PROFFESSOR ALI A. MAZRUI IS DEAD: MY DIRGE

Ekhafu ya kamevele niyo ekamayanka elurende!
It goes a Bukusu saying, from Kenya,
It has it English equivalence as;
The most productive Milch- cow
is the one that often dies at the creek,
And truly Proffessor Ali A. Mazrui
Africa’s global intellectual Milch-cow
Has died today from his drinking creek,
At Birmingham hospital in New-York,
His death is a deep wound
To the world of knowledge,
An impeachment to the voices
Subscribing to classical reasons,
An old wine skin to the new wine
Of nothing but global democracy,
I mourn you Mazrui in this solemn dirge,
I grieve for you deeply from my heart
I grieve for you as you grieved Okigbo,
When the bullet took his youthful life

at Nzuka battle front during the Biafra,
My mind’s eye is seeing you,
Like my Mr. Giraffe the driver
In your political epic
That tried Christopher Okigbo,
Mazrui the global son
Sired in the neoclassical times
We shall miss you,
As there is no whence
That cometh another Mazrui
From all the four corners of the earth
Rarely will he come one more Mazrui,

You failed your O’level exams

at Mombasa Sec School
As you humbly basked

in Muslim poverty, in 1943
Not because you were a stooge
But a genius of cultural radicalism,
Refusing to answer a history question;
Who is the Archduke of Canterbury?
Dismissing it as academic sham,
For what value has Archduke of Canterbury
to an African, Asian or Mexican boy?

You were denied a chance to study
At the then colonial Makerere University,
You sublimated to Edinburg and Oxford,
You come back into its deanry of political science
You met Milton Obote face to face,
When he was an African-English song bird of Gulu
You shouted loud

when Id Amin plotted to Kill Okello Oculli
You were then detained

for this noise of humanity
You voice was heard,
And you were exported to southern Tundra
As an exhibit for non-white intellectual
Mazrui let me mourn you for the efforts
That sired intellectual democracy in Uganda,

When I reminisce of you Mazrui,
Pages of African Conditions open
Widely before my mind’s eye,
I see your intellectual pilgrimage
From Rudyard Kipling to Julius Nyerere
As you made your Al Hajji stone
at the graveyard of Shakespeare the bard,

You met Daniel Moi face to face
Daniel Moi the Kalenjin Cow of Dictatorship
And black Maestro of ethnic terror
You took this despotic Moi cow to the well,
You pleaded for it to drink politics of reason
But Mazrui I pity, you were unlucky;

Kalenjin cows never drink whatsoever
From the democratic wells of political reasons,

Mazrui Maalim the star of Islam,
I envy your for your elonguence
I envy you for the unique power of ideas,
I envy you for unique intellectual bravery,
I envy you for constant intellectual dynamism
For your firm stand against utopian socialism
For your intuition into Nkrumah’s Leninist czarism,
And Senghorean cultural despair in paradoxical negritude,
For your firm stand against Ngugi’s literary tribalism,

Mazrui the stellar saint of Swahili Nation
I remember your glowing tribute
In eulogy of Julius Nyerere the swahilist,
When you held the world stand-still
With your cadence in tribute to Mandela
You have used every English word in your scholarship,
Indeed Mazrui you are the African sky
that cannot be vilified by any dirty mouth,

Mazrui the angel of good thought
You cautioned Wole Soyinka in 1988,
When he embarked on his racist mission
That made him to call you a white African
Or a non- African African, An African Arab
In his blurred thoughts in dint of bigotry
Emanating from your Jekyll and Hide
Vintageously Serialized at Albert Schweitzer,
You sang to him ballads of the scholar
On the African of the soil and African of the blood,

Rest in peace Mazrui at the Fort Jesus
Let your glorious name and teachings
Remain permanent to the future people
As the stubborn stones of the Fort Jesus,
As your name takes the official knighthood
Of the leopard skin on death of the leopard,

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