”, he added.
He had been a professor at Binghamton University in New York at the time of his death.
His body will be flown to Kenya for burial, said Khelef Khalifa, chairman of Kenya’s Muslims for Human Rights group.
“His nephew, Alamin Mazrui, has confirmed that the professor’s wish was to be buried in Kenya,” he is quoted by the local Daily Nation newspaper as saying.
Mr Mazrui has been a household name in Kenya and beyond.
His writings, though embedded in history, still resonate because he talks about the need to recognise national heroes, without worshipping them.
They also give insight into some of the greatest concerns currently facing the world as he wrote about terrorism and Islam.
In one of his books, Islam between Globalisation and Counter Terrorism, he explained how the religion was entrapped in the danger of rising extremism.
Mr Mazrui was a leading pan-Africanist whose academic research focused on African politics, north-south relations and political Islam.
He had authored numerous books, including The Africans: A Triple Heritage and Christianity and Islam in Africa’s Political Experience: Piety, Passion and Power.
In 2005, the US journal Foreign Policy and British journal Prospect listed him as among the world’s top 100 public intellectuals.
Mr Mazrui is survived by his wife and six children.