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17 Apr 2013

Tribute to leading social sciences scholar, Professor Bernard Magubane

Ina van der Linde
Press Release

CEO Dr Olive Shisana of the Human Sciences Research Council expressed her condolences on behalf of the organisation to the family and friends of the late Professor Bernard Magubane. “We join the nation in honouring the passing of a leading and committed social science scholar,” she said.

Bernard Magubane was a Professor Emeritus of the University of Connecticut in the US where he taught for 28 years before returning to South Africa in 1997 and joining the HSRC as a chief research specialist working in the areas of sociology, history, and urban anthropology and on issues of social change and conflict studies.

In 2000 he was appointed Director of the South African Democracy Education Trust (SADET), a project organisation set up to study the political history of South Africa since 1960. In addition to the volumes on the Road to Democracy produced by SADET, Professor Magubane’s most widely read books include The Political Economy of Race and Class in South Africa; The Ties that Bind: African American Consciousness of Africa; African Sociology: Towards a Critical Perspective; South Africa: From Soweto to Uitenhage; Whither South Africa; Bernard Magubane: My life and Times; and Race and the Construction of the Dispensable Other.

Ms Phumelele Nzimande, Chair of the HSRC Board, said his thought leadership in research on the interface between race, class and political economy will be sorely missed. “However, we take comfort in knowing that he published widely on the topic and his scholarly work will provide much needed insights for generations to come.”

Dr Temba Masilela, head of research at the HSRC, referred to the range of Professor Magubane’s scholarship, the impact of his work and his global network of fellow scholars and friends that were amply demonstrated during the Magubane at 80 International Conference: An Intellectual Celebration, hosted by the HSRC and partner organisations in 2010 as part of the African Knowledge Producer series.

“The multimedia presentations, the location of Magubane’s scholarship with South African intellectual traditions, and the fulsome keynote address by the Deputy President Mr Kgalema Motlanthe are all vividly remembered,” said Masilela.

In addition to a life of committed scholarship and service to the African National Congress Professor Magubane served as a Trustee for Lilliesleaf Farm in Rivonia, as the Chair of the Board of Luthuli Museum in KwaDukuza, and on the Advisory Council of Freedom Park Trust.
The HSRC joins the nation in honouring the passing of a leading and committed social science scholar. May his soul rest in peace.

Issued on behalf of Dr Olive Shisana, CEO of the HSRC

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