Monday, May 25, 2009

Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem

as we celebrate africa day, we also celebrate the life of renown pan African scholar and expert, Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem.


he was a staunch activist, tirelessly promoting and advocating pan-African solutions to African problems. he tended not to dwell on what had gone wrong, but rather sought to find solutions from within.

he was, in the words of Firoze Manji we have indeed lost 'a giant' in the struggle.

i met him once, ten years ago, when i was doing an internship at Rwanda's then-brand-new first English newspaper. he walked into the office, and--although i knew who he was on paper--i did not recognize him in person. he began asking me questions about what i studied, what articles i was editing, etc. we eventually got onto the topic of a pan African solution to the instability in the Great Lakes Region and i wound up quoting him to himself, from an article i had read of his in a Ugandan newspaper the day before. it was not until i met him again a day later, at my parents' home that he laughingly told me who he was.

he was an Afro-optimist. he was great teacher. a true leader who walked as well as talked. a genuine believer in his continent and his people. and he truly considered all Africans his people. he was also a warm, open person who obviously loved engaging others in intellectual debate. he always wanted to be part of the solution. and he has been. he has helped pave the way. i hope we are able to continue the live up to the dream he and many others have had for this contine

he will be truly missed.

click here for a portrait of Dr. Abdul-Raheem as painted by Justice Africa, the organization for whom he was a director until this morning, when he was tragically killed in a car accident in Nairobi, Kenya en route to the airport, on his way to Rwanda.

condolences to all those whose lives he touched, particularly his wife Mounira Chaieb and his two daughters, Aisha and Aida.

"don't agonize, organize."--Dr. Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem