Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa
Conseil pour le développement de la recherche en sciences sociales en Afrique
Conselho para o Desenvolvimento da Pesquisa em Ciências Sociais em África
مجلس تنمية البحوث الإجتماعية في أفريقيا


Tribute to Thandika Mkandawire by Tukumbi Lumumba-Kasongo

I am expressing here a deep anguish for losing a pan-African intellectual and brother!

I am profoundly sad to receive the news of the passing of Thandika Mkandawire, a comrade and genuine pan-African scholar/organic intellectual. Africa and the world have lost a genuine critic of liberal economics as prescribed by the Washington Consensus and adopted in the African conditions.
I was invited by Cadman Atta Mills to join CODESRIA in 1984 when I was teaching political science and chairing the Department of political science at University of Liberia in Monrovia.

I was warmly welcomed to CODESRIA by a core of critical scholars such as Samir Amin, Bernard Founou-Tchuigoua, Thandika Mkandawire, Cadman Atta Mills, Peter Anyang, Mahamood Mamdani, Abdoulaye Bathily, to cite only a few. Since then, I have worked on various research projects closely with Thandika Mkandawire in CODESRIA after Cadman Atta Mills left Dakar to Washington, DC.

Over the years, from Dakar, to Harare, Algiers, Casablanca, Abidjan, Nairobi, Kampala, I was involved in various workshops, conferences and research projects in which Thandika Mkandawire played a central role as a mentor. He believed in African paradigms making and in production of African responses to world events. A critic of world history and modernization school of thought, he strongly believed in the role of African organic intellectuals in rethinking Africa within a framework of Academic freedom.

One of the programs in which his perspective became mostly articulated is on Structural Adjustment Program (SAPs). I was selected, among more than 15 other African scholars, to work on this project as a researcher; and we produced a comprehensive interdisciplinary body of knowledge on the SAPs and their social, economic and political consequences in Africa. Thandika Mkandawire was passionate and proud of our collective response to the SAPs. The outcome of this work was published by CODESRIA as a pioneering thought and intellectual response originated from African scholars.

Whether it was a project on social movement or governance, he was intellectually present in most of the programs I was involved in at CODESRIA before he moved to other professional positions.

His commitment for knowledge creation and distribution as the foundation of policy making and his search for African paradigms are some major aspects of his legacy.

In the Bantou philosophy and cosmology, good people and their blessed spirits do not go far away after changing their physical stations. Thandika Mkandawire has joined the world of permanency as an ancestor watching over his communities.

May his Soul rest in peace forever.