Nigeria loses another literary icon, Professor Harry Garuba

Posted by News Express | 1 March 2020 | 745 times

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•Late literary icon, Professor Harry Garuba

Nigeria’s literary sphere has again been thrown into mourning, this is as a result of the death of yet another literary icon, Professor Harry Garuba.

The Nigerian academic and poet passed on in South Africa following a long illness.

Professor Garuba who was 61, died on the evening of Friday the 28th of February 2020.

Until his demise, he was a scholar at the University of Cape Town (UCT), South Africa.

In its reaction to the news of his death, the university conveyed heartfelt condolences to the Garuba family and friends.

According to a statement on its website, the Institution described Professor Garuba as “a masterful writer and poet”, adding that “he was a luminary in the field of African literature and a champion of postcolonial theory and postcolonial literature”.

Professor Garuba served as acting dean of the Faculty of Humanities from February to December 2017. He was a scholar in the African Studies unit with a joint appointment in the English Department at UCT.

He published widely in his fields of discipline, with four co-edited books, one edited anthology of poetry, one solely-authored volume of poetry, well over 40 journal articles and book chapters, and numerous review essays and encyclopaedia entries.

He held research fellowships at the University of Texas at Austin, Harvard University and Emory University.

The University of Cape Town says Garuba’s dedication to his field was critical in developing the UCT Centre for African Studies as a hub for research on the African continent.

“As part of the university’s Curriculum Change Working Group (CCWG), Professor Garuba was committed to developing thinking about what a decolonised curriculum would look like in Africa and the global south and what a multicultural curriculum would look like in the West.

“He believed that the curriculum was a particularly good place to plant the seeds of transformation and these insights made him a critical part of the CCWG and the university at large.

“Professor Garuba was committed to teaching students to be analytical, to question, to engage, to ask difficult questions and to use their imagination in solving real-world problems.

“During his tenure as director of the School of African and Gender Studies, Anthropology and Linguistics and acting dean of the faculty, he was a strong leader who displayed wisdom and empathy and will be remembered for his warm personality and commitment to a truly transformed university centred around its African identity,” UCT’s statement partly read.

The communique also states that UCT’s Acting Vice-Chancellor Associate Professor Lis Lange remembers Professor Garuba as a genuine person who dedicated his time to moving the university forward and supporting his students.

“Professor Garuba’s scholarship was driven by a deep dedication to his students and to decolonising the study of Africa. His passing is a great loss to the university and the transformation project, but we must continue this important work in his absence and build on the foundation he has left.”

The Dean of Humanities Associate Professor Shose Kessi described Professor Garuba as “a beautiful soul with a kind and generous spirit – an African intellectual and icon. He was a mentor to many colleagues and young scholars at UCT. He was loved by many and will be dearly missed.”

Professor Garuba is survived by his immediate family in Cape Town – his wife, Zazi, son, Ruona (20), and daughter, Zukina (14).

Details of his funeral and memorial service are expected to be soon. (Channels TV)

Source: News Express

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