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69 entries.
Mshai Mwangola Mshai Mwangola from Nairobi wrote on 15th April 2020 at 1:41 pm:
Today we formally farewell Professor Thandika Mkandawire as his physical body is laid to rest. His prodigious body of intellectual work remains with us, and for that, I am immensely grateful.
As many others, especially my colleagues in CODESRIA, I have been greatly influenced by Thandika, both directly as an individual, and indirectly as a member of the fourth generation of post-colonial academics nurtured by CODESRIA. I have cited his work - my very first publication on "nurturing the fourth generation" was indeed built on his own thinking, cited in this official tribute by CODESRIA's Executive Secretary, Godwin Murunga. I cannot remember how many times I have quoted his pithy, profound, memorable one-liners, especially to my peers and students, whether it be reminding us that we must be careful in negotiating the "networks" of relationships we enter into as African intellectuals, or in understanding what it means to "run as others walk" as we figure out how to meet our historical mission as the different generations engaged in intellectual work. I have used the "confession" he made with regard to his conversion to embracing feminist theories as an introduction to students on epistemic communities, as thinking, debating, engaging communities where the emphasis is not so much to defend positions but to grow together in thinking together. I have returned to his reflections on development and on SAPs to bolster my understanding of the contexts in which I work.
But perhaps my favourite memory of Thandika dates back to my first "real" encounter with him at my very first CODESRIA General Assembly. I have to admit that I was somewhat awed to be in that space with so many of intellectual giants whose names were familiar in bibliographies I was then reading as a graduate student. I was waiting for some friends in the lobby of the hotel, I think the plan was to go out for dinner. Thandika was "presiding" over a group sitting at some chairs in the lobby, engaged in some happy debate on something I can no longer remember. He spotted me standing by myself, called me to join them, mentioning a comment I had made in a session and saying he thought I had made a good point, and seamlessly integrated me into the group. If I remember correctly, when the friend I was waiting for came to the lobby, he insisted that she join us for a while before we went on our way. I learned an important thing about mentoring as a way of life and not an assigned task that day that I have carried through my own understanding and practice of nurturing and being nurtured by colleagues who share a space that I am in.
Farewell Mwalimu. You will be greatly missed - but oh, how so richly blessed we were as a community to have you!
Njuguna Ng'ethe Njuguna Ng'ethe from Nairobi wrote on 15th April 2020 at 12:32 pm:
I shall miss you my dear friend. You have left an enormous contribution to African development. You have mentored and nurtured several generations of African social scientists and led a heroic fight in explaining Africa to an audience who sometimes would rather not hear the uncomfortable message. Like the good teacher you were, you were patient and compassionate, driven by your faith in Africa. RIP
Cyril Obi Cyril Obi from New York wrote on 15th April 2020 at 12:50 am:
Thandika, we all owe you great gratitude for your work, words, light, love and the great ideas that you shared across generations and the world. We celebrate you as a great African voice and bearer of a message of hope and change. Wishing your family strength and peace...
suren pillay suren pillay from Cape Town wrote on 14th April 2020 at 2:39 pm:
the influence of Thandika expands beyond the fields of his discipline, and even beyond his profound influence on developmental thinking and the state across the third world and Africa in particular. Above all for many of us inspired by him his are the words of a critical sage, demonstrating to us what a commitment to think the world from Africa is. It is also the example of an ethical practice of building an intellectual community and honouring its traditions of thought as dynamic, and plural, as combative but with a smile drawing others in, rather than alienating them as foes. And never patronizing nor imbued with the egoism that defines so much of the academy today. Thank you for your example. Hamba Kahle mwalimu.
Simon Rwabyoma Simon Rwabyoma from Kabale, Uganda wrote on 13th April 2020 at 9:25 pm:
I consider Prof Mkandawire a doyen of African development. He will continue to live through his ground breaking intellectual debates. I never met him in person, but I first 'interacted' with him through his Inaugural Lecture as Chair and Professor of African Development at LSE, 'Running while others walk: Knowledge and the challenge of Africa's developmemt'. I read and cited his insightful lecturer in my MA dissertation (2011) 'Knowledge for Development: The Contribution of endogenous knowledge to local economic development in Uganda'. As a member of CODESRIA for the past 10 years, it was gratifying at some point to know he was a former Excecutive Secretary, since then I have keenly read his other intellectual works, using them for my university teaching of Development Economics and for developing my new research interest in Social Economics.
My most sincere condolences to his family, my thoughts and prayers are with them.

What Thandika Mkandawire taught me about African development - by Teniola Tayo

I first heard Thandika Mkandawire’s name from my friend, Vivian, a fireball Tanzanian woman who shows more daring…
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In Memoriam | Thandika Mkandawire

In Memoriam: Thandika Mkandawire (1940-2020) Development Economist, Pan-Africanist and Mentor Thandika Mkandawire, who passed away in Stockholm on…
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Entretien pour la revue Roape avec le directeur de l’IDEA, Adebayo Olukoshi, sur la contribution de l’économiste malawite…
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Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) conveys condolences on the passing of Professor Thandika Mkandawire

Pretoria, Wednesday 1 April 2020 – The Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) extends it condolences to the family,…
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Prof. Thandika Mkandawire’s Remarks at the 15th CODESRIA General Assembly

Thandika Mkandawire has passed on!

It is with great sadness and a deep sense of loss that the Council for the Development of Social Science in Africa, CODESRIA, announces the passing away of Professor Thandika Mkandawire on March 27, 2020. Thandika as he was fondly known was a brilliant economist and prodigious scholar whose works on African political economy challenged dominant ways of seeing the African continent on a wide range of issues that included structural adjustment and economic reform, democratic politics, neopatrimonialism and  insurgent violence. Thandika was a very dedicated member of CODESRIA. He led the Council as its Executive Secretary from 1985 to 1996 and continued to play important roles in the life of the organization after moving on to head UNRISD and later taking on a distinguished professorship at the London School of Economics. From 2015-2016, he led the internal review of CODESRIA’s governance and membership whose recommendations underpin an ambitious process of reform that the Council is undertaking. On April 11-13, 2016 CODESRIA organized a conference in Lilongwe, Malawi with the theme “Thinking African, Epistemological Issues: Celebrating the Life and Work of Thandika Mkandawire” in his honor. Thandika will be sorely missed by the CODESRIA community and the entire African social science community. His brilliance was matched by his humility, wit and willingness to mentor new generations of scholars. CODESRIA extends its sincere condolences to Thandika’s family. CODESRIA will announce its plans for celebrating the life and ideas of Thandika in the days ahead. May his soul rest in perfect peace.

Africa Beyond Recovery


Reflections of an Engaged Economist: An Interview with Thandika Mkandawire

Below is a link to an interview that our colleague Kate Meagher conducted with the late Prof. Thandika Mkandawire.  The interview was published under the title “Reflections of an Engaged Economist: An Interview with Thandika Mkandawire,” in Development and Change, vol. 50 no. 2, 2019, pp. 511-541. More…


Je n’aime pas les oraisons funèbres. Elles annoncent, avec brutalité et désespoir, la disparition d’un être cher qui a marqué son temps et laissé une marque. Elles s’évertuent à tracer une histoire, exhumer une contribution remarquable, pour attester de sa clôture, même si l’on clame la continuité. Nonobstant nos efforts, l’oraison funèbre signale la mort ; elle enterre la personne pour n’en laisser qu’une trace et obturer une vie.  More…

Thandika Mkandawire the Boss – By Mamadou Diouf

I do not like funeral orations. They announce, with brutality and despair, the disappearance of a loved one who has marked his time and left a mark. They strive to tell a story, to unearth a remarkable contribution, to bear witness to its closure, even if we claim continuity. Notwithstanding our efforts, funeral orations signal death; they bury a person and leave only a trace and seal a life.  More…