Celebrated alumnus dies

05 April 2007 | Story by Megan Morris

Internationally renowned scholar Professor Archie Mafeje died on 28 March in Pretoria, aged 69.

Mafeje was at the centre of a furore at UCT in 1968 when he was appointed as a senior lecturer in social anthropology in the Department of African Studies. But following pressure from the ministry of national education, the university Council withdrew its offer to Mafeje, then based at Cambridge University.

In protest, over 200 students '“ including current chair of UCT Council, Geoff Budlender - staged a sit-in at the university's headquarters at Bremner Building. More joined the protest, as did students at Wits and Natal universities.

Council stood by its decision '“ a moment that haunts it still '“ and Mafeje did not make the move back to UCT and South Africa. Instead, he went on to become an internationally celebrated scholar and commentator on African matters.

In 2003, UCT Council agreed to offer him a formal apology.

At the time of his death, Mafeje was linked to UNISA.

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