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Tributes to Tajudeen

Tajudeen Abdul Raheem: a giant is lost on African Liberation Day

Firoze Manji

Pambazuka News

2009-05-25, Issue 434

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There are 282 comments on this article.
25 May is Africa Liberation Day. What a day to be woken in the early hours of the morning with the terrible news that one of the leading proponents of Africa's liberation – Tajudeen Abdul Raheem should be so tragically lost in a senseless car accident in Nairobi. Messages have been pouring in from across the world as we all fail to hold back our tears at this loss.

Tajudeen led Justice Africa's work with the African Union since its early days. He combined this with his role as General Secretary of the Pan-African Movement, chairperson of the Centre for Democracy and Development, the Pan-African Development Education and Advocacy Programme, and was a fighter in the struggle to get the UN's Millennium Development Campaign to support meaningful programmes. There was hardly a pan African initiative that took place without Tajudeen's inimitable presence, support, humour and perceptive political perspectives.

Quite how he managed to combine all of this with writing his weekly 'Pan African Postcard' that were published regularly in Pambazuka News and in several newspapers including The Monitor (Uganda), Weekly Trust (Nigeria), The African (Tanzania), Nairobi Star (Kenya) and the Weekly Herald (Zimbabwe), has always been a mystery to us. You could always rely on Tajudeen to draw our attention to the most significant aspects of the latest political event in Africa - just as you could rely on him to provide guidance and encouragement during hard times, restoring in us the courage for the longer struggles ahead for emancipation of the continent.

Tajudeen's departure leaves a massive hole in all our lives. We all need to grieve the loss of this giant of a man. But if his life is to mean anything, we must follow his call in the signature line of his every email – 'Don't agonise, Organise!'

As part of our tribute to Tajudeen, comrade, brother and fighter of Pan-Africanism, Pambazuka News invites you to send messages of condolence and tributes, please send these to [email protected] or comment online at

For a larger collection of images of Tajudeen, please see the Pambazuka account on Flickr.

Readers' Comments

Let your voice be heard. Comment on this article.

Taju will surely remain alive in our hearts as long as we live. I remember him every day. I missed him so very much... I've been thiking... what will be his reaction over the political turmoil across Africa in the recent time. What will be his comment on Mu'ammer Gaddafi? looking at the fact that he previously tell him the bitter truth. That was when he said, "Brother Leader Gaddafi is wrong on revolutionaries for staying too long on power not retiring!". What will be his comment on Nato and US in particular? as Taju has told us in the past that we should not decieve ourself, thinking being Obama a black will never make him an African President... I am thinking the Tajudden I know, as Pan Africanist and the beliver of ONE AFRICA as he is, What is he going to write about the separation of western Sudan? What will be his comment on the ongoing zitizenship vs settlers crises in Jos, Plateau Satae and also Boko-Haram uprising, all in his home country Nigeria? What will be his reaction on the drought/famine in Somalia, as he in the past embarrassed the government and militants leaders in Somalia that "You dont wait for aid from west to buy weapons to kill your people, but when it comes to feeding them you will be crying no money, Shame on you!" Waht is he goint to say over the recent riots that hit London and some part of England? I remember when I was in London early 2009, he said to me and I quote as he said, "Maska, let me tell you, the only government that keep this country (England) united is the Labour Government" when I asked him why and how? he said "Just with anti-conservative policy" Now I see it and say oh! my Dr. Taju... Saying all this, now what is left for us? Of course nothing more of keeping organising for better society and continue speeking truth to the power! ...KEEP ORGANISING DON'T AGONISE!!!

Rabiu Umaru Maska, Pan African

I did attend a number of political brainstorming meetings being moderated by Tajudeen in Kampala(Uganda). By then I was a freedom-fighter with the SPLM/A, and cannot forget that he always cherished the Southern Sudanese liberation cause, and he did organize a public awareness on our genuine cause. He even facilitated the process of establishing an SPLM/A's youth desk at the Secretariat. I'll always remember his strong arguments in pursuit of a "second liberation of Africa," which with his passing our requires of us to double the momentum. Only then, can we have accorded his charismatic African son, such the befitting honour that he rightly deserve. Just imagine passing on on the very liberation day for Africa (25 May), simply tells it all that indeed it's a divine providence that Africa has one freedom-fighter like Tajudeen. Lets collectly strive at realizing his dreams for Africa!

Adieu Comrade Tajudeen

Ladu Lomeling

Juba, South Sudan

UN Radio Miraya FM

I may not know this gentleman well,but that he was linked to Ambassador Yusuf Yaro Mamman,the he must truly be an honest and upright fellow.

May God receive his soul in His bossom,Amen.



My dearly departed 'elder Brother' Taju was a real Pan-African spokesman 'par excellence' and a refreshing repudiation to the 'Afro-pessimism' which has beset so many of our peoples and causes. I met Taju in London in the early 1990s when, as a member of the Africa Liberation Committee, we invited him to address our annual African Liberation Day celebrations. Taju's speech was dynamic, inspiring and drew heavily on Caribbean sources - portraying for us his deep connection with the Pan-African cause. We deepened our association and went on to become friends as we contributed to the pages of the Africa World Review and the many causes of that time. He knew so much about my own country - Trinidad & Tobago - and had so much time to discuss its many issues. Under his influence, we all became involved in the vexatious politics of Nigeria and he lent me so many books/papers/magazines on that great country of his. I have many memories of his incisive, biting wit and abiding sense of purpose...all in the cause of African Liberation, which he often made us to understand was a vital part of the progress of humanity. We attended the wedding of Taju and Munerah in Deptford, in south London and I do pass on my deepest condolences to that family for their loss. Taju and I were out of touch with each other for some years and then, on 15th May I received an email from him on his column 'If our leaders do not respect themselves, how can we expect them to respect us'. I immediately started a reply and sadly, the pressure of my own life left it as a 'draft' on my email until our mutual friend Professor David Johnson told me of his sad passing...let this be a lesson to us all not to ever be too busy to stay in touch with beloved Brothers and Sisters...Go in peace, Taju...I hold no spiritual beliefs, but people of your rare quality only come around 'once in a lifetime'...
To meet him was to respect him
To know him was to love him
To work with him was to admire him

Go in Peace, my brother

Afra Raymond

I have now uploaded all the pictures at and I would like to bring this to the attention of everyone so that they may download and use as may be needed.

Egghead Odewale

Don’t Agonise, Organise!: Symposium in Memory of Dr. Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem

A symposium, “Don’t Agonise, Organise!: Africa and the Life of Dr. Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem, 1961 – 2009”, was held in honour of the memory of the distinguished Pan-Africanist scholar and crusader for civil and social justice, Dr. Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem, who died on the 25th of May 2009, the African Liberation Day, in Nairobi, Kenya. The event, which held at the Ladi Kwali Hall of the Abuja Sheraton Hotel in Nigeria, drew from the ranks of eminent Pan-Africanists, public intellectuals, civil society activists from across the continent, and also included notable political figures, academics and students in the country, who all came together to give tributes, share testimonies and celebrate the life of one of Africa’s most illustrious sons, whose efforts in struggling for the total emancipation of the continent from poverty, in the past two decades, was legendary.

Those who gave their respects to the late Dr. Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem and spoke to the notion of his life as one dedicated to service and the advancement of the human cause included the poet, Odia Ofeimun; the Special Assistant on the Millennium Development Goals in the Presidency, Aminat Ibrahim; the Resident Representative of the United Nations Development Programme in Nigeria, Alberic Kacou; the Representative of the Ford Foundation in West Africa, Dr. Adhiambo Odaga; the acting Deputy Director of the United Nations Millennium Campaign in Africa, Sylvia Mwichuli, among others. Equally among those who participated actively in the symposium were students from Hauwa Memorial College, Funtua, Katsina State; members of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) from the University of Abuja and the Federal University of Technology, Minna; and also the Governorship candidate of the Action Congress in Ekiti State, Dr. Kayode Fayemi; Executive-Director of the African Women Development Fund (AWDF), Chief (Mrs) Bisi Adeleye-Fayemi; Reverend-Father Matthew Hassan Kukah; parliamentarian Uche Onyeagocha; the Publicity Secretary of the People’s Democracy Party, Professor Rufai Alkali; National Secretary of the Action Congress, Hon (Dr) Usman Bugaje; etc.

Anchored on the sub-themes of ‘Human Assets Development’ and ‘Citizenship, ‘Politics and Social Justice’, which were essential to the call to action of organising rather than agonising, and which defined Dr. Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem’s hands-on approach to activism, the symposium deliberated on various strands of the thought and work of the late scholar, and pointed ways forward on how a Pan-African renaissance can be achieved. While Aminat Ibrahim observed the deceased as being big in his passions and dedications to anything that he believed in, Adhiambo Odaga remarked that while Africa is a ‘youthful continent’ with people under the age of 20 constituting over 60 percent of the population, human assets development, in terms of education was crucial to the attainment of a Pan-African graceland. Hence, there is the need to organise in order to get governments on the continent to allocate up to 50 percent of their budgets on education, in tandem with the demands of the African Union. More so, as Odaga reminisced, the late Dr. Tajudeen was a firm believer in the potency of the Nigerian Nollywood video film industry, due to its wide continental appeal, as a vehicle for the harnessing of human capacity development; and he kept seeking a window of engagement with practitioners therein before his untimely demise.

It was noted that from being the Secretary General of the Pan-African Movement located in Kampala, Uganda for almost a decade, Dr. Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem had moved the Africanist agenda unto another platform when he became the Deputy Director for Africa of the United Nations Millennium Campaign (a post he held till he passed on), and oversaw the drive to hold African governments responsive to and responsible for the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals in their countries. The deep cross-cutting issues liable for the entrenchment of poverty were the target at a collective and individual level, and it was mentioned that the deceased single-handedly operationalised the MDGs in his local community in Funtua, where he established a number of structures that would add value to and increase the quality of human life. The UNDP Resident, Albene Kacou, testified to the effective partnership that he had continuously nurtured between the civil society and governments, and other groups that had the capacity to enable the accomplishment of the MDGs.

In presenting the citation of Dr. Abdul-Raheem, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, who had know the deceased in the past two decades as a brother, friend and colleague on the board of the Centre for Democracy and Development, celebrated Dr. Abdul-Raheem’s life as one lived in full, according to his passion for Pan-Africanism, the quest for the building of institutions, the speaking of truth to power, and the vibrant merging of intellectualism with activism. Noting that he had been living in denial and still finds it difficult to confront the reality of the death of Dr. Abdul-Raheem, Fayemi observed the raison d’etre of the existence of the passed scholar as being on how to make a fundamental difference in the lives of ordinary people.

With human capacity development being pivotal to the realisation of Africa’s renaissance, one of the most important institutions that the deceased left behind in this regard was the Hauwa Memorial College in Funtua, which he found in memory of his mother. And, students from the school were not only at hand in the Ladi Kwali Hall to render testimonies and speak on how they wish to emulate the late scholar’s exemplary life, but they also gave a dramatic performance, “The Life of Taju” in his honour. This was a satire on power, how politicians manipulate difference in order to access public office and resources, and ultimately the need to organise against these anomalies, rather than agonising over how they keep being a draw back to the progress of society.

In her presentation, the acting Deputy Director of the United Nations Millennium Campaign for Africa, Sylvia Michuli, offered condolences to the deceased’s family on behalf of the organisation, of which he was a ‘powerhouse’ when alive, and reiterated the core resonance of most of the tributes made, about how the late Dr. Abdul-Raheem’s commitment to the welfare of people transcended colour, race or creed, and other categories of difference, and was hinged on the need for every human being to be able to lead a decent life. Describing him as ‘one of the greatest sons that was ever born on the continent’, Michuli stated that if he were still alive, the late scholar would have wanted all those present at event to be outraged that 25 million people live with HIV in Africa; that 40 million children were out of school; and that the rate of maternal mortality was not declining fast enough on the continent. More so, she exhorted people to become voices of the battles that the deceased fought, and find more radical ways of dealing with the scourge of poverty.

Whilst other speakers such as Professor Okello Oculi of the Bayero University Kano recounted how the late Dr. Abdul-Raheem never tolerated the denigration of Africa or any justification for its exploitation in international fora, and Nana Busia described him as an ‘organic scholar’ who was in touch with society, Bisi Adeleye-Fayemi of the African Women’s Development Fund pointed out the vital need for a call to action in the reformation of society, which was what Dr. Abdul-Raheem’s life was essentially about. On his part, Dr. Usman Bugaje harped on the necessity for people to start conquering their fears and organising for change to come to society, and Professor Attahiru Jega, the Vice Chancellor of the Bayero University Kano; parliamentarian Uche Onyeogocha; and Professor Rufai Alkali, all spoke about the dedication of the life of the deceased to activism, and the need for the continued struggle for the upliftment of humanity.

In indicating the highly elaborate network of institution and people that the late scholar cultivated and sustained throughout his life, the Director for the Centre for Democracy and Development, Dr. Jibrin Ibrahim gave a very powerful resonance to the line rendered by the poet Odia Ofeimun, in his tribute, that for the late Dr. Abdul-Raheem “one country was not enough.”

Egghead Odewale

It is humbling to read the outpouring of grief that has been hosted by this website since the passing of our comrade Tajudeen. Though I knew him so much less well than many others here, I should like to add my voice in tribute to the memory of a great African, so generous with his energy and support, who believed that anyone with the right spirit could join in his struggle to re-imagine and re-create the continent as a better place.

I have spent much time over the last two years working with colleagues on a major project about nationality law in Africa and the injustices visited on millions of people who are not recognised as citizens by the African states within which they live. Tajudeen spoke at the launch of the initiative and we would have asked him to speak again later this year at the launch of the books that have resulted from our research. Who else could bring such authority and eloquence to this debate? We shall miss him sorely -- and so many times again over the coming years I am sure.

Travel well, Comrade Taju,

Bronwen Manby

Bronwen Manby

Addieu! Taju From Funtua to Funtua

Exactly a month today 26th May 2009, you left us the brothers, sisters, comrades and friends to shoulder the burden of our protracted African struggle. We are already feeling the weight of your absence. Many things are happening and we are not getting the Thursday Post Card. We know today being a Thursday definitely you would have written a Post Card to explain the actual issues behind the façade of dominant media, such as what is unfolding in Iran and what it means for our African struggle.

As Fumi said maybe you have sent it from Heaven to us from Funtua to Funtua. You travelled through Nigeria entered the African stage and mounted the global platform to advocate for Africa’s interest. You have travelled that entire journey and at a relatively tender age you have done a lot for Africa before you were brought to an eternal rest in Funtua. So, I say Addieu and I say from Funtua to Funtua.

Nana K. A. Busia Jrn. Pan Africanist

I was naive, I hadn't a clue when I started work at QEH, in the library of the then Oxford University Institute of Commonwealth Studies. I didn't even know the names of many African countries. I gradually learned, got excited by African literature - Ngugi, Chinua Achebe. Then I felt horribly guilty. It was only when young Tajudeen arrived in Oxford and inspired us all with his energy and passion that I began to gain a clearer knowledge and insight, mainly through late night tutorials in my car, the African taxi, after an Africa Society meeting or disco or a get together in someone's house. I was no academic but he helped me better understand African history and politics and leaders. And, before political correctness became so ridiculed, together we tried to think of alternatives for negative/racist expressions in the English language: blackmail, blacklist etc. And he gave me the confidence successfully to challenge a chain of local news-agents to remove an offensive greetings card from their shelves. I know he will still inspire through memories and his writing but It's so sad that Taju himself is not still out there making a difference in people's lives

Gill Short (Bodleian Library)

The following tributes have appeared elsewhere:

Taju Abdulraheem: Humble Entry, Triumphant Exit by Kabiru Mato, PhD

A tribute to Tajudeen Abdulraheem by Aderemi Oyewumi

Taju Abdul-Raheem: Who is this man? by Fidel Odum

Indeed Comrade Taju is gone! by Femi Abodunrin

Pambazuka Editors


On behalf of the entire family of the late Dr.Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem I write to thank you all for your support and concern, especially for finding time to, visit, condole and pray for the family of the deceased.

We really appreciate your love and kind gestures (collectively and individually) during the period of mourning, may the Almighty Allah reward you in abundant and keep us together. Ameen!

Once again, on behalf of the Abdul-Raheem's family, I say thank you.


This is indeed a wonderful tribute to my dear friend Tajudeen. I miss him very much and I, too, shared wonderful memories with Taju since the 1980s in London. In a different way, Taju and I shared much in common. Even though we came from different backgrounds, Taju in many ways reminded me of my dad, Kwame Nkrumah, even though Taju and I are roughly the same age.

Both Nkrumah and Taju married women from North Africa, and Mounira is a close friend of mine. More interestingly, Taju's daughters are roughly of the same age as my own sons, Karim Kwaku and Youssef Yaw. So we often used to joke that we should marry off our children: each son of mine would marry one of Taju's daughters. Well, that may still happen one day and it pains me that Taju would not be around to see those weddings if they do take place in the future. At any rate my heart goes out to Mounira who stood by Taju, tirelessly looking after their daughters. And may Aida and Aisha gladden their mother's heart by marrying great men like their dad, the Pan-African giant who was my dear friend. They say Nkrumah never dies, I say Taju never dies too. Forward Ever, Gamal Nkrumah.

Gamal Nkrumah

Africa lost great activist Dr. Taju. I knew him since 2006. He is a inspiration for CHANGE. I was working as a development worker in Kano, Nigeria, then he called me over phone to see me because I was organising a Stand UP 2006 event in Kano State. He met me at Abuja and shared lot of inspirational ideas and shared a view why africa is a dark continent and how International Organisations is exploitating the entire Africa. As an individual he is highly dynamica and motivational person. When he visited India in 2008 he called me to see him at New Delhi. We spent two days together. It was his first visit to India. He wanted to take small and medium enterprises experiences from India.

His death is a great loss to the social movement. He believed in Different Africa and Asia is possible. Let his death bring social activists from this great two continent come close and work together to make his dream come true.

Let his memories inspire us all to carry forward the social movement to its logical end. I strongly believe different Africa and Asia is possible. Long Live Dr. Tajudeen !

Hemanta Naik KIDS

I'm too sad to really comment about what happened to Tajudeen and the great loss it is to Africa. I'm still struggling to come to terms with it.

On the day he died..I said to my boss, Dr Kevin Urama, the Executive Director of African Technology Policy Studies Network, that the person we need to write in our African Manifesto for Science and Technology, an EU project that we are leading on in Africa, is Tajudeen.

We instantly agreed, that only his voice to capture the passion for Pan-African solutions and embed our work for the next three years within the processes of African Liberation.

As I logged on to send him an email, I saw a message on Facebook from the Pambuzuka News editor that he had died. Fironze Manji.

So...what paltry tributes can i possibly bring to honour the life of such a great man?

I can think of none right now. Let me just echo the words of Nikki Giovanni as she thought of the pain of losing the poet Langston Hughes, just as a starting point....

BY Nikki Giovanni

At some point, you get tired of being perceived as a problem.
You get tired of asking people to treat you fairly.

You get tired of petitioning the powers that be for the right to have dreams and the sufficiency to work towards their fulfillment.

You turn to poetry, in these moments.

Our ancestors wondered who would tell their story.
Denied the ability to read and write, forbidden to husband knowledge for their future,
punished for sharing knowledge of their past,
they turned to poems to shoulder the burden of a voice to the voiceless;
hope to the hopeless; prayer for the Godforsaken.

They looked to poems for a proper response.

And poetry did not let them down,
Poems shouted the truth, mumbled the pain;
threatened with anger, soothed with love.
Poems lifted our spirits, shared our joy; accepted our burdens, expressed our shame.

And poems are with us still. To light the paths, to close painful doors;
To embrace the possible; to dream the improbable.

Sometimes you really just get tired of being a problem.

And you turn to poems for an affirmation of our spirits.

"I am indeed, the Darker Brother.

I will sit at the table.
I will grow and be strong."

Tell them Poem, who we are.

We, too, are, America.

I will add:

WE, TOO, ARE, AFRICA and the World

Dr Sheila Ochugboju. African Technology Policy Studies Network - WWW. ATPSNET. ORG

Tajudeen Abdulraheem who passed away on the 25th of May was a good friend of mine and we had a few things in common. We first met in England while I was studying at the LSE and he was at Oxford. Taju joined us occasionally in the School of Oriental and African Studies where we used to congregate in the late 80s, with friends from different parts of Africa including the likes of Irungu Houghton now based in Nairobi.

Taju and I got on well partly because we both shared a dual heritage of having been born in Northern Nigeria but coming originally from the South West. His background was not too dissimilar from mine. His father was originally from Ogbomosho but left the town at the age of 40 to begin a new life in Funtua. He lived for another 50years, passing away at the age of 90 and leaving 19 children behind. My own father left Ogbomosho at the age of 19 in 1944 to go to Jos, in search of greener pastures and lived there for 30years until 1974 when he went back home to become the paramount ruler, Shoun of Ogbomosho. He has 23 children.

For those who don’t know, the ubiquitous Ogbomosho people are well known as itinerant traders and artisans travelling far and wide throughout Northern Nigeria and the rest of West Africa especially in Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire. Ogbomosho people have a tendency to integrate with the host community just like those who settled in Funtua. Taju’s pan-Nigerian background, straddling as it did the North and South, stood him in good stead as a foremost advocate of pan-Africanism.

He also cherished his Ogbomosho roots visiting the town on a number of occasions and even bought a house there. I introduced him to my father whom he visited a number of times and even offered to write his biography, but could not complete it because he was too busy. He travelled with his children Aida and Aisha to Ogbomosho in 2008 and took them to visit my father in his palace. Having been raised in London the children found it strange that people were prostrating to greet the Oba prompting Aisha to ask Taju ‘’why are people falling down?’’

Every time he came into Abuja he would call me up and we would meet at the Rooftop Café at the British Council one of our watering holes, with other friends such as Alhaji Shehu, professor Okello Oculi, Obadiah Mailafia and Paul Awoyale. Needless to say, he was always lively to be with, proferring critical analysis on Africa’s numerous problems. One of the things I admired him for was that he spoke truth to power. He deplored the arrogance that goes with holding high office in Nigeria regaling his audience with funny anecdotes.

Although I was born and bred in the North and had travelled far and wide in the region I had never been to Funtua until the 26th of May, the day I went for Taju’s burial. For years we’d been talking about going together to Funtua to see his people but somehow I never got round to following him home until, as God would have it, that fateful day.

At his burial I was wearing two hats. As a friend and as a representative of the Ogbomosho community to pay our last respects to an African hero. May his soul rest in peace.

Dr Aderemi Oyewumi, friend and representative of Ogbomosho community

A Tribute to one of Finest Africans of Our Time: Taju Deen Abdul Raheem- A Pan Africanist.

Ordinarily 25th May of every year for some time now, since 1958, after the Accra conference, is celebrated as Africa day; a day Africans commemorate our independence and liberation with joy, but paradoxically this year’s celebration was eclipsed with sad news of the death of one of the illustrious sons of the continent Dr Tajudeen A. Raheem. There are few, if any, like Taju; he was an embodiment of Africa’s hopes and aspirations and icon of our times who fiercely and fearlessly championed the cause of social justice for Africans within the global system and for individuals /groups within the respective states. Taju was first and foremost a Pan African activist, scholar and a serious advocate for change. Born to a humble parents some 48 years ago in a town in Northern Nigeria, called Funtua, in Katsina State, he started formal education in a Koranic school later went to a high School and thereafter proceeded to Amadu Bello University where he read political science. As a student of high level distinction he was awarded the prestigious Rhodes scholarship to go to Oxford University, St Peter’s college, where he studied for his doctorate in politics.

An Organic African Scholar & Activist

Taju was a towering and an organic scholar, in the sense that he pursued scholarship not for his own sake; that is a kind of scholarship qua scholarship. Nor did he brandish academic qualifications as a status symbol or used it to lord over our people, on the contrary he placed his knowledge at the service of the African peoples, progressive movements and governments, thereby using his intellectual skills as a vital tool in the quest for social justice and advancement of the continent. In that regard, he had an organic and symbiotic relationship with society which fed into his thoughts and was very ready to share his views with society and use the same to mobilize for change. A hallmark of his scholarship is the facile ability to articulate and present very complex and complicated issues is such a simple and accessible manner that any ordinary lay person, including the half literate, could understand and appreciate. His singular objective in all this is decipher where Africa’s true interest lie and defend the same without fear or favour. Anyone who reads the Thursday Post Card on the varied subject and issues can bear testimony to this.

A Staunch & Unwaivering Pan Africanist

The acclaim and impeccable reputation he earned through the length and breath of the continent and beyond, was because of his selfless service to the Pan African world and belief in Africa as an Afro optimist; a perspective he built on the premise that because he believes in himself, then, he, as an African, has to logically believe in Africa. He sincerely and desperately wanted solutions to Africans myriad problems through collective organization, networking, and creating synergies amongst pan African organizations. Truly a man of the African peoples; who interacted directly with all persons from different classes, back ground, high or low, young and old. His house wherever and which ever country he resided was also a home for all Africans and progressives. Just over the weekend prior to that fateful Monday, 25th May, his house was yet another gathering of brothers and sisters from the Pan African world. Taju relates very well to Africa head of states, such as Kagami, Museveni, Mbeki, Raila Odinga, or global figures like Louis Farakhan, of Nation of Islam fame, just as you will see him associate closely with the youth butcher, driver, or any person regardless of class or social status. In his view, there is one struggle for Africa’s advancement with different fronts and actors, all of whom are to be tolerated.

A striking feature of Taju’s personality is his intellectual honesty, courage, fearlessness, and how he shunned, as he said time and again, diplomacy for the sake of diplomacy since, he opined that diplomacy, as practised, dilutes and beclouds clear message he has to communicate to Africans. Consistently he reminded Africans of how the so called diplomacy has not in any way helped the course of Africa.

A shining testimony of Taju’s unbridled commitment to Pan Africanism was when he was appointed to organise the Seventh Pan African Congress with the secretariat in 1993 in Kampala, Uganda. The Congress brought together governments, liberation movements, civil society activists, academics and brothers and sisters from the Diaspora world. The Congress unanimously elected him as the Secretary General of the Global Pan African Movement, a job he loved and performed with distinction technically until his death day.

It is no exaggeration to state that Taju was a pivot around whom a lot of Pan African entities were organized. Apart from his land mark and historic organization of the 7th Pan African Congress (PAC), he was a very central figure in AU civil society ECOSOC, West African Civil Society forum (WACSOF), and of course Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) in West Africa, as the intellectual wing of Pan Africanist advocacy for social justice, flirted with the African think tank, Council for Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA) and several others. In all this he was bridge between comrades, brothers, and sisters of different regions, faiths, political persuasions, generations, and the logistic groups. I remember in 2006 in a very difficult meeting of WACSOF in Niger when a heated constitutional debate generated into Anglophone versus Francophone, he chastised the participants that he was only an African is not and cannot be for any of the phoney phones.

What is logical to ask is what was Taju’s conceptualization of Pan Africanism? As a staunch Nkrumahist, his concept of pan Africanism was influenced in large part by Nkrumahism and what was referred to as the Casablanca group, the more radical states on the continent then in the early 1960s who believed in immediate unification. Sieving through his writings, speeches, and my association with him, his concept of pan Africanism could deduced as: a movement of people of Africa and African descent, and all persons of African citizenship within the respective states on the continent, coming together, mindful of their history of oppression and domination, and further conscious of the relative weakness and powerlessness of the African region within the global political economic system, how Africans could come together with a united front to optimise their gains within the same world system. The ultimate goal of which is the unification of African states into one federation of African states as envisioned by Osagyefoo Nkrumah. As a leftist, he did not rely on race as such as his unit of analysis, but rather the coincidence between race and social injustices or “global class system” is what was of interest to him. In that regard, he believed and worked towards fostering of alliances outside the African and the African Diaspora world with all progressive forces or any group he saw as oppressed, hence his belief and support for the Palestinian peoples’ right to self determination. In 2006 he wrote angrily against the bombing of Lebanon in the summer of that year.

An Advocate of the Peoples Human Rights

He was a passionate advocate of human rights of peoples and fought Abacha and many other governments in Africa for their violation of human rights with impunity. Most demonstrations against African dictators saw him at the front line. I recall in 1995, after the cold blooded murder of Ken Sera Wiwa and there numerous complaints that were filed against the Nigerian government which disclosed massive and systematic violations, the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights was seized matter and wanted to hold its first ever extra ordinary session to examine the complaints against Nigeria. No country was prepared to host the Commission for fear of incurring the wrath of Big brother Nigeria, Chidi Odinkalu, then of INTERIGHTS, and myself, were desperate of getting a country to host the Commission, I informed Taju and in less than day he contacted Ugandan government and a country was found, Uganda, to host the session. It was during this extra ordinary session of the Commission that under the leadership of Taju the three of us drafted a resolution for the African Commission where the principle was mooted that governments in Africa that come to power through unconstitutional means should not be recognized. A principle that 5 years later found its way as a provision into the AU Constitutive Act, of 2002.

As an avowed leftist, Taju did not see any inconsistency between leftist politics and what are now styled as liberal principles like rule of law, human rights, democracy and free and fair elections. He wrote on number of occasions that without some controls and limiting mechanisms on the exercise of power, even the best of persons could degenerate into corrupt autocrats. It is because of this issue that he parted company with Yoweri Museveni as good friends and comrades. This principle informed his vehement criticism of President Mugabe although he saw the validity of some of the issues articulated eloquently by the Mugabe government. Nor were some African and international NGOS spared his sharp tongue on internal undemocratic practices. In fact the very last e-mail he exchanged with me, was about elections in Africa. I had suggested that in view of impact of the various election on regional peace and security in Africa, especially the Kenyan one, may be it is about time the case is made by pan Africanists that all elections be placed under Chapter 7 of the UN Charter ie Security Council or the powers being delegated, in accordance with provisions of Chapter 8, to such regional bodies to exercise the conduct of elections. He wrote back citing reasons why such a function should never be vested in the UN, may be sub regional bodies, ECOWAS, SADCC, etc but he main point was that Kenyan example painful as it was has taught leader lesson that there is a high price to be paid for the rigging of elections. A lesson, he opined, Nigeria is yet to learn from.

Touch any African unfairly and Taju feels hurt. I recall that in 1996 there were serious allegations of Africans being subjected to unfair and differential treatment without any objective justification at the international secretariat of Amnesty International, in London, UK, Taju got wind of it felt like a wounded bull; pull out his pen and wrote to the board of the secretariat of Amnesty International copied an English Newspaper, it sent shivers down the spine of the AI powers that be. A long letter of explanation was sent to him. Consequently some of the enthnocentric challenges of the organization were addressed. It did not stop with Amnesty, the Watch Dog role was played with number of others NGOs, academia, or individuals in the north who claimed that there charities set up for the welfare of poor Africans. The most recent example being his legitimate attack was Bob Geldof who put together musicians to play for charity for Africa could not find any African musician to join the concert team. To him the political was also the personal, in that his day to day relationship with friends, and others was consistent with his politics. I enter my personal encounter with him.

With him the Political was also Personal.

Before meeting Taju in person, I had read his writings in a progressive magazine that was published in London in the 1980s/90s, the Africa World Review (AWR), by the Africa Research and Information Bureau ( ARIB) which he and others like Zaya Yebo, Yen, Kayode, and Ama Biney published. I joined much later. Then, I recall in 1992, I was on my way to Geneva when I stopped at their offices, ARIB, where most of the activists’ plots were hatched against the dictatorial governments. It was an exciting place for any pan Africanist. I spoke to him and immediately took a strong liking for him; he was charismatic and sincere about his love for the continent and her people. I can only lay hands on the Biblical expression that he was “person of good presence” and a good sense of humour and extremely witty. In the following year, 1993, I was invited by UNAFRI in Kampala to lead a two week or so seminar human rights standards, criminal justice system and prison administration, Taju was then in Kampala preparing for the 7 Pan African Congress, once he got the information that I was in town, he immediately sent the late Major Mayombo , as he then was, to take me away from the Hotel, Equatorial, and bring me into his house. The same evening I was there it was an exciting experience living with Taju, the house was a home to almost all Africans from all over the continent. Discussions of Africans development could go on all night till early morning hours. I later worked and lived with him for a couple of months in Kampala and those were some of the happy days of my life. When we met again in London in 1996, there was already a strong bond. And as if to complete the rite du passage of our friendship I was taken to meet his own mentor the African socialist icon, A .M Babu, in his flat in London. We all literally sat at his feet as he took us through a long journey of African politics, the actors, the leaders, the factors explaining various actions, the contradictions and making projections and predictions about the future of the perennial struggle of African peoples.

Taju was committed to Africa, I remember when ever it was said of him that he was anti- any region/ideology or peoples he rebutted with his usual wits by saying that no, he is only pro – Africa. His untimely death is like losing a multitude of five star generals in one battle, and lot more scholars and activists in just a day. There are few of our generation like him. He has joined the icons of Pan Africanist world who continue to live on long after their death. Small wonder fate designed it in such a way that he died on an Africa day, 25th May.

Truly he was a fine person, with a finer mission and the finest vision for Africa.

Nana Kusi Appea Busia, Jr.Pan Africanist

I met Tajudeen only once but communicated several times with him through email. His tireless energy, intelligence, passion and sense of humour all made engaging with him for the arduous work of African Liberation more palatable, seem more achievable, touching his spirit made it more rewarding. I will miss him not only because I was not blessed enough to have shared more time with him, but also because we always seem to lose Mama African warriors of Tajudeen’s character and stature too soon. May your passing to the Ancestors be a safe one.Ase.

Toyin Agbetu, Ligali Organisation

Between Ladi Lawal and Dr. Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem

I have never been hit hard by the cruelty of death like the one I experienced on Saturday 23rd and Monday 25th May 2009. Those days will remain the darkest days of my life as two humanists and advocates of equity, justice and egalitarian society departed this sinful world. Those were the days Late Ladi Lawal, the former Group Managing Director of DAAR Communication Plc, and Late Dr. Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem, Deputy Director, United Nations Millennium Campaign, died.

It was in the morning of Saturday, 23 May, 2009 while attending a retreat organised by Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on anti-corruption revolution in Lagos, the sad news of the untimely demise of Late Ladi Lawal was broken to me by Gbenga Onayiga of Radio Nigeria. Like a premonition, we had just discussed the recent delegate’s conference of the Nigerian Union of Journalists, where Gbenga was returned un-opposed as a national Vice Chairman the previous day, and along the line we reflected back to the 1994 NUJ conference held in Sokoto where the late icon of broadcast journalism was elected as the National President of that great union.

As a delegate to that conference, it was my first contact with the late Ladi. A meeting I reminded him of recently at Top Rank Hotel, Abuja, the day Civil Society activists, politicians and media practitioners gathered to launch the 20 million signatures collection demanding for the full implementation of the Justice Uwais Report on Electoral Reform. He (Ladi) in his usual humility played the role of an usher at the occasion and in the process of giving me the campaign T-shirt, I reminded him of the Sokoto conference.

Back from Lagos the next day, Sunday 24 May, 2009, amidst tears from friends, colleagues and well wishers, I never envisaged that another bad news was waiting to befall us the next day. On Monday at exactly 5:45 am Nigerian time, while getting set to beat the usual Monday morning traffic, I received a text message from my friend, Kavengo Matundu of the United Nations Millennium Campaign (UNMC) office in Nairobi, Kenya, breaking yet, another sad news that his boss, Dr. Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem, the deputy Director,(Africa) for the UNMC was involved in a fatal motor accident around 1:00 am (Kenyan time) that morning while on his way to the Jomo Kenyata Airport to board a flight to Rwanda to meet with the President on the current rise in maternal mortality rate in Africa.

The text message was sent to me because we had arranged a meeting for him with the House of Representatives Committee on MDGs the next day, 26th May 2009 in Abuja and he was expected to connect Nigeria from Rwanda. He was also scheduled to meet with us and other stakeholders in the campaign for the attainment of the MDGs in Nigeria.

Not recovered fully from the rude shock of the Ladi Lawal’s passing on, it was another distress and sense of loss for me that Monday morning as I managed in total disbelieve to forward the sms to my Executive Director. The late social crusader was an Advisory Board member of my organization, the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre, (CISLAC). My encounter with him has always been within the confines of the advocacy circles where policy and governance issues are x-rayed and strategies of engaging political leaders mapped out and embarked upon.

The last of such meeting was at Sheraton Hotel, Abuja sometimes in March, 2009 where he met with few of us from the civil society groups to review the current status of the MDGs in Nigeria and other new entry points for engagement. At that short meeting which lasted for barely one hour, he had lamented the current decay in the system, particularly the rise in maternal mortality rate. The resolution therefore, was to step up the momentum on campaigns to ensure that Nigeria ranks among the countries that will attain the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) which she signed on to, on or before 2015. Indeed, the passion he exuded at that meeting betrayed him as a social reformist and an untiring Pan Africanist, who carried along an infectious optimism about the continent.

The accomplishments of these gentlemen of international repute are legendary. The late Ladi Lawal has been the magic hand behind the metamorphosis of DAAR Communication, the first independent television and radio station in Nigeria. He left indelible marks in journalism profession as a practioner, union leader and manager. Similarly, late Dr. Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem was not just a scholar of international repute, but a social reformer whose intellectual thoughts gave rise to so many organisations such as Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD), Global Call to Action against Poverty (GCAP), Pan African Movement and so many other organisations in London and Uganda. He has been a columnist for about twelve publications across the world.

The hallmark of these all is that they were highly de-tribalised in their dealings with people and remained dogged in their fight to improve livelihoods for citizens across the African continent. They lived exemplary lives that can be emulated by all, particularly our generations and those yet unborn.

While reflecting on the demise of these two crusaders who met their untimely death at the time Nigeria, Africa and the entire world look up to them for liberation, I saw a clear hope entrenched in their visions, characters, struggles for human rights, justice and democracy, non religious and tribal disposition, insights and wisdom.

Therefore, the unbearable tragic news and loss, which was not just to their families, but to all of us in Nigeria and Africa, will be too painful to forget. I see their demise at this critical moment in our chequered history as the fall of two colossuses whose passions tinged with humane attributes will continue to be remembered. Adieu Comrades

Boniface Kassam

I have expressed to you verbally about my deep sorrow at the loss of an exemplary comrade. Tajudin was one of those rare products of African nationalism and the National Project who kept the candle alighted even when the winds of neoliberalism and counter revolution had reduced it to a mere flicker. May his life and spirit continue to inspire us all and the younger generation.

Yash Tandon, Senior Advisor, South Centre; Chairman, SEATINI


Three weeks to an official visit by the staff of the United Nations Millennium Campaign - Africa Office in Nairobi to Nigeria, Dr. Tajudeen Abdulraheem as Deputy Director of the Millennium Campaign - Africa Office, had, working with a number of civil society organisations, arranged a series of meetings with members of the National and State Assemblies to canvass their support and commitment to actions that could ensure the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) targets in Nigeria. His reason was that given that legislators have to appropriate funds and to monitor the effective utilisation of the funds, they were better placed to perform an oversight role in ensuring that both state and federal governments were committed to achieving the targets of the MDGs.

His last trip to Nigeria was in early March this year, during which he also worked with many other groups to organise a series of events to mark the International Women's Day in several cities, focusing on the two MDGs specifically relating to women. These are equality and empowerment of women (Goal 3) and improving maternal health (Goal 5). Drawing from its pan-African perspective, the events were tagged Piga Debe, which in Swahili literarily means to make noise or shout. Certainly we need to make as much noise as possible to stop mothers from dying as a result of pregnancy and child birth.

I dragged him to Dutse in Jigawa State where he not only addressed the International Women's Day celebration held on 11th March but also paid a courtesy call on the governor of the state. A humble Taju, he apologised for his inability to attend the Talakawa Summit of which he was one of the architects and offered useful suggestions on how the state government could strengthen its anti-poverty strategy, but not without pointing out what he thought was not right with the strategy.

Since the return to civil rule, which made it easier for him to come to the country (in the beginning his passport had been seized by the government), we had developed a routine. Each time he visited his home town Funtua in Katsina State, he would come to Kano where we would either have a talking lunch, for him to return to Funtua, or a dinner (in which case he could spend the night in Kano. On this last occasion, he travelled to Kano after the engagements in Dutse and we had a late dinner along with other friends and spent the night discussing, as usual, the state of things in Nigeria and Africa and what needed to be done to ensure that the geography of poverty was altered.

Taju's commitment to the fight against poverty was not informed by the Washington Consensus' reading of fighting poverty as a means to ensure system stability, but one borne of total commitment to social justice. He believed that democracy was not possible in a society where many people live in abject poverty. It was this commitment to fighting poverty as part of the wider agenda for social justice that made Taju, who had for all his life never worked for government, to join the UN system as an anti-poverty crusader on the African continent. I recall a friend who chided Taju, for taking the UN job, as having sold out. But Taju thought otherwise. It gave him a wider African platform to carry on his campaign for a united democratic Africa without poverty. For him the slogan that another Africa is possible was to be operationalised through another slogan he had popularised, "Don't Agonise, Organise!"

For the May trip we had planned our usual rendezvous to take place in Funtua on the 28th May. I was therefore rudely shocked when at 6 a.m. on Monday 25th May a friend telephoned to tell me that Taju had an accident and had died as a result. I was devastated. I had known Taju as friend, classmate, comrade and collaborator in a number of community projects since 1978 when we entered Bayero University Kano. I could not believe that this was the end of such a life-long relationship.

Highly principled, outspoken, Taju, who had long-running battles with the security both locally in Nigeria and abroad (in Europe and Africa), knew he could not afford to be distracted by minor infractions of the law such as not wearing seatbelts. As he was someone who did not like driving, I could not remember ever seeing Taju driving himself and never saw him alone in a vehicle.

This therefore places posers on the circumstances of his death. It was reported that he drove alone to the airport early on Monday morning. When the accident happened, the vehicle threw him out, meaning that he was not wearing his seatbelt. It was also reported that the accident was not discovered in time even though airport roads anywhere are supposed to be busy, more so as there should be other travellers who, like Taju, wanted to catch that same flight.

Taju touched so many lives. In Funtua he had built both primary and secondary schools where children of the poor had access to free qualitative education that was not available in state schools. I had helped Taju to establish perhaps the first rural internet access point in the country at Funtua in 2000. Today that internet centre is still serving several communities in the Funtua, Bakori and Danja local governments of Katsina State. He built a library around it where people had access to books not available anywhere in public libraries in Nigeria. Thousands of people have acquired computer literacy in the computer centre attached to the PADEAP office in Funtua. The centre also runs many other courses raging from adult literacy to preventive healthcare.

Taju's community service offerings were not just limited to Funtua. He set up similar outfits and centres in Uganda, UK and even Kenya more recently. In each of these countries, he set up schools, cybercafes and community resource centres where ordinary people have a chance to access education, life skills and civic education. He was a founding member of several organisations such as the African Research and Information Bureau (ARIB) in the UK, Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD), Justice Africa, Pan African Development Education Advocacy Project (PADEAP), and the New Nigerian Movement. Taju's role in the establishment of Radio Kudirat and in the struggle against military rule in general in Nigeria is yet to be documented. It is a challenge to those of us who worked with him in those heady days to set the record straight.

His deep commitment to pan Africanism saw him working hard to revive the Pan African Movement, to which he devoted himself full time for many years. This led to the holding of the 7th Pan African Congress in Kampala, Uganda in 1994. He was at home in any African country. As an intellectual, he saw this gift as a tool to be used to liberate Africa. He never allowed his intellect to be used in the service of any dictatorial government but allowed individuals and organisations of all kinds to freely draw from it in the making of a new world that is grounded in social justice.

Taju knew virtually all African heads of state and was outspoken in his condemnation of their dictatorial tendencies. In spite of having worked with Musaveni for many years at the level of the pan African movement, he fiercely criticised his autocratic rule in Uganda. He did the same to Mbeki whom he saw as having deviated from the founding principles of the ANC. Here in Nigeria, he did not spare our rudderless leaderships of various hues.

The Taju we loved so much was a Taju many heads of state and political leaders in Africa hated. Would the unusual circumstances of his death be an indication of some political foul play? The Nigerian government has a responsibility to help his family, friends and indeed the global community to know truly what happened to this patriot, scholar-activist and a great pan-African hero.

Y Z Yau

Raufu Mustapha, my colleague at Oxford, phoned me with the terrible news. Taju, Raufu, Shehu Othman, and I shared in intellectual life in Oxford with Oxford students and with African, and particularly Nigerian visitors. Taju's application for admission to Oxford was an unusual one. He was straightforward - none of the arts of exaggerated self-presentation expected of Rhodes Scholars. He accompanied it with his Kano dissertation - vigorous, polemical, direct, demonstrating his knowledge and understanding of Nigeria politics, but not quite n the style to which my academic colleagues had become accustomed. I was pleased that he chose to come to my College and to work with me in Oxford..
My strongest memory of Taju, after his student days, was his hurried, and late, arrival at a Nigeria workshop, that brought Nigerian radical scholars together at St Peter's College to say that he had come to object to Shehu (Othman) and my paper. The polemics continued. As they will and must continue:

Gavin Willams

Gavin Williams

Had a deep pan-African relationship with Taj. Here below was our last exchange before his death. In the week that he died, we had planned to meet in Lagos.

I have actually been with Kayode all along through the thick and thin of the electoral robbery. I am now gearing to return to Abuja... I hear you'd be around in the week of 20th May? May be I should meet you in Lagos?


2009/5/13 Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem <[email protected]>
- Ocultar texto das mensagens anteriores -

Egghead, Nice to hear from you. It is realy sad that the PDP can treat Nigerians just as it likes. I hope Ekitis do not let them get away with it. However the wider question is : what would Nigerians do to make their vote count?

How is your job? are you in Lagos or Abuja?

All the best, Tajudeen
"Forward ever , backward never".....Kwame Nkrumah (1909 - 1972)

..................DON'T AGONISE! ORGANISE!!....................................

--- On Fri, 1/5/09, Egghead Odewale <[email protected]> wrote:

> From: Egghead Odewale <[email protected]>
> Subject: Thank you
> To: "Dr. Taju Abdul-Raheem" <[email protected]>, "TajuA@aol. com" <[email protected]>, "Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem" <[email protected]>, "Dr. Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem" <[email protected]>
Date: Friday, 1 May, 2009, 11:01 AM
Well Sir,

It is needless to commend you again on your write-up on the Ekiti rerun and the horrendous treatment meted to our comrades in the hands of Mr Oni's sponsored thugs. Knowing your pedigree, one would not have expected you to act otherwise in the circumstances. In their own cowardice and an attempt to avoid the court libel papers, they yanked off their publication of the pictures and claims initially posted to

Your write up has further helped to externalize the issue and it is a welcome step. We shall continue to monitor and follow-up from here.

So sir, I am not commending you for doing what you're expected to have done as a leader in the struggle, but to say hello and confirm that I received mine!


22 Mediterranean Street, Imani Estate,
Maitama District,
FCT-Abuja (910001)
Cel: +234.803.288.7664, +234.805.394.8758;
Alt Email: [email protected]

The West African Bar Association

Dear Taju,
The fall of a true son of Africa
When on the morning of Monday25th May, on my way to the airport to catch my flight to Nairobi I got a text message from one of our ‘favourite youths’, Hellen, that you had been involved in a fatal accident, I was geared to caution her on this choice of words when there is no loss of life- but the end of the message had “some texts are missing”. Even when Irungu confirmed some 3 minutes later I still could not allow myself to believe because you see I was looking forward to calling both you and Irungu on arrival in Nairobi to meet up for our Pan African brainstorming as had been the tradition for some time now. So it couldn’t be- even when he said there would be a convoy accompanying your body to the airport later in the day-if I had been the pilot flying my KQ flight I don’t know what speed limit would have been broken for flying but would definitely have broken one- the way my mind was racing to get there and confirm that it was not you.
You see I refused to believe that those discussions would cease-discussions that were mostly animated by your inspiration, passion and humour, at the world-stage charades being enacted by those who make decisions for us and lock our children and their children in cycles of poverty and powerlessness. I always looked forward to these and the Postcards which provide me with a good weekend reading and reflection. It is the absence of the postcard that has nailed it for me that there really won’t be any because you are gone. That you have carried your fight and devotion to the oneness of Africa to the very last –leaving as you did on Africa Day. Could this be a symbol to us all including our leaders that Africa should not be allowed to perish under the yoke of poor construction works? Poor construction works that represent poorly -constructed implementation policies –those that do not involve the participation of the people and definitely do not carry the safety and protection of their people along. You see you dying on this day as a result of ongoing road construction, with all your passion for the underprivileged can not be a coincidence.
But I believe you are not dead. Your earthly body is gone but your spirit reigns on and will fire the same passion in some other young person until what God has ordained fro our continent comes to pass. Could this be your own Aisha or Aida or some other young disciples just as you were for the ideals of Nkrumah who was not your biological father? Who knows but one thing I know is that your fight will be fought for Africa to be 1 people, 1 government, 1 destiny under God; your fight will be fought for the poor in Africa to be lifted out of poverty and for the development goals to be attained; your fight will be fought for the underprivileged in Africa to be able to access a modicum of justice and for the true rule of law to prevail; your fight will be fought for our leaders to be sated and not have to resort to dipping their hands in the family silver and you know I will always dig this in, your fight will be fought and the children of Africa will survive, develop be protected and provided with the opportunity to participate in their own development by a society that is guided by social justice.
Finally, as difficult as it is to accept that you have gone with all those wonderful characteristics, your inspiring laughter, your passion your humour and absolute ‘Africanness ‘ belive we must and accept we must because it has been said “Ina Li Llahi Wa Ina ILlahi Rajiun”- you have only been recalled by He who made us and owns us all. All that is left is to pray for you, I pray for the repose of your soul and pray that Allah (SWT) whom you worshipped will grant you the benefit of Aljannah Firdaus. This He has promised all those who did His will -and I believe while on earth, Taju you have tried your utmost. Sun re o may He comfort and provide for Mounira, Aisha and Aida whom you always spoke of with shining love and pride in your eyes. Amen
With immense pride and gratitude for having known you
Your ‘Aunty’ -Abiola Tilley-Gyado Plan international

Abiola Tilley-Gyado Plan

Adieu Taju…

The life of a fulfilled soul is like light illuminating dark shadows of death which make tears superfluous! May his soul rest in perfect peace, amin

Tunde Salman

If ever there was any doubt that Taju was part of the grand scheme of Africa those above have confirmed it and taken him home on the eve of Africa Liberation Day. Is the job done ? Rest in peace great son of the Africa.Thank you for inspiring multiple generations of activists and pan Africanists. Your spirit will live forever.

Rudo Chitiga

Dear Taju’s Families and friends, I have courageously passed many bad days. This heartbreaking news is one of the hardest to accept and live with it. Though physically, he will not be with us, I believe the legacy he left under each of us will live forever and be remained deep in our heart and mind. May God keep his soul in peace. I wish strength for all his families and friends.

Girma B Hailu, MDG Support Country Advisor, UNDP-Ethiopia

TAJUDEEN, A LUTA CONTINUA My dear Taju, it has been a week now since you left us so suddenly. A week since a group of shocked comrades of yours from around the world accompanied you in person and in spirit on the long journey home to Funtua. On Monday May 25th, I was scheduled to catch a flight back to Accra from Lagos. I could not sleep most of the night, I kept tossing and turning. I finally dozed off at around 3.30am and woke up when my alarm went off at 5.00am. I put my inability to sleep down to the fact that I was anxious about having to wake up very early. Kayode had to set out early too because he had a meeting in Ekiti that morning. I was getting dressed when my phone rang. It was Funmi Olonisakin from Geneva. She told me she had just heard very disturbing news from Nairobi. Then she told me what she had heard. All I remember saying to her was ‘I will call you back’. I called Nairobi, and it was confirmed. You were gone. Just like that. When Kayode came out of the bathroom, he found me crying and saying your name over and over again. By the time he asked me what was wrong for the third time, he must have known.

I did catch the flight to Accra, in a daze. I called Bisi Olonisakin in London. From the way she sounded I knew she had not heard. I asked her if she had spoken to her sister that morning, she said no. I told her to call her sister in Geneva, and then call me back. She did. I was not about to utter the words ‘Taju is dead’ twice in one hour. When Bisi called me back, I asked her to go to your house and be with Mounira and the girls.

When I arrived in Accra, I went straight to see Sarah Mukasa. She had heard. We cried together. When it was established that you would be brought back to Nigeria for burial, I caught the evening flight back to Lagos. Napoleon Abdulai and his wife Afi Yakubu were on the flight that came in five minutes after mine, so I waited for them. I had not seen them in such a long time. We all hugged, the kind of embrace that says it all without uttering a word. We went to the house in Lagos, and sat for hours, sharing our fond memories. We wondered why you were driving yourself to the airport, we all remembered you as a rather lousy driver. We slept badly, if at all, that night.

In the morning, we went to the airport to await your arrival. For once, Ethiopian Airlines was on time. We met Bayo Olukoshi and Adhiambo Odaga at Arrivals. Odia Ofeimum and Lolade Bamidele joined us shortly after. And then Irungu Houghton, Thomas Deve and Wole who had accompanied you from Nairobi appeared. As I hugged Irungu, I was thankful that there was a mother somewhere who had taught her son that it was okay for men to cry. We all waited, patiently at first, for the paper work to be sorted out, so that you could be released to us to proceed to the local airport for the flight to Abuja. An hour went by, and almost another one. From the reports we were getting from the gentlemen who were trying to facilitate the process, some people wanted to be paid to do their job. All of a sudden, I let out a cry in Yoruba, ‘ anyone who accepts money over this is welcome to do so, but they will either die young or bury their relatives young’. People around me nodded in agreement.

Soon after, we were asked to proceed to the tarmac. And then you were brought out to us. After all the years of struggling for a better country and continent, the fights, the contestations, the battles, you were brought back to the land of your birth in a coffin before your time. They unscrewed and lifted the lid of the coffin, but it was sealed. We could not see your face, and even though we would have loved to, we knew it was better left like that since you still had a long way to travel.

We all proceeded to the local airport to catch our respective flights to Abuja. By this time Mounira, Aida and Aisha had arrived from London. They had been met by the wonderful sisters Amina Salihu and Charmaine Perreira as well as your CDD family in Abuja. As I hugged Mounira, both of us started to cry again, and then she said ‘I have to be strong for the girls’. I looked at Aida trying to concentrate on a game she was playing, and Aisha, who had placed a protective hand on her mum’s lap, and I said to her,’ they are the ones who are trying to be strong for you’. There were so many old friends and comrades waiting - Chidi Odinkalu, Julius Ihonvbere, Lukman Salihu, Limota Goroso, the Ajibewas, so many. There was a long convoy of cars waiting to accompany you on your final journey. I saw some of your uncles and brothers. Your flight was almost an hour late. When you arrived, there was no time to hold brief prayers at the airport as had been planned, the cars were arranged and we started the journey to Funtua.

We arrived Funtua around 5pm in the evening. As you were being carried into the family compound, you could hear a pin drop. There must have been hundreds of people gathered in the compound, yet there was silence. It is a very terrible thing to have to take the body of a promising young man or woman back to their people to bury. You were taken in for Mounira and the girls to say their goodbyes and for you to be prepared to your final resting place. We waited outside because we did not want to crowd into the living rooms which were already congested. After a while, they brought you out and it was time for you to leave. You had been taken out of the coffin and placed on a bamboo stretcher. The women could not go with you to the Mosque for the final prayers, and on to the internment grounds, so we stayed in the compound with Mounira. And that was the last I saw of you.

I don’t know if you have noticed that I have not referred to your ‘body’ or ‘corpse’ or ‘remains’. Taju my brother, dear friend, colleague, comrade, mentor, ally, you will always be alive to me. Kayode said during the first 24 hours of hearing of your death, he played back the over twenty years he had known you. It is hard to imagine a time I have never known you Taju. Right from our days in the late eighties in London when we first met, throughout the years, across continents, through thick and thin, through involuntary exile, through good times and bad. Through the days of setting up the New Nigeria Forum and waging war on military dictatorship in Nigeria. You always used to tease me about how I almost gave birth to Folajimi protesting in front of the Nigerian High Commission in London. Through our days of publishing Nigeria Now, which used to be produced literally in our kitchen in Berwick Tower, London. Kayode and Olu Oguibe would do the typing and typesetting on our Amstrad 9512 in the bedroom, and we would photocopy in the kitchen because that was the only space we could find for the large, third hand photocopier in the tiny flat.

At the Accra memorial that was held in your honour on Friday May 30th, I cried when I saw Napo holding copies of ‘Africa World Review’ that the Africa Research and Information Bureau (ARIB) which you co-founded used to publish. We all knew what Africa World Review meant to you. Those seemed to be the days of selfless service and commitment to political and social movements, at great personal sacrifice, before the decadence of the ‘per diem’ culture and the ‘Non Governmental Individual’ set in.

I remember when you were graduating from Oxford after finishing your PhD. Most of us had never witnessed an Oxford graduation ceremony before, and we giggled throughout the proceedings which were conducted entirely in Latin. We had fits at the sight of you all dressed up in a gown and suit bowing and going out and common g back in to bow again as the ancient ritual required. Taju, we were so proud of you , as you took your place amongst the rest of the Oyinbos who were also bowing and moving around.

When you started organizing for the 7th Pan African Congress, because of your leadership, many of us got involved. Even when some of us got tired of attending meeting after meeting listening to the same old grandstanders and ego trippers, you would grin and say ‘you can’t leave it to others, have your say’. When Akina Mama wa Afrika decided to open up an Africa regional office in Kampala, Uganda in 1996, I was thankful that you were there in Kampala to watch out for me. You would take Algresia Akwi and me out to Kabalagala or ‘Half London’ for rounds of Nyama choma and Waraji. When we got tired of pigging out on meat, you made sure we discovered Gaba Beach for exquisitely grilled fish. Of course you always knew the best joints in town. Of the many things we had in common, our mutual love of dance and very hot pepper featured high on the list. You have to concede I was a better dancer, as for the hot pepper, you were my senior. I know many people in Nigeria did not know who you were. You never ran for office, never ran a bank and never starred in a film. Those are the people who make headlines these days. People like us are called ‘Activists’ with the tone of voice that makes it sound like a dreadful disease. I know you would have hated it, but if the Ugandans and Rwandese had been given the opportunity, you probably would have been given a State funeral in those countries. How many more heroes like you do we have to bring back home to bury in their prime?

During the Ekiti crisis, you were in constant touch with us. Thanks for the text messages you sent from Nairobi, Rome, and the last one dated May 10th was when you were with Napo in Monrovia. Yes, Taju, we will get our stolen mandate back. Over and over again we have been asking ourselves the question, ‘Why has Tajudeen died, and why are these corrupt, shameless vultures still alive?’ We know it is not our place to question Allah. Every person has their own time. However, we are only human, hence our rage and deep pain at such unfairness. After the great injustice that was done to the people of Ekiti on May 5th, I received countless text messages, most of which I responded to saying ‘we live to fight another day. A luta continua’. It was one of the responses I sent to you.

So my brother, even if you will not be with us in person, we know you will be fighting with us from wherever you are, saying in that deep voice of yours ‘ Hey you people, what is wrong with you? Have you no shame? Cancel the damn Ido Osi results and stop playing around with people’s lives. Nigeria is such a great country and yet it has such terrible characters as leaders. As for you President Yar’Adua, I am so disappointed in you…….’ , and you would go on and on.

I keep saying to myself, - there has to be a reason why Taju passed away on May 25th, Africa Day, or Africa Liberation Day as you insisted on calling it. I strongly believe that even at the moment of your death, you were passing on a powerful message to those of us you were leaving behind. You were telling us no matter how hard it gets, this continent is ours and we have to fight for it. You were telling us not to give up. You were saying ‘A luta continua’. Even in our deep despair and anguish, we hear you Taju. The struggle will indeed continue. Even though many of the leaders we are dealing with can’t spell Pan-Africanism let alone understand its vision, we will keep pushing. In your passing away, as you did in life, you have brought together a vast array of friends, comrades, family members and institutions spanning many countries on all the continents of the world. We are all currently thinking through ways of sustaining your powerful political legacy for generations to come.

Kayode and I will never be far from Mounira and the girls. Insha Allah, your girls will have many more mothers and fathers than they bargained for, and we will all do our best to ensure that they grow up to be the strong, competent women you encouraged those of us your sisters to be. Rest in peace Tajudeen. I will miss you forever. A luta continua my dear brother.

Bisi Adeleye-Fayemi Executive Director of the African Women’s Development Fund

How I remember Tajudeen Columnists Written by Dimas Nkunda Wednesday, 03 June 2009 16:16 Is it mere coincidence or it's predestination? Two great friends, the Late Brig. Noble Mayombo and Dr. Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem died in the same month of May. When Mayombo passed on, I remember Tajudeen calling me from Canada. He instructed me to go to Kabalagala and look after Fatumouta Toure, who was very close to Mayombo. He said he was on his way to Uganda for the burial of Mayombo. I asked him how possible it was for him to get to Uganda when burial arrangements were almost done. "I will be there" he said.

As we headed to Fort Portal for the burial, Taju called from Entebbe airport. He had been assigned a driver to take him straight for the burial. As we negotiated the potholes of Kampala-Mityana road, a speeding car passed us. I could see Taju seated in the front seat engrossed in a newspaper. At the burial Taju, who was known by anyone worth his or her salt in the Uganda government, casually walked to where President Museveni was standing. He greeted him. The President asked him how he managed to make it for the burial. It was at this point that Taju asked what must have been deeply disturbing him. "Who killed Noble?" he reportedly asked the president.

The first time I met Tajudeen, I for one thought he was a senior government official. Chidi Anselm Odinkalu, Tajudeen and myself were about to launch and co-chair the Citizenship Rights in Africa Initiative (CRAI) and Taju asked that we meet at Hotel Africana. When I got to the hotel there was a group of about ten people sitting together. Half of them were cabinet ministers. Taju was animated and all focused their eyes on him. When he saw me he said "you rebel come here". He introduced me to the ministers but before long he chipped in "Many of your ministers sold their souls; these used to be our comrades but they have now crossed over to comprador capitalist". The ministers laughed. I do not know about what. The last major event I had with Taju was in Gambia at the Heads of State Summit. There, Taju and a select group of Africans were to have dialogue with President Paul Kagame of Rwanda and President Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia. After the interaction, we went out for tea. It was then that Taju walked over to Kagame against all the protocol and hugged him. Taju then began introducing us. When it was my turn, he said "I am sure you know this rebel Nkunda". Kagame said "Yes I know him but you Taju, you are more of a rebel than him". Ever since that time Taju preferred to ask me, whenever we spoke, how the jungle was treating me in apparent reference to my namesake Gen. Laurent Nkunda's exploits in DR Congo.

Humour was always something you could not miss on Taju. We would sit until the wee hours of the morning listening to him speak about politics, theology, revolutionary movements and the collapse of what he so much wished to have-a united Africa. Apparently the previous night before his death, he was speaking to friends. He was amused over the fighting between Uganda and Kenya over Migingo Island in Lake Victoria. In Kenya they pronounce the Island as 'Mingingo' while Ugandans call it 'Migyingo'. And his question was "if the two neighbours can't even pronounce the name of this island in the same way, why should they even want to fight over it"? And his question was: why not just blow the island off the map of Lake Victoria so that the anger that is consuming Ugandans and Kenyans could dissipate.

Alex De Waal, his close associate, writes that Taju was educated at Government Schools in Funtua from where he went to Bayero University, Kano, where he graduated with a first class honours degree. He was a winner of the Nigerian Government's Merit Award as the best student of Political Science between 1980 and 1982. But the climax of his stance on imperialism came when he applied for a Rhodes scholarship to Oxford University. He challenged the selection committee by dressing in traditional Nigerian attire for his interview and demanded to know why the panel should want to associate someone like him with the name of the grand imperialist, Cecil Rhodes. To the credit of the Rhodes scholarship, they selected him, and Tajudeen spent three years at St. Peter's College, Oxford, writing his DPhil degree in politics.

Taju's email signature was "organize don't agonize"; a true reflection of the manner in which the man wanted to be remembered. Already a Tajudeen Memorial Africa Union Fellowship for African activists and scholars has been established in remembrance of his contribution to the cause of liberating Africa. And for sure more of these will in the coming months come to create the biggest name of a man who knew it all.

At the time of his death he was putting on record how the liberation movements in Africa eventually took power and how they had failed to live up to their promises.


The African Women's Development and Communication Network (FEMNET) mourns the death and loss of a gallant son of Africa, Tajudeen Abdul Raheem. He was and still is an inspiration to many. He did not only die on the Africa liberation Day, it is also the same day that was declared by Nigeria as the Democracy Day in Nigeria. May 29th 1999 happens to be the day when Nigeria returned to Democracy!!!!

He greatly supported our work as a true pan - African believing that Africa cannot change for the better unless the women of Africa are equal partners in the development process. He was a true voice for the voiceless in Africa and the majority of these are women.

We mourn with the family, friend and colleagues of Tajudeen. May his legacy and activism live on through each one of us.

Norah Matovu-Winyi Executive Director FEMNET

Please extend my deepest sympathy on behalf of us in the Swedish Academia. We all lost of a valuable son of mother Africa, but remember his spirit will always guide us.

Nilani de silva (Phd) Researcher, Stockholm University

The loss of Taju is a blow to the heart and the mind. He more than any other fighter lived as if he'd always been there - carrying and keeping alive the memory of struggles for dignity and the ideals of a true liberation - and he, more than any other activist lived as if he could continue forever. It is a dimension that is dimmed with his passing. We will all miss the man - the booming laughter, the impish irreverence, the sharp intellect, the generous all-inclusiveness, the refusal to give up, the wisdom that comes with knowing the foibles and failures of human nature but also the uncompromising rejection of moral cowardice and political sloth. To start with, I think we must keep alive his own writings (as you are doing) - by collecting and collating a selection to be made available, in affordable fashion, in as many African languages as possible. How about establishing an editorial committee and confiding the work of coordination to a young writer (somebody like Mildred Biraya, fo example)? The committee would be tasked with finding adequate means for the project - from African soil but also in conjunction with publishers elsewhere who present African writing, fix a deadline, and in the process of collaboratively publishing and distributing our friend's work establish or reactivate networks of distribution and presentation. It could be the beginning of a new series of 'African thinkers and fighters'!

Breyten Breytenbach

Juste ces quelques mots sur cet homme dont j'ai tant entendu parlé et "cité" par ses proches collaborateurs et amis; et que je n'ai pas eu la chance de connaître. D'avoir tant entendu "ses paroles et positions sur le continent" au travers de ses amis, m'avait donné l'impression de le connaître réellement.

Qu'il repose en paix et que son combat puisse être continué par toutes ces personnes qui croient réellement en l'Afrique et en son développement.

Ndèye Marianne Tounkara, Oxfam GB

I was with Tajudeen at G S London Metropolitann University S Funtua, and subsequently at Bayero University Kano. Tajudeen was an active member of BUK African Anti-Imperialist Youth Front ( AAIF), when comrade,(now Ambassador) Yusuf Yaro Mamman was Chairman. Evan at that early age, we all respected Tajudeen,and knew that he was " an unknown quantity of history" . He was such an intelligent, and charismatic, young man, that it was easy to assume that, Taju would grow to become a great leader.It was our loss that he did not become a Nigerian leader.

From BUK we went our separate worlds, only to read the shocking news of Taju´s death.I will never forget those beautiful memories of our school days. May his gentle soul rest in peace, and, please accept my condolences.


mohammed musawa

Strangely, I never met Tajudeen face to face. I met him through Pambazuka. Barely three hours after his fatal accident, I was with Salim Ahmed Salim attending the 36th African Insurance Organisation Conference in Dar when he informed me of Tajudeen's demise. Salim said he was to see him that week in Nairobi to discuss a few issues before flying on to Addis. Clearly, here was an African who never occupied an elevated public office yet who African leaders consulted and held in high regard! Jenerali Ulimwengu used to tell me much about our departed comrade. I mourn a friend that I never met because, like all freedom fighters in Africa and the poor world, few have tortured the mind about our struggle for real freedom and development as Tajudeen did.

Juma V. Mwapachu, East African Community

“Do not apologize for being Advocates of Pan-Africanism. History and Ideological Political Struggles will be on our Side” as we remember Dr. Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem

It was an honor and a true source of inspiration to have known Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem and to have attended various conferences and participated in different panels with him. He was a deeply committed African political figure and an activist intellectual who said things as he saw them on behalf of Africans. He strongly believed in the African cause and the potential of Africa to make social progress. One of his constant complaints was the weakness of African states, which are still far from envisioning a genuine Pan-African political platform despite the rhetorics of the defunct Organization of African Unity and now the African Union. He was a strong critic of the African states, their leadership, their rules, and their attempts to retain political power by all means possible.

One of my vivid remembrances in which he decided to critically say things that many people think but do not have either the encourage or personality to do so was at the “Conference of the 10 Years After Apartheid” in Pretoria (South Africa) in 2004. I chaired the panel on pan-Africanism and he was one of the panelists. He started jokingly by stating that, although he and I disagree on how to approach the political situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo, as the chair of the panel, I would be fair to give him sufficient time to finalize his talk. He sided with some segments of the Congolese rebellion. I was an opponent of the invasion and the rebellion. President Thabo Mbeki, Madame Zanele Mbeki and many members of his cabinet were in the audience. Comrade Tajudeen's critique of South Africa, as a state which behaves as if it were not located in Africa and its relations with the rest of Africa, was sharp and strongly pointed directly to President Mbeki who, he thought, deviated from pan-Africanism with a short memory about how Africans were mobilized for the liberation of South Africa. He sharply directed the attacks on President Mbeki's policy in such a way that some members of the audience were not comfortable and thus, they were signaling me to ask him to stop. I did not. He told me later after the session that someone has to say “those things directly to the African leaders.”

Last time I saw him was in October 2007 during the United Nations Development Programme-Africa Region's Conference on "Human Development Report" that was held in Nairobi. We went to a bookstore together. On the way, we talked about political events including the upcoming elections in Kenya.

He was fun to be with, jovial and friendly, politically savvy, predictable in his judgment and intransigent in his critique of foreign powers' hypocrisy.

The Global African world has lost a genuine spokesperson with a rich background on international relations and affairs and a vision of tomorrow. However, his thoughts are immortal.

May his soul rest in peace in eternity and inspire us to continue the struggle with a clear mind and consistent sense of direction.

Tukumbi Lumumba-Kasongo

On the 25th may 2009, Africa and the word generally lost one of the topmost Pan Africanists of our time Comrade Dr Abdhul-Raheem Tajudeen in a car accident in Nairobi. The death of Comrade Tajudeen has inevitably left a vacuum in the Pan African Movement but the movement stays and has to be accelerated. That he died on the African liberation day could have been designed by God so that we reflect on the current status quo of the Global Pan African Movement. Comrade Tajudeen has since 1994 been a General Secretary of the Global Pan African Movement. Apart from him (who ironically was rarely seen at the secretariat), the secretariat has been Ugandanised and many argue that it has been reduced to the arm/branch of the NRM Party. Mr. David Mafabi who was then a director for political affairs at the secretariat, took charge of the secretariat during the absence of Dr Tajudeen. Since Mafabi’s appointment as an Assistant to the President, the secretariat fell in the hands of Stephen Othieno and Grace Kabayo both Ugandans. Ironically, they still call it the Global Pan African Movement Secretariat may be this is the reason as to why no other country remits funds to run the secretariat.

The Ugandan tax payers’ money foots the bills of the daily running of the Global Pan African secretariat without the latter giving accountability to the former. It is my considered view that as we mourn the untimely demise of Comrade Tajudeen, we also rethink the future of the Global Pan African Movement. Fifteen years after the seventh pan African congress, it remains unclear as to when the 8th Pan African Congress will be held. It is also debatable whether the current Global Pan African secretariat has the wherewithal to organise the 8th Pan African Congress. I am highly skeptical and my skepticism is not unfounded. Some of us believe that as long as the secretariat remains in Uganda in the current shape with the current personnel, it will remain a money-making project for a few individuals at the detriment of the Global Pan African Movement and its ideals, values, objectives and aspirations. Some other doubting Thomases believe that it will continue to be used as an appendage of the NRM party. Clearly, it is virtually impossible to hold a position at the Pan African Movement secretariat unless one is a movementist. That vindicates what our local media attributed to Hon Kigyagi that even the sweepers on the streets will be NRM card holding members!

Yet, pan Africanism predates and transcends our trivial political leanings. It is a movement aimed at the unity, liberation, welfare and love of the African people and the entire black race. It is a movement that was started to combat slavery, colonialism, marginalisation and all forms of injustice inflicted on the black race. We are still confronted with injustices emanating from neocolonialism and globalization and as such I feel the Pan African Movement has a lot to do than preoccupy itself with trial, petty self-aggrandizement.

It is a paradox that since the secretariat came to Kampala, it has been hogged by Uganda and while here in Uganda it has been hogged by the NRM. This is but a sad commentary indeed. I hope no other country reads from Uganda’s script in case the secretariat shifts from Uganda. I have been calling upon some civil servants to join the pan African movement and many have told me they cannot because they are not politicians! May be it has been projected as a club of politicians and I feel it should be made attractive to all people regardless of their professions, social standing, and political inclinations. It must be a mass movement comprising of all that wish the best for Africa, Africans and the entire black race. Otherwise, the manner in which the Pan African Movement is being run is antithetical to Pan Africanism and is a test to Uganda as to whether it should be entrusted with the stewardship of any other regional or international organisation.

We must extend the movement beyond Uganda to include other nationals in the running of secretariat affairs. We must debunk the notion that the pan African movement is an extension of the NRM or state house. There is need to organise the 8th Pan African Congress which will help us go back on the drawing board and make self-appraisal. The Ugandan government should facilitate the national chapter so that it can have a secretariat that is up and running. It should also resolve the current stalemate in which the Global secretariat and the national chapter headed by comrade JP Mwesigwa Karooro are locked. The death of comrade Tajudeen can teach us that we should build institutions that outlive individuals. The demise of an individual should not live an institution in disarray. Let us not agonise. Let us organise!

Vincent Nuwagaba, Political Scientist, Pan Africanist cum Human Rights Defender

I wish all the strength in the world to his family to cope with this
tremendous loss.

What a great guy he was and remains in my memory! Inspiring, warm,
wonderful activist, fantastic to work with him on GCAP.

I will miss him.

Paul Groenewegen, Oxfam Novib


Tajudeen Abdul Raheem. I cannot recall when and where we first met. But he was like a brother I have always known. He seemed to prop up everywhere the struggle for liberation was on. I recall the long years of anti military rule struggles.

Like a one-man army, he seemed everywhere; radio and television, in the newspapers and internet, academic circles and in the arena of political activism. About three years ago, when then President Olusegun Obasanjo was engaged in the voodooism of a Third Term in office contrary to the constitution, the Labour Movement organized a meeting of progressives in Abuja. It brought together trade unionists, political activists, the civil society and pro – people members of the National Assembly. Suddenly, Tajudeen appeared. I was not surprised he came. After the meeting, we embraced like lost brothers. The questions tumbled; when did you come into the country, how long are you staying, where in the world can you be found? He flashed his usual smile; the number of people trying to engage him did not allow a full response to my questions.

The next time I saw him was on the set of Big Brother Africa 2008. He was there to sensitize the Housemates and viewers on the Millennium Development Goals and how the pervasive poverty in our continent can be tackled by 2015. It was to such struggles and the ultimate liberation of Africa that Tajudeen dedicated his life.

We were of the same generation; that generation that could still hear the echoes of Malcolm X calling for ‘Black Nationalism’ and the liberation of the African American “… by any means necessary” We were part of that generation, Kwame Nkrumah had left the goal of a United States Of Africa. We were that generation that could still hear the fading voice of James Brown as he sang “Say it loud, I’m black and proud!”

Fela had considered us the Young Pioneers and taught that contrary to being the back room, Africa is actually, the “centre of the world.” He told us that we cannot consider ourselves educated unless we had digested Walter Rodney’s “How Europe Under Developed Africa”

The generation of Tajudeen and I had enthusiastically received the “War” message of Bob Marley that unless Africa was totally freed from colonialism, there would be a world war. Our generation took to heart the message from the diaspora which pointedly told us “ Get up, stand up, stand up for your rights. Don’t give up the fight”

One of the messages that most moved our generation was that by Peter Tosh who demanded “Equal Rights and Justice” and declared unapologetically “I don’t care where you come from, as long as you are a blackman, you’re an African…Don’t mind your nationality, you have got the identity of an African”

Tajudeen went out to fulfill these messages. Yes, he was Nigerian, but he was first an African; his turf was the continent. He did not pursue the normal career of youths in the country; Tajudeen saw himself as a Pan Africanist who could lay down his head under any part of the African sky.

One of the places I recall Tajudeen living was Kampala, Uganda where as General Secretary of the Pan African Movement, he and other Pan Africanists were trying to organize the Seventh Pan African Congress ( PAC) Pan Africanism is the philosophy that that people of African descent, wherever they live on the globe, constitute a common cultural community, suffer similar degradation arising primarily from slavery, colonialism, and imperialism, and that they need unity and solidarity to liberate themselves.

The first PAC meeting was in 1900 in London while the first impactful one held in 1919 in Paris. ThePAC demanded the abolition of slavery and corporal punishment and the right of every “native” to learn how to read and write his own language and that of the trustee nation at public expense. Most importantly, that PAC demanded that Africa be ruled by “…the consent of Africans”.

These were revolutionary demands and by the Fifth PAC in Manchester, 1945, the people of African descent had moved to an higher gear. The delegates that included W.E.B. Dubois, George Padmore and Kwame Nkrumah declared:

“We affirm the right of all colonial peoples to control their own destiny. All colonies must be free from foreign imperialist control, whether political or economic”.

The impact of the Manchester PAC led to the establishment of nationalist and liberation movements that within two decades, politically, wrestled the African continent from the grips of colonial powers.

Tajudeen, Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni and others trying to hold the Seventh PAC hoped it would have the same epochal impact as other PACs.

These attempts fizzled out, but Tajudeen emerged one of the most eloquent and passionate Pan Africanists since Nkrumah. Youth was on his side, but he knew time was not; he packed so many activities together as if he knew death could cheat him out of history.

It is said that human beings ordinarily cannot decide when they would be born or die, but if Tajudeen had a choice, he would not have objected leaving on May 25, African Liberation Day.

This May 25, 2009 on his way to the Nairobi airport en route Kigali, Rwanda to launch a maternal health campaign, he laid still following a road accident. The booming voice of Tajudeen who rendered the beautiful emancipation songs of Du bois, Nkrumah, Marcus Garvey and Malcolm X, and composed his own liberation lyrics, was last heard on the streets of Nairobi. Tajudeen, the flutist of African liberation departed on African Liberation Day, but left his message “Don’t agonise, organize!”

Owei Lakemfa

The Tajudeen Challenge: An Appreciation

I met Comrade Tajudeen Abdulraheem twenty-three years ago in Oxford, through another comrade/colleague, David Johnson, a fellow historian, who had grounded with Taju initially, I suspect in Nigeria and, subsequently in the UK. When I informed David that I will be traveling to Oxford to look at the holdings at Rhodes House Library, he suggested that I contact Taju a potential host. Our path never crossed when I was resident in Nigeria, from 1977-1984, but Taju knew almost everyone that mattered on the Nigerian left. Our first meeting therefore turned out to be a Central Committee Indaba that took in more members with the arrival of Adebayo Olukoshi the following day and other Nigerian Comrades. Our discussions principally revolved around the perennial question of la project Africain—what else to talk about?—the left in Nigeria; the struggle against Apartheid; the Africanists scholarly racket; neo-colonialism/imperialism, and race but hardly Pan-Africanism. This is instructive partly because Taju came from a Marxist tradition that was shaped by the left experience in Nigeria, an experience that is strictly speaking rooted in the history of Nigerian intellectuals and their romance with the ‘progressive’ faction of the fractious Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC). It is not co-incidental that his first scholarly publication—co-authored with Adebayo Olukoshi—was about the left and the struggle for socialism in Nigeria.

Taju continued to struggle within this tradition when he took up a position as researcher-cum-activist at Ben Turok’s Institute of African Alternative (IAA). The debates then, our debates, if I can call it that, were shaped by an orthodox Marxist project that was informed by classical formulations about history, theory, and society. The short lived Journal of African Marxist (JAM) was anything but African; it published articles written by African intellectuals who professed Marxist ideas but were far removed from the day to day reality of those for whom they claim to speak. This distance—not just literal and metaphorical—troubled Taju still bogged down with primary research—his dissertation. Time and again he would evoke Cabral as if to remind us all about the monumental task ahead.

By the time he finished his dissertation Taju had crossed the proverbial Rubicon; resolved to look from within; to explore linkages and potentials within the evolving African community of exiles particularly Ghanaians; and to return to the source a la Cabral. This was the context; indeed the moment of the African Research and Information Bureau (ARIB). And ARIB would become the symbolic signpost between Taju’s self professed Marxism and his discovery of Pan-Africanism as the essential vehicle for the liberation of Africa.

Unlike IAA, ARIB was an African outfit, stitched together by Ghanaian comrades who had been forced into exile by Rawlings: Napoleon Abdulai, Zaya Ayeebo et al. I suspect ARIB gave Taju the intellectual space to think through the African condition in close proximity with battle tested comrades fresh from the barricades with rich experiences to reflect upon. ARIB was praxis in ways that were unimaginable at IAA; it ministered to the needs of the swelling ranks of West Africans in the 90s; and was an intellectual rendez vous for both continental and disapora Africans. These were extremely hard times when funding was hard to come by and several attempts to cross the Atlantic came to naught.

ARIB was involved in community matters, with race and race relations. The network widened to include Diaspora Africans principally Caribbeans; other Africans also came on board. And before long Taju’s network included the legendary John La Rose and Mzee Babu Abdurrahman the Zanzibari revolutionary intellectual. Taju became Babu’s protégé; for he would draft him to organize the Kampala Pan-African conference which catapulted him to the continental stage. Before long, Taju was confronted, a la Padmore, with an organizational as well as a theoretical question: PAN-AFRICANISM OR COMMUNISM? Did Taju (re)invent himself as a pan-Africanist to pursue his self-professed Marxist objective of capturing state power? Or did he use Marxism to advance the cause of pan-africanism?

These two related questions underline the seminal contribution of Comrade Tajudeen Abdulraheem. Like Padmore before him Taju did not abandon the socialist project. Rather, he skillfully employed Pan-Africanism to advance the socialist project in ways that are not too easy to understand. Unlike Padmore, however, Taju did not make an a priori distinction between organizations on the basis of their alleged revolutionary potential, that is to say, ‘revolutionary’ versus ‘non-revolutionary’ binary.

Taju’s abiding concern was how to creatively pursue the revolutionary agenda even in situations/organizations that are outrightly reactionary or seemingly counter-revolutionary. Which is why he was tirelessly involved in all sorts of disparate liberal activities that on the surface had no bearing to his ideology. Where comrades jettison NGO’s as advancing the cause of imperialism, Taju demonstrated that the reverse is possible if the ideal is solidly ground on a Pan-African platform; where leftist traditions collectively indict multilateral organizations as imperialist outfits, Taju turned this on its head by making us rethink an alternative trajectory. His abiding faith in human propensity for change against all odds—privileging agency over structure—remains Taju’s seminal contribution to twenty-first century African history. He demonstrated, through tireless practice, that it is possible to humanize inhuman organizations; to neutralize liberal outfits as vehicles of change; and to sell the agenda of revolution without appearing to be revolutionary.

The challenge is how to deepen the privileging of agency over structure so as to advance the struggle for our collective emancipation. This is Taju’s legacy!

Ibrahim Abdullah

Farewell Tajudeen

Who can emulate you?





You showed passion in all you did.

Your charm, wit and infectious laughter are no more.

Who can emulate your way with words?

Your love for mother Africa

Your ability to analyse, mobilise and concretise our realities.

And now you have joined the ancestors in the line of:
Malcolm X
Fanon and many others.

Who can emulate you now?

Surely we must take up the challenge and continue in your colossal footsteps?

For you have left a profound Pan-Africanist legacy,

For the youth of today and tomorrow.

Farewell my “senior brother”!!

Ama Biney

Taju Abdulraheem: Humble Entry, Triumphant Exit

This is the story of a great friend, Tajudeen Abulraheem, who passed away on Sunday, May 24, 2009, in faraway Nairobi on his way to Jomo Kenyatta Airport to catch a flight to Kigali, Rwanda. The death was reported to us with a bang, not because we are not used to losing our dear ones but more so because Taju, as he was fondly called, was vibrant and his brains were certainly at the peak of the creation and recreation of ideas for the betterment of mankind at the time of his demise.At the Abuja airport on Tuesday morning, along with friends while waiting for Taju's body to arrive from Nairobi via Lagos, we pondered over the reality that life expectancy of a Nigerian man is 49 years. Our lamentation was that we thought that is the reality with mainly the rural folks who are uneducated in the western sense and therefore bitten by the ravages of poverty and underdevelopment.The death of Tajudeen is really a great loss to humanity because of the depth of his thoughts for the development of the human person. Throughout his life, despite his intellectual prowess which would have fetched him the best jobs anywhere in the world, he rather preferred and remained within the informal circles and arenas where the focus has been on the uplift of human standards and integrity.As the secretary-general of the Pan-African Organisation in Kampala Uganda, Dr Abdulraheem laboured so hard to see the possibilities of the integration of the continent of Africa - a dream which several other leaders at the point of independence thought was possible to actualize and which is, at the moment, being revisited by some and heavily resisted by some other leaders on the continent. I have always known Taju from his debut in the early 1980s, but the reality of how close we became was in the last 10 years. I heard the name several times, especially when brilliant political scientists were mentioned. He was one among the very few in Nigerian universities that ever scored a first-class degree in Political Science. This we know, by all measure, is an exceptional achievement because it is what very few of them have been able to achieve.As a scholar, his involvement in pro-democracy activism pitched him against the government of General Abacha, maybe because he was seen as one of the very vocal Nigerians in Diaspora who were well-connected with the international media and was reasonably listened to and read through his commentaries on radio, television and the columns that he wrote in several other newspapers across Africa and the world.When I realised that Taju was a columnist with about 12 different newspapers across the world, I was only humbled the more because I thought I was doing something extra by writing for only two Nigerian newspapers. Taju was writing for one paper in Nigeria, two in Kenya, two in Uganda, three in South Africa and several others across the UK and America, thus contributing immensely to the dispensation of knowledge in the continent of Africa in general and Nigeria in particular.Anytime I was with Taju - and I did tell him on several occasions - I was fascinated by the degree and quantum energy that the gentleman was made of. He was as strong as he was vibrant, always on top of the situation and at the top of his voice. You would always hear his voice towering over all other persons’ else in either at social or even intellectual meeting.No doubt, the world of activism and civil society especially will miss Dr Abdulraheem for this energy, intellect, motivation and intellectual zeal with which he pursued all businesses of life. His common catch-phrases were “Forward ever, backward never”; “Don't agonise, organise”. These simply define the character very aptly. He was moving and forward always until death came at a time when he was at the peak of service to humanity.A few years ago at a function in Abuja where I sat next to him, some thoughts which I thought were by the way struck me when Dr Abdulraheem was making some analyses that were brilliant on certain issues of discourse and I became so fascinated and took a closer look at him, and immediately wondered what would happen if God suddenly withdrew this brain from us.I immediately removed myself from that mood of thought, but the meaning of my thinking was reflected basically in the inability to transfer brains from one person to the other. The thought, as I did say, went away immediately only to resurface early morning Monday when Salihu Lukman's call came in with the news of the passing away of Taju.A couple of times while at home in Nigeria, Dr Abdulraheem came in with quite a few friends who went with us to the university in Gwagwalada and spoke on several areas of interest regarding Africa and its international relations. During the visits, Taju had established friendships with young people who have since seen a model to emulate. A great guy that he was, he was equally a hard worker. He was a good friend, trusted fellow and an example of humility in success.When Taju was born in 1961, he came in humbly, but by the time he was going back to mother earth on Tuesday, May 26, 2009, it was a triumphant exit even by the testimonies of the number of people who attended his funeral prayer and took him to the grave. A friend murmured in shock, “Kabir, can any of those looters called leaders really have this much affection in death?” I don't know, but what I do know is that my friend, our friend who didn't labor for material cash and position of arrogance, who served humanity in local and international dimensions was cheered to his grave by tens of thousands of people in his native Funtua. The pains of the loss of Taju were visible on the faces of these teaming numbers who lost a great pillar and member of their community, who through sheer hard work and perseverance showed the way.Taju once pondered about the behaviour of friends we grew up with who find themselves in positions of political authority and power. He bemoaned why they stayed away and became incommunicado. His position was, “They don't know that they need us, we don't need them.” This is the truth and that is Taju for you. Reading through the tributes written by great scholars like Mahmud Mamdani, Okello Ocui and Jibrin Ibrahim, the magnitude of the loss even becomes more daunting. Certainly, one of the few things that mortals have yet failed to unravel is death and how, when and where it comes. For us living, the loss of Taju was a shock that we have continued to make do with till our death come knocking.Born in humility, he lived a life of service, died on the line of duty and was buried triumphantly - reminiscent of how great kings cherished and loved by their people are sent off. For Tajudeen Abdulraheem, it was a life well spent. May God forgive his sins and reward him with everlasting peace. Adieu Taju, till we meet to part no more.

Kabiru Mato, PhD

It’s a sad day for Africa, and the tragic of the story is that when Dr Tajudeen visited KTN news station as part of G-20 London Summit debates in April 1 2009. He did not miss word as he used to while talking about bad governance and did with clarity talk about bad road as a major cause of road accident across the continent. But what moved all us in the newsroom and in think the viewers at large is the way is drew significance between the fact that the political elite across Africa have turned into driving ‘big cars’ at the expense of the impoverished African tax payer as a way of protection against the bad road. I will stand to be corrected; this was probably the last interview he ever had in a studio setting before his tragic end.

It’s a sad day in that bad governance in Africa has claimed a passionate and gifted African who had dedicated his life to the cause of the Africa poor. A man who could have been among the most senior UN officer at New York, but one who opted to work within his Africa despite countless opportunity.

For the better part that I meet Dr Tajudeen is the last three years, he had changed my life in different ways, above all to think about to search for an Africa solution within Africa. Strong believer in the inherent ability of the African despite the odds, a fact he able to put across through his writings, interactions with who ever he met, through his charismatic nature and not forgetting his laughter.

Africa is now poorer without Dr Tajudeen Abdul Raheem. I put him in the same category as late Julius Kabarage Nyerere, Lat Hastings Okoth-Ogendo, Leopold Sedor Senghor, and others.

For how will Africa continues to lose its best so tragically

Patrick Mugo Mugo
Senior Researcher, KTN –Kenya
Member, Africa Media Initiative on Development (AMID)

Africa Media Initiative Developmnet

Is Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem gone?

THE venue was Addis Ababa, and the issue on hand was convening an African Governance Roundtable on, "Towards the United States of Africa: Issues, Problems and Challenges". I could not think of a better person to lead the discussion than Tajudeen Abdul Raheem, the irrepressible pan-Africanist and an incurable optimist on the African project. I sent an email to Taju, but mistakenly attached Prof. L. Adele Jinadu's invitation letter with it. Taju replied, "Said, you never intended to invite me, you wanted to make me a substitute for Jinadu who probably had declined your invitation". I responded apologising to Taju that it was an oversight and indeed, he was on the slot and to lead the discussion. Taju could not make it down to Addis Ababa for the roundtable on May 7, 2009 but sent another passionate comrade, Thomas Deve from Zimbabwe to represent him. That was the last conversation I had with Taju before the chilly but wicked hands of death snatched him away from mother earth! Africa has lost a gem, an illustrious son and someone ahead of his time!

Taju lived and died for Africa. Tajudeen was the Secretary General of the Pan-African Movement, and before his death the Deputy Director of the UNDP Millennium Development Goals office based in Nairobi, Kenya. What made Taju thick and different were his abiding faith, commitment, struggle and complete dedication to the pan-African project. Taju believed that another Africa is possible, and it is something that can be achieved through intense, even if rebellious struggles. Articulate, convincing and bright, Taju always puts on a colorful side of life. When friends are depressed and despondent about the course of events in Africa, Taju would counsel, "we will get there, we must not agonise but organise". He courted friendship among the leaders, the rich, poor and vulnerable in society, but always weighed in on the side of the weak and the vulnerable.

He speaks with absolute confidence, carries his message with the tone and vigour of a missionary and never had any regrets for whatever he says. He chided leaders in their presence; speaks truth to power in the most direct way, aligns with progressive forces across the continent and foresaw a future that works for Africa. In one of the meetings of the African leaders, Taju was granted the floor to speak. Directing his attention to the leaders present, Taju enquired, "Why do we have to restrict our people from moving around? If it is difficult for us to enter the capitals of Europe, why is it that it is also difficult for us to enter our continental capital - Addis Ababa? Addis Ababa is Africa's political capital, and we should be free to come here". Turning his attention to the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Taju beckoned for a response. Meles Zenawi, the Prime Minister of Ethiopia responded in a swift policy move few weeks after, making it possible for Africans to obtain visa on arrival at the airport in Addis Ababa.

Taju was an unrepentant advocate of a borderless Africa. Echoing Kwame Nkrumah, Taju would argue, "what unites us is far greater than what divides us, let our people move and move freely". For Taju, the borders have become barriers to our lives; borders which in the first instance we did not create. From the Kikuyus in Kenya, to the Yorubas in Nigeria and the Ndebele's in Zimbabwe, we all share a common past, heritage, problems, challenges and the same future. Why should Africa therefore not be united? Taju always insists. Taju was not a rabble rouser; he was a well educated and intellectually grounded mind. With a Ph.D. from Oxford University, Taju had the best academic background any sound mind could possess. But he deployed his mind in the service of the people. For Taju, Africa cannot be free, until its people were free.

An untold story about the formation of the African Union (AU) relates to Taju. Taju was a key personality in the process of the formation of the AU, though undocumented. Taju in canvassing support for the idea toured several African countries and met with many political leaders and public opinion moulders in those countries to convince them on it. Working closely with President Mummar Ghaddafi, who was a leader on board the idea, Taju was upbeat that it would be possible for Africa to move on the integration path. Taju in his life never saw problems, he always sees challenges. When asked whether forming the African Union was not a mere dream, or wishful thinking as the OAU itself was not very successful, and filled with rancour and conflicts, Taju would cheerfully reply, "let us dream dreams, the World is built on dreams, we shall move on".

Taju was a core anti-imperialist and very unequivocal about it. Taju cherished his voice and used very platform to make a case for Africa against imperialist attacks. Even when it had become unfashionable to use the term, "imperialist', Taju would use it freely in public platforms and fora no matter how high profile, it may be. Taju did not restrict himself to countries and multinational corporations; he did not spare the 'merchants of Africa's misfortune' - the humanitarian NGOs and aid agencies, whose business thrives on the misfortune and poverty of the people. On one of such occasions, Taju was approached by an international NGO working on humanitarian intervention and poverty issues to help review its 10-year strategic plan for Africa. Taju returned it back to them with a response that, "would you like my plain advice to you?" The organisation insisted on having his view. Taju told them bluntly, "I look forward to the day when you will no longer have a strategic plan in or for Africa; when you will no longer work in Africa, when my people will be out of poverty and misery, when you will have no place or business in Africa". Taju never reviewed any strategic plan!

Taju was much an internationalist as well as a localist. Taju never left the struggle at home - Nigeria. Taju was part of the pro-democracy movement in Nigeria in the dark days of the Abacha junta. He played a key role in the formation and running of Radio Kudirat - that guerrilla underground radio station which Wole Soyinka and Kayode Fayemi were part of, and was also central in the establishment of the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) in London. CDD was formed as the intellectual civil society resistance movement against autocracy and dictatorship in Nigeria and West Africa. Taju chaired the board of CDD till he passed away. Taju also never left his kith and kin and his local community in Funtua. Since the return to civil rule in 1999, Taju comes home regularly, visits families and friends, undertakes projects in his local community, and enjoys life the way he understands it. While in Abuja, Taju hangs out with friends at the "isiawu' and "fish" joints, takes his cool beer and talks away the problems of the country. He is hardly angry, always reflective and sober, but ever determined that we must continue the struggle, no matter how hard or difficult it may be. For our generation and the younger ones, Taju was an inspiration. Defiant, strong willed, but always ready and willing to hear alternative views.

Taju was the greatest living pan-Africanist before he passed away a few days ago. As I received the news of Taju's death in far away Stockholm, I was filled with complete shock, disbelief and sadness, the kind of which I have never experienced since my father died some 31 years ago. Could it be true? Can Taju be dead? Let someone tell me it was a joke! In contact with Addis, there was grief over Taju's demise. Even heads of multilateral and regional institutions could not hold back their tears on it. Taju touched all who knew him in one way or the other! Taju stood for decency, integrity and African dignity. Taju cannot and must not die. The ideas and ideals, for which Taju lived, must live on, and ultimately give birth to a new Africa.

Goodnight, and goodbye, Taju! Africa would miss you, friends would miss you, families would miss you, and we will all miss you. Find sleep and rest in the Lord, sleep well, and may ALLAH grant you peace!

Dr. Adejumobi lives in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Said Adejumobi

Oh Yes Taju lives, Taju's spirit must live so that Pan'africanism will live and actualize. It is still very painful to me as the death reminds me of that of Philippe Wamba taking place also in Kenya; he also was a young man very much agitating for pan'african youth movement. I donot mean to give a stigma to Kenya; the death of Taju, by accident, did very vividly make me relive similar sentiments of sorrow.
I am very glad to see that all over Africa, people do take the strong sense of hope to make Taju's spirit live and his ideals actualized. I do feel somewhat alone here and would have wanted to have been very much part of the vigil at the UDSM. Most people here hardly knew of Taju it frustrated me to often face the question, who was he?, this is also the homework we have been trying to do to get people here become more aware of the other Africa!
Long live the memory of Tajudeen!

Ernest Wamba dia Wamba

I am in shock still and can't believe never to see Taju again. It is so unimaginable still.
He formed part of my political development and whenever I met him at an event in London, we would moan about eurocentrism at SOAS - he had published 2 poems of mine about this 11 years ago now. His work was so important, who will be able to fill his place now?
I think there needs to be an enquiry into the circumstances of his death. How can his spirit or ours rest or live on if no justice is applied to this situation?
With deepest sympathy and solidarity, Ursula Troche

Ursula Troche

It is said that those we love, the gods love more. And it is also said that we never realise the extent of our love until it is lost.

Both sayings are true, as was brought brutally, painfully home to me over the past two weeks. First by the loss of the brother of one of my closest friends.

And then by the death this past Monday of Dr Tajudeen Abdul Raheem, probably best known for his role as secretary general of the Pan African Movement.

But he had many other roles as well. Kenyans exiled and resident in London through the 1980s knew him as one of their strongest allies in the struggle for democracy — not just in Kenya but in Ghana and Nigeria as well as for the struggle for Eritrean independence.

The outpouring of grief from across the continent and beyond, from Africa’s foremost thinkers, from the highest levels of leadership to the most normal of citizens is, I think, without precedent.

There is no other African who was so known by so many from all walks of life in all African states — and this without being a head of state of Nelson Mandela’s calibre.

THIS GRIEF IS MANIFESTING ITSELF in ways that will last — apart from the memorials already conducted in Addis Ababa, Nairobi and Pretoria and planned for Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal, Sudan, Tanzania and the United Kingdom. His home state in Nigeria will be naming a school or street in his honour.

For he was such an extraordinary person. Big in body, laughter and voice, he could be heard coming a mile away. Big in engagement with all things African, big in spirit in terms of his embrace of any African concerned about the continent.

I met him first a decade and a half ago, at a conference in Arusha — ostensibly convened to discuss the Rwandan refugee crisis in the region only a year after the genocide, but more importantly, to address the politics around humanitarian aid in the Rwandan refugee camps, in which it was already clear the Interahamwe had taken control, effectively preventing the Rwandan Patriotic Front from demobilising them.

But beyond the angry debates — aimed at shifting the key international humanitarian actors in the region — there was the side of Tajudeen that anybody and everybody he drew into his ambit knows so well.

The evenings filled with food and laughter — as well as the inevitable arguments about African politics, the dissections of the players therein and all of their relationships.

From him, over the years, I learnt a huge amount about Africa and its movers and shakers. And, through him, I met many of them — with his benediction, as so many of us found, doors swung open, not just politically and professionally, but personally.

L Muthoni Wanyeki, Kenya Human Rights Commission

My name is Edwin, So sad to hear of brother Tajudeen passing. I first met him in Georgetown, Guyana at the Walter Rodney Commeneration bout 5 years ago. I want to summit a poem that I want to share with other mourners...This one is by Guyanese poet Martin Carter:This is the dark time my love.....This is the dark time my love, All round the land brown beetles crawl about....The shining sun is hidden in the sky Red flowers bend their heads in awful sorrow.... This is the dark time, my love, It is the season of oppression, dark metal, and tears......It is the festival of guns, the carnival of misery......Everywhere the faces of men are strained and anxious...Who comes walking in the dark of night time? whose boot of steel tramps down on the slender grass....It is the man of death, my love, the stranger invader watching you sleep and aiming at your dream....concludes the poem by Martin Carter....Now, I want to say Tajudeen will be dearest missed and as I told my love Carolyn he was irreplacable in the Pan African world one of the most gifted and brilliant brother...Thank Mother Africa for sending him our way....Peace, Edwin

Edwin S Wilson

Bye Taj, Bye your african smile and spirit. Not enough words to express myself. You were calling me as Joseph Kabila. We shall continue the fight of free Africa.

Go well and rest in peace ....

Adieu, Taj.

Dr. Joseph Yav, Centre for Human Rights, Democracy and Transitional Justice Studies [CERDH]

Allah's mercy and blessings be upon the soul of this great son of Africa. I would never forget that busy day in Libya when Taj asked the driver of a bus to stop at the nearest mosque so that he could attend the Friday prayers. May his soul rest in peace.

Adnan Perreira, People's Resistance Movement

May the soul of brother Tajudeen Abdul Raheem rest in perfect peace. I have never met him in person but have read a lot of his articles. We have lost an inspirer and advocate. May Allah shower his Mercy upon him and strengthen the hearts of his family in particular, so as to enable them manage this tragic incident.

Alhaji Sulley

It is with painful great regret that I learned about the demise of our brother and political advocacy giant Tajudeen Abdul Raheem. I have worked with him through Justice Africa - addressing political governance as it relates to HIV & AIDS in Africa where he was the Chairperson and admired his wise leadership. I remember him as a brilliant man who would address very serious issues effectively but with sensitivity. He was a wonderful neighbour in my former office and I will always remember how he would check on us (EHAIA-WCC staff) with cheer and humour. We all will miss this man who was a gift to Africa. Rest in peace Taju.

Jacinta Maingi HIV & AIDS Adviser World Vision UK

My dearest Comrade and Friend; in this time of pain our hearts are consoled by the memories and legacies of your work and of our exuberant times with you. Deepest condolences to your family and loved ones; your spirit lives on and the spear has not been lost. A luta continua


A TRIBUTE TO DR. TAJUDEEN RAHEM ABDUL I learnt with great shock of the untimely tragic death of Dr. Tajudeen Rahem Abdul, the Giant Pan Africanist and a true son of Africa. The vacuum that he has left behind will never be filled. I first knew Dr. Tajudeen in the early 1990’s when he was appointed the general secretary of the Pan African Movement. I worked together with him, as our leader in the Pan African Movement Secretariat that organized the 7th. Pan African Congress that that took place in 1994 in Kampala, Uganda. He inspired me a lot, we become close friends and remained friends until his death. I knew Dr. Tajudeen as a person who was easy to work with, he was frank and open, a down to earth person with humor. We always shared a dream of one day having a total liberated Africa. As we mourn the death of Tajudeen, let his blood soil our unwavering unite for Pan Africanism and strengthen our struggle for the total liberation of the mother continent, Africa, for which he fought for. In deed, mother Africa has lost its true and genuine son, May his soul let in eternal peace!

Ollen Mwalubunju Pan Africanist/Human Rights Activist C/ Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation

I have with deep sorrow, learnt of the untimely death of a great African. At the age of 53, he was simply too young to be dying! My condolence message dwells on two things: first how I remember the late Tajudeen and also call to prevent these senseless accidents that are claiming many lives of our relatives on the African continent.

While I reside in Kampala, Uganda where the late was a common figure; I last met him face to face at a seminar organised by the Centre for Basic Research (CBR) in Kololo, Kampala and attended by Pan African movement staff in the 2000s. The topic was national debt. Somebody commented that the donor community had cheated African countries and as such the donors simply had to cancel the debts. That lady from the PAM, said that the Africans would not pay back. One year later, indeed the donor community cancelled debts of some African countries. From that date I realised that the PAM, lead by Tajudeen, knew what was going on in the world and could influence things.

While we mourn Tajudeen, we need to address a few issues causing death to our people. Loss of a man of his calibre is a great loss indeed. And it is from this that I wish to draw the attention of African governments to ADDRESS the carnage on the way to the airports. Transport to African airports is not only limited to road ignoring other safer means such as train or buses but also the roads are very narrow causing accidents. It is from this reality that I call upon African governments not only to introduce other safer means to airports such as railway but also widen the roads.

May the soul of Tajudeen rest in ETERNAL peace

David Lamcek KIBIKYO PhD Research Fellow Centre for Basic Research

I am thoroughly depressed and saddened to hear about the loss of Tajudeen Abdul Raheem. Taju was a fearless campaigner for global justice. He championed Africa and was a truly remarkable person. His loss will be felt throughout the world.

Roy Trivedy Head of Civil Society Department, DfID

This is a very painful loss.

As one of Brother Taju's Nigerian D.Phil. colleagues at Oxford, I must say that words cannot capture the extent of the loss of this Great Son of Africa. Brother Taju's limitless generosity of spirit held a relatively large African student & African studies community together during a golden age of Africanist scholarship and teaching at Oxford in the 1980s. Thank you for your love, kindness, friendship, and solidarity -- and for making those special years truly memorable and empowering.

In retrospect, I now realize that those Oxford years (and your undergraduate Bayero years) were simply testing grounds for what became an unparalleled life's work on behalf of Africa's masses. Thank you for your selfless progressive Pan-Africanist work -- in words, thoughts, dreams, and deeds.

My condolence to Brother Taju's family. May Brother Taju's beautiful soul rest in perfect peace.

Adieu... Brother Taju.


Olufemi Vaughan Geoffrey Canada Professor of History & Africana Studies Director, Africana Studies Program Bowdoin College

I met with Tajudeen for the first time on june 2004. He was a very active member of the Uganda solidarity movement with Cuba and its Revolution. He was always writting in his Tuesday Postcard on behalf of a people he considered brave and corageous because decided to rule its destiny with no interfere of a Imperial Power, just 90 miles away of the USA!!!

Last time we met was on May 2006, he ws at a event on solidarity with Cuba and the Cuban Five at Kampala, and he joined a Statement for the liberation of the Cuban Five.

He was a member of the international awareness campaign for the liberation of the Cuban Five imprisoned injustly in US prisons, for defending Cuba from terrorist attacks organized and financed by previous Us governments and anti Cuban terrorist organizations based on Miami.

He was a good man and a Panafricanist, who considered Cuba as part of the African diaspora, because we are African descendents and we preserve African heritage, like very few countries in the Western Hemisphere.

It is a tremendous loss for Africa and for Cuba too. May be bless by Heavens dear Tajudeen wherever you are now and as you always said DO NOT AGONIZE, ORGANIZE!!!!

Daisy Díaz Albuerne Executive Secretary Cuban-African Friendship Society, ICAP

Tajudeen has spear-headed Justice Africa's work with the African Union since its establishment. Tajudeen has also maintained his role as General Secretary of the Pan-African Movement, chairperson of the Centre for Democracy and Development, and was a fighter in the struggle to get the UN's Millennium Development Campaign to support meaningful programmes. In addition to this, Tajudeen has been producing the weekly “Pan African Postcard”, a column on African issues that is widely read on the net. Since 2006 based in Nairobi, acting as Deputy Director (Africa ) for the United Nations Millennium Campaign, Tajudeen has been ensuring that civil society voices continue to be heard in the global effort against poverty and injustice.

OSJE has always been appreciative of the solidarity shown by Tajudeen to Ethiopian CSOs in the past years and in particular to the two Ethiopian civil society activists Daniel Bekele and Netsanet Demissie during their trial process.

He was the pan africanist star, uniting people where ever he went. We believe that he would not want us to mourn him long rather to remember his words on every African Liberation Day “Don’t agonize, organize!” until the continent is free.

May his soul forever rest in peace and we hope that God will give the strength to all and in particular to his families and relatives to deal with this tragic incident.

Manyawkal Meknonen and Staff Organization for Social Justice in Ethiopia

The sad passing of Tajudeen on African Liberation Day came as a complete shock, having met and interacted with the great man quite a number of times. Brother Taju was a relentless crusader of the cause to unite African peoples under the banner of Pan-Africanism. He, more than anyone else, always reminded us of the need to keep alive the dreams of Nkrumah, Nyerere and Africa's greatest leaders. Taju used his superb intellectual energy and wonderful human touch to propagate this message across the world. He was an inspiration to many young Africans at home and in the Diaspora. We shall truly miss his powerful voice but must nonetheless commit ourselves to carrying on his legacy. Go well Brother Taju and Rest in Peace!

Abdul Lamin UNESCO - Accra

Ambassador Mohamed Sahnoun and all of us at the Caux Forum for Human Security are devastated at the news of Tajudeen Abdul Raheem. Our hearts go out to all his family, and all who he worked with. When such a person leaves us, we are left with a challenge to continue his work with the integrity and passion he poured into it. We are determined to accept that challenge.

With our deepest sympathy.

Roberta Roberta G. Méan Director Initiatives of Change International Liaison Office to the UN and International Organizations


“Maybe it is ambitious on our part and perhaps even audacious, however, I do not think we can all claim to be revolutionaries if we are not ambitious and ready to dare, sometimes where others may fear to tread.” Tajudeen-Abdul Rahim, 21 January 1991.

Who could not be charmed when engaging with Tajudeen Abdul-Rahim? Man woman or child, would be impacted upon by his infectious smile, booming recognisable voice, shrill laughter and the substance of his words. Needless to say, he touched a lot of lives in more ways than one and that is why he is deeply mourned across the continent and in the Diaspora by those who knew him. He was a passionate Pan-Africanist, and a tireless activist with a razor sharp capacity for intellectual analysis of not only African affairs but global developments. I met Taju – as I use to call him – back in 1984 when I was a student at Birmingham university. It was through attending conferences at the Institute For African Alternatives (IFAA) in Old Street in London, that I met the then black-bereted, pipe-smoking Taju. It struck me, that for some uncanny reason he shared a physical resemblance with that other great African fighter, Samora Machel who was alive when I met Taju for the first time. On that occasion, I had left my bags at IFAA and Taju arranged for me to collect them and from that meeting we became instant friends. Every time we met for the 24 years I have known him, he often bemoaned the fact that I was always laden with books and bags. He had several names for me, the first was “bag lady!” It gave way to our working together with other political activists in the London based Africa Research & Information Bureau, between 1990 and 1992, when Taju was the Coordinator of the organisation at 18 Pilgrimage Street. Those were the years of the Abachas, Rawlings, Does and other dictators that the London based Pan-Africanists campaigned against. Human rights, democracy, justice and equality were convictions Taju relentlessly fought for. It was Taju who appointed me Book Reviews Editor of the journal Africa World Review. When the great scholar-activist AbdulRahman Babu encouraged him to take up the position as Secretary General of the Pan-Africanist Movement in Kampala, there were some highly intense struggles about the holding of the 7th PAC in Kampala. I recall – in the days before email – there was letter writing by pen and computers. Being a hoarder of documents and speeches, I still have some of those letters he penned. Taju and I would have intense disagreements over many issues such as the personal is political, gender struggles, and the prospects of then 7th Pan-African Congress being hijacked by neo-colonial forces. In the acknowledgement of his Pan-Africanism: Politics, Economy & Social Change in the Twenty-First Century he referred to me as “PPPC!” because it was during this time that he coined this new name for me. I was his “Personal, Private, Political Commissar” and also his “little sister.” These were terms of endearment that made me smile as it captured our relationship. (The “commissar” harked back to the days of the old politics of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics in the late 1980s). Taju had the human and intellectual maturity and honesty to thrash out political disagreements and move on without malice. He was a consummate diplomat seeking to mobilise disparate factions around a platform of fundamental principles. He moved at ease with people; presidents, academics, African elders, the ordinary African man and woman in the street, believing fundamentally that Pan-Africanism had to unite the masses, whether they be farmers, peasants, students, professionals, women’s groups, or trade unionists and concretely better their lives. When he lost his mother in 1997, his personal pain was aggravated by the fact that the military dictatorship would have imprisoned him if he had returned in order to attend the funeral. This pain was renewed with the deaths of his father, brother, sister and the untimely death of fallen comrades over the years.

All through the years I have known Taju, I would marvel at his capacity - like the Osageyfo Kwame Nkrumah - for a mere 4 hours sleep. After talking till the early hours of the morning, (which he thoroughly enjoyed), he could sleep comfortably anywhere. We were similar in the fact that he would be like a bear with a sore head if he was hungry and could not find some good African food to eat. When his daughter Aida casually commented that he would not be around to see her graduate because his pipe smoking would inevitably lead to an early death, he gave it up. To support him, I stopped bringing him gifts of cigars from my trips to Cuba. Similarly, in the latter years of his very short life, he had begun to make some life style changes. Taju was an embodiment of implementing change and Nkrumah’s “African Personality” in his African attire, political suits and vision. He sparkled and represented the best in Africa’s revolutionary leadership for future generations.

Needless to say, in terms of his educational career, he was an intellectual meteorite at Bayero University, Kano where he gained a first class degree in political science. There he came under the influence of the radical historian Dr. Yusuf Bala Usman and radical sociologist Prof. Patrick Wilmot during the 1970s and early 1980s. He received a Rhodes Scholarship to study at Oxford University. With his gift for language, brilliance of mind, and astute wit, Taju had the knack of dismantling ideological cobwebs and explaining complex social, political, economic and cultural reality – often with some good old African proverbs both in his speeches and in his prolific written work. At a debate in London, organised by Pan-African Advocacy & Education Programme and the Centre for Democracy & Development in November 2007 the topic was: “Is a United States of Africa possible?” It is obvious which side of the debate Taju stood. Among many of Taju’s declarations in his dynamic delivery that day, was: “Slaves dared to dream of freedom. Colonial subjects dared to dream of independence” – hence as Africans, he alluded to the great words of Thomas Sankara who once urged that: “we must dare to invent the future.” Taju said: “If you have a dream you must keep it alive.” Taju’s perceptiveness aided his wonderful flair for communication to all audiences. Like all great orators before him – whether Malcolm X or Steve Biko - he kept you mesmerized, entertained and wedded to his compelling logic. He resonated hope, inspiration, solidarity and a genuine love for Africa and African people. He was opposed to oppression whether it be black or white and stood for solidarity with all oppressed peoples around the world.

Taju was born on 6 January 1961 in Funtua, Katsina State and when I saw him last in early May 2009, among our many points of discussion was whom among our circle of comrades would soon reach the great five zero. He said he had two more years to go. How ironic that he said that and died on Africa Liberation Day!

Throughout his life he penned many articles, articulated necessary positions, strategies and took a political and ideological stand. Taju could never be silenced. Though he has made a colossal contribution in such a short space of time, he had so much more to give and do for our great continent. I mourn deeply for him as the “senior brother” I called him, for he was the brother I never had in a family of girls.

He once said that, in looking at any situation: “There is always something to be done. It can be changed. No matter how bad the situation is, it can be made better.”

Ama Biney (Dr)

I am indeed sadden by the recent transition of our brother, Tajudeen Abdul Raheem. His reports were always a pleasure to read, as he deconstructed the myths to acquire the reality (and truth) of the African experience. We give thanks for his work, and his insight. May the ancestors welcome him with a million praises.

Itibari M. Zulu, Sr. Editor, The Journal of Pan African Studies

It is indeed with deep-felt sympathy I learnt of the death of one of the greatest real Africans of our time.

Tajudeen has left a legacy that we should take forth.

Jemima Njeri

This is a real tragedy. He is one of the outstanding activists of the Rodney teachings of a new post independence generation in Africa, very perceptive and acrtive with current issues. I have been in touch with hm through Horace Campbell. This is bad,bad news. My sympathy to all his loved ones and to all Africana change makers.


I have lost an icon, a coach, a mentor and a true friend.

He called me his favourite Youth and I called him my favourite Elder.

He made us laugh, cheer, node, and cry in agreement of what he said in his speeches or when one talked to him one to one;

I loved his humour and above all his intelligent, wisdom, understanding and knowledge about everything under the beauty of Africa and the world.

He believed in young people and supported them believe in themselves. He facilitated initiatives that made young people engage at all levels and fully march to realizing their full potential.

He was loveable and just the man you want as a friend, spokesperson in your weeding and father to the bride!”

May his light continue shinning through his family, friends, colleagues and generations after generations.

I am very much sure he will be proud of his favourite youth from above there!

Hellen Tombo, Regional Advisor, Plan International

First and foremost our condolences & prayers go the family of Tajudeen. I can only imagine their pain at his loss. I could not hold back the tears at the thought that this wonderfully intelligent man is no more. Though his work and spirit remains with us, it is hard to believe that we have heard his last words. I have to personally thank Tajudeen for the guidance, support and encouragement he has given me on numerous occasions. His emails no matter how short were always full of humour and yet words that encouraged me to take that extra step, to move over and above what I believed I was capable of. I thank you Taju for all of that and more. Rest in peace my dearest Brother !!! Hasta la victora siempre….. Much love, Lasosadia & Antonio

Atonion and Lasosadia M-Gonzalez

Tajudeen's death is, indeed, untimely and a big blow to those of us who were privileged to know him and his work.

Even as we mourn him I pray that we all renew our commitment to the Pan-African cause he lived for and do what we can to help fill the gap he has so obviously left.

Tony Obeng

Africa Action Mourns the Loss of Tajudeen Abdul Raheem “Don't agonise, Organise!”

Wednesday, May 27th, 2009 (Washington, DC) – This week Africa Action mourns the death of one of the most distinguished pan-Africanist, and United Nations Millennium Campaign Deputy Director, Dr. Tajudeen Abdul Raheem. He passed away May 24, 2009 in a road accident in Nairobi.

Dr. Raheem was a prolific writer and activist. His work was a great source of inspiration and insight. Throughout Africa Action’s long history as the oldest organization working on U.S.- Africa policy, Dr. Raheem was a regular source for counsel and guidance. During Africa Action’s annual Baraza (Kiswahili for “Assembly”), held in Washington, DC, Dr. Raheem participated in strategic discussions on U.S.-Africa relations.

“Dr. Raheem worked tirelessly towards social, political and economic justice in Africa. His passion, humor, and spirit will live on and we honor his vision by continuing our work in solidarity with African people,” said Gerald LeMelle, Executive Director of Africa Action.

In the face of insurmountable challenges, Dr. Raheem demonstrated great optimism and energy. In e-mails to Africa Action over the months and years, he signed: “Don’t agonise, organize!” This simple, but powerful unity message has resonated around the world.

UN Millennium Campaign Director Salil Shetty said “Dr. Tajudeen’s towering intellect, moral fibre and courage of conviction allowed him to speak truth to power like nobody could. It is ironical that on Africa Day (25 May) Africa has lost one of its greatest voices and the Millennium Development Goals, its most credible advocate in Africa.”

Michael Stulman, Associate Director of Policy and Communications added that, “We offer our sincerest condolences to the family of Tajudeen Abdul Raheem.” Tajudeen was married to Mounira Chaieb and has two daughters, Aisha and Aida.

Africa Action

Tajudeen Abdul Raheem was a great friend of the people of Ethiopia since the dark days of the military regime. He was our ambassodor, our fighter, our mentor, and our son. He was a man of high principles, inexhaustible energy and global vision, but always a man of the people. So full of life and so selfless - who will not be inspired by Taju's deeds? who will not be swayed by Taju's words? A real gem in Africa's global quest for social justice, Taju will be remembered for generations to come.

May his soul rest in peace!

Taye Assefa D/Chair, Ethiopian Human Rights Council

To have to write this tribute to Dr. Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem is perhaps the most necessary but painful task I have ever imposed on myself. It is necessary for me to do it because he was my great friend and confidant, and arguably, the most vibrant human being I have ever known in my life. It is, however, a painful assignment for me because Tajudeen was many years my junior - though, now, one of my ancestors. When Taju, as he was fondly called by all, was hospitalised in London sometime last year I told him to shake off his illness because if anyone was ever going to write my obituary it would be him. Alas, death has its own devious ways of bereaving us because it snatched Tajudeen away in a ghastly motor accident in the morning of May 25, 2009 in Nairobi, Kenya. Taju and I became instant friends when we arrived in Oxford some time in 1983 to study politics and law respectively. He came in as a Rhodes Scholar on the background of First Class degree from Bayero University, Kano and a National merit award to prove that his achievements were to fluke. I had been a political animal of some sort and the first political issue I threw at Tajudeen was the idea of a rotational presidency as the panacea for Nigeria's inter-ethnic disagreements over leadership. I had been trumpeting this idea from Howard University where I took degrees in Political Science and it had become something of an obsession in my discussions. Taju agreed with the logic of my arguments but was of the view that Nigerians should be able to elect their political leader without having to resort to "zoning". Out of my deepest regard for his intellectualism and in spite of our divergent views on an opinion I adhered to religiously, I requested him to review the booklet I published in 1986 advancing the case for rotational presidency. Being the honest scholar that he was, he competently outlined the merits of my arguments but highlighted his criticisms uncompromisingly. Impressed by his honesty, I requested him again in 1996 to write an introduction to my essays on rotational presidency. Taju would later concede that in spite of his and others' objections, the reality of Nigerian politics was in the direction of leadership rotation. Taju and I were two of a kind; we were obsessively passionate about politics beyond the mere study of it. He, however, had an extra edge over me because he was the great political activist that I am not. We wrote vigorously, along with other Oxford scholars, on the pages of West Africa, and African Concord - two useful magazines that are now, sadly, defunct - as well as in Nigerian dailies. We did our best to attempt to discredit the military regimes that were milking our economy to death. The military boys could be tolerant of opinions expressed on the pages of newspapers, not least because they hardly read them. However, what they could not stomach was some articulate scholar lambasting them on radio, BBC for that matter, and that was how Taju became their "marked" man. He travelled from England to Nigeria about 1989 in what was supposed to be a very short visit but his "friends" at the State Security Service were too excited to whisk him away for days. He was, however, not deterred by that experience, as his pro-Nigeria activities continued into various protests, especially those for the actualisation of what is now historically known as "June 12". Honestly, Nigeria was more or less a mere distraction for Dr. Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem. A good Muslim by all accounts, his life was neither predominated by religion. His passion and greater commitments were towards the continent of Africa. He was an Nkrumahist who passionately believed that the boundaries that divide Africa into nations were artificial. He was president of the African Students Union at Oxford and was always into one conference after another. His face was ubiquitous with protest rallies, particularly over the liberation of South Africa from the jaws of apartheid. The happiest political day of his life was when Nelson Mandela was released from jail. We, his friends, were not surprised that he continued into African affairs after he took his doctorate in Political Science from Oxford. Tajudeen was indeed a decent human being. In the 1980s you would forgive the ambition of a young Nigerian lady who assumed that someone from the north of the country (Taju's parents were from Ogbomoso, but he was from Funtua) with a degree from the University of Oxford provided the ticket to the very top. Some of the young Nigerian ladies studying for their A levels at Oxford at that time wanted Taju desperately but he was never the type to be distracted. Taju entered into a serious relationship at the very tail end of his studies with Munira, an intelligent and well mannered Tunisian who became his wife and had their two beautiful daughters, Aida and Aishat. Munira deserves the commendations reserved for special women because the man she married was, by virtue of his mission in life, an absentee husband and father. Taju was more likely to be found in an airport waiting to catch a flight from one country or another, than at home. Munira wanted her husband to work in the United Kingdom and see more of their young children - I personally intervened to sort out their disagreements - but neither of them ever suggested the other could have been cheating because of Taju's absentee culture. They were both good Muslims who embraced the ethics of their religion. Dr. Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem will remain forever in our memories for his vibrancy, kindness and generosity. I had thought of myself, until the news of Taju's death came, as someone who could approach the worst of tragedies philosophically but it was all tears in my home. A young daughter of mine was to attend a birthday party but without any prompting she phoned her friend to say she would no longer be able to go because "my uncle has just died in a motor accident". This kind of gesture coming from a 13-year old girl is tribute and testimony to the influence of Taju's charisma on all of us. Even in our desperate pursuit of the worldly, a stroll in the graveyard offers caution. The tombs of the newly-dead with flowers are warned by those that have become derelict with age, their occupants seemingly being forgotten. So William Shakespeare could be right in comparing life to a tale told by an idiot "full of sound and fury signifying nothing". But the great Shakespeare himself also talked of the "good" and "evil" that men do and it is in this context that the individual's existence may not be in vain after all. Posterity will remember Dr. Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem for his good deeds to the individual and society. Call me "Sir Tony" or "The Chief" as you used to, your beloved friend and his family say goodnight and rest in peace.

Dr. Akinola lives in Oxford, England

Anthony Akinola

Just read this befitting tribute to Tajudeen Abdul Raheem, our dear brother and colleague who passed on May 25th, 2009 in Nairobi, Kenya on the African Independence Day.

May his soul rest in peace, amin!

Emman Ozoemena

Daktari, you run a good race and fought a good fight you have left an indelible mark on the struggle for the African emancipation. even in death, you still live because the values you lived for will always be a source of inspiration to us. we shall not agonise,we shall organise to realise the dream you so passionately sought to achieve. that of a united, democratic and prosperous Africa that walks hand in hand with humanity. aluta continua

Nguyen Giap

We are sadden to hear about the death of our comrade Tajudeen, we can not forget Taju was with us at the London chest hospital in August 1996 where we lost our beloved father, the late Professor, Abdul Rahman Mohamed Babu, Tajudeen was with us until the burial in Zanzibar (Tanzania) He was simply a Good Man, Africa have lost yet another great son, our condolence to the wife Munira, his children and all the family. Africa will unite only if we learn to HAVE DIFFERENCES BUT A COMMON GOAL.

David Kankam Boadu and Salma Abdul Rahman Mohamed Babu. Family of, Abdul Rahman Mohamed Babu

It is with profound shock that we learnt of the untimely death of our brother and colleague, Comrade Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem. I personally am terribly distressed at the loss of such an ebullient person; one that was such a dear, committed and dedicated friend to Africa’s well-being.

Taju, as he was fondly known, has spent a life of dedicated service to the Pan African cause for which he will be remembered and greatly missed.

We at African Monitor owe a debt of gratitude to Taju – it was his very presence at our launch at Bishopscourt, Cape Town, in 2005, and at many of our key events subsequent to that, that allowed us to reach hitherto inaccessible audiences and mobilise resources for the operationalising of this vision.

The only fitting tribute we can pay him is to commit to continue the work of fighting bondage, poverty, inequality and injustice.

Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, colleagues, and those closest to him.

Archbishop Njongo Ndungane President and Founder, African Monitor

Yes Taju Lives. We had a "day" vigil at the University of Dar es Salaam' Council Chamber organized by the Mwalimu Nyerere Foundation in collaboration with the University of Dar es Salaam Academic Staff Assembly (UDASA) and the Mwalimu Nyerere Chair of Pan African Studies. The Chairman of the Mwalimu Nyrere Foundation, Ambassador Dr. Salim Ahamed Salaim led the intense critical reflections on the immense contribution Dr. Tajudeen made to the cause of Pan Africanism . Among those who attended the vigil was Prof. Haroub Othman of UDASA, Honorable Zito Kabwe, a young popular Member of the Tanzanian Parliament, Prof Marjorie Mbilinyi of the Tanzania Gender Network Program( TGNP), Ms Mallya of TGNP, Mr. Bashiru Ally of UDASA, Mr. Anney of UDASA,Dr. Kitila Mkumbo of UDASA, Mr. Robinson of the Pan African Youth Movement, a leader of a group of grassroots youth activists based in the Dar es salaam city slum of Manzese, Ms. Shule of UDASA, Dr. Khoti Kamanga of UDASA, Mr. Gallus Abeid of the Mwalimu Nyerere Foundation, Mr. Walter Rodney Luanda of the Mwalimu Nyerere Chair of Pan African Studies, and many others. All who attended were moved by anecdotes which were provided by Ambassador Salim supporting his observation that Dr. Tajudeen did indeed live the dictum of Organize dont Argonize by establishing a network of contacts, and exploiting every opportunity that came his way, to put forward as forcely as he knew how, the case for the great cause of Pan Africanism. He recommended to the youth present Dr. Tajudeen's untiring ability to speak his mind fearlessly in in manner that often caused those in power to listen and even act to redress the sitution where matters of importance to continent unity were concerned. As Prof Shivji has already indicated, the Mwalimu Nyerere Chair of Pan African Studies plans to hold a one day seminar on the 10th July 2009 to pay tribute to the work of Dr. Tajudeen. A book of condolence was opened and Ambassodor Salim was the first to sign it. It will stay open for signature at the offices of the Mwalimu Nyerere Chair of Pan African Studies at the University of Dar es Salaam Main Campus. Photophraphs of the event taken by a journalist of one of the local daily newspapers will be retrieved and circulated. Lets all keep Taju's passionate belief in militant Pan Africanism Alive!

Azaveli Lwaitama

Remembering Taj and missing him

The caller said Dr Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem wanted to see me. What for? To chat, just that. Ah! The chat in his office at the Pan-African Movement secretariat in Kampala lasted two hours. I was starting out as a journalist and had penned a comment in the Daily Monitor that Taj (he preferred that to Taju) liked. On that November evening in 1996 was born a comradeship that would gradually take on a big brother-little brother feel.

It is unlikely I would have accepted Taj’s invitation had I not seen him in action a couple of times at Makerere University. In the run-up to and after the Seventh Pan-African Congress in April 1994, Taj and others gave public talks at the university. Taj was mesmerising with his ideas and speaking style. He wrote very well but I still thought he spoke even better. Most people I know write better than they speak.

Apart from his office balcony (where a lot of boiled maize-on-cob was eaten) and his house in Kisugu and later Kabalagala, we hang out at Lorina’s, a humble neighbourhood joint that served up delicious Kenyan ugali, nyama and kachumbari to which Taj always added what I swear was a deadly amount of pilipili – even by Nigerian pepe standards.

Conversation flowed as did hard Ugandan liquids. A combination of Taj and Jimmy Dean guaranteed an uproariously fulfilling evening. Those two men – they must be bantering on the other side already – told endless jokes as they skewered dictators big and small. In that midst, Taj let his supple mind range over stuff from African politics and the west’s dodgy engagement with the rest to African literature and the living styles of Nigeria’s and Uganda’s rich.

It was during those Kabalagala days that I saw many people Taj knew – days before his older daughter “shamed” him into throwing away his then-ubiquitous pipe. West African dissidents, especially Ghanaians who had long-soured on Jerry Rawlings, dropped by. An odd Kenyan dissident passed through as well. On such occasions, I kept silent and listened.
Only once did I see Taj show a sense of frustration. It was just the two of us in his office early in 2000. He talked about how it was becoming difficult for him to run the secretariat because almost all the countries that had pledged support at the Congress had not followed through. All he wanted was seed money to start projects from which the secretariat could get revenue to use to expand its work. I think Taj’s journey into the UN system started partly with that souring on the idea of an unfunded secretariat, which is why I never ribbed him on it. But it also made sense to me that he chose to work for the Millennium Campaign. Questions of poverty, of social justice, occupied him. And if he had to work for the UN, it would have to be on those issues.

If I let the UN bit pass, I could not the fact of his having been a Rhodes Scholar, thanks to strong encouragement by a Ugandan professor of his at Bayero University named Yolamu Barongo. What did he have to say about his association with that man Cecil Rhodes? “I simply went to reclaim some of what the colonialists looted from Africa,” Taj would say laughing.

Speaking of school, Taj gave me $100 in August 2000 as I left for graduate work in the United States. And in March 2007, as my own (short) sojourn in Oxford was ending, I returned to my room at the North Oxford Overseas Centre on a Sunday evening to find a handwritten note. Taj had driven down from his home in London unannounced with his two little girls. They had bounced. Later, in a long telephone conversation, I learnt that the man had lived at the same centre while completing his doctorate in politics 20 years earlier. (The centre, or the nooc, was founded upon the inspiration of William and Salah Nagenda, Mr John Nagenda’s parents, and the library there honours the couple.)

Taj’s interest in my fortunes went beyond the intellectual. He was wont to good-naturedly grill me on my continuing “singleness”. Once, he cracked: “Just get married and ask questions later.” Really, Taj! So he was excited to receive me, in fair company, in December 2007 at his offices in Nairobi. He immediately announced that MDG 1 is partly about eradication of hunger and therefore we must go eat lunch and talk.

After that, it was communication via email on things like switching his column from the New Vision to the Daily Monitor, and his encouragement last year as I considered relocating to Nairobi. “It would be great to have you close by in Nairobi,” he wrote. Then we both went silent for five months. On January 16, he emailed: “My brother, where on this earth are you?”

“Well, Taj, I am in crappy Kampala and I am all right. The only little issue though is driving through pulsating Kabalagala, which I have to do daily, without thinking of you and recalling those vivid nights and more. As for you, Big Brother, I know the belly of Funtua’s nurturing earth will forever keep you warm, comforted, and rested. You deserve it.”

[email protected]

** Published Saturday, 30.05.2009 at

Bernard Tabaire

Death can take our role models and ppl who tried to make a better world. but their courage, passion, what they stand for ... are eternal, will live forever. we should carry the aims and move forward. May God be with his soul.

Elizabeth Mengistu, Afroflag Youth VISION

Go well Taju, Go well son of Africa. It is a sad day but we will keep the african vision for your soul and fir the sake of african liberation.
Sleep well son of Africa.

Undule Mwakasungula, CHRR ,

Hakika tumempoteza mipganaji aliyetumia wino kama risasi na kalamu kama bunduki, kadhalika sauti ya ke katika harakati nzima za watu weusi na haki za binadamu kwa ujumla.
Nimemfahamu Dr Taju kama kiongozi angu katika sekratariati ya harakati pale kampala, sijui nieleze nini kuhusu Doctor baada ya kusikia habari ya kifo chake kutoka kwa Jjja Fatoumta Toure. Kawmba hatunae Tena!
Taju aliunguruma na wazandiki walisinyaa hata kuogopa kumsikiliza.
Katika safari yake ya mwisho ilijkuwa ni siku ya ukombozi ya Afrika 'Afrika Liberation Day'.
Tutakukumbuka DAKTARI

salim Abdul Bukuku

When the International Network on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights decided to have its first ever General Assembly in Africa in 2008 and Kenya was chosen, we were requested to chose a keynote speaker from the South. Our first chose was Issa Shivji but he was busy. The next one was Taju. It is unfortunate he never made it but these choices speak louder than anything we can say about these few remaining special sons of Africa. They are getting fewer by the day but let us hope some are being born.

odindo opiata Hakijamii

Tajudeen-You Walked the Talk and Fought the Good Fight-Fare Thee Well

I was privileged to work with you since the year 2000 on the transition from the OAU to the AU and in shaping the AU.

I shared many platforms to present the voice of the common African citizens. It was not always easy but you appreciated very well what we were up against.
I will forever remember your words 'it is not the bureaucrats in the AU Commission and Members States who are going to unite this continent, it is us the peoples'.
You never ceased to remind us the power of the people to move things. You emphasised many times that we have to work with and sensitise the citizens on the importance of integration.

I still remember the many sessions we held especially with the younger generation that is often very pessimistic about the future of our continent. You were always quick to remind them that the great obstacle to our advancement is not our capability but the colonisation of our minds by 'Afro-pessimism'.

I will miss how you told the truth to everyone: from the heads of state and government, comrades in the movement and citizens that you met at the grassroots level. Your ability to put in beautiful words what was not palatable, pass your message and leave a smile and inspiration even in the faces and hearts of the people you criticised the most.

Taju, I regret that I missed the most important party you have ever invited me to on May 23, 2009. I lost the opportunity to eat your food and share in your laughter and your insights and those of the guests that always congregated at your house.

But the insights, passion, commitment and dedication to Pan Africanism that you have shared with me over the years are in a safe place in my heart and mind.

I pray to God to help me put all my efforts towards the realisation of your vision for our beloved continent.

Taju, you loved us in no small measure. I am not sure that we loved you even as half as you loved us and our continent. I know you gave your all to this continent. You did not spend a lot of time with your wife and daughters as you wished. I can see the pain in your face when told me that your daughter asked to 'Dad, why do you love Africa more than us?'. I know your struggles to balance your passion for Africa and your daughters. Your fears that your daughters may one day 'hate' the Africa you loved because it always took you away from them. I believe your love to them, the quality time you spent with them and the values that you have instilled in them will keep them going for a long time and that Africa will always have a special place in their hearts.

From the tributes I have read and heard about you, I am assured me that YOU ARE LOVED in a BIG WAY!!!!! and your spirit will live on.

Fare Thee Well Beloved Brother......

Mary Wandia, OxfamGB, Pan Africa Office

Thandika's Mkandawire's idea of an anthology on the state of the Pan African Project is very good, and CODESRIA would be willing to work with Isaa and the Mwalimu Nyerere Chair on that. I am in Harare for a review workshop of the CODESRIA Multinational Working Group on Youth and Identity, and Sam Moyo (the President of CODESRIA) and I have been discussing a number of initiatives in honour of Taju and to further the pan African Project.

While I was still struggling to recover from the shock provoked by the news of Tajudeen's passing away since Akwasi broke it to me, I have been following the exchanges on the possible initiatives.

On Sunday evening, 24 May, at a meeting of the Scientific Committee of a major conference on the United States of Africa that CODESRIA is co-organising with Cheikh Anta Diop University, to be held in Dakar on 15-18 June, we proposed Tajudeen to be the person who should lead the discussion in the first plenary panel on the theme of Federalism, State and Popular Sovereignty in Africa. This was around 8 pm Dakar time (GMT), i.e. barely two hours before the accident occurred in Nairobi. Among those present at the meeting were the Senegalese Minister of Foreign Affairs, as well as the First Vice President of the Senegalese National Assembly--the conference will involve over 300 scholars, reps of civil society organisations, and several heads of State...

When we met again two days later, and I announced Taju's death to participants in the meeting, nobody could believe it. The decision was taken to recognise the contribution of Tajudeen to Pan Africanism during the conference on the United States of Africa. The Senegalese government said they would send telegrammes of condolences to Taju's family, and to the government of Nigeria; the Conference Organising Committee will also send a telegramme to Taju's family...

Tajudeen was OUR Tajudeen, the Tajudeen of all Africans. The tributes that have been pouring in are very eloquent. Tajudeen was very dear to all of us, and everyone of us can claim to have had a special relationship with him, which shows how great a human being he was.

Our sincere condolences to his family, and to Africa.

Ebrima Sall, CODESRIA

Dr. Tajudeen’s fixed unrestful schedule kept us missing him though his post cards and emails were assurance of the ALUTA CONTINUA! but this absolute departure on May 25, 2009 the African Liberation Day, made the whole Global Pan African fraternity whether men or women ill and we cannot forget his revolutionary voice in our ears. But according his will and wish in the Pan African struggle, we cannot hold back to give the agonisers joy but instead we have to put the liberation battle in fast gear because he always followed Nkrumah’s "ever forward, never backward".
One struggle, many fronts… don’t agonise, organise…!!
Aluta continua…

Newton S. Balenzi, Global PAM Secretariat

It is a very sad moment I believe for many many African and friends beyond.

Tajudeen you were a star that shone on many who shared your beliefs, you wrote, you spoke and defended democracy, gender, social justice and was ready to share this with all who cared to listen, read or discuss your brilliant views.

I had never seen you in person, but your face was well implanted in my mind; from the many articles I read about you. You might be gone, but your light will still shine, your voice will still echo in many minds and your pen will never dry.

The manner in which you left on the celebration of the African liberation day bear testimony of the values you stood for. In contrast it also bears the challenges that many African states have not addressed; the carnage on African roads a reflection poor management of our systems, the bad governance that you fought to change through your pen and mouth. The liberation African governments still need to liberate the continent from.

Your demise is of great sorrow to us all who stand for justice, human rights and democracy. You will always be remembered as a hero in our circles.

Agnes Kabajuni, Centre on Housing and Evictions (COHRE)

This is a tragic news to hear. This is one great loss to Africa and humanity. Taj will always be remembered for his mastery of African socio-political problems and solutions to them; penetrating and engaging articles on Pambazuka sites, his erudition, articulation, boldness and commitment to African ideals. He lived and died for Africa. Africa should immotalise Taj.

Dr Azeez Olaniyan, University of Ado Ekiti, Nigeria

Oga Taju why did you leave us so soon? why why?

It is indeed with tears that I received the news of the death of our beloved brother Oga Taju as we fondly called him. Since my relocation to Uganda where he lived for many years to Kenya we have constantly kept in touch by email, phone and sms. As usual Oga Taju was always on the road attending to loads and loads of things that kept his attention. I have kept promising travelling to Nairobi for a weekend to see him as we wondered how we do not see often when we now live quite close to each other. Now it will never happen again. Oh death how wicked and unjust could you be? I met Oga Taju in 1995 at Strasbourg France during the North-South Summit. He chaired a session that I presented a motion against the Abacha government for gross violation of human rights and political repression. I thought we was from Uganda because Uganda was boldly written in the conference name plate in front of him. After the session he came to me and introduced him self and told me he was a Nigeria even though he lived in Uganda. This was the beginning of a long lasting friendship, mentorship and brother hood. Oga Taju was more than a mentor and a brother. He was there at all times offering love, friendship and advice. He was a committed and detribalized pan Africanist. His sense of humour, fairplay and justice endeared him to all. As I recall many discussions with him in Nigeria, other West Africa countries and in many places in London, I can only shed tears and be consoled because the almighty who created all of us knows the reason for the sudden end of our own Oga Taju To Mounirah, the children and his nuclear family both in Funtua and Ogbomosho I say dry your tears because Oga Taju made his mark in the sands of time.

To all our comrades let us continue where our own Oga Taju stopped and keep his great and gentle soul alive.

Sonny Onyegbula Uganda

Sonny Onyegbula UN OHCHR

I first met brother Tajudeen in my capacity as an All African People's Revolutionary Party delegate at the 7th Pan-African Congress in Kampala, Uganda in April, 1994. The AAPRP delegation was led by great son of Africa and Immortal Pan-Africanist, Kwame Ture.

My first impression of brother Tajudeen was, okay, here's an adventurous, humourous, energetic warrior who is committed to making a contribution to Mama Africa's liberation.

As expected, during the 7th PAC conference, political differences among some delegates emerged. However, brother Tajudeen used his characteristic good humour and diplomacy skills to mediate.

May the Creator and the Ancestors be pleased with brother Tajudeen's life and legacy. May his transition into the Ancestral realm inspire our suffering, apathetic masses to rise up and organize. May Brother Tajudeen's family be comforted by the African community during this spiritual transition period.
And may the spirit of Brother Tajudeen blend into the winds of revolutionary change sweeping through the Pan-African world.

A luta continua!

Forward to One Unified Socialist Africa!

Thandiwe Chimurenga
Organizer for the All African People's Revolutionary Party

Thandiwe Chimurenga All African People's Revolutionary Party

What a shock! I am truly devastated by this most cruel event. Africa has lost one of its sharpest minds!
I am presently away from my home country and was somehow drawn to a public library with internet facilities to check on my must have been Taju´s force that drove me to this place.
I remember the forcefulness of Taju´s argumentation while we were discussing the advnet of the African Union. I was then Assistant Secretary General of the OAU preparing for the transition process that led to the creation of the AU. Taju participated actively in the discussions that were held for the civil society and what incisiveness he displayed. It was most refreshing to listen to him and I was comforted in the knowledge that yes Africa still has some fearless sons! I have been a keen follower of Taju´s actions and regularly read his postcard in Pambazuka. I shall miss the freshness of his thoughts and critical analysis.
Bless his soul!
Rest in peace dear Tajuddin.
Vijay Makhan

(Amb° Vijay Makhan

Great Minds are motivated by dynamic projects. This is a statement about the thinking of human beings who want dignity and a better quality of life. In our generation of Africans who matured after the period of independence, it was the belief that our dignity would be enhanced by the unity and freedom of our peoples. The project of the unity of the peoples of Africa is one that had energized millions. Tajudeen Abdul Raheem worked tirelessly for the African unity. He worked in the ranks of the people and was present at both the levels of government and at the discussions of the people. His was a voice for the power of the people. As one of our Rodneyite sisters summed up the life of Tajudeen, “he was like an angel sent to us to enrich our lives.”

Tajudeen was born in Funtua, Katsina state, Nigeria in January 1961. Breaking through the repressive culture of the militarists and feudalists, Tajudeen like millions of Nigerian youth yearned for a society where the youth could soar and beyond the civil war that tore his society apart while he was a young person. Excelling in educational system Tajudeen could not be contained. The Nigerian University system produced many fine minds and Tajudeen was one of the finest to graduate from Bayero State University, graduating with first class honors. Tajudeen more than once related the story of the interview for the Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford University. Despite the challenge to the interviewers about the legacies of Cecil Rhodes, Tajudeen was simply too bright for these gatekeepers to keep him out of Oxford University. It was probably their hope that the rituals of Oxford would tame and intimidate Tajudeen. Instead Tajudeen used his years in Oxford to earn his doctorate in political science and while he was a student built networks of networks working in different formations dedicated to change. Whether it was in the anti-apartheid formations, the formations to support the peoples of Palestine, the anti dictatorial struggles in West Africa or the global peace and justice movement, Tajudeen emerged as a force and a voice for good.

He was known in all the political circles in London before the Abdul Rahman Babu requested his service within the Pan African movement.

Tajudeen excelled and emerged at the forefront of the international educational, political and cultural arena. He claimed this stage to press forth the claims of the oppressed for emancipation. He was not shy to remind us in his writings that he was the son of a “hardworking woman who was a petty trader.” In his last communication he reaffirmed that he was driven to support the rights and dignity of hardworking men and women from the grassroots. Tajudeen was a living example of what Walter Rodney wrote about when he observed that the task of the black intellectual was to place himself or herself at the service of the people.

Tajudeen was introduced to me from afar as the brightest student to pass through Oxford University. We met soon after in 1990 when he was one of the organizers of the Walter Rodney commemoration activities in London. We reconnected again, a year later at the launch of the African Research and Information Bureau (ARIB). Since those early years we formed a bond and worked on many projects to carry forward the ideas and practices of African emancipation. Tajudeen was a builder and hard worker who threw himself into the tasks at hand. This level of energy was manifest in the organization of the 7th Pan African Congress in Kampala in 1994. It was a meeting that brought out all of the contradictions between the old variants of Pan Africanism, the question of the place of Sudan in the Pan African movement and most importantly, the centrality of the grassroots women in the movement for freedom. It was in Kampala where the Pan African Women’s Liberation Organization (PAWLO) was formed.

The Kampala meeting introduced Pan Africanists to the challenges of transcending divisiveness, genocidal thinking and narrow racial conceptions of who is an African. The Rwanda genocide accelerated on the last day of the 7th Pan African conference and Pan Africanists were forced to take a principled stand on genocide and genocidal violence. This genocide and the ensuing wars that engulfed Central Africa consumed the energies of Tajudeen for many years. He was on first name basis with Laurent Kabila, Yoweri Museveni, Meles Zenawi and other leaders. Working for peace he penetrated the duplicity of these leaders and was quick to discern the hypocrisy and greed associated with the military forays of Yoweri Museveni and Paul Kagame into the Congo. Although Tajudeen broke early with these leaders he remained in Kampala as General Secretary of the Pan African Movement, in so far as he felt that Pan Africanists had to work from African soil. This was a principled position that he took at the time of the congress in 1994.

Tajudeen was committed to ending the violence and divisions and he dedicated his life to opposing genocidaires. It was a strange twist that Tajudeen was again heading to Kigali, Rwanda on May 25, 2009 to engage those forces in Rwanda who wanted to fight poverty instead of spending money on senseless wars of plunder. Like Shaban – Wilson Rutasyire (who was consumed by the Rwandan nightmare in 2000), Tajudeen was looking for a solution to the violence, plunder, rape and widespread violation in Central Africa.

In his work within the Pan African movement, Tajudeen was a consummate diplomat. Behind his disarming wit lay a critical understanding of the need to reach the people. Tajudeen knew the social movements across Africa. Within the Pan African movement he had to interface with many of the leaders who had come to power through the movement for change. From Kampala, Tajudeen worked tirelessly with the movement for peace in the Sudan. Opposition to wars and genocide was not an intellectual matter for Tajudeen, it was a matter of urgency that required skilful negotiation of African politics. Tajudeen was as opposed to the senseless war in Northern Uganda as he was opposed to the militarism and genocidal violence in the Sudan. He wanted to ensure that he was able to be effective as an opponent to these violations and betrayals. At times the betrayal was most painful as in the moment of the tragic death of John Garang of the Sudanese Peoples Liberation Movement. The record of the meetings for peace convened in Kampala remains a record to be built upon by those committed to the Pan African principles of peace.

He used his weekly postcard to communicate with all sections of the Pan African World. Whether in Barbados, Guyana, Atlanta, Berlin, Accra or Abuja, those who were active kept connected through Tajudeen. He was like a glue keeping so many of us together.

Servant of the people

The Pan African world is indebted to the family of Tajudeen, especially his widow Mounira and daughters Aida and Aisha. Tajudeen was a devoted father to his two daughters. At a great sacrifice to his family, Tajudeen had served as the General Secretary of the Global Pan African movement for more than ten years. It was service borne out of love for the people of Africa. In the process he paid a great price because the bureaucrats of the Ugandan government sought to starve him in order to break the movement. As this humble servant of people, he could not financially contribute to the support of his family. Yet, Tajudeen persevered and worked to build an infrastructure to keep together Pan Africanists in all parts of the world informed and inspired.

Tajudeen had worked with Abdul Rahman Babu and he carried forward the traditions of Babu to work with a constituency that was not limited to Africa. Tajudeen was part of a wider global peace and justice movement. Promoting the ideas and practices of Babu, Tajudeen and his friend Napoleon Abdulai organized the send off for Babu when Babu joined the ancestors in 1996.

Behind the joyous and jocular exterior Tajudeen carried a lot of pain. A deep pain of love was hidden from most by the bonhomie. This pain soared to new levels at different points in his life. Yet, Tajudeen silently endured the pain and ache that came when he was unable to join in the celebration of the life of his mother when she joined the ancestors in 1997. The military dictatorship of Sani Abacha was terrified of Tajudeen. Their earlier attempts to silence him had failed and Tajudeen did not want to give them another opportunity. Tajudeen was a major figure in the June 12 movement of Nigeria that fought to end the military dictatorship in Nigeria. He was not satisfied with the veiled authoritarianism of Obasanjo and he was a force behind many different formations fighting for democracy and justice in Nigeria. Tajudeen was also opposed to the pseudo anti imperialism of the Mugabe leadership in Zimbabwe.

Taju threw himself into the work of liberation and travelled constantly. In addition to his work in Africa and Europe, the North American, Caribbean and South American branches of the movement also benefitted from Tajudeen’s insights. Tajudeen also worked with us in the Walter Rodney Commemoration Committee in 2005 to celebrate the ideas of Walter Rodney on emancipation and liberation. Tajudeen was passionate about the need for democratic change in his own country. He was involved in the building of a community college in his home community of Funtua.

In the face of the religious intolerance and bigotry against followers of Islam after September 11, 2001, Tajudeen, made a conscious political decision to observe Friday prayers in whatever community he lived in. This religious identification was borne out of the need to make a stand against the persecution of the followers of Islam. At the same time, Tajudeen was a force for peace between Christians, Muslims and non believers in all parts of the world. He was mortified by the fundamentalism that was promoted in the name of religion to demobilize the youth.

He was insistent that peace was a prerequisite for the reconstruction of Africa. He opposed Xenophobia of all forms. Tajudeen wanted to motivate all young people to oppose all forms of tyranny. It was his understanding that the challenge of motivating the youth was not simply a moral issue but an urgent political task in a world where the most conservative and fundamentalist forces mobilized the energies of the youth into directions of death, destruction and intolerance. Tajudeen was involved in a number of formations to build the African Unity of peoples.

In all of his work as a freedom fighter, diplomat, journalist Tajudeen never forgot his humble roots. In the last years, Tajudeen worked for the United Nations as the African Director in the Millennium Development Goals. He did not allow his service as an international diplomat to silence him in relation to the exploitation and impoverishment of the poor. He used this position as another platform to be an advocate for the oppressed.

Tajudeen was my friend, brother and comrade.

Tajudeen lived a full life and exhibited a free spirit, the spirit of an angel who was motivated by more than one dynamic project.We are committed to completion of one these projects, the full unity of the peoples of Africa in a democratic union of the states and peoples of Africa. He was part of a new wave of humans who refused to be restricted and confined. In passing to the ancestors on African Liberation Day, his life and spirit will be forever associated with African liberation and African freedom. It is incumbent upon us to continue his work to ensure the goals of African unity and emancipation and peace for all peoples throughout the world are realized. He will be missed, but never forgotten. We thank him for all that he has shared with us.

Horace G. Campbell

He was to Africa what Che Guevara was to South America

News Written by Dimas Nkunda Wednesday, 27 May 2009 16:21

MIDRAND, South Africa- It is 4.30a.m. I have been tossing in the bed for the last two hours. I had just been having a chat with Brian Kagoro and Thomas Debe at this Town Lodge Hotel, much of the talk about Dr. Tajudeen Raheem.

We retired to bed early in readiness for the celebration of African Liberation Day with the Pan African Parliament, on May 25. Then shortly after 4.30a.m., a text message came in. Dr. Tajudeen is dead in a car accident. My answer to the message was, 'please this is not April Fools day!' But another text came in, 'yes he is dead!' That is how my Monday morning began. A group of us were gathered to meet with the Pan African Parliament (PAP), a body that Tajudeen had so much wanted to have legislative powers so that it could speed up the integration of Africa; a continent that was so close to Taju's heart.

Twice, the Parliament gave a minute's silence in remembrance of an African icon; a man who knew every single leader on the continent; a man who never minced his words, even in the face of the most ruthless dictators, like his former President Sani Abacha who had wanted to kill him. Many people thought that Taju was Ugandan. So when word came through that his remains were being flown to Funtua, in Katsina State, north-western Nigeria, that is when it dawned that he actually was more Ugandan than Nigerian. And that was precisely because he had lived most of his life in Uganda as Secretary General of the Pan African Movement.

A man bigger than his size, he was the only man who knew everything about this continent. Each day he had a new idea and for many his charm, deep laughter and humour that weathered the souls of even the most stone-hardened individuals, made Taju a man of all people.

Taju was supposed to travel to Midrand, South Africa, with us. But at the last minute, he decided to travel to Kigali, Rwanda. He was a close friend of President Paul Kagame. Kagame preferred to call him Dakitari.

Taju was the only person I know who could walk up to any president and tell them off about the messes in their countries. One time he walked up to Prime Minister Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia and demanded to know why his country was denying Africans visas to visit that country. Speaking loudly, as he always did, he told Zenawi that Ethiopia was not his garden and for sure the next day visa restrictions were lifted.

On our way back to Uganda Tuesday night, I asked Taju's best friend, Brian Kagoro (Advocacy Director ActionAid), who was himself looking like a shell after getting the sad news, what he would say about Taju. A distant look in his eyes, Kagoro said Taju was for Africa what Che Guevara was for South America. He was involved in liberation struggles in Namibia, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Uganda, Rwanda, Zimbabwe, South Sudan and Nigeria.

And his last statement before he left for the airport was, according to his workmate Thomas Debe, was question, "Whose responsibility is it to liberate Africa?" We might never know the answer. As the procession headed to Taju's final resting place, Taju's youngest daughter, Aisha who is nine, asked to have the last ride in the same vehicle with her father. It was a teary moment for those who knew how much Taju loved his family. Taju is survived by a wife, Mounira who is Tunisian, and two daughters; Aida 12 and Aisha 9.

Originally published at

Dimas Nkunda

I was deeply saddened by the untimely death of Dr Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem who passed away recently.

I knew you back in the early 90's and I was immediately drawn to your sharp with and humour. You had a larger than life personality and you infected everyone you met with your unbriddled enthusiasm for life, justice fairness and equality for all.

Your contributions to the growth of Pan Africanism will be etched in people's memory for ever.

You will be sadly missed big brother. Rest well..adieu

Tunde Adeleye

Dr. Taju Thank you for all the good things you have done on earth. Iam sure you accomplished more than what the Almighty wanted you: Your file is full of wonderful achievements, and this can be proved by remarks from all over the world about you the person, the academic, the pan africanist, the activists, the writer, the diplomat, e t c.

I believe you have met with the angels and our fore fathers like Kwame Nkruma, Sekou Toure, Patrice Lumumba, Amilcar Cabral, Abdul Nasser, e.t.c and they have past on the Almgihty GOD welcome message.

I had never imagined this happening, but now how do we proceed with out you BABA. Not even a bye bye.......!!! Not even a program!!! We were waiting for you in Kampala this friday as planned but why did you change that program???

Any Aluta Continua!!! and all your initiatives should be accomplished and vision of african unity and pan africanism be carried forward. That's the only thing we can asure you.

Pass on our warm regards to our great fore fathers, We should be joining you soon too.

My heartfelt condolence to all your family (Mounira, Aisha, Ayda, Swaibu, Amina, Sharifa, etc), friends and comrades (Pan Africanists, PADEAP, UN MDG Campaigns, JUSTICE AFRICA, CDD, Citizen Rights Initiaves, Pambazuka, CIVICUS, JUBILEE South, CBR, GCAP, etc).

Thank you for the time you spent with us, the inspiring ideas you shared with us, the support and guidance you gave us, the courage and committement you showed us, the love and mercy you gave us, etc etc etc. May HE reward you for all and forgive you for all what went wrong.


T. Mohammed Yusuf, ACCC

Tajudeen Abdul Raheem , 1961-2009 Society for International Development

Dr Tajudeen Abdul Raheem, the Deputy Director, Africa of the UN Millennium Campaign, died in Nairobi on 25th May 2009 in a road accident. He was driving to the airport to catch a flight to Kigali, Rwanda where he was due to launch a maternal health campaign.

Taj, as he was popularly known, was a brilliant writer and debater who had a strong passion for Africa. He was the quintessential Africa super-optimist and, for a long time, he headed the Pan African Movement Secretariat based in Kampala. Taj’s eloquence and clarity of thought in problematizing governance and development was a rare quality that commanded instant attention. His perspectives were rich and unique.

The Society for International Development (SID) is proud to have had Taj as a key member of its network. He wrote many pieces and spoke at innumerable SID conferences. He had no hesitation to serve and speak even at short notices, such was his sincerity and honesty. We shall forever remain grateful for Taj’s literally tireless commitment to development work. The indefatigable Taj has gone but his work, ambition, and vision for a global development framework that is fair and equitable and an African continent that works for the populace remains.

Taj’s remains were laid to rest in his hometown of Funtua, Katsina State, Nigeria on 26th May 2009. SID mourns and honours one of Africa’s and the world’s leaders, whose greatness and courage did not belie the simplicity of the man.

Society for International Development

I knew the late giant (not in stature) during our sojourn in Oxford during the late 1980s and early 1990s. Unfortunately the journeys of life then took us in different directions. I left for Kenya and then South Africa. We kept in touch through the internet mostly. We met once or twice since the good old days. Last May we were supposed to be on a programme together at the SABC, but the was a mess up and instead of being on the panel I ended up watching the programme.

We used to debate the African condition until the early hours of the morning in Oxford and continued the exchanges but now through emails. He will be greatly missed. Many of the good ones leave too early. We will have to continue to carry the baton for Africa's development while he watches over us in the great beyond.

May Tajudeen rest in eternal peace.

Matlotleng Matlou

I am a Liberian resident in South Africa. I first read about the death of Dr. Taj on a radio website. I could feel my soul in anguish. What a loss. The last time I saw Dr. Taj was in Nairobi during the World Social Summit. As ever, he was ebullient. He live as a any truly devoted African should. Go in peace dear comrade and be assured, we will not, ever agonized, as we are organized and organizing. Liberia say rest in peace and Africa say rest in peace and the world say rest in perpetual peace.

ezekiel pajibo

One day he and I were at Ika's place (a farm, near Usa) in Arusha and I picked a few beans and flower-seeds from the garden. When he saw me doing that, he asked me: what are you going to do with those, Stella? I replied: I want to take and keep a little bit of Ika with me at home in Uganda. He then commented, after a short silence: Stella, you have great capacity to love and care about other people! And he had a very sincere and sort of deep surprise and insight look on his face. I will never forget that. It was a special moment for me in that garden. He said words exactly like my father used to tell me long ago. Taju made it all sound like he was connecting me, my actions, emotions to something big and important in life, and I did not ask him what. It was a quiet moment for the two of us, me thinking: how did he get the time to reflect on my life when he is such a busy person, and when did he observe my hehaviour? And who am I to him anyway?

I think he just went to God before us to take care of us here on earth from heaven.

May his soul rest in eternal peace.

Stella Sabiiti, African Union Peace and Security Dept., Addis Ababa

To Tajudeen Abdel Raheem (1961-2009) – Brother, Friend and Comrade

If you sent a postcard from heaven…

…if indeed there is such a place, where all the stars before you went I imagine that in your eloquent, earthshaking, sensational way You would convey to us, how you rendered a report of your time here – The report of a messenger, who carried a vision of an Africa full of promise, which would thrive when its people, viciously divided, unite in one purpose with one voice

And your new mates would marvel at the ‘new arrival’ from the other world Who carries the fire of conviction in his belly, the power of his message in his eyes and the hope of his people in his words; Just like the time you were with us, your audience would never be indifferent Your boisterous presence would leave no soul untouched

If you sent a postcard from heaven You would tell us how you unceremoniously but boldly sought an audience With the ‘King of Kings’ – not Ghaddafi – but the Rainmaker in your new City You would state your Continent’s case and demand a turn around in centuries of injustices against its peoples at the hands of insiders and outsiders alike… You would plead the case of Africa’s peoples and ask for a break; for a new dawn…

If you sent a postcard from heaven It would be the last postcard you would send… For your passionate defence, charm and eloquence wouldn’t be lost on your Host A new mission for you will await – perhaps a new cause to champion You will again deserve the Pass of the City; you would tour its length and breadth Like you roamed your continent, making a case for its peoples

If you sent that last postcard from heaven You would assure us that the task at hand was simple – having accomplished much before vacating the scene Your simple, yet powerful message of one continent, one people, was convincingly delivered from Cape to Cairo And the rest is up to us – to make that message count.

So long, dear brother

Funmi Olonisakin

PADEAP would like to express their deepest shock and sorrow at Dr Tajudeen's death. His loss to them both personally and as an organisation is as immense as his presence was when he was alive. May he rest in peace.

On behalf of Tominke Olaniyan, director of PADEAP who is currently in Funtua, and all PADEAP staff in Nigeria and Uganda.

Teresa Morgan-Gane, on behalf of PADEAP

I had only read of this great Comrade and heard of him from other comrades; i thank God we finally met first time in Accra at the 50th Anniversary of Ghana's Independence in July of 2007, and his enthusiasm caught me off gaurd as he really did walk the talk!
Rest in peace Ndugu Tajudeen, and God bless your family


Kagenza Sakufi-Rumongi

Immortality means being loved by many anonymous persons" in Irving Stone's 'The Passions of the Mind'.
My respect and tribute to the continued essence of the works of Comrade Dr Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem

Saeed Musah-Khaleepha, Khaleepha Consult (Conflict Management and Resolution)

In one of those moments discussing revolutionary politics with the late Col Nobel Mayombo and Dr Tajudeen, I told them of a story we were told, as students, by Prof Issa Shivji of the University of Dar Es Salaam: that one of the revolutionary students of Issa`s time wrote on the blackboard before their afternoon class thus: “Che Guevara is dead, Patrice Lumumba is dead, and I too I’m not feeling so well” . As expected a typical loud and passionate laughter that was characteristic of Nobel and Taju followed. I feel the same for the late two comrades. This is a sort of discussion and happiness that would take all night with those in the company of Taju to forget that their families at home too needed them. Whether it was your first encounter or not there was always something magnetic about being in the company of Taju and many of his friends attest to this. He was an all rounder and with him you discussed not only politics but culture, sociology, gender, human rights and science although politics ran through all these. Mesmerized about marriage ceremonies among the Banyankole and their cow culture, he wrote in one of his famous Thursday Tajudeen’s Postcard about my wedding in 2001, saying I had “gone in as a peasant and came out of the wedding as a Kulak”. One of our comrades, Thomas Deve, from Zimbabwe replied to say that typical of Taju he had turned political what was originally private and personal! Those who call and write to sympathize with me and my family remember this particular “Tajudeen`s Post Card” about my marriage with Alison -a lady he called his “permanent research assistant”.

The night he died I was on the way from Kampala to Bujumbura as he was on the way to Kigali from Nairobi- may be we would have met at the Jommo Kinyatta International airport. You would be sure that irrespective of where you were at which ever airport you would notice Taju’s presence because of his loud laughter in company of friends, who were all over at every meeting point such as an airport. As I arrived at Bujumbura International Airport on 25th May 2009 at 8:45am, my wife, called to tell me “Do you know we have lost Taju?” I was devastated the whole day. Taju had many friends and he always made sure you met all of them whenever opportunity arose. If anybody thought that Pan africanists disappeared with Julius Nyerere, Kwame Nkrumah and others, they are dead wrong. With Taju’s net work I realized we are still many but uncoordinated. He knew this and was working on it. We did many things with Taju which I consider progressive. There is no liberation movement in this region worth its name that will claim ignorance of Taju’s tacit support. Be it NRM, RPF, SPLM and some of those in DRC he made significant contribution. He was at times practical in his support. Working with Prof Horace Campbell and Thomas Deve for example we, introduced RPF to Southern Africa and Zimbabwe in particular at a time there was serious misconceptions about RPA/RPF in that part of the continent. But like any intellectual he would criticize everything when he was convinced that the same movement had made some mistakes.

The last time we meet in Nairobi he accused me of being quiet since I left the Uganda Human Rights Commission and joined the Great Lakes Conference in Bujumbura. He joked that I had ceased to be a Pan africanist and only my wife remained committed to pan African work and was more communicative than me. He immediately branded the “Great Lakes Conference” the “Great lakes Confusion” to the amusement of my boss, Amb. Liberata Mulamula, the Executive Secretary of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) who is still equally, shocked at the sudden death of the man she passionately described as “this icon” of Pan africanism. My answer to Taju then was that since I read him every week, I knew he was fine and well and that while he missed me, unfortunately I did not miss him because I felt I saw him once every week through his weekly column. That was Tajudeen combining charm, charisma, brilliance, friendliness and passion for the people and the continent. In Nairobi however, he asked me a question that I kept thinking about. He asked me: Nathan, Have you built a house? I replied, No, I have not thought about it. You have to consider that my friend! Then we shifted to other things but it remained in me-because we used to think that, even with money, we would invest in what would benefit most people not self-benefiting-I kept on thinking of what has changed in Taju`s mind. May be now I should consider having a descent shelter I call mine before it is too late-at least for my family’s sake.

If there is life after death, in the company of Tajudeen, Nobel, Babu and other like- minded personalities with him, the Angels too will feel happy and convinced to facilitate Africa’s unification and development.

Aluta Continua!

Nathan Byamukama (Ugandan) works for the Executive Secretariat of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region based in Bujumbura -Burundi

Nathan Byamukama, Executive Secretariat of the International Conference of the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR),

Thank you Taju for making me smile and reminding me how precious life is on a night when I could only see the darkness. I only met you once, but you left an impression on me, and even as I read all the tributes from all your friends and colleagues all over the world, I am convinced that your spirit will live through the lives that you touched in such profound ways.

May we be reminded every day, how precious life is and how much we can each do to contribute to, and make a difference in the lives of others.

Yes, Afrika has numerous challenges, but as long as we continue to agonize over the past and present, it gives us no power to create and live into a future that excites,fulfills and inspires us.

May your family and close friends receive all the love and support they need to get through this difficult time.

Peace and blessings,

Zawadi Nyong'o

Zawadi Nyong'o

For as a fresh staff of the Centre for Democracy and Development, I had the chance of meeting Dr.Taju once,we all at the office always looked forward to when next he would come again but it was not to be as yesterday in his home town of Funtua all I could remember was that one time he spoke to us.The words of encouragement,his ideas of how things should be were all I could think of.It was difficult to hold back the tears for a great son of Africa.But like Dr.Taju would always say "Forward Ever,Backward Never
".Dr.Taju lives,his ideas live.

Terfa Hemen

A number of Tajudeen’s friends, colleagues and comrades, 50 in number, in 2 buses and several cars, have just escorted Tajudeen’s body to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi. Prayers were said, as everyone recalled what a great son of Africa he was. His body will be escorted by friends to Lagos this evening. Preparations are being made for his burial in Funtwa, in Northern Nigeria. We will continue to provide updates.

Editor, Pambazuka News

Life is to us a beauty in death it still is only that we are in tears. Let these tears be memorable for what Tajudeen was and still is to us.

Wahu Kaara (KENDREN)

Life is to us a beauty in death it still is only that we are in tears. Let these tears be memorable for what he was and still is to us, A TRUE SON OF AFRICA!!

Till we meet again

Wahu Kaara

As I watched the remains of Dr. Tajudeen Abdulraheem being committed to mother earth at about 6PM on 26th May 2009, the words of a bystander as he watched the motorcade roll into Tajudeen’s street returned to my mind; he had said “Ashe gaskiya ne!” (Really, it is true!) - I realized finally that he is gone. Though I never met him in person, he was and will remain a big inspiration to me.
Who can attempt to list his contributions to Africa? Certainly not me, but suffice it to say that he was a foremost thinker, activist and scholar. I have resolved that I would rather live (and die) like Tajudeen than live like the many others I know. Fare thee well, big brother.
GONDYI, Nengak Daniel
Abuja, Centre for Democracy and Development.

Nengak Daniel Gondyi, Centre for Democracy and Development,

Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem, PhD, lived a life of service to humanity.He was ready and available to support worthy causes to uplift the cause of humanity; he was a drum major that sounded a loud voice in support of the African people, the poor and the oppressed world over.

Tajudeen provided leadership to several people in my generation across Africa and beyond through his writtings, speeches and series of engagement processes. Many looked up to him for direction, ideas and constructive engagement.

I looked up the calender today and alas!, I noticed that it is May 25 - the African Independence Day. I was just wondering what Tajudden would have written today to mark 'the African Independence Day' as he usual does? He would have obviously reflected on the march towards the 2015 MDGs goals and reality of African development.

Tajee had a sense of urgency in his approach to Africa's development; he was committed to Africa and its development; he never spared the looting of Africa by its leaders in collusion with external collaborators. He was just frank, straight and down to earth in his analysis of issues.

Africa and indeed the global community will sorely miss him! He fight a good fight, and now he is gone, we have a duty to fill the gap, his absence has created.

Rest in peace, a Pan-Africanist par excellence, Tajudeen Abdul Raheem, a true son of Africa and our global Ambassador!

Emman Ozoemena
Abuja, Nigeria

Emman Ozoemena

As I watched the remains of Dr. Tajudeen Abdulraheem being committed to mother earth at about 6PM on 26th May 2009, the words of a bystander as he watched the motorcade roll into Tajudeen’s street returned to my mind; he had said “Ashe gaskiya ne!” (Really, it is true!) - I realized finally that he is gone. Though I never met him in person, he was and will remain a big inspiration to me.
Who can attempt to list his contributions to Africa? Certainly not me, but suffice it to say that he was a foremost thinker, activist and scholar. I have resolved that I would rather live (and die) like Tajudeen than live like the many others I know. Fare thee well, big brother.
GONDYI, Nengak Daniel
Abuja, Centre for Democracy and Development.

Nengak Daniel Gondyi, Centre for Democracy and Development,

Taju's footprints are gigantic and he chose to leave them not only on us but the whole of Africa, in his own way for centuries to come. May 25 and African Liberation Day are henceforth synonymous with Taju and his indefatigable fight for the dignity of all African people and the unity and integration of African states and nations.

Emmanuel Akwwetey

It was a great shock to get the news of the untimely death of a great fighter and Pan-Africanist: Tajudeen. At a time when the number of genuine- and I repeat- genuine – pan- africanists is dwindling , we come to recognize more the loss to mother Africa. I did have the privilege to meet and speak to him on several occasions . He managed to shake us complacent diplomats and politicians to get out of the mentality of conference room when discussing African issues.
Now we are mourning , but not less important in my opinion is to think of what we can do to keep his legacy alive. I cannot think of something now, but may I humbly propose to create a Tajudeen Annual African Prize to be given to a personality whom a panel decide that he did a great service for the cause of Pan- Africanism .
If you agree, please see that such an idea could materialize as soon as possible. If you support it please write to me. Tajudeen we will keep you legacy alive. We owe this to the new generation in the continent.
Ambassador Ahmed Haggag
Secretary General of Africa Society
Cairo, Egypt
Email: [email protected]

Ambassador Ahmed Haggag- Secretary General of the African Society

Awa wa, awa o ri o, awa o ri o, (2ce)
Awa Tajudeen, omo Abdul-Raheem (2ce)
Awa wa, awa o ri o, awa o ri o

A ku idaro ara wa. Eni o ba mo iyi wura nii ra a. Eni o ba mo agbe nii se idaro aro, eni o ba mo Aluko nii ba won se idaro osun, eni to ba mo iyi Lekeleke nii ba won se idaro efun. Eeyan to ba mo iyi opolo ati ifara eni jin fun idagbasoke omo adarihunrun lo le ba wa se idaro Tajudeen. Eye to to fun eni wa to lo ni ka ma je ko re wa. Ka tera mo akitiyan kile aye le dara fun gbogbo omo mekunnu ati gbogbo eni awon sunmomi eeyan ti won wa nipo o je o gberi.

Egghead Odewale

what more words could one say? I have been reeled by the blow of Tj's departure. At a time that we have less people like him to look up to than his generation did two decades back, the fall of a colossus like him, is like the loss of a thousand generals.
His slogan was "don't agonize, organize" one would wish we would rise to that cry...
I can only add here two things. I remember him as a pan-Africanist as many of us and which many have stated here. I also remember him as a revolutionary socialist whose '86 documentation of the Left's struggle for socialism in Nigeria (with Olukoshi) remains one of the most seminal on this subject.
The second and more thing important thing that comes to my mind now is immortalizing him to guide a rising generation of socialist, pan-Africanist activists, by compiling his profound writings and making this widely available.
Sun re o, egbon Taju...sun re.

Baba Aye, Socialist Workers' Movt

My brother, friend and comrade Tajudeen Abdul Raheem has left us, with an awesome legacy. I remember well our first meeting, in the mid-eighties at a talk I gave to the Africa Society in Oxford. Tajudeen is the only clear memory of the audience. He filled the room with energy, razor sharp intellect and that most deadly weapon of struggle: humour. On learning he was a Rhodes Scholar, I asked how he slipped through the barricades and reflected on the countless times Cecil Rhodes must have rolled over on hearing what was happening with the Africa loot he left for Oxford. Tajudeen was not there to glory in the disbelief of arrival. All who knew him understood the cause of global African liberation could not be separated from his work as scholar. He was not the first student to think this way and would not be the last, but there is no finer exemplar of the tradition in his generation. From Cape to Cairo, Mombasa to Dakar, Port of Spain to London and beyond, our grief speaks to the magnitude of his contribution.

While we mourn, and mourn we must (sorry Taju, I’ll be agonizing over your disappearance for a long time to come), let’s not forget that Tajudeen, spirit force though he is, was not conjured out of thin air. He came from a generation of Nigerian students I had the great privilege of interacting with in the early eighties. From Calabar to Lagos, Ife, Ibadan, Zaria, Bayero and many other sites, there was present a cohort of students who read widely, theorized, debated, fought, and intervened regularly on imagining and making a Nigeria and Africa that transcended the debilitating greed and politics of the power elite and their friends abroad. Tajudeen was sent to us from their world, a world we have to rebuild across the continent if we are to produce the warriors to carry forth his legacy.

My last extended engagement with Tajudeen was in Georgetown, Guyana in 2005, at celebrations marking the 25th anniversary of the life of Walter Rodney. His eloquence, knowledge, passion, wit, humour and love were all on display for a Caribbean audience, who were given further evidence for claiming, Walter Lives! And so too does Tajudeen, especially in our hearts and souls, places he touched so deeply with the manner of his unwavering commitment to African emancipation. So long my brother. We will keep alive your example, while knowing you are an impossible act to reproduce.

Jah blessings and guidance to Mounira, Aida and Aisha, who know more about the great loss that has befallen us. Taju’s young daughters were always our daughters but greater responsibility for them in the years ahead has now been trusted onto us.

David Johnson

David Johnson

All who ever met Tajudeen (as I did ), and even many who never did, quickly confronted a glorious, inescapable truth: The man was blessed with prodigious gifts--formidable intellect, eloquence, far-sightedness, energetic audacity, confidence, sense of humor, and pretty good acting skills. Not to mention his great writing ability and more.

The only thing more impressive is the use to which Tajudeen put this dazzling array of gifts: serving global Africa.
Given the abrupt and too early disappearance of such a bright, warm, wonderful, very needed and rare light, our shock, grief and sadness are altogether fitting and proper.
But in a larger sense, perhaps we should consider thatTajudeen himself was the gift. A great gift to us and to global Africa. Perhaps we should be grateful that we had him for nearly 50 short years.

How Tajudeen lived his life clearly helped global Africa. But perhaps global Africa could benefit even more from his death--if we who are left behind do take increased devotion to global Africa's cause from Tajudeen's death.

In Barack Obama's wonderful first book, he strongly hints that he used a devastating death to radically transform himself for the better. While completing his Columbia University undergraduate, Obama received a phoned message announcing the death (also from a car crash, also in Nairobi) of the absent father he had been yearning to discover. He was sent reeling. And yet he regained his balance and turned that greatest of tragedies into a spur to greatness. Before his father's death Obama had tried drugs as a teenager and had been an unremarkable student, providing little hint that he is brilliant and a political prodigy. After his father's death, Obama turned a new page: Grew more serious, spurning self-indulgence and bad habits. Moved to Chicago and devoted himself to community organizing and serving destitute African-American families, most headed by single mothers. Took a break and attended Havard Law School where he turned on his intellectual afterburners. Returned from Havard spurning offers of big, easy money. Rather he doubled down on public service and politics.

Maybe we, Tajudeen's colleagues left behind, could honour him by doing something a little similar. To build on the suggestions by Akwasi and by Nana Busia, I offer three rough ideas but only as preliminary conversation starters: First, let each of us, individually and privately, elevate our Africa activism up a notch, or two, in honour of Tajudeen. Second, we should collectively consider setting up a scholarship fund to begin producing--finding and nurturing, if not creating--waves of future Tajudeens. Properly planned this production process will take awhile. In contrast, the third idea can be implemented very quickly: Let each NGO recruit new brand new activists (as few as one and as many as capacity allows). Call them Tajudeen Fellows. And train and mentor them to become brilliant activists. In this training, it is crucial that each learns to uncover a problem challenging global Africa. However, having exposed problems and challenges, they must not agonize, but must organize.

Nii Akuetteh

It was an honour to have met Tajudeen. His combination of political vision, tactical determination, and simple humanity was a very important example. So too, his rigorous, no nonsense communication style which he somehow combined with lots of kindness and irrepressible humour towards the myriad of people who crossed his path. Meeting his young extraordinary daughters one evening in Dublin and hearing their articulate views on life filled me with hope for the future. We mourn Tajudeen but his moral authority will stay with us. Deep sympathy to his family and comrades and thanks Tajudeen.

Nessa Ní Chasaide, Debt and Development Coalition Ireland

...I am elaborately stunned and devastated with the news of these sudden death !!!

I met him several times at Kayode & Bisi's flat, New Cross in London those days.

I remember when Kayode was stepping down from active involvement in the daily affairs of CDD, and then asking Kay, "Who was going to lead ? Taju was the name I still remember, and vivdly too.

Very academic, reliable, responsible, bold, fearless, champion of the down-trodden, and oppressed, friendly, human, highly intelligent, warm, and honest with his opinion !!!

Taju, Rest In Peace,

Segun Adeyi



Trust Tajudeen to choose to leave us on Africa Day! Like all the voices that have written, and for me personally, this is such a tragic loss to our continent, our generation, our future, our world that I am deeply shocked as shaken as I write. But I am proud of this man who has lived a worthy life, larger than life, laughing, and talking boisterously everywhere, while those who knew him know of his deep and genuine commitment for the African continent and its peoples. He lived by the dictum, “organise, don’t agonise” popularised for Africans by the other giant, the late Abdulrahman Babu who mentored the younger Tajudeen, and he lived Pan Africanism.

It is uncanny too that he died in my country, this friend and age mate of mine, who showed me immense personal friendship and with whom we developed a great closeness as “we came of age” when we suddenly had to bury AbdulRahman Babu, who mentored him to become the unflinching voice and spirit, that even in the most awkward moment said what had to be said. The unflinching truth to those and of those who continue to harm Africa and also pointing a vision of where we should, can, and must go.

He wrote and campaigned hard and well, having his pulse on everyday African issues everywhere and he did not feel that some part of Africa was somebody’s concern but made Pan Africanism and the wellbeing of Africans everywhere and of “democrazy” his daily concern and Africa’s freedom a prize worth breathing and living for.

As his career shows, a brilliant scholar who could have had “successful” conventional careers and opportunities, Taju already politically active, choose, right from the start after he finished his doctorate, to set up institutions for peace, democracy and people based justice in Africa and everywhere where African’s reside and engage with direct struggle and mobilisations, such as for our own for democracy in Kenya, of ending Apartheid, of ending racism, of seeking justice in Nigeria, of the wider Panafrican struggles in Congo, Uganda, Rwanda, everywhere, to the very last, including with his engagement with the UN Millennium Development Goals and through everyday action. We all know the impact of his writing, and particularly the Pan African Postcard which he never failed to produce even when he was most tired.

“Mr Panafrica” I would answer him when he fondly called me “Mama Africa”, well knowing that this heavy title, though a joke, really belonged to that other valiant heroine of our African soil who left us only recently, Miriam Makeba – Oh, Africa, how are we to bear these losses? Yes, Tajudeen, we will organise, not agonise.

We know, those of us who have spent our adult lives closely with Taju, We know, that this great passion and intellect, this commitment to what is just and right, through word, through action, through friendship that in our life-time, he embodied the vision of the founders of Panafricanism and leaves us all a vision of what to aim for to heal ourselves and our continent. And we can say this in truth, not in platitude, but in great sadness, but also with joy, that here is one, who amongst us, really did what he believed in. I am proud to have known Tajudeen, although I cannot as yet believe that he has left us.

His love for his family, his devotion to his daughters is known by those who knew him closely. I share my deepest condolences to his courageous family and his numerous, friends and comrades world wide in the struggle for Pan-African liberation and for a just and better world. Taju – real Pan African Hero, go well, my friend, Nigeria’s friend, Kenya’s friend, friend of African communities world wide, friend of struggling African people everywhere, Panafricanist hero, lover of peace and justice in the world. Go well, HAMBA KAHLE.

We will not agonise, we will organise. “Mama Africa” - Wangui wa Goro.

Wangui wa Goro

More than 24 hours have gone since Taju was taken away from us and still the tears do not stop flowing. I had the privelege of being taken under his wing when I was at Oxford University as a young South African exile in 1987. He taught me so much. I remember him giving one of the best talks I have ever heard at the Oxford University African Society, in 1988: The Nkrumahist version of Pan-Africanism is more relevant than ever before. That one speech changed my life from someone who was narrowly focused on my own country to embracing the vision of african political and economic integration. He introduced me to West African food and I had my first plantain with him at his humble abode at the North Oxford Overseas Centre. We did not see each other often, but when we did it was as if we never were apart. Coming from within the liberation struggle against apartheid at the age of 22, my knowledge about struggles of other African countries was limited; yet he never made feel bad about this and helped in my learning.

It was one of the greatest joys to have our worlds intersect in 2005 with the formation of the Global Call to Action Against Poverty. He was a fierce critic of many of the strategies and of the conduct of some of the participants in the movement but that never made any difference to our friendship. It is what I loved most about Taju. You could disagree with him tactically and strategically without it being personal.

My last time we saw each other was in Ghana in September where he lamented about "remunerated solidarity" from the north and the "protest by per diem" culture taking root in Africa and elsewhere in the South.

Most of all, like so many others, who knew Taju, I will miss his warmth, his infectious laughter, his sense of humour and his wisdom.

Hamba Kahle Taju. You will live on in our hearts and minds and you will continue to inspire us even though your physical presence will be deeply felt.

On behalf of the Global Call to Action Against Poverty, we express our deepest respects and condolences to Mounira, Aisha and Aida.

Kumi Naidoo
Co-Chair, Global Call to Action Against Poverty

Kumi Naidoo

We spent the last two days in disbelief of this new blow on our struggle as panafricanists. Having known Taju for more than a decade before getting to meet, interact and welcome him in our South Africa home few years ago, we thought like our brother Nana that this could not possibly be true!

As we try to dry our tears and get consolation by reminding ourselves that the best tribute to brother Taju is to carry on with our common struggle, let us make sure that we learn our lessons and organise to better protect our icons.

Why should we keep counting losses and be so helpless? What could we do to be there for our brothers and sisters who give it all to the struggle but also need to be surrounded by our care, presence,love and continued advices so that they get rest, do not take unneccessary risks and are not alone at key moments in their lives. Someone said that loosing Taju in such tragic circumstances is like having hundreds of thousands precious lives gone in a day. We always loose the most precious of us in untimely deaths and feel so powerless...

Let's celebrate this giant by ackowledging those who are carrying the noble mission of total liberation and unity of Africa and Africans in our lifetime forward as our ultimate goal.Let's tighten our ranks and links and make our appreciation and solidarity more visible.

May our ancestors welcome him with the honours he deserves and may God the Almighty give strength to all of us who loved him and protect his lovely daughthers. May he rest in perfect peace! Amen!

Sihaka and Samba, Kinshasa and Tshwane.

Sihaka and Samba, UNDP kinshasa and Center for African Renaissance Studies, CARS, Tshwane, South Africa

I screamed on opening the online newspaper which carried the obituary of this exceptional and truly original human being. I met him once, four years ago, and though our meeting lasted all of two hours, we related as old friends. He was a true comrade and I hope his work survives. Condolences to his family.

Akin Adesokan

Akin Adesokan

You have ALL paid a very fitting tribute to a remarkable/wonderful human being. I was left speechless when I received the tragic news of the passing away of our dear brother, Dr Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem. His untimely death is a great loss for our continent and we are all mourning his passing. He did touch the hearts of all those who knew him. The tragic news of Taju’s death, relayed to us yesterday by Brother Wassa Fatti, has left many of us still in shock. A true Pan Africanist, Taju, as he was fondly called, will always be remembered, among other things, for his warmth, eloquence, oratory skills, intelligence, spirit and good sense of humour. May his soul rest in peace.
Ebrima Ceesay, UK

Dr Ebrima Ceesay, DWP

What a great loss to mother Afrika....but we have to organize and not argonize as Taju would tell an afrikan youth..i feel the loss...though he is gone physically....his words will ring true daily in our lives as other afrikan prophets before him like marcus garvey, kwame nkurumah, thomas sankara...and all...Taju enriched our lives..and he still will for our ancestors before him did...Rest In Peace brother...

elias ..for afrika united

Elias Akech

May Tajudeen soul rest in perfect peace. As he fondly says "Dont agonised but be organised" - we should work hard to be organise in moving our continent forward. I heard it via a message on my voicemail from Dr. Couldn't believe it then, now it is real. I am glad we met. Rest in God's hands.


Indeed Tajudeen, "Son of Africa, you have done your best for the mother continent"

Thank you and rest in peace!!

Stella Kofie-Yariga

Tajudeen Abdul Raheem, a tall figure,always standing straight and tough, and never mincing his words. This great patroit,though lowered and out of our reach, will remain as an indelible mark, an icon and an example that may be difficult to find. I remember him for talking tough at every oppurtunity to do so. Will miss his uniqueness of character. Above all may the angels recieve him on to Allah. Ameen.

Lawal Amodu Centre for Democracy Development

Dr.Tajudeen Abdul Raheem, the roaring lion with landmark of positive impacts in Africa continent and beyond has gone home. Taju rest in the bossom of your maker; rest in peace.

Pact International, Nigeria

Whence cometh another?
Tajudeen laughs and jokes echo in the depths of my brain;
And when I hear it, it causes me agony.
How this heartache devours me night and day...
But the memories of discussions, deep debates and thoughts are strong and hold that time heals the agonizing ,
So I dream of the future - and quiet relief.
A United States of Africa!
I know that this sorrow will someday subside,
Leaving happy memories in its place, organizing on his thoughts thoughts!
Aluta Continua!

UN Millennium Campaign, Africa

Obituary: Dr. Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem

We received with shock and deep sadness the news of the death of our Chair, Dr. Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem. He died early this morning, 25th May 2009 in an accident while on his way to the Airport in Nairobi, Kenya to catch a flight to Rwanda to meet with the county’s President on the current maternal mortality rate campaign.

Tajudeen was the Deputy Director (Africa) for the United Nations Millennium Campaign (UNMC). He was a leading development activist at the world level and an inspiration leader of the Pan African Movement and has been the Secretary-General of the Pan-African Movement. He is also a Director of Justice Africa and the chair of PADEAP in London. A Rhodes scholar at Oxford University, where he received a D Phil in Politics and was President of the Africa Society, Dr Abdul-Raheem has extensive experience of political and social movements in Africa and has been at the forefront of several campaigns. He was editor of Pan Africanism: Politics, Economy and Social Change in the Twenty-first Century (Pluto Press, 1996). He has also written extensively and some of his works include: Nigeria, Oil and Democracy [Journal Article, Review of African Political Economy, 1986]; The Left in Nigerian Politics and the Struggle for Socialism: 1945-1985 [Journal Article, Review of African Political Economy, 1986]; Nigeria, Crisis Management under the Buhari Administration [Journal Article, Review of African Political Economy, 1985].

The Centre for Democracy and Development expresses its heart-felt sympathy and condolences to his immediate and extended family, the UN system, particularly the Millennium Campaign Team, the Pan African Movement and his large circle of friends and comrades over this sudden and devastating loss of this accomplished human rights activist.

May Allah grant him eternal rest and give his family the fortitude to bear this irreparable loss.

Jibrin Ibrahim
Centre for Democracy and Development

Jibrin Ibrahim, Centre for Democracy and Development

‘Don’t Agonize, Organize!” In Memory of Tajudeen.

I was introduced to Taju by Abdul Rehman Babu in the early 90s. Taju came to Kampala as Babu’s nomination to Museveni for Secretary General of the newly established Pan-African Movement. We invited Taju to Centre for Basic Research to give a talk. His opening salvo was a bitter indictment of Africa’s post-independence leadership: “If an American ship docked at Lagos port today, with a huge banner reading ‘Slave ship to America,” there would a queue of millions of Nigerians wanting to get on that ship.” This was classic Taju: there is no time for formalities, or pleasantries; the time at hand is short.

Taju never looked for a comfort zone. He was impatient with boundaries in thought as he was with protocol in life. There was nothing moderate about Taju. A practising Muslim, he refused to believe that rituals could take the place of life itself. He combined Friday prayers and Ramadan fasts with often raucous evenings drinking, feasting and debating comrades and colleagues at open air bars in Kabalagala, just outside Kampala. If he was not feasting, he was in an interlude, a period of abstention.

In those early days, as he set about steering the young Pan-African Movement, Taju exuded confidence and certainty on the outside but constantly wrestled with the contradictions of leading a movement that had been launched by Heads of States. It took him little time to realize that the movement would have to keep more than an arm’s length from officialdom if its name was to amount to a real claim. Should the Pan-African Movement draw its resources from sympathetic African states or from supportive foreign donors? How could a movement launched from the top develop roots on the ground? Would a Pan-African civil society be any different from the assortment of NGOs that have ceased to be membership organizations but are instead accountable to donors that provide them with resources?

I often wondered what sense to make of Taju’s move from a full-time Pan-African job to a full-time UN job. Was it an admission that a healthy Pan-African movement could not be built from the roof down but would require so many national building blocks, as its constituent elements?

The most abiding memory I retain of Taju is that of eternal optimism, the determination that it is possible to proceed whatever the odds, and that the proof of genius lies in the ability to build with materials on the ground, to take a leap from text to life. He broke decisively with the ‘theory first’ orientation of his older comrades. Taju honored no rules, no commandments, no limits except those he encountered on the ground. He could work with anyone, whether government, UN, donor or NGO. The worth of a relationship for him did not lie in the identity of the other side, but in who set its agenda. It is worth recalling the signature with which he ended every note: “Don’t agonize, Organize!”

Whatever the contradictions of life, Taju’s person always seemed big enough to contain them. Set in an always-smiling face, his eyes were ever alert, as if trying to see around the corner. His hand always stretched out in a gesture of friendship, the firm grip at the end of it was a constant reminder of his unfailing strength. Everything about Taju affirmed, not just that his embrace was always larger than life, but that he himself was more often than not perched at its very edge. He was like a force of nature. If nature has reclaimed him, we must draw from his life an example for us all.

26 May, 2009

Mahmood Mamdani, Herbert Lehman Professor of Government Dept of Anthropology, MEALAC, and Political Science, and the School of International and Public Affairs Columbia University

Seeing Dr Taju's body at the airport this afternoon was really like a horror movie.

He won't laugh with us again, eh?

This is the dirty reality, eh?

Death is a coward!

Odoh Diego Okenyodo, CMC Connect (Perception Managers)

May the soul of Dr Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem rest in perfect peace. May Allah Continue to bless his family and give them the courage to bear the lost of this giant.

Ismaila Zango
Ag Executive Director,

Ismaila Zango, Centre for Research and Documentation CRD, Kano

Death is cruel and life is not fair. The conspiracy by the two to deny Africa of her illustrious son is indeed a terrible one. The grieve the two succeeded in unleashing on Africa on this important day is significant and sorrowful.

it depicts the dedication with which our brother, father,mentor and real African leader, Tajudeen exemplify.

He not only ensured the development of the youth intellectually but also the development of the conscience of the African to resist any form of immoral acts that is not in the interest of the African Continent.

Tajudeen might be in the abode of death but the true African knows that he will forever be alive, for his deeds lives with us and will continue to guide us in the right direction.

I cannot but will dare to say that, if there should be an Nkrumah of this time, we will not hesitate to say you are his reincanate.

Damrifa Due
Damrifa Due
Rest in peace
and join the company of the ancesters who are still alive.

All-Africa Students Union, AASU

Like everyone else, I was devastated to hear this sad news yesterday. I felt at a loss for any words that made sense. Not that it is any easier this afternoon. It seems to be one of those times when words simply fail. That being so, I just wanted to write this goodbye note and to say that Taju was always so helpful, cheerful, reliable and just good- all the time. We shall always remember him as the bold, happy person who always made us to think, laugh and do. We shall miss him terribly.

My deepest sympathy goes to his family.

Adieu, big brother

Roselynn Musa

Roselynn Musa

I was indeed shocked to hear of the untimely death of Tajudeen Raheem.Many people who interacted with him, knew that he was very inspirational and wanted young people to be produ of being Africans and be proactive in addressing the challenges that Africa faces in the 21st Century,

May God rest his soul in eternal peace and comfort his family,relatives and friends, during these trying times,

Tafadzwa Muropa

Taju, only a great man like you can touch lives this dearly both in life and in death. Loss does not even begin to describe this tragic loss.

Moreblessings Chidaushe, NCA

Update on Taju's journey home..

Monday May 25th, 1130GMT
A number of Tajudeen’s friends, colleagues and comrades, 50 in number, in 2 buses and several cars, escort Tajudeen’s body to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi. Prayers are said, as everyone recalls what a great son of Africa he was. His body will be escorted by friends to Lagos this evening. Preparations are being made for his burial in Funtua, in Northern Nigeria.

Tuesday May 26, 0426GMT
We have touched down safely in Murtala Mohamed airport in Lagos and are met by UN and Nigerian comrades. Taj once played hide and seek here as authorities tried to arrest him in the nineties.

Tuesday May 26, 1148GMT
Munira, the girls and a convoy of thirty-plus cars and buses received Taju on his last flight into Abuja. In the papers are tributes. Hours ago we joked about his carbon footprint, not realising we may be made more acutely aware of his footprint on us. We drive to Funtua...

wole, irungu and deve

This is indeed a very sad news. I met Tajudeen in London in 1997 and I have closely followed his work all over Africa. May God's strength be with his family at these difficult times

Community Projects Initiative

Anthem for Dr. Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem (1961- 2009)

We Are Proudly Perched on a Rare African Baobab

We are proudly perched on a rare African baobab. Charisma, vivacity and integrity spout from him like water from the Mosi-oa-Tunya. His unforgettable presence, wisdom and brilliance constantly guide us through life.

We are proudly perched on a rare African baobab. His majestic tangle of branches shelters us from self-doubt, and spurs us to fight for freedom, human rights and justice.

We are proudly perched on a rare African baobab. His two heavenly beautiful daughters are far from being his only fruits. From his robust branches dangle millions for whom he is an everlasting source of knowledge and inspiration.

We are proudly perched on a rare African baobab. From his imposing trunk ooze an infinite love for Africa and a passionate belief in its peoples that fill us with strength and courage on all occasions.

We are proudly perched on a rare African baobab. From his mighty Pan-African roots we draw the energy and determination to heed his advice - organise rather than agonise-, and constantly shout like him, “Nothing for us without us!”

Sylvie Aboa-Bradwell
25th May 2009

Centre for Democracy and Development

I were disturbed and saddened by the untimely death of Dr Tajudeen. I have received the news of Dr. Tajudeen’s death with profound shock, almost disbelief. Taju was more than just a wonderful person; he was so kind and considerate to students and other comrades in my school days when we hosted him at the University of Aalborg- Denmark exactly May 2008, I know that his passing will not only leave a void in our lives, but in the hearts of all those who knew him.

Dennis Londo


In this world, we have choices. We can choose to make a different or elect to be indifferent. Taju opted for the former. His energies were expended on African emancipation and quest for principled continental unity. He inspired many young Pan Africanists and was never shy to dive deep into an intellectual/ideological debate even when his views ran against the majority wave. He had conviction about what he believed in and never embraced mediocrity.

He was a proud but not arrogant African revolutionary. It is a pity now we have to refer to tajudeen in past tense. However, his views were of the future.

Let's popularise his clarion call: 'Don't agonise, Organise!'

Oduor Ong'wen

I just don't know where to start this "eulogy". I tossed and turned upon hearing this sad news last night. I had a conversation with him, an extension of our conversations just a few days ago in Dakar at the recent AfDB conference. Alas it was a nightmare;one in which Taju was really no more when I woke up.There are no words to express the shock of this sad news. In my present mood, I cannot find any silver lining! Too much tears to continue. All the best Taju!!

Okey Onyejekwe
Addis Ababa

Okey Onyejekwe,UNECA

Thank you very much for these updates which we who are unable for now to be in Nigeria at this difficult time find very helpful and a bit consoling. As I read every line of your mail tears drop from eyes because I can't believe that the sad saga of Tajus death is possibly true an d not a sheer bad joke instigated byTaju himself. I am so overwhelmed with emotions that I cannot compose any response or attempt a tribute. I knwo that is not the intenthere either but I am confused like others as to what to do and not to do.

What though I am certain of and respectfully proposing to comrades, brothers, sisters, and colleageus of the Pan African fraternity, is that we need to set aside a date which should be very soon, before long, possibly a month or less, where allof us will gather in Abuja to celebrate his life ,pay him a befitting tribute in our numbers. This shoudl bea venture that should involve ECOWAS, WACSOF, ECOSOC, AU, CODESRIA, APSA, CDD, etc and all the otther entities of the Pan African world we can think of and individuals.

It may suffice for us to start thinking of working out a strategy for AU and ECOWAS summit to declare Taju an African hero of our time. Taju's death is like the killing of 500,000 guerilla/freedom fighters at oen single battle; its like death in one day of 300,000 seriuosu and commited actvists; its like the death of 100,000 African organic scholars whose scholarship has relevance to our peoples and thier perenial quest for emancipation and social justice - not schoalrship qua schoalrship, that was not my brother' I knew and loved so much.

There was few, if not, none like him. He was a fine brother, with a finer mission and the finest vision for our Africa. I am angry like I was when Sankara died. why us? Has God or Allah turned his face agaisnt us why why

I can't tyep any more as teh teras roll down, I really love that my brother and will for ever adore him.

Nana Busia

What a sad day for Activist! African has lost one her dynamic activist. I have listened, observed and read Tajudeen's work and found him to be an exceptional person. He combines writing, speaking and mobilisation in a way I am yet to see in most of our comrades. Taju has a remarkable sense of creating space for arts in the struggle. I know Thomas would miss a wonderful co-worker. Accra will miss you Taju!

Al-Hassan Adam, Coordinator, Africa Water Network

Fahamu must be congratulated for the quick reaction to Tajudeen's death and their call for solidarity messages. Tajudeen was a great African and although his leadersship of the Pan-African Movement has not been give the support it deserves in Uganda, Tajudeen without this support has neverless managed to continue his crusading advocacy work of Pan-Africanism and the Unity of the African people, May his Sould Rest in Eternal Peace.

Dani W. Nabudere


I am deeply shocked to learn of Dr Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem's sudden death in Nairobi. He was a very close friend, and as such I unable to find the right words that trully captures my sadness. Of the many times that we've met both in England and in Africa, he has always been a torch of inspiration and encouragement for me as a fellow (albeit younger) pan-africanist writer. His signature 'Don't agonise, Organise!'will forever remain a permanent imprint on my mind. The best we can do to honour his tireless efforts in promoting social and political justice in Africa, is to continue exposing the injustice that exists and call for a renewed sense of quality African citizenry. May his soul forever rest in peace.

Ronald Elly Wanda, political Scientist

I am truly so very sorry about Tajudeen's passing. I have read his articles over the years and appreciate his passion. My thoughts are with his loved ones and the Pambazuka family. I pray that God will grant you all the fortitude to bear this loss. May his soul rest in perfect peace. Amen.

Bukola Olatunji Education Editor This Day Newspapers (

Oh my God Taju has gone! I am transported back almost twenty years when I met Taju on a trip to the North of Ireland, to commemorate the 10 years anniversary of Bobby Sands death. He was there at key points in my own political development and was the concsience for many Africans in the diaspora and at home. He was larger than life - or so I thought. Rest in peace Taju

Kemi Williams, DFID

May God, in all His Infinite Wisdom, Mercy and Great Kindness cover Dr Tajudeen Abdul Raheem's soul with a blanket of eernal peace. He was atruly great man, blessed by God with the energy, intelligence and strength of chracter to be so many things to so many people. It is indeed a loss for Africa and for all good peolpe - whoever and wherever they may be. I ask God to grant his widow and children, everything that they need in order to come to terms and cope with their human loss. Kind regards - with peace and prayers

Dr Safia Soliman Community Development Consultant

I have been struggling to find the words to express the distress and the sense of loss that I have been experiencing since my dearest friend Tajudeen departed from this world. Taju was one of those stars that flicker so so brightly and for such a short a time - a human comet - a rare and almost enchanting encounter. Taju was the Pan-Africanist star, uniting people wherever he went. It is reported that, in death, Taju has a quiet smile on his face. He would not want us to mourn him long. Instead, he would want us to remember his words on every African Liberation Day, dont agonize, organize - until the continent is free. Please remember his family, Mounira and the girls, Aida and Aisha. They will need the support of his comrades. The girls are so much like their father. Yesterday I spent some time with nine year old Aisha, who related with such energy the time, over the Easter vacation, when she and her father went to buy her bike. She said there were pink bikes for girls and black and blue bikes for boys but, unlike other girls, she does not like pink. She said, with such aplomb, I choose a boys bike. She introduced me to her cat and told me how she defied her mother when it came to choosing the cat. She picked the smallest, most raggedy one; relating its history of rejection and transferral from one animal sanctuary to another, as no one wanted it. Tajus death is still beyond their comprehension. They had a very special relationship with their father.

Taju will be buried this afternoon (26 May) in his hometown of Funtua. His family and many friends are taking the final journey with him to his hometown. Those of us you cant make it to Funtua will be there in spirit.

Patricia Daley, University of Oxford

What an early exit, Tajudeen. We will certainly miss you in the journey to a just and inclusive Africa.

Christiana Charles-Iyoha, Centre for Policy and Development,

I am greatly saddened by the untimely death of Tajudeen Abdul Raheem.During the 31 years in which I have had the privilege of knowing and interacting with him, I came to have the utmost respect for his intellectual integrity, his brillian analysis of the African peredicament, and his untiring commitment to the pan-African cause. His exemplary life and work should remain a beacon for present and future generations of all Africans who are committed to putting the natural wealth of our continent to the service of the deepest aspirations of our people. His death summons us all, to paraphrase his own words, to stop agonizing and begin ornganizing for a better future for ordinary men, women and children all over the African continent.

With my deepest condolences to Tajudeen's family and friends!

Georges Nzongola-Ntalaja

Perhaps it is not ironic that such a prominent Pan-Africanist should be taken from this world on Africa's Liberation Day. Perhaps it is the wake up call that we need as one reminded to organise! Certainly we need many more of his kind, not cheap replicas to fill the gap we feel when one in the inner circle of the struggle departs. We must honour his spirit and of those Africans, including those who are less known, who have made us proud Africans by adopting and mentoring a young African to reflect in deed and spirit the values we so admired in those whose passing creates a deep void and genuine regret.

The Prof. has done his deed, living his life to the fullest and inspiring a multitude of Africans. The ball is now in our court.

Salma Maoulidi, Sahiba Sisters Foundation. Tanzania

Comrades, dear Taj,

A dozen years ago, we were a couple of comrads chatting in my living room and fiercely arguing about the american involvment in the great lake region and the issues of african integration vs «disintegration«.. I had a bitter argument with him, followed by another between my friend Jooneed and him..and sadly our friendship and complicity faded..

I always postponed reconciliation and today I deeply regret not telling him that in fact we have in common more than what divided us..

On it’s commemoration day Africa lost a great son indeed!

Aziz S. Fall

I knew and admired Taj even before I met him. Saw his several times in Uganda, and then as recent as 2007, ran into him in Abuja, Nigeria with his two girls. We spent the afternoon together and I took his two beautiful girls to dinner at the Hilton, Abuja. Taj said they always called me their, "rich auntie from the Hilton". As a committed PanAfricanist, I sorely miss Taj and he is irreplacable. He has been an inspiration in the struggle for African liberation and African unity and in my professional life of realizing the MDGs. Taj, thank you for creating your PanAfricanists like us. We will always love you.

Doreen Lwanga (PanAfricanist)

January 1993, I have worked with Taju and other Panafricanists of all ages, persuasions and generations -Irungu, Jenerali, Dismas, Namtasha, Ika, Isa Blyden, Thomas Deve, Muthoni, Horace, Atsango, Ondonga, Ahmed Cheikh Gueye, Napo, Gamal, Kwame Toure, Karim Essack, Chidi, Noble, Mzee Chango, old Wankulu – Africans all ,from the continent and its Diasporas men and women some of whom have preceded him .Irrespective of the place and the setting Taju loomed larger than life before during and after the 7th Pan African Congress with all the personal political and professional challenges. Tajudeen weathered every storm, never wavering in his resolve with wit, biting sarcasm and wicked humour in pursuit of the ultimate that binds us all: Pan African Liberation .He always sought alternatives where the mainstream had boxed us into a corner , never one to retreat from an impasse he’d always quote Amilcar Cabral:Claim no easy victories , tell no lies. He fought global injustice –debt, asymmetrical trade, poverty while reserving a special place for the sisters. I cannot forget that a few weeks ago, I was working on his moving tribute to African women losing their lives as they give life and all because of skewed priorities. I called him with a lump in my throat. Thank you Taju for speaking up for the women of Africa Yes Jjaja, he said: Women should not lose their lives while giving life. Not in my wildest dreams could I have imagined that our final conversation would be on life and rights. Oh Taju that you should lose your own life fighting for women’s health rights, breathe your last on Africa Liberation Day. That one who dealt with so many should pass away alone in the dead of night. A Pan Africanist alone on a highway that is the lifeline to millions of Africans. That one who fought long and hard for free movement of Africans in their own continent without let or hindrance should come to such an abrupt end in full flight.

Pan Africanists young and old are mourning those he nurtured, educated and mentored.

His sad passing has left an irreparable gap in our lives and our hearts go out to Mounira, their two beautiful little girls he loved so much Aida and Aisha, his siblings, sisters especially his baby sister Amina who was here with us in Kampala as well as the extended family in Funtua

To all the survivors of 1994.We have lost an intrepid combatant, a fearless crusader and an unrelenting militant but the struggle must continue on all fronts. Indeed as Taju himself said: Don’t agonize, organize.

Hamba khale, old warrior,

A luta continua.

Fatoumata Toure

Condolence to the family. May God receive him among his beloved sons.



The biting pangs of death caused by motor accidents this year have claimed one of our most prolific writers, Dr. Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem. Tajudeen is said to have died in a car accident in Nairobi on his way to Jomo Kenyatta airport.

It feels a lot too early to bestow the title of “the late” on Mr. Tajudeen as his pieces of wise articles still ring bells of freshness especially in the minds of those of us who enjoyed his columns.

I do not know Tajudeen personally but have been a silent admirer of the sort of charisma with which he maintained his fingers on the keyboard to inform, educate and entertain Ugandan readers in particular and Africa and the world at large. He sometimes penned critical articles that in more less stable countries one would expect the government to crack against him, but I am sure his drive of standing for the truth would have taken precedence even if it meant dying for the same cause.

It’s always a lot of sadness to lose a human being, but losing a writer and Pan-African is perhaps a little more hurting. That rich brain had all perished in a flash and many will forever miss his columns. However, we can continue to celebrate his life in a sense that for those who gained hoards of inspiration from him, his wisdom will continue to be visualized in our own writing until our time comes to join him there in heaven.

Death is a robber, and as the Holy Bible says, “If the head of a household knew what time the robber would break his house, he would never allow him to accomplish his mission”. Certainly had there been anything we could do to prevent Tajudeen’s death, we would have done just that.

The other more painful reality though is that death is a destiny for us all, and we can only pray that the good Lord rests his soul in eternal peace.

To the widow, children, relatives and friends, please receive my most sincere commiserations during this difficult moment. Be comforted by the fact that the life Tajudeen has gone to is the very magnificent one that the Lord Jesus promised during his mission on earth. Let’s continue to pray for Tajudeen’s safe rest in eternity.

Adieu Tajudeen, and his your soul rest in eternal bliss!

Tumusiime Kabwende Deo

Many admirers of Tajudeen will tell you either to have attended a workshop session with him, listened to his speech or interacted formally or informally and even reading his articles which I have been doing. The last time I interacted with my brother Tajudeen was in 2007 during the Africa Civil Society Forum in Addis Ababa, organised by CONGO and FEMNET particularly to have presentations and recommendations about the MDGs in Africa. he was very particular on issues connected with brain drain seeing African youths lining up for visas at western embassies/high commissions from midnight to midday instead of using that precious time to engage in meaningful work in their countries. He reminded the audience that Africa had undergone several stages of western influences, “from slavery, to colonialism, to neo-colonialism and now re-colonisation”.

At 56, this great African, had laid a struggle to fight for the plight of Africans, he had the voice and the mind of that African who never talked for him/herself. He was not only concerned about Nigeria his country of birth, he was more attached to Uganda, indeed you would think he is a Kenyan, he identified himself with Darfurians, Somali people and Zimbabweans – a true Pan Africanist. I cannot fully make excerpts of his marvelous speeches, but truly he loved to see this generation of poor Africans one day living happily in their homes. In the next African Liberation Days I have a belief that Tajudeen would have loved to see African Governments whose practices would be freeing citizens from oppression, adhering to the principles of good governance and accountability. A dream that one day will become true. Inallilahi wa ina ilayh raj'un

Maghali Amir

What a loss at a time when Africa needs more passionate pan-Africanists? A dear comrade, Tajudin was among the very few inspiring Africans in this world dominated by corporate sharks.

Melakou Tegegn

What a terrible blow for Africa and the world. His was a voice of passion and justice and a consistent call for the renewed liberation of the African people.

Please send family and friends our sincere condolences. Mapambano yanaendelea. A luta continua.

Marjorie Mbilinyi, Tanzania Gender Networking Programme

I come late to this tragedy, having switched off all media over the weekend. It is a shock. I still can't believe that somebody so vital and alive is gone. It must be terrible for his wife and children. I hope in time they are consoled by all the wonderful tributes to him on Pambazuka. He meant a lot to people and impacted so many. Africa has lost a great son.

Onyekachi Wambu, AFFORD

I got the terrible news in the afternoon in paris where i am currently.

I am deeply saddened by the tragic death of our comrade and brother tajudeen.

I was with him just ten days ago in dakar during the afdb annual meetings.

It is an immense loss for our continent and for all the progressive movement around the world.

Yes, he was a giant by any measure. He was genuinely committed to the liberation of our continent. Maybe after all, it was no coincidence he passed away on africa's liberation day!

He was full of life, full of great dreams for his continent! May his example inspire millions of young africans to continue the struggle to which he dedicated his life!

May his soul rest in peace!

In great sadness.

Demba Mousaa Dembele

Death robs Africa of scholar and believer in continent

Editor, Pambazuka News

African has lost a great icon, an outspoken champion of the people, a passionate defender of human rights and a tireless advocate for continental freedom and unity.

I first came to know Tajudeen in 1983, at a particularly dark era in Kenya’s history, when he joined us at protest meeting against the repressive Daniel Arap Moi and his ruling KANU party regime in London. Hundreds of Kenyans had been rounded up by the Kenyan government and detained without trial or sentenced to long jail terms on trumped up charges.

Just a year before, we had formed the Committee for the Release of Political Prisoners in Kenya to expose and bring to international attention the terrible human rights violations being committed by the Moi-KANU regime and mobilize support for the democratic struggle in Kenya. The Committee attracted a cross-section of African, Caribbean and British personalities and for much of its existence was led and chaired by the Trinidadian-born Pan Africanist John La Rose.

Tajudeen quickly energized the committee’s activities and was rarely absent at many of our weekend meetings and protests, so much so that for a while the Kenyan intelligence that kept beady eyes on the opposition in London mistook him for a Kenyan.

In 1987, when together with Wanjiru Kihoro, Ngugi wa Thiong’o, Abdilatif Abdallah, and Shiraz Durani, we formed the first exiled-based political movement – UKENYA - to challenge the Moi-KANU dictatorship, when many of our liberal supporters had fallen back, he was steady fast in his support and applauded the important milestone that the Kenyan resistance to dictatorship had reached.

Tajudeen was a complex figure – a comrade, a loving father, a unifier and a brilliant intellectual - and above all - a solid Pan-Africanist. He brought vigour and urgency in what ever progressive cause he espoused, and founded a number of influential organisations such as the Africa Research Information Bureau (which I served as its first chair), the Centre for Democracy and Development and Justice Africa.

A charismatic and larger than life figure, he had a strong and overwhelming presence, deploying his decisive mind and powerful voice to articulate the rights of the dispossessed and have-nots in Africa and the diaspora. He had a great sense of humour and was formidable debater. He was a forth right speaker who feared no power when it came to the realities facing ordinary Africans and the tragic failure of its leadership.

Though studying for a doctorate at Oxford, where he was Rhodes Scholar, he was always in London, gathering Africans and people of African descent, from South Africa, Namibia, Nigeria, Cameroon, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Ethiopia and Eritrea, Kenya and Somalia, as well as, from the Caribbean, to discuss and debate the African predicament and seek answers on how to turn around the troubled continent and spark an African renaissance.

Tajudeen was born in Funtua, Katsina State in Northern Nigeria in 1956. He cut his political teeth in student politics at Bayero University in northern Nigeria in the late 1970s and early 1980s. He was inspired by the radical politics of the historian Professor Yusuf Bala Usman and the Jamaican-born Sociologist Professor Patrick Wilmot, who was deported from Nigeria in 1988 for his opposition to military rule, both of whom were teaching at Ahmadu Bello University, then the hot bed of Nigerian radicalism, and the progressive Nigerian People’s Redemption Party of Mallam Aminu Kanu and Balarabe Musa.

The renown revolutionary and Pan-Africanist Abdulrahman Mohamed Babu was another major influence. I accompanied Babu who had travelled to Uganda to meet Yoweri Museveni in October 1986, who’s National Resistance Army had taken power early in January. Museveni was the first among a new generation of African leaders who in the early 1990s had generated growing optimism and expectations for positive and progressive change in Africa.

Babu was racing against time to revive the Global Pan-Africanist Movement and had gone to seek Museveni’s support for the convening of the long overdue 7th Pan Africanist Congress. Museveni not only pledged his full support but also said Uganda would be greatly honoured to host the Pan-African Movement Secretariat in Kampala. Some of the key participants in the Kampala meetings were Eriya Kategaya, and two young journalists, Wafula Ogutu and Charles Onyango-Obbo, who were then working for the Weekly Topic.

Babu strongly believer in regenerating ailing the Pan-Africanist Movement, whose leadership mainly consisted of anti-colonial and anti-imperialist veterans and was often on the look out for a new generation of young people to pass on the torch of Pan-Africanism. He came to greatly admire Tajudeen’s extraordinary abilities and remarkable oratory skills as well as his common touch, and identified him one of the future leaders of the progressive African movement.

And Tajudeen did not disappoint him. He was elected the General Secretary of the Pan-Africanist Movement and organised the highly successful 7th Congress held in Kampala, Uganda in April 1994, the only second congress to be held on African soil.

In 1990s a period of sweeping changes which rekindle the hope of a resurgent Africa, he became a magnet and mentor for a new cadre of Pan-Africanists in his new base in Kampala. Tajudeen helped sensitized many young Africans about the continent’s long and illustrious history and win many adherents for Pan-Africanism and its ideals.

He played a pivotal role in East African and Great Lakes politics working closely with Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, Paul Kagame of Rwanda, Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia, Laurent Kabila of the DRC, John Garang of Sudan and Mwalimu Julius Nyerere.

In March 2006, Tajudeen was appointed the Deputy Director of the UN Millennium Campaign in Africa and was posted to Nairobi. I had only returned from exile some few months earlier, but it was really a great pleasure to welcome Tajudeen to Kenya, which had taken its first steps towards multi-party democracy. But it was also a period marked by tragedies and upheavals. He saw Kenya’s tortured journey to democracy at a close range and the ugly face of its political elite. He was in Nairobi, when one of our leading democratic and human rights campaigners and long-time friend Wanjiru Kihoro died in October 2006, after being in coma for more than 36 months, and in January 2008, when Kenya was torn asunder by the deadly Post-Election violence that claimed the lives of many and displaced thousands of others.

Tajudeen was a born optimist and harbinger of hope. He never lost faith in the ability of the African people to transform their lives and control their destiny. He remained at the front line of Africa’s quest for political, social and economic change and fearlessly fought for a free and united Africa. He was in pursuit of that dream criss-crossing the continent, eloquently and passionately campaigning for an end to poverty and inequality when he met his end.

The cruel hand of death snatch him away on the streets of Nairobi on Africa Liberation Day on 25 May, enroute to Kigali on another stop in his mission to change Africa and the world.

Go well Comrade, Aluta Continua!

Yusuf Hassan

May the soul of brother Tajudeen Abdul Raheem rest in perfect peace. I have never met him in person but have read a lot of his articles. We have lost an inspirer and advocate. May Allah shower his Mercy upon him and strengthen the hearts of his family in particular, so as to enable them manage this tragic incident.

Abdulai Alhaji Sulley

Je viens d'apprendre la triste nouvelle de l'accident mortel de notre collègue et ami Taju. Je lui rend un hommage particulier pour son egnagement et sa vison pour l'Afrique . Nous avns travaillé ensemble pour organiser le Forum de la Socéité Civile Africaine en 2007 à Addi Abeba . J'ai été impressionnée pour ces critiques mais aussi son ambition pour l'Afrique . Ce sont les larmes aux yeux que j'écris ce mesage .Il était un ami et un camarade de lutte surtout dans la promotion des OMD , engagés ensemble dans cette Campagne de lutte contre la pauvreté . Je demande au Secretariat de FEMNET de déposer des fleurs sur sa tombe à Nairobi en hommage et surtout pour l'admiration qu'il avait pour moi et pour FEMNET .

Que son Am repose en Paix //////////////// Amen/////////////////////

Mama Koité Doumbia FEMNET


I'm very sad to hear this news. I did not know Tajudeen well, but enjoyed his company in Hackney twice, over hot pepper fish; and always loved to hear him on the World Service putting it where it should be. His candour and anger were greatly inspirational. We're one man short in these miserable times. One pillar short.

Lara Pawson

The following obituaries/tributes were posted in USAAfricaDialogue (
I join other friends, colleagues and families of Taju in mourning the the passing this friend and comrade, This indomitable son of Africa This large hearted human being This tireless fighter for genuine African liberation This tireless advocate Africa's self-responsibility

As he joins his elder brothers who gave their energies and life for Africa's liberation and transformation, Kwame Nkrumah Julius Nyeyere, Frantz Fanon and Amilcar Cabral, Murtala Mohammed Samora Machel Thomas Sankara and others

We express joy for a life well lived.

We join his nuclear and extended families in mourning the passing of their son, husband and father. We pray that all they believe in gives them fortitude to bear this loss

The best tribute to Taju is to be inspired by this ideals and faith in Africa and Africans and to consciously contribute our quota in our particular fields to the advancement of our common ideals:

Africa's takeoff and arrival at the port of global power, respect, abundance and dignity Africa's assumption of responsibility for self development Africa's assumption of responsibility for the provision of basic human freedoms to her peoples Africa's assumption of self-responsibility for the provision of material abundance to its peoples Africa's self-equipment with the technological capacity for self-propulsion Africa's freedom from self-acclaimed donors Africa's freedom from all practitioners of colonial humanitarianism Africas' recovery, restoration and defence of the human dignity of its people

Goodnight my brother as you enter the league of worthy African ancestors

By Ehiedu Iweriebor -------------------------------------------------------------------------

Rest Scion of Africa

Taju, we come again as a family- for you spent your time here You shared a chunk of your ideas And we savored your presaging wisdom

Not like this do we imagine That your passage will be This transition from here to there That emasculate our joys We'd thought you will be around Much longer, but now we had hoped in vain

This day we again are shredded Shedding tears mourningful in dirges Ripped and raped Glaring at the great mystery Stirring at the fatality of life Ruffled, we have been robbed Rubbing your essence with the eternal essence

You, Taju scion of Africa whose versatile imagination knows no bound is no more This we can hardly believe But they say it is true And we know it is so The message given to the smoke We now know, for we've heard It is no longer secretive

There in that outpost of Nairobi You sighed your last words And drew you last breath On the path to the airport Your journey seemed stunted But just another flight to board And we have received notice of your departure

Fate came knocking Without the benefit of a boarding pass adorning you in a tiara On the mangled throne of shredded irons and plastics Signaling eternity and mortality Yet this crown dangle over all heads none excluded

Now we cry in dirges But we remember, We shall remember- Your adrenalin boiled for Africa You wished its rejuvenation You worked for its restoration You tirelessly envisaged its renewal

Now on the altar of Africa On that soil your soul so beloved and transversed You indelibly stamped your blood another fruititous marker beckoning the beacon of hope for Africa's resuscitation

On the altar of Africa On that Nairobi road Your blood fertilized a land crying for justice and renewal with your ideas, and now your blood Surely at the harvest of time Africa will blossom

Your dreaming coming through At the fulfilment of your hoped transformation The blooming gathering of blessings of all Africa's family- a sortie of her children A glory to behold Shall be

On that road you traveled ceaselessly On that route you were never derailed In spite of many hiccups You never gave up You stumped and foraged resourcefully

Now, an ancestor, We count on your blessings and goodwill Rest now restless soul roam no more under the tropical sun shedded from its roasting rays Find peace, man of peace In the essence of life Do good for us, as we pour libations

Now at peace May the dim frustrations of our time' Not be an hindrance as your journey on Reach your destination, live for ever Even as it seems you are gone Though we can no longer ingest your thoughtfulness We shall constantly invoke Your dutiful companionship and relish your sacred memories

Servant of Africa True scion of a soulful land Your radiance looms forever Even as we mourn We are consoled and comforted For a servant of peace and scion of our land Continues to be and beloved

By Tony Agbali

Editor, Pambazuka News

How sad I m feeling at this moment. I've enjoyed reading the postcard and was so amazed by the wisdom of the our brother. My condoleances to his family and relatives. May God be your strenght

Georgine Kengne

We have received the news of Dr. Tajudeen’s death with profound shock, almost disbelief. Tajudeen was so full of life that his sudden departure is difficult to internalise.

Tajudeen was truly of Africa and entirely for Africa. He will be remembered for his intense concern for the welfare and progress of the African people. He was eternally committed to working for Africa, a task he undertook with an extraordinary display of energy, intellect, comradeship, modesty and humour.

It’s no wonder that God chose to call him on Africa Day, while on an early morning mission on behalf on Africa. Africa will be poorer without Dr. Tajudeen.

Our deep-felt condolences go to the bereaved family, all the comrades at the Pan African Movement, Justice Africa, Centre for Democracy, the UN Millennium Development Campaign and all others that were blessed to know Taju.

May God offer you comfort and strength to go through this very trying time and rest his soul in eternal peace.

Col.(rtd) Dr. Kizza-Besigye,

Kizza-Besigye, Forum for Democratic Change(FDC)

Ooh Dr. Taju, I do not know how I should refer to you!!!! Father, Guardian, Mentor, Comrade, or a friend??? To me your more than a father and all the above. I can never forget you, the support and parental love you gave me.

To the whole world, you have been a real and complete human being: the love, joy, laughter, charm, mercy, intellect, intelligence, all components of a true human human being were in you Dr. I will never forget the day you voluntarily decided to support me and instructed me to get my registration at the University and give you my requirements. Now I' am called a graduate and NOT a vulnerable/ dis advantaged kid you met in June 1997.

Dr. Tajudeen, we know you have dedicated all your life to the vulnerable and the disadvantaged people of this world. We appreciate your great role and participation in initiatives like the Pan African Development Education and Advocacy Program, Refugee Advocacy Project, Justice Africa, Citizens Right Initiative, LDC Watch, etc and your tireless involvement in the achievement of the MDGs. Dr. where do we go with all these programs???

Your death has been a shock and tragedy, I do not know how to come out of it, you have left a very big gap in our life. May the Almighty reward you for all what you did on earth.

Forward Ever, Backward Never!!!

Aluta Continua!!!

T.Mohammed Yusuf and Pan Africanist

Many are lost for words at this tragic loss of Taju; his humour forever gone and his presence only a memory. But it is a memory of a life lived to the full; a life of an intellectual and a writer, of an organiser and an activist; of a defender of Africa whose passion was tinged with humane attributes; of a leader whose nationality never mattered except the pan-African nationality. He was so real yet difficult to emulate. That is the huge hole his tragic death on Mombasa Road in Nairobi has left.

Godwin Murunga

A giant of pan-Africanism joins the ancestors on our day of Liberation. Cruel irony or call to arms?? I can almost hear Taju’s irrepressible laugh reminding us that LIBERATION HAS NOT YET COME. Our comrade would be at the forefront urging us to rise up, join hands, and carry forward the fight until we can truly celebrate the better Africa that is to come. But for now, we allow ourselves to grieve, and hold in our care his two young daughters. You will be missed dear friend but we know well, like Bike, Nkrumah, Lumumba, Cabral, Rodney, and countless others, your spirit lives!

Emira Woods, Institute for Policy Studies


May your soul rest in eternal peace. Many thanks for your resourceful time on earth.You have left us proud and inspired to soldier on unshackling every African soul. Your unflinching advocacy years driven by selflessness, courage a candid approach to the challenges of man west, east, north and south speaks mountains of a true PanAfricanist we have lost.

One day and not long, Africa will indeed live and commemorate her true independence beyond politics, which is the desire of ages our founding fathers shared. The deconstruction continues from Generation to Generation irrespective of many aberrations this age is facing. We have recorded political independence but our fierce enemy remains illiteracy and poverty on every African frontier.

Thank you!

Rabson Lungu
Zambian in USA
[email protected]

Rabson Lungu

How sudden your departure! One moment with us and the next gone. The Ancestors have called you - can we refuse? All we have is your exhortation to organize not agonize. So be it!

Bertha K. Amisi, Syracuse University

Mshairi gave me the news this morning and that you died on Africa Day, I can hear your laughter at this news. May you rest in peace

Wahu Matenjwa

Dr. Tajudeen will be remembered by Africans and non-Africans alike for the immesurable contribution he made towards the building of Global Pan-Africanism. Death has robbed Africa of one of her Best Sons. He was a GIANT indeed, but a simple African in many ways. How can one forget his intoxicating humour and happy-heartedness - attributes that brought an akward calm and a strange peace of sorts - in the midist of the political storms and earthquakes engulfing his Homeland - Africa. The Struggles you so selflessly carried on will continue, Brother Taju, for we know that you will always be looking down upon us with your questioning gaze - cheering us on!

Dr. Vincent Magombe,
Africa Inform International.

Dr. Vincent Magombe

We have heard the news but it is hard to believe that Tajudeen or Taju as we knew him is no longer with us. He was someone so full of life, energy and warmth. His sense of humour and infectious laugh could transform the mood of the people around him, wherever he was. He was always there when a comrade needed strength or support, and he also had a knack of suddenly turning up at the happiest moments and making them happier. We first met him through Babu, who recognized his charisma and vision and saw him as a torchbearer for the Pan-Africanism of the future. As well as being the foremost Pan-Africanist of his generation, Taju was also a committed internationalist who was always ready to engage with and give his support to struggles for liberation wherever they were taking place. Old memories come back to us from Taju’s time in London - of him singing ‘Kabhi, kabhi…’ on the bus on the Black delegation to the North of Ireland in 1991, or stepping in at the eleventh hour to compere an evening of South Asian and African revolutionary songs and poetry.
The untimely and shocking loss of Taju is a huge blow to struggles for justice and liberation in Africa and all over the world. We would like to express our deepest condolences to his family at this tragic time. Like his many other friends and comrades, we will miss him very much.

Amrit and Kalpana, South Asia Solidarity Group

It is great shock that we learnt of the death of Brother Tajudeen. He had attended the "Groundings" Walter Rodney conference in Guyana in 2005 and continued to keep in contact with Rodneyites and friends of the late Guyanese historian. Several of us met him from time to time through his good friend Horace Campbell and were always struck by his humour and passion for the cause, wherever it existed. We read his incisive and passion laced pieces on global pan-African struggles in Pambazuka news. He will be sorely missed. Our deepest solidarity with his family and friends.

Nigel Westmaas

Nigel Westmaas

I had the privilege of interacting with Tajudeen exactly a year ago at the Aalborg University. I have the recorded version of the "powerful" speech he delivered at the occassion (AU Day. It is difficult to come to terms with this sad news. May his soul rest in perfect peace.

Adarkwah Yeboah

My wife Germaine and I wish to say our condolences to the family of Mr. Abdul Raheem. May God be with you at this time and may we never forget Mr. Raheem's contribution to African Conciousness and PanAfricanism.

Fronse Pellebon Smith

I have lost a brother, a friend and a true comrade!. My brother Taju, you have left a huge void in our lives and our continent that cannot be filled.

I received the sad news of your passing this morning through SMS from Wole. At first, I thought you were passing through Joburg and Wole was informing me so that I can meet you, and as usual we will have gone to eat Nigerian food and of course, discuss the politics of Nigeria and of Africa. But this was not to be.

By your passing, Taju, Africa has lost one of its greatest giants in the struggle for human rights, justice and democracy in the continent. You fought a good fight - you left an important footprint. Through your commitment and dedication to the liberation of Africa from one party rule, military dictatorship, apartheid, you made us all live in a better Africa. You were also a consistent voice against imperialism and neo-liberalism; as such you contributed to the creation of space where Africans can hold their heads high anywhere in the world. You were a true African, and an organic intellectual. But as a true Africa, you lived in many countries on the continent. Every country you lived in the continent, you adopted as your home and made a contribution to the struggle in that those countries. Thus nationality was of little many to relevant to you – what matters to you was Africa. You were a true African, something those of us you left behind need to learn.

We mourn your passing and celebrate your life. But you left us all with important challenge, that of freeing our beautiful continent from hunger, wants, poverty, diseases and human rights abuses.

May God give your two little kids and wife the fortitude to bear your passing, and that you will continue to look over them in your place of rest.

Omano Edigheji, Human Sciences Research Council

We have our memories of Tajudeen in Guyana in 2005 on the 25th anniversary after Walter Rodney's assasination. I remember him breaking into a Bollywood song, and he told us he grew up watching and loving Indian films. He touched hundreds of us in so many countries through his sharp politics and incredible sense of humour, but mostly the size of his heart. He would have touched the whole world had he lived longer.

Sara Abraham, South Asian Peoples Forum, Toronto

Sara, South Asian Peoples Forum

It is very sad indded to learn of the departure of such great a man and patriot at this time that Africa needed someone who is focused to lead her. His was almost like a lone voice in the wilderness.It is indeed a great loss. May his soul rest in peace, and his voice be forever heard.


This is indeed tragic news, made no less tragic by the theft of my copyright photograph for your article. Disgraceful.

Tim Gander

I was lucky enough to work alongside Tajudeen for a short while and I remember the brief conversations we had here and there, before he hurried off, always on the way somewhere else, splitting his time more ways than most would think possible. He challenged me to think differently about Africa. It was a welcome shock to the system, sweeping aside what I thought I knew, and making me look at things in new ways. Always energetic, always insightful, always provocative, but also always warm, welcoming and appreciative. I smile as I remember the tangle of cables, cameras and phones he would produce, exhorting me to to make them work, extract his pictures, and somehow restore his battered laptop from which the Thursday Postcards would be fired forth. Thanks Tajudeen, and deepest condolences to all his family and friends.

Jon Harle

Once again death has acted. Again, it has taken away one upon which we have set our sights. One, to whom we listen for guidance. One, from whom we learn impotant discourses.

We are not surprised at the fall of Taj, we are rather astonished that it happened when the struggle still continues.

May Allah bless you for the work you did on earth.

Abdullai Kamara

Dear All!
I am working on a documentary on Dr Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem.
Any individual or organisation interested in contributing in one way or the other is much welcome.
I now have footage from Nairobi abut the crash, flight preparations and a forum where people from across the international and local community paid tribute to him.
What I am looking for is archival footage and people to interview.
Please get in touch.
Khamis RamadhanCell: +254733731385
Email: [email protected]


Mr. Editor I am completely lacking of any word to express for such tragic loss of a man that turned to be the natural leader of the liberation movement of the continent after Nkrumah and the rest. I met him at Columbia University in New York in 2005 assisting the Jubilee 2000 campaign for debts cancellation. How can such a man died when the struggle is still at it intiate stage? Only God can answer but one thing is clear, there is no turning back for the struggle against tyranny and neo-colonialization which is now led by the ruling hegemony of the continent of Africa.Live in peace comrade your blood will serve as inspiration for the younger comrades.

.S. Datuama Cammue environmental Protection Agency of Liberia

Indeed it is with sadness that we celebrate this Africa Day 2009. One of the main propagator TAJUDEEN ABDUL RAHEEM has been claimed by forces higher than what we would have wished. Tajudeen was also a personal friend. His vivaciousness,joy, his clarity of thought in the most dire circumstances, his spirit of fairness and his will to take on what is not just is what he has calcated for the continent. He used every opportunity and every incident to raise issues of the continent in that most distinguished voice of his. May your spirit of committment to the continent spread and live forever. You will be missed by many of us.

Fatma Alloo

I was shocked to hear the sudden death of veteran Pan Africanist Dr. Tajudeen. I met him in one of the big CSO gathering that happened in 2007 in Addis Abeba, the African Civil Society Conference. His eloquent and inspiring speech on African democracy forced us to think critically and ask questions to ourselves. In his speech he was condemning Robert Mugabe for his deed. Right after that there was a reception at the Addis Ababa Hilton Hotel in the evening, while I was talking with him a woman approached for greeting. His said to her in his unforgettable sense of humour “Madam don’t greet me, if your government see this they won’t let you in” and later I figure out that she is from Zimbabwe. What a great loss for the continent!!!

My heartfelt condolence to his family, friends and workmates

Rest in peace

Ephrem Berhanu Talent Youth Association

This news is too hard to take at this time but we must not be drowned in our tears and lift up ourselves as Taju would have liked us all to do ! Only time will tell us the significance of his untimely death on such a day as Africa Liberation day!!! Let us honour his memory by renewing our energy for mobilizing and organizing around the issues that will lift Africa to a greater height .

May his Soul rest in Peace and a lutta continua!!!

Micheline Ravololonarisoa, Chief of Africa Section UNIFEM

Dear Mounira Chaieb, Dear Aisha Dear Aida, For us the news has been shocking, to you i cannot and will not even try to imagine the pain of the sudden loss of Tajudeen. I cannot remember when i first met him, but he stood out in ways few thinkers and actors of African Liberation have stood out. As we grieve for his sudden departure he is likely to reprimand us: "Do not grieve, move on, organize, carry on"

Please accept our deepest condolences and most heartfelt sympathy for being torn from your companion and father.

Dear Tajudeen, rest in peace and while you are resting please send us the excess energy so we can better carry on with what you were better than all of us at doing.

Do rest comrade while the rest of us wonder why you have left us on the eve of a day dearest to you contrarian as you could be you will say "wonder at what you could do better than the departed" Too painful to describe will be your absence Too many are the things we shall miss Your magic way with words with moments like these with battling for an immortal idea With you any bad news became fodder for good news I do wonder how you would turn this departing of yours into good news A challenge for budding play writers? Take care,

Pauline Wynter and Jacques Depelchin

The pain of the transition of Brother Tajudeen Abdul Raheem reaches across the globe and touches all of us. There is no measuring stick for his undying commitment to the humanity of Pan Africanism. His words, his actions, his vision are fitting examples for all of us to emulate and cherish. How Tajudeen was able to work so hard, to dream so strongly, and to wage the intense battles of consciousness; only the zamani can know.

He is a long distance runner for African Liberation. We should all pray that his spirit be embodied in all of us and that his life and teachings inform thousands of generations to come. Thank you Tajudeen.

Walter Turner, Host, Africa Today KPFA Radio

The Pambazuka headline has it just right: Pan-Africa has lost a giant--not just pan-Africa in the continental sense, but pan-Africa in the global sense. Wherever African peoples were suffering and struggling, which is to say everywhere in the world, there was Tajudeen Abdul Raheem. He was nothing if not ubiquitous in pursuit of African liberation. We shall sorely miss his unbounded energy, his unfailing grace, his infectious optimism. Many have theorized about pan-Africanism, and theory is a good thing, but theory without practice is of little effect. In Tajudeen the theory and practice of pan-Africanism found a perfect synthesis. If it is the case that we shall know them by their fruit, and not their froth, then the fallen comrade brother deserves a place of esteem in our pantheon. He lived, he breathed, for African liberation. For this cause, he gave everything he had, including now ultimately his life. Deep irony, indeed, that he ought have left us, and then so tragically, on this particular day, the 25th of May, Africa Liberation Day. It is highly likely that somehow, in some way, his final journey had something to do with commemorating Africa Liberation Day, and certainly with advancing the cause of African liberation. It remains for us, though mere epigones, to continue, and complete, that journey. Tajudeen led, now we must follow.

Michael O. West

Abdul Raheem Tajudeen left us on the day we celebrate Africa, what a meaningful symbol! I would like to present my sincere condolences to a great panafricanist, a true warrior of truth and justice, a joyful African. I am really speechless in face of the sudden passing of Dr Abdul Raheem Tajudeen. My memories go back to time we spent in many Capitals in Africa debating about ways to better the life of ordinary African citizens. I used to call him' Mr President' when he would replied with a great sense of humour 'Mr Minister'! In Fact a true President had left us.

May Allah guide him through the best places in Al Diana!

Mouhamet Lamine Ndiaye, OxfamGB

Dear Brothers and sisters of PAN African Mouvement, please receive our sincere condoleances ! The 1st time I met this great figure was in Entebbe when he came to deliver his speech to the 1st Institute of Akina Mama wa Africa ! All the women were impressed and felt very proud to be Africans !


Justine Nkurunziza

Extremely sad this sudden and untimely demise of a first class panafricanist. Lost at the very moment when need people like him around to rekindle the dying expectations for a real African unity. Too bad.

Adama GAYE

A Tribute to the Late Dr. Tajudeen Abdul- Raheem Monday 25th May 2009

Death without a doubt is never clear, never fair and never what you expect. The painful loss of Dr. Tajudeen the quintessence of Pan-Africanism, we can not help but feel a dent in our lives, work, spaces as he impacted on us. His unwavering fight and contribution for justice in Africa and its women in the global effort to fight poverty and injustice is commendable. Dr. Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem will be especially remembered for his outspokenness and strong leadership in campaigning for global justice, good governance and what we stand for as Akina Mama wa Afrika. The women of Africa will always remember him for his for holding their hands in the fight for their rights and traveling this journey of stamping out inequality and the tenets of patriarchy in its various forms.

Akina Mama wa Afrika (AMwA) as a Pan-African Women’s Organization together with other feminists and other women celebrate the life of an exceptional Pan Africanist whose contribution to the African continent is immeasurable. Taju as we commonly called you here at AMwA, we value the life that you graciously shared with us; the commitment you had towards Pan Africanism, justice and the unwavering support towards Akina Mama wa Afrika in all our journeys and above all, being who you are. We will miss you not today, tomorrow but forever…..

Our hearts and prayers are with the family in this very trying time. Taju may your Soul rest in Peace.

Ina Lilahi wa ina Lilaihi Raju’un.

Executive Director, Akina Mama wa Afrika, For and on Behalf of The International Executive Board, Management and Staff of Akina Mama wa Afrika

Solome Nakaweesi-Kimbugwe, Akina Mama Wa Afrika

Very shocking, yes indeed but its true, what can someone say in such a state of shock, emotional distress and tears! Shock of losing a gallant brother, friend, fighter, hero, passionate about justice name it….. Losing one of the few people that love this continent and who Africa badly needed? Taju we hold very fond memories of you, you have left a legacy that will outlive you and we cherish the time spent with you. I will miss that weekly postcard that you always sent when I felt that the continent is indeed dark, nothing is moving, or just change will not happen, at least someone (you Tajudeen) kept on reminding me that there is still light at end of the tunnel. Rest in peace and hopefully we will meet one day in this life or another life. Thank you for being who you were! Though you are gone physically, your soul, spirit and presence is still our midst

Ina Lilahi wa ina Lilaihi Raju’un

Solome Nakaweesi-Kimbugwe

Nga Kitalo!!! We have heard of the untimely death of this great Pan Africanist and it is indeed a blow to all social movements on the continent. As we question why............., we begin to take solace by celebrating what he accomplished.

Icon extends sincere condolences to the family, immediate work mates, the African Feminist Movement and the Pan African Movement.

Yours in solidarity Debbie

Deborah Kaddu-Serwadda

As a teenager growing up in Uganda in the 1990s I had lots of questions about Africa. Dr. Tajudeen Abdul Raheem, through his thoughtful and well written postcards, opened my mind to African consciousness. For the last 15 years I have hardly missed his columns in the numerous newspapers and magazines he wrote for.

Adieu Tajudeen! May you rest with the ancestors.

Kennedy Jawoko, Journalist

Lay down softly in our memory, Tajudeen.

We all have our appointed time with death. We realize early in life what fragile mortals we are. Yet, that has not robbed death of its sting, its intensity to shock us, to cripple us and even send us into denial because of its bluntness and greed. When I was told early this morning that Tajudeen had died, my outcry was No! I reasoned, argued and tried to persuade all and myself that it was not true. I checked different sources of information on the internet and got the rude confirmation that the brilliant writer of pan-African postcard, fighter and believer in African union and integration was no more. Then the messages started pouring in. At work we all pondered the meaning of life. Tajudeen hung above us, laughing gaily, holding his pipe (which he had long abandoned), inviting us to eat and talk about Africa. I saw him chatting enthusiastically, debating and gathering us all around his table. I saw him at the Pan African Centre in Kamwokya, Kampala. I saw him at his desk writing feverishly his postcard and clicking, send! Call it weakness, I rushed to Pambazuka online to check out Tajudeen’s postcard of the day, and there it was, city beautification is destroying livelihoods. I didn’t want to believe this would be the last postcard of Tajudeen. I pushed away the thought. This time last year, Tajudeen’s postcard in celebration of Africa Liberation Day cautioned South Africa against the anti-African xenophobia. Today he was cautioning us about the need to take care of the hoi polloi. The biggest irony is that he was on his way to Rwanda to launch a campaign on poverty and maternal mortality. It’s him who has transited into mortality, leaving our hearts poverty stricken. For years Tajudeen has nourished us with his laughter, optimism and pan-Africanism. He has given us all hope but one to see us through his death. At this point I can only hide in the wisdom of Bebo Norman’s songs, especially a line in which Bebo sings to one who has gone, “It was not your time; that’s a useless line…lay down softly in our sorrow…”

I am only certain about one thing. If one had asked Taju which day he would love to go in the far future, I am sure Taju would have said Africa Day. And as long as Africa Day is celebrated, Tajudeen will be remembered. For years Tajudeen has embraced this Liberation Day, and today it has liberated him from all earthly responsibilities and embraced him tightly, not ever to release him. It is one sad and symbolic gesture of the Day claiming its own Postcard, its one giant who has identified with the Day all these years. It gives me a tiny thread of consolation that Tajudeen’s memory has been preserved, immortalized in a significant Day that will always be alive. Because of this I pray, ‘Go down gracefully, Taju, and shine on.’ Amen.

Mildred Kiconco Barya

With great sadness I am informing you of the death in a car accident in Nairobi very late last night/early this morning of our comrade and dear brother Dr Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem. Taju was born in Funtua, |Northern Nigeria, of Yoruba stock. He leaves two young daughters, Aida and Aysha. Please inform our friends.

Ahmed Rajab, IRIN News

May God comfort your family and your friends. Even in your death you celebrated Africans' liberty. Tajudeen will be missed physically but his messages is alive until true ffreedom and justice prevail in places like Ethiopia.
Tajudeen, may God give rest to your soul.

Lemin Tsegaw

It is with great heaviness of heart that we announce the passing on of Dr Tajudee Abdul-Raheem. Tajudeen was involved in a car accident this morning while driving himself to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport to take a flight to Kigali.

Taju was a committed Pan Africanist who championed true liberation and unity of the African continent. As the coordinator of Pan African Movement, he played a key role in organising the 7th Pan African Congress held in Kampala in December 1994. Africa is one progressive poorer as result of this loss. FARE THEE WELL SON OF AFRIKA.

Solidarity Network Kenya

This is a terrible loss to us all.

Tajudeen's Pan-African Postcard in Pambazuka News has been a regular weekly read for me. I grew as a writer and an activist from his breadth of vision and depth of analysis, his blend of critical thinking, satire, and self-reflection. In person, he radiated a rare combination of radicalism and humour, optimism and political rigour.

I am shocked and bereaved. My heartfelt sympathies to his family, colleagues, and community.

Shailja Patel

I was dumbfounded on receiving the news from Leonard Okello this morning.

I found him in a very foul mood and I thought it was the summit taking toll on him and when he told me about the passing of Taju in a fatal car crash; it took time to sink in and believe.

I knew Taju personally and had casual talks about what works and what does not work when it comes to bringing about change. We left at --- forming a discussion club to help share and refine ideas on how to fight for others can be infected with the progressive influenza for change.

It is so sad to lose a person all-over sudden without any sign of an early notice. But Taju died while doing what he believes and knows best – fighting for and charting a new course for Africa.

A colleague and friend we were involved in a struggle against a multi-national company and was receiving death threats, once joked...

“ it is better for me to die while supporting a worthy cause, a cause I believe in, that be killed by some stupid mosquito bite (referring to Malaria)”...

Taju loved to talk and to share his views with the wider public through his memos that he circulated on internet a number of which were published in the local media. He was vocal against injustices and passionately defended the idea of a Unified (one) Africa as a formidable force for trade and development in the least populated and threatened continent.

He did not have kind words for those faltering the fight against poverty with some hollow jingoism that brought no or little reprieve for poor people but often passed as good lines in the neo-liberal magazines and newspapers.

I will definitely miss his LIFE literally and wish his family, colleagues, friends and patriots of the cause he stood for, comfort from the maker and energy and passion to, without relenting, fight for a better Africa.

Eric MGENDI, International Communications Coordinator - Africa, ActionAid

I am devastated to hear of Tajudeen's untimely death which is a loss to the African continent and the world of political commentary. His incisive analysis and sharp wit will be sorely missed by Pambazuka readers. Taju was one of those people that sparked any event he attended. Having known him when we were doing our PhD studies during the 1980s, I was delighted that he later crossed the East/West divide of African studies, and became rooted in East Africa, while continuing to keep a keen eye on Nigeria and West Africa more generally. He was of course, a Pan Africanist, at home anywhere on the continent. He will be missed immensely.

Deborah Bryceson

Please accept my condolences; via your publications I have come to admire him as a tireless fighter not only for Africa, but to the rest of the Third World too. He will be immensely missed, but as you put it, do not ''agonise, Organise'' That's the tribute to him

David Soori

Farewell to a Great Thinker, A Mentor, A Brother, A Friend, Africa's Own Son- Dr Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem

As we celebrate Africa Day, we also mourn and celebrate the life of Africa's own son, Tajudeen Abdulraheem who passed away in Nairobi, Kenya, one of the citadels of the Pan-Africanism which he lived for and embodied. His work lives on in the numerous lives he touched, the minds he enriched, the ideologies he shaped, and in the soul of the continent he loved so much. His life remains a great blessing to Africa, and his death a challenge to us all to continue the work he so valiantly and diligently did in an in incomparable style, that had "Tajudeen" boldly stamped on it.

Rest in Peace Dr Taj, and thanks for all the lessons you taught , the proverbs you shared, the training you gave, the stories you told, the long late night talks in London and numerous African cities, and the battles you fought for us. Mostly thank you for standing tall and speaking for us so powerfully in that booming voice, where many others cowered and quivered. We will remember and miss you every day, but especially on Thursdays as we await your Postcard. Your ideas will not be forgotten, neither will the warmth of your person or the ring and rumble of your hearty laughter. It's ironic, yet symbolic, that you departed on African Liberation Day, but drama and symbolism never eluded you. Since I was born on the same date as the date you departed, I will always remember and celebrate the blessing that your life was on each birthday to come. As you always say " aluta continua, don’t agonise, organise" . -’

Dapo Oyewole, Frmr, Executive Director, Centre for African Policy & Peace Strategy (CAPPS)

This is indeed a great loss to the continent. I have met Tajudeen on a number of occassions and what baffles me everytime, is his frankness and straightness, his passion in talking about the liberation of africa and the dignity of the black man. We extend our sincere condolences to his family.

Louis Thomas, IFJ Afrique

This is unbelievable as EXACTLY a year ago, on Africa Liberation Day 2008, we hosted Tajudeen at Aalborg University. And as usual, the topic was on the challenge of African unity. Tajudeen was at his provocative and ispirational best. Certainly, this is one loss we did NOT need at this critical phase of our struggle. But if there is one voice that can not be shut in this struggle, it certainly is that of Tajudeen's. In the long history of our strugle, he inspired and challenges all of us! May the memory of this great son of Africa challenge us to continue the fight to rebuild the walls of Africa. And may his soul rest in Peace!!! Paul Opuku-Mensah [email protected] Geneva (Switzerland)

I just cannot believe this... Just cannot,I will not accept his parting us.. so much work yet to be done, so much where his particular insight and wisdom from the one and only direction and perspective to reclaim Africa's dignity comes- that voice must not leave Africa.. there is no substitute.. Hard to find a Tajudeen amongst us.. My brother, my brother, my brother--unbearable tragic news and loss not just to family to all of us.. to all of Africa!!!

numbed mammo from deep sadness

Mamo Munchie

I am utterly devastated to hear that Taju has left us so tragically. I was in dialogue with him last week on his recently concluded mission to Sudan and his observations out of it in his syndicated column IF OUR LEADERS DON NOT RESPECT THEMSELVES THEY CANNOT BE EXPECTED TO RESPECT US.

Taju you will always remain with us pan-Africanists with your inspiring spirit and humour. We love you so much and miss you so much. May Allah rest your soul in eternal peace. Ameen.

Abdelbagi Jibril Executive Director Darfur Relief and Documentation Centre (DRDC)

We last used the same Kenya Airways flight last year from Accra Ghana. In the five hour flight to Nairobi, we discussed a series of issues on Africa, it was not the first time I was meeting Taju, in fact the first time was in 2005 in a BBC Forum in London, where debated among other issues "Band Aid" and Africa's development. We were later to be used to meeting in various forums, especially in Addis Ababa. And that you should go on Africa Unity Day is symbolic as is sad! Africa has lost Tajudeen Abdul Raheem. BUT Africa has not lost the good seed he planted of probing causes to Africa's problems.

Tajudeen once said: "Rich nations do not come to Africa to mine poverty; they come because of our wealth." So why are we poor?

James Shikwati Director IREN CEO The African Executive

Thank you very much for sharing this ‘bad’ news. Please pass my condolence to relatives and friends of TAJUDEEN ABDUL RAHEEM, one of the great sons of Africa. I had the opportunity to listen to his various presentations/arguments and writings, which represent the best interests of the ordinary African person in the face of the giant regional, continental and global institutions. I particularly remember how the intelligent TAJUDEEN successfully persuaded the hard-line Ethiopian Prime-Minister (in 2003?) to relax and remove visa-requirement for African delegates coming to AU meetings/conferences in Addis Ababa (which is their capital city). In an earlier encounter, TAJUDEEN successfully convinced everybody present that apart from the name the African Development Bank is neither known nor owned by Africans.

God bless his soul

Akalewold Bantirgu Deputy Programme Manager European Commission Civil Society Fund in Ethiopia

It really is a terrible loss. For people in Nairobi able to attend, I'm told that there will be a Celebration ofTaju's life today Monday 25, at 6 pm, at the All Africa Conference of Churches (AACC) Jose Chipenda Hall.

Wangari Kinoti

It’s a sad day, sad moment, so sad!!! I was just thinking of him in reflection of the dream of Pan Africanism. I read him last week when he wrote comparing democratic elections in Nigeria and Kenya and how the Kenyan post election violence is a blessing in disguise.

I mourn him with so much venom, am bitter, so bitter….

Leandro Oduor

Never knew Taju other than through his writings in Pambazuka News. Yes the good have a tendency to leave us early, especially in Africa. Rest in Peace. Condolances to his family.

Rodney Lobo

Can't believe this. Shall I not be able to hug Tajudeen again? I met him in London in the late 1980s at the Institute for African Alternatives, and learned much from him and others there. And I continued to learn over these many years.

Marika Sherwood

This was very, very sad news which we heard this morning. When I invited Tajudeen to attend the Julius Nyerere Intellectual Festival Week in April, he immediately replied that he would reschedule his duties to make space - he couldn't possibly miss it. Unfortunately, at the last moment, he couldn't make it. Now we will miss him for ever!

Tajudeen kept the universal torch of pan-Africanism alive. I say universal because for Tajudeen Pan-Africanism was NOT sub-Saharan only, or Black only, or Muslim or Christian or Yoruba or Ogoni only. It was truly Pan-Africanist. He wouldn't give in to culturalism or into what Nyerere once called, these territorial divisions caused by 'imperialist vultures'.

As we grieve the fall of our comrade Pan-Africanist, the Mwalimu Nyerere Chair is planning to organise a Memorial Seminar in Tribute to Tajudeen's Struggle for Pan-Africanism sometime in July. Please share with us your ideas, availability, contribution, convenient dates etc.

Issa G. Shivji, Mwalimu Nyerere Professor of Pan-African Studies University of Dar es Salaam

This is terrible news. What a great loss. Sam

Prof Sam Moyo, African Institute For Agrarian Studies (AIAS)

If you want to know and understand a person,go to his writings.

I have never read a long inspiring article of more than 20 pages non stop,other than that of Dr.Tajudeen on pan Africansm and globalization.

His late weekly releases on Pambazuka News E-alerts keeps me going.

And when he spoke,it is as if that is i wanted to hear,and he keeps you going,on and on and on.

Certainly,we have lost a resource person as a campaigner for MDGs,a friend and a fellow compatriot.

Sorry to the family,we have all lost a giant.

Let us keep on organizing,and not argonise.

PICOD Center,
Programmes Advisor/


Like everyone, I'm still trying to absorb the terrible news that woke me up early this morning: the accidental death of our dearest pan-Africanist brother and comrade, Taju.

What can we do to memorialize this great patriot of our Africa? We won't stop mourning anytime soon, but after our tears have dried up, can we start planning something in his name? Taju touched so many lives.

It is Africa Day today -- what a day for our brother to go...

In solidarity!


Akwasi Aidoo, Executive Director, TrustAfrica

Oh Dr Tajudeen-What a blow! He was an African of Refined Intellect; they are not so Many left!

Oh what, a blow! He was such a refined intellect, who spent his life working for Africa. I first met Dr Tajudeen as a Fresh man at University, during our study circles where he was invited to give a speech on African Unity, with focus on the Congo Crisis. At that time, the Rwandan troops and Uganda troops were bombarding each other in Kisangani, with Prof Wamba dia Wamba held up in a small hotel being defended by Ugandan troops, while Zimbabwean and Angolan troops were dug in a few kilometers accross the Mighty Ingadam and lined all the way upto Kinshasha, proping up the fragile DR's Kabila regime. The Gt Lakes Region was at War and Africa at a brink of collapse. He made such a motivating speech about the 'senselliness' of the war, droping a line about revolutionary ideology here and the vagaries of war there and a pint of humor combined with old African sayings here, that left all of us after the session inspired and proud to be Africans. The last time, I met him was at the WhiteSands Hotel, during again another regional conference on Peace and Conflict Resolution in Africa. He was the chair and the conference brought together people like Gerard Prunnier, Taban and others who had distinguished themselves in tracing and understanding the root causes of the conflicts in the region. The focus of this was the Conflict in Darfur. Dr Tajudeen, painfully left his Pan African Movement Office in Kampala to take up another position as cordinator for the Millenium Development Goals-Another noble cause for a noble. Since then, he was a regular guest speaker at Straight talk Africa, where always listened to his analyses with Admiration.

It is sad that he has died at a time when there is great debate in regards to whether the rich countries have done enough to ensure poor countries meet the targets of the MDGS. I am not sure what he was doing in Nairobi, but I will not be surprised if it was yet, another meeting for an African Cause! We will miss him; we can only seek solace in the Victorian saying

When strong men die, it is only their bodies that die. Their spirit lives on for many years long before they are gone. Dr Tajudeen was a strong man, his body is dead but his spirit will leave on. My condolences go to the Widow and the Children-May God bless them

Moses Kulaba, Agenda Participation 2000

I received the news of the tragedy this morning from Salim A. Salim. I
was deeply shocked. Salim could not believe what he had been told and
asked me to check and confirm. I did and confirmed the tragic news to
Salim and friends.
Tajudeen was deeply committed to Pan-Africanism. Someone will have to
tell the younger generation of Taju's inspiring work when, for many
years, he was the SG of the Pan-African Movement in Uganda.Taju was
not only committed but tirelessly advocated for Pan-Africanism at the
top of his voice and to whoever will listen.He was honest, courageous
and fearless. Once he told President Mbeki at a public Meeting of
African academics - Mr.President you used to to come in and out of
Nigeria and even lived there without a visa. But now when we want to
come to South Africa we get a lot of problems obtaining a visa. Where
is your Pan-Africanism? - The President did not answer! Taju was
applauded by the entire assembly. Taju had an incredible sense of
humour - never a dull moment with him. But his humour was generally
used to mock our political class and the political culture created by
this class.
His family, his friends and even those who did not agree with him will
miss him sorely.
Our condolence and greetings to his parents, wife and children and all
relatives - and the entire Pan-African family.
Inna Lillahi wa Inna Ileyhi Rajiuun.

Abdalla Bujra, Executive Director, DPMF

It is indeed with tears that I received the news of the death of our beloved brother Oga Taju as we fondly called him. Since my relocation to Uganda where he lived for many years to Kenya we have constantly kept in touch by email, phone and sms. As usual Oga Taju was always on the road attending to loads and loads of things that kept his attention. I have kept promising travelling to Nairobi for a weekend to see him as we wondered how we do not see often when we now live quite close to each other. Now it will never happen again. Oh death how wicked and unjust could you be? I met Oga Taju in 1995 at Strasbourg France during the North-South Summit. He chaired a session that I presented a motion against the Abacha government for gross violation of human rights and political repression. I thought we was from Uganda because Uganda was boldly written in the conference name plate in front of him. After the session he came to me and introduced him self and told me he was a Nigeria even though he lived in Uganda. This was the beginning of a long lasting friendship, mentorship and brother hood. Oga Taju was more than a mentor and a brother. He was there at all times offering love, friendship and advice. He was a committed and detribalized pan Africanist. His sense of humour, fairplay and justice endeared him to all. As I recall many discussions with him in Nigeria, other West Africa countries and in many places in London, I can only shed tears and be consoled because the almighty who created all of us knows the reason for the sudden end of our own Oga Taju To Mounirah, the children and his nuclear family both in Funtua and Ogbomosho I say dry your tears because Oga Taju made his mark in the sands of time.

To all our comrades let us continue where our own Oga Taju stopped and keep his great and gentle soul alive.

Sony Onyegbula

It is with deep and profound sadness that I have learnt, through Pambazuka, about the most untimely demise of Dr Tajudeen Abdul Raheem in a car accident in Nairobi. It is often said that it is not the number of years that a human person spends on this earth that matters, but how those years have been spent.

However, such philosophising seem meaningless when a people lose the likes of Dr Tajudeen; Dr Tajudeen who have been at the forefront of selflessly furthering the humanity of humankind, especially in a continent where being selfless is seen to a most daunting enterprise by our distracters and as exemplified by most of our contemporary political leaders.

Although, like many of his admirers, I have never met Dr Tajudeen in person, however, we have met many-many times by and through his articles and work which have been significant sources of information and fundamental inspiration for a long time. This is precisely because the knowledgeable and untiring Dr Tajudeen was one of the great commanders of the current global revolution, the information revolution, the revolutionising of knowledge.

Being conscious of the ordering in internal co-text and intertexual relationships, nonetheless, it is indeed not only difficult, but almost inconceivable for me to write about Dr Tajudeen in historical terms so soon!!!

However, I must assert that I have always looked forward to Dr Tajudeen’s original and ground-breaking perspicacity in his weekly “Pan African Postcard” in Pambazuka. In short, his instructive perspectives have been and will continue to be profound inspiration in....

That, with such selfless giants of liberation and of human thought, such as Dr Tajudeen, tirelessly organising and working on the African continent, the Pan-African dream can be transformed into a reality within our lifetime;

That, after many years of bad governance, a new generation of innovative African leaders, who will ultimately re-construct the economic wellbeing and political dignity of the African person is being constructed;

That, Dr Tajudeen’s astuteness and expertise in contributing to many major fora on the African continent to further rekindle Pan-Africanism, is an affirmation:

That Africa still has sons and daughters who are ready to re-organise, re-write African history and re-constitute the African reality as was demanded by the Patrice Lumumba despite the reining of the gun-butts and other instruments of torture and dehumanisation which were unleashed on him and his colleagues;

That the selfish application of knowledge and the untiring spirit to organise for political and economic emancipation, as has been shown by Dr Tajudeen, is the hallmark of the true transformation of the African continent from being the leader of most negative human development indicators, to being the champion of the upholding and safeguarding of the humanity of the human person.

Dr Tajudeen is indeed a most illustrious Giant of African Liberation. Like other such Giants, his glowing sojourn and unflinching cutting-edge-of-selflessness on this earth, teaches us that knowledge is the property of humankind, and organisation is the foundation of political and economic development.

Consequently, let us “not agonise” about Africa, but let us “organise” for and about Africa in order to transform our realities so that we will be the commanders and guardians of our destiny. Justice Africa website states that “Africa is impoverished by ...[Dr Tajudeen’s] untimely death”. How very true!

However, Africa is also inspired by Dr Tajudeen’s life and deeds. As a result, let us continue to “organise”.

Abdoulie Jawo, Doctoral Candidate (Comparative Governance), Department of Development and Economic Studies, University of Bradford

It is indeed impossible to believe yet we have to bow our heads. What a great loss for family, friends Africa and the world! I got the news from a thunderstruck Peter Kariuki ( Basic Rights) in Nairobi at the Lilian Towers before a Marsgroup meeting on lessons learned on budget. We tried to give attention to the meeting but all: Mati, Njeri Kabeberi, Cyprian... and so many others were reeeling under the pain. Then his column for today pleading for Mama Mboga in Nairobi Star...

And I thought of our roads but had no details...What a loss! We will keep organising.

Philo Ikonya

the passing of the Pan Africanist. Its really sad news to the whole African continent so sad to those who interracted with Dr.Tajudeen and those who enjoyed the great ideas that he talked about.I will really miss this great Man.Tajudeen always preached love and unity for the African people.He was one person who always stood with what he said..and most of his facts..I always found out were factual and well researched.It was with deep sorrow that ilearnt of the tragic death this morning.May he be Immortalized forever.Rest In Peace Dr.Tajudeen.

Crispus Fwamba

I would like to take this opportunity to send my condolence message following the demise of Dr. Tajudeen Abdul Raheem. He was indeed a true Pan Africanist and a voice for the voiceless and the oppressed. Indeed, this is a sad day and goes into the books of Pan African History as the memories of a legend lingers as curtains fall.

Nashon Tado Communications and External Relations Officer, Acord International

It is with a great sense of lost and sadness to learn the socking death of Tajudeen.
I first met him in 2002 at the civil society consultative meeting prior to the launch of the AU in 2002 in Durban. He was an inspiration to many of us for the past years.
His insights about African politics and commitment to the progress of the continent will be remembered.

Rest in peace Tajudeen

Fatou Jagne-Senghore
ARTICLE 19- Africa

Fatou Jagne-Senghore

Tajudeen was my friend and mentor for a number of years, and as I mourn him I smile, as I am sure many do, at the thought of someone who was, without fail, the most charismatic person in the room- no matter what room he happened to be in.

I am struck by the number of comments mourning his loss from people on various fora saying that they felt that that they knew Tajudeen, even though they had never met him, through the deep relationships they established through news programmes, newspaper articles, public debates and above all his Thursday Postcard. I too knew Tajudeen before I knew him. I was a volunteer teacher in Uganda, and read his Postcard in The New Vision, so full of passion, humour and righteous fury at the injustices many felt but that he put into words. It didn’t just seem unusal in that paper; it seemed unusal for any paper to print so regularly a column so funny, so optimistic, so sure of its arguments. Never resorting to homily, or falling back on the comfortable, world-weary cynicism of so much journalism.

I too have heard Tajudeen’s story about how he became a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford. In fact, I heard it several times. At one telling (and they would vary only slightly depending on how convivial the evening had been) someone asked him why he was offered the Scholarship after such a bravura denunciation of imperialism and bourgeois values. They probably wanted to be rid of such a trouble-maker, was the reply.

Tajudeen would insist that he was a committed revolutionary at that time, untempered and in his fiery youth. But that charm and charisma, which I have seen win over auditoria full of people - at the same time as castigating all present for being ‘hand-wringing liberals’ - had to come from somewhere. Tajudeen knew that he had a style, a mind and a voice to convince, and he deployed it unyieldingly on behalf of those less able to do so.

A number of people have quoted his well-worn calling card: ‘Don’t Agonise!!! Organise!!!’ (The puntuation was deliberate). But that wide-eyed passion and righteousness, and a refusal to accept Africa’s, or his own, predicament as final is summed up for me in another of his phrases: Nothing For Me Without Me.

Deepest condolences to his whole family and his wonderful girls.

Alastair Roderick

My screams of NO! it cant be true is dying down in my own ears. The tears flow; my heart bleeds that a brother, from my motherland; a comrade in this fight for a better Africa; a worthy ambassador of my country, Nigeria, is gone!

This is painful, why now? Your died on Africa's Liberation Day - we celebrate you dear brother! Rest in peace.

Ini Onuk

I was deeply saddened to hear the sad news in the morning. Tajudeen had an amazing personality that made people pay attention to what he said and wrote. His articles were very inspiring and researched well. We will all miss him dearly . condolences to friends and family.

mumtaz kassam

mumtaz kassam Uganda High Commission

I never had the honour of meeting Tajudeen personally but I remember his weekly contributions (Pan African Postcard)that would come in late every week whilst I was online editor for Pambazuka News. A great man has been lost but he leaves us with thousands of words for us to ponder on Mother Africa but more importantly to ACT to DO to SPEAK - thats what Tajudeen did and we should follow his way now more than ever.

Sokari Ekine

Uncle Tajudeen,
Listening to you motto and advise, we sought to organize. But today, you will forgive us, we are agonizing, and we cannot help it. You were an inspiration, a wonderful adviser, you provided support when needed, and most importantly you gave us the strength we needed to make sense of this life, whenever we felt weak. It is in times like this that we need your big laughter, and your great hugs. But it is also because we know we won’t be getting any, that we are agonizing. As time goes, we shall find the strength to organize again. But today, the agony and pain are too strong. We just can’t help it. We will miss you terribly, in so many respects. But we know that your soul is in the right place, for you always lived by principles and true to yourself. I feel so fortunate to have known you, and benefited from your wisdom. My heart goes to your family, especially your young children who kindly allowed us to share their precious time with you. Your body goes, but your message and legacy live on. We shall meet again soon, in that wonderful place you felt the urge to reach. Rest in peace, you have more than deserved it. Your dear sister from Cameroon, another African country with too many “phones”.

Agnes Ebo'o, Citizens Governance Initiatives

what news to receive on "Africa Day" - the loss of one of Africa's best. I had never met Tajudeen but read his articles with deep appreciation of one receiving a letter from a loved brother - the insight, the humor and analysis were unlike any. I mourn your passing my brother, but your legacy remains.

Nunu Kidane - Priority Africa Network

Taju shared with us a lesson he learned from his young daughter: the child called him daddy and said, 'You know you will not attend my graduation if you continue smoking tobacco?' He promptly gave up smoking whereas some patriarchs would have cuffed the child for daring to tell the emperror that he wore no clothes (How sad that he still missed the child's graduation).

When some of our colleagues were planning to become active in partisan politics, he cautioned us that African politics was very violent and we joked that it was strange that a progressive African would feel safer in London than in Africa. He soon relocated to Kenya from London and it is tragic to hear that he lost his life there due to the very violence that he had warned against (road fatalities are not exactly non-political especially when they are often preventable, as Mzwakhe Mbuli sloganized in Arrive Alive). We are not agonizing, we are organizing!


I was shocked to hear the sudden death of veteran Pan Africanist Dr. Tajudeen. I met him in one of the big CSO gathering that happened in 2007, African Civil Society Conference. His eloquent and inspiring speeches on African democracy forced us to think critically and ask questions to ourselves. In his speech he was condemning Robert Mugabe for his deed. Right after that there was a reception at the Addis Ababa Hilton Hotel in the evening, while I was talking with him a woman approached for greeting. His said to her in his unforgettable sense of humour “Madam don’t greet me, if you government see this they won’t let you in” and I figure out that she is from Zimbabwe. What a great loss for the continent!!!

My heartfelt condolence to his family, friends and workmates

Rest in peace

Ephrem Berhanu
Talent Youth Association
A.A, Ethiopia

Ephrem Berhanu, Talent Youth Association

I have struggled over the last eight hours to accept that Dr. Tajudeen is dead. Taju, you were my represented the type of people that Africa needs, if it trully will be liberated. You called it as you saw it, and your fight for global justice, rights of the poor and for Africa's liberation was really passionate. I cannot believe that your death came the same day when Africa's liberation is meant to be celebrated. Worse still, you died at a time that we were meant to meet within the course of this week. Taju...I would ask God so many questions, but I won't. All I will do is to pick-up the job that you have passionately done, and ensure that it will not be left to die. Taju, we loved listening to your sessions whenever there was any...irrespective of were such a gifted person with wide knowledge on almost every issue that affects our beloved country. We loved you Taju, but God loved you most. May your soul rest in eternal peace. R.I.P...

Benson Ireri, Social Economic Rights Foundation - SRF

I am truly saddened by the very sad news of the departure of a man, who, as you have all noted, was so committed to justice for all the people of Africa. Unfortunately, I have never had the privilege to meet or read his work! However, in his death, I will have the privilege to know him and what his deep commitment and convictions to Africa. People like him are so rare. It is with tears that I am introduced to such a man through this text of his departure.
I hope and pray that, his death will bring to birth many more Tajus. We should never ever take for granted the gifts that we have been given but always be grateful for them. May God give us wisdom to match on fearlessly towards the goal!
mutindi mumbua kiluva-ndunda
college/university of charleston, USA


It is unfortunate to learn of the death of our brother through this sensiless road accidents in Kenya.
We have never had peace before a prominent person of distinct stuture is robbed of us through a road accident.
May his principles stand as we continue to mourn his death.

Wilson Kipkazi
Programme Officer

Endorois welfare council

I weep for all that we have lost in the passing away of friend and Pan Africanist comrade Tajudeen in Nairobi last night. Go well brother and greet Babu, Hansen and all of your dear friends...

irungu houghton

It is with profound shock and sadness to hear about the passing of Dr.Tajudeen on African Liberation Day. Personally, I never met him but regularly read his pan-African postcard with great delight and appreciation for his efforts for Pan African Unity. Wherever we are living, we must work for African Unity and liberation of the continent.
Rest in Peace Dr. Taju

Lumumb Hamilcar Shabaka

This is a shock, recievng a call from a former colleague announcing Taju's death was really a shock. I was just exchanging emails with Taju and a conference coming up in October. Taju has without reservations fight and support Africa's liberation, development and progress. He has continued to support younger generations of Africans like myself. His last email to me was " My dear sister i am glad you are well and still keeping hope." I enjoyed his PanAfrican Postcard. Taju will definately be missed. May God bless him.

I am still in Shock

Ndey Jobarteh, The Africa Center for Information and Development (ACID)

On Friday afternoon I had a chat with Tajudeen and we agreed then that we would meet the following Wednesday afternoon. That brief conversation came back to me as soon as I got the text this morning announcing his tragic passing. It seems less that enough to describe the effect of that message as devastating. It was that and much more. As I read and re-read the message my mind went straight back to the Friday conversation – his unique brand of humour and how effectively he used this as a weapon to overcome every adversity, real or imagined.
Tajudeen will always remain a giant among us – not just for his pan-Africanist ideals and the admirable way he lived to them, but more for the life he gave to every situation he found himself in. I cannot recall a time or place where silence could be observed in Tajudeen’s presence. He was the consummate communicator, the captivating storyteller, where the need arose, the rabble-rouser, the sympathizer and ultimately the African that had the solution to whatever manner of problem. He exhorted us not to agonize, but rather organize… and as we all now, he lived his life to the last, organizing.
So what does one say when you are told that this great icon of African unity has breathed his last? What did I think when it dawned on me that Taju would not be there on Wednesday evening as agreed?
I thought immediately of his reaction to news of the passing of an old African that he respected immensely. To emphasize what a loss it was for Africa, he reminded us that we lose a library every time an old African dies. We did not spend enough time exploring where one draws the line, to determine who is ‘old’.
With Taju’s passing we have lost not simply a library, but a huge a databank that will be impossible to restore physically. In choosing to end this journey on Africa day, he has left us a powerful metaphor. Taju has remained true his captivating style at storytelling. Yes, he has moved on, leaving many stories unfinished, yet reminding us that rather than agonize, we have to organize.
Taju, you are an icon that will never fade. You carved a path on this journey that will remain clear and admirable to those of us that care to look. Because of you many of us walk taller today as Africans – and we will carry on the journey prouder for having known you and richer because of you.
Go well. We will miss your physical presence and will cherish your memory.

Ezra Mbogori - Akiba Uhaki Foundation

Africa’s own, Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem- the utmost irrepressible and passionate “Pro-Africanist” of his generation is no more? What a tragedy? A Pan-Africanist of the highest order- both in thoughts and in action, who so valiantly played his part for Africa.

He believed in Africa more than anyone I know today. His confidence in our great continent Africa and the ability of its people to resolve even our greatest challenges, no matter how insurmountable they may appear, was never in doubt. Africa was enriched and made better by Taj’s life, and his untimely death no doubt leaves a vacuum of intellectual power, leadership and Pan-African optimism that will be hard to fill.

How do we celebrate and honor such a comrade in a befitting manner? I am sure he would desire that we carry on the struggle for the total and true liberation of Africa, with all our might and with all our strength.

Thank you and Rest in peace comrade. We love and celebrate you this Africa Day and always....

Mawuli Dake- The Africa Group Consult

Taju! Its Unbelievable. Often every afternoon I check online news sites for any breaking news. This afternoon, I stumble upon the unexpected. Dr. Tajudeen Dead.....
I have never met him in person but I have religiously read his pieces in Ugandan Newspapers. Indeed the first time I saw him alive was when he was talking about the Kanungu Cult Massacre in Western Uganda on CNN.
Undoubtedly, through his writings my thinking as an African has been shaped. Within me, I feel I have lost a mentor whom I have never met. The condolence messages flowing in via the internet are a manifestation of the positive influence that Dr. Taju had not only individuals like me, but also Africa and the world at large.
In Uganda, we know that Dr. Tajudeen is a Nigerian but we feel it is unfare not to say that he was also Ugandan...., such was the love. One day we shall have to meet. Rest In Peace Dr. Tajudeen....

Ivan Katongole Ethiopian Civil Service College

Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem, (Taju, as we loved to call him) was to me more than just a world figure, more than just a mentor, a big brother. He was over and above all the AFRICAN INSPIRATION for the Youth of this continent.
I first met him, more than a decade ago, unflinchingly speaking tough truth to the world hegemons about racism, but especially about the true place of Africa in the world. His address was all the more significant because he was speaking to an audience in the heart of America. This left in me an indelible impact hence strengthening my resolve to proactively contributing to the unity and development of our continent. His unyielding commitment to Panafricanism and the realization of the African Unity was manifest in his every action.
It was a priviledge, but also a delight working with him. His spirit lives on and now it is up to us, Africans, to honor him by making sure that HE DID NOT FIGHT IN VAIN.

May Allah welcome him in Paradise. Taju, CODESRIA will miss you, too.

Abdoulaye Diallo


Iam deeply shocked by the untimely passing away of Dr Tajudeen.
Even though i never met him,I have learnt a lot through his articles and he instilled the sense of pan-afrikanism in me.

I feel the pages of the newspaper i used to read his articles will be incomplete forever.

May almighty GOD give him eternal rest.

Sirili Akko
Arusha Tanzania.

Sirili Akko

On Friday afternoon I had a chat with Tajudeen and we agreed then that we would meet the following Wednesday afternoon. That brief conversation came back to me as soon as I got the text this morning announcing his tragic passing. It seems less that enough to describe the effect of that message as devastating. It was that and much more. As I read and re-read the message my mind went straight back to the Friday conversation – his unique brand of humour and how effectively he used this as a weapon to overcome every adversity, real or imagined.
Tajudeen will always remain a giant among us – not just for his pan-Africanist ideals and the admirable way he lived to them, but more for the life he gave to every situation he found himself in. I cannot recall a time or place where silence could be observed in Tajudeen’s presence. He was the consummate communicator, the captivating storyteller, where the need arose, the rabble-rouser, the sympathizer and ultimately the African that had the solution to whatever manner of problem. He exhorted us not to agonize, but rather organize… and as we all now, he lived his life to the last, organizing.
So what does one say when you are told that this great icon of African unity has breathed his last? What did I think when it dawned on me that Taju would not be there on Wednesday evening as agreed?
I thought immediately of his reaction to news of the passing of an old African that he respected immensely. To emphasize what a loss it was for Africa, he reminded us that we lose a library every time an old African dies. We did not spend enough time exploring where one draws the line, to determine who is ‘old’.
With Taju’s passing we have lost not simply a library, but a huge a databank that will be impossible to restore physically. In choosing to end this journey on Africa day, he has left us a powerful metaphor. Taju has remained true his captivating style at storytelling. Yes, he has moved on, leaving many stories unfinished, yet reminding us that rather than agonize, we have to organize.
Taju, you are an icon that will never fade. You carved a path on this journey that will remain clear and admirable to those of us that care to look. Because of you many of us walk taller today as Africans – and we will carry on the journey prouder for having known you and richer because of you.
Go well. We will miss your physical presence and will cherish your memory.

Ezra Mbogori - Akiba Uhaki Foundation

Taju understood that an African Liberation can never be, without the liberation of African women. He departs the stage at a time when we need many more like him .....and they are hard to come by.

Rest in Peace.

Stella Mukasa - Nordic Consulting Group (U) Ltd

An African greate son is gone and what a loss for Africa. Why you Tajudeen ? You had all the passion for Africa. I remember when I first met you in Kampala in the 90s, you made me get more motivated for Pan Africanism.
May you rest in peace son of Africa, we will miss you so much Tajudden

Undule Mwakasungula , Center for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR) - Malawi

Such a tragic loss.His articles and ideas were thought provoking and always to the point.Hard to write an epitaph of someone so vibrant and alive.May he have Jannah. My and Our sincere condolences to9 out to his Family and all his extended Family in the Liberation Struggle.

Ceorge Christensen Radio1 FM Gambia

It has taken me almost half a day to fully take in the deeply shocking news of Tajudeen’s death. He was a fascinating person and ‘beautiful’ human being. He could speak to a packed audience in a captivating manner and one still felt like having a private conversation with him. He seemed to speak to our uncertainties, he strengthened our resolve and lead us into action. I will always remember the cheerfulness, the voice, his laughter, our laughter when he was around. Just two weeks ago, he was in Dakar and now one has to accept his death. May his family and his friends find comfort in knowing that Taju touched so many lives.

May Tajudeen rest in peace.

My heartfelt condolences to his family and friends, especially to his "younger" brother.

Marie Ndiaye, CODESRIA

My friend Taju gave me a Hug!

At 11. 30 PM on the Night of Thursday, May 21, 2009

At the Pan-Afric- Nairobi

My friend Taju hugged me .tightly

and said " till next time".

I will wait for the next time...

Taju's laughter...
Like the waves of happiness,
Engulf me..

Taju- the Chief-
organized a dinner for me...
Thomas, Krishnan, Brian. Aghi, and many friends..
We drove around
We lost the way
And then we found
We had the last supper at the Ruby Cut..

We laughed with him..

We raised a toast for his health...

We talked, eat and again laughed
and Laughed!

He talked about every thing.
every thing under the sun...

He talked about Taj Mahal
He said he visited because they shared the same name!-

He talked about his favorite Bollywood Film

He hummed an old Hindi song...

He talked about our TV interview at Addis Abbaba

He talked about politics and poetry

He talked about the taste of fish we eat at Soi 24,

Taju my friend talked, eat , laughed....and celebrated life...


He promised to come to Bangkok

I promised to take him for a special dinner

I promised to take his for a foot massage.

I am still waiting for him.

Let us celebrate Taju

His laughter, his wit, his life, his insights,,,,his love..
his passion for Africa

Taju makes me laugh and cry...

At 11. 30 PM on the Night of Thursday, May 21, 2009

At the Pan-Afric- Nairobi

My friend Taju hugged me .tightly

and said " till next time, Comrade".

I am waiting for the next time ...

Taju fills my heart and eyes...
with happiness and tears..

He does not like tears!
So I would laugh for my friend.....

Thank you Taju....
Thank you Taju.

Good Night, my Comrade!

Sleep well!

In solidarity

John Samuel

John Samuel, Action Aid

Never met Tajudeen, but regularly read his postcards. This is a big loss, not least to his family. For the rest of us, Tajudeen will insist that we don't agonise, but organize: that will be our most befitting tribute to this great soul

John Dada, Fantsuam Foundation

The Untimely Death of Dr. Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem

It is with deep sense of shock and regret that CISLAC recieved the news of the untimely death of one of its Board Members, Dr. Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem, the Deputy Director (Africa) for the United Nations Millennium Campaign (UNMC) who died in a fatal motor accident in the early hours of today, 25th May 2009 while on his way to the Airport in Nairobi, Kenya to catch up with a flight to Rwanda to meet with the county’s President on the current maternal mortality rate campaign.

The sad news was broken to us at exactly 5: 45 am this morning by Kavengo Matundu, one of the staff working with him on the UN MDGs campaign in Nairobi-Kenya.

The late Dr. Tajudeen, one of the world’s most re-known development activist was also scheduled to depart Rwanda for Nigeria tomorrow, 26th May 2009 to attend a meeting which CISLAC had arranged for him with the National Assembly House Committee on MDGs and other civil society groups on the burning issues of poverty and Maternal Mortality as part of the campaign for the effective implementation of the Millennium Development Goals across African.

CISLAC therefore wishes to express its heart-felt sympathy and use this medium to extend its condolence to his immediate family, the UN system, particularly the Millennium Campaign Team and the entire development sector over this sudden demise of an accomplished human rights activist. Indeed, this has created a huge gap for us and other Nigerian partners as we struggle to engage our government and elected representatives on the need to attain the Millennium Development Goals in Nigeria by year 2015.

May Allah grant him eternal rest, and the family the fortitude to bear this irreparable lose.

Auwal Musa Rafsanjani Executive Director CISLAC

Dr. Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem, the most irrepressible Pan Africanist of his generation, died in Nairobi on 24 May 2009. His friends and colleagues are stunned at the loss of a man who was so full of life and humour, such a determined Afro-optimist, and such a devoted father to his children, Aisha and Aida. Africa is impoverished by his untimely death.

Tajudeen was born in Funtua, Katsina State, Nigeria, in 1961. His commitment to his home town and family remained undimmed throughout his life. He was educated at Government Schools in Funtua from where he went to Bayero University, Kano, where he graduated with a first class honours degree. He was winner of the Nigerian Government’s Merit Award as the best student of Political Science between 1980-82 at Bayero University.

After his National Youth Service, Tajudeen applied for a Rhodes scholarship to Oxford. He challenged the selection committee by dressing in traditional style for his interview and exam and demanding why they should want to associate someone like him with the name of the grand imperialist, Cecil Rhodes. To the credit of the Rhodes Scholarship, they selected him and Tajudeen spent three years at St. Peter's College, Oxford, writing his DPhil degree in politics. While there, he invigorated the Africa Society (serving as president) and injected his unique mix of humour, anecdote, sharp political analysis and enthusiastic optimism into the university’s African debates. Tajudeen was engaged in an astonishing range of African and anti-imperial activities including the Pan African Movement, the All African Anti-Imperialist Youth Front, the Movement for Awareness and Advancement, the Anti-Apartheid Movement, the Save the Sharpeville Six Campaign and several magazines including the Africa Research and Information Bureau (ARIB).

Tajudeen was an energetic journalist and writer, commenting regularly on contemporary Africa in newspapers, magazines, journals and radio. Those who knew him cannot forget his rapid one-fingered typing, bold and articulate and immediately dispatched into the public realm without a spell-check. He was fearless in denouncing hypocrisy or abuses wherever he encountered them, from whatever quarter. He was as resolute in condemning the violations of Africa’s dictators and warlords as he was in pointing the finger at the double standards of international agencies and the shortcomings of Africa’s would-be liberators. Tajudeen’s candid lack of guile and good humour enabled him to say things that for many others were unsayable, and to ask the most difficult questions without provoking defensiveness. At the time of the constitutional referendum in Zimbabwe, he demanded of the government, “what happens if you lose?” and of the opposition, “what happens if you win?”, discovering that neither had planned for this. He castigated his Pan Africanist allies in government without hesitation when they fell short. When told that Kofi Annan had won the Nobel Peace Prize he famously retorted, “For what?”

Tajudeen broadcast for the BBC's World Service Programmes on Africa both in Hausa and English and Voice of America (VOA). He was editor of the journal, Africa World Review and edited the book Pan Africanism in the 21st Century (Pluto Press, 1996) which included contributions from the OAU Secretary General, Dr Salim Ahmed Salim, President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, Professor Horace Campbell and other leading figures in the Pan African Movement. Tajudeen wrote many academic and specialist journals, including Review of African Political Economy (ROAPE), Journal of African Marxists (JAM), Southern Africa Political Economy Monthly (SAPEM), New Internationalist, and International Journal of Development. He became widely known for his regular column Tajudeen's Thursday Postcard for Uganda's largest selling national newspaper, The New Vision, which was syndicated in a number of other African newspapers such as The Weekly Mirror (Harare), The Daily News (Harare) The Weekly (Dar es Salaam), The Weekly Trust (Kaduna) and occasionally in the Business Day (Johannesburg). Tajudeen was also a columnist for the journal, Democracy and Development, published by the Centre for Democracy and Development, of which he chaired the International Governing Council.

Tajudeen lectured at a number of colleges including the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), London and Goldsmith College London and several universities in the USA. He was a visiting UNESCO professor at the Centre for Global Studies, University of Trier, Germany. Beneath his exuberant public persona and wit, he levelled incisive analysis and a sound elaboration of the political economy of African crisis. Tajudeen’s lectures were always unforgettable due to his refreshing honesty, command of language and superb sense of dramatic timing. Speaking to a human rights conference in the UN conference centre in Addis Ababa in 1996 on the then-unfolding war in Zaire, the electricity suddenly went off and he declaimed, “Even speaking of Mobutu makes the lights go out!” In the same hall a few years later he challenged Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, noting that European and American delegates to the conference could get an Ethiopian visa at the airport—but not Africans. “How can this happen in the capital of Africa?” he demanded. Prime Minister Meles said that no answer could match the passion of Tajudeen’s questioning. A couple of weeks later the Ethiopian government waived visa regulations for African delegates to international conferences.

In 1992 Tajudeen was appointed General-Secretary for the Secretariat organizing the Seventh Pan African Congress in Kampala, Uganda. Held in 1994 with delegates from 47 countries, this was the largest Pan African gathering for twenty years. The theme was 'Africa: Facing the Future in Unity, Social Progress and Democracy'. But the Congress was overshadowed by the unfolding genocide in Rwanda. A delegation from the Pan African Movement travelled with the RPF to Rwanda, falling into an ambush near Kigali from which Tajudeen was lucky to escape unscathed. Thereafter, he was closely involved in the Pan African mobilization to respond to the crisis in the Great Lakes and Zaire—though he became critical of the record of the liberation movements in power and at the time of his death was working on a historical account and political analysis of the liberators and where they had gone astray.

Tajudeen often bemoaned the fact that so many of the giants of African liberation had passed away without writing their memoirs, and that the treasures of Africa’s history, as forged by Africans and written by Africans, were passing without record. It is a sad irony that much of his own life will remain insufficiently recorded, though still vibrant in the memories of his innumerable friends.

Tajudeen was a Director of Justice Africa, Chairperson for the Pan African Development Education and Advocacy Programme (PADEAP) and Chair of the International Governing Council of the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD). He joined the United Nations as its coordinator for outreach on the Millennium Development Goals in Africa, and was living and working from a base in Nairobi in recent years.

Tajudeen never allowed his critical sense degenerate into cynicism or disillusion. His confidence in Africa and Africans to resolve their problems, whatever the setbacks, was always undimmed. His untimely death leaves a vacuum of human energy and hope that will be difficult to fill.

Tajudeen was married to Mounira Chaieb and has two daughters, Aisha and Aida, to whom he was completely devoted. Our thoughts are with them in their inconsolable loss.

Justice Africa

This is really a tragic news. Tajudeen was a great guy almost omnipresent in AU meetings and forums.
He shall live in our memories by his great contributions to advince pan africanism, democracy and freedom in Africa. He was a rolemodel for civil society activists.

fellow activist

I've known and interacted with Tajudeen over many years - mostly in our common engagement with the OAU, later the African Union. Always passionate and outspoken his voice will be missed, not only through his regular written contributions but also as a passionate spokesperson for African civil society. He presented an aspiration that made many of us proud and that will continue to inspire for years to come.

Jakkie Cilliers

Tribute to Dr. Tajudeen Abdulraheem

It’s Africa Day, dark and sorrowful,
As we mourn a great Son of the soil.
Taju, how deeply hurt and woeful,
The hearts and minds that you have fed with toil.

The laughter fades with every passing hour,
And sighs grow heavy inside our breasts.
The ink fades from your script
But your words with us forever rest.

Adios amigo,
Adios my friend.

Eve Odete, Pan Africa Policy Officer- Social Justice Oxfam GB

It is a terrible shock to learn that Tajudeen has passed away. Tajudeen embodied the true spirit and meaning of Africa and what it meant to be an African. I am sure he is smiling wryly at the thought of passing away on Africa Day wherever he is. I found Taj funny, witty, loud, thoughtful and fiercely intelligent. He was remarkably honest, said things as he saw them and took no prisoners. It is a sad day. I will mourn Taj but I will also celebrate him and his life.


I just cannot believe this... Just cannot,I will not accept his parting us.. so much
work yet to be done, so much where his particular insight and wisdom from the one and
only direction and perspective to reclaim Africa's dignity, comes- that voice must not
leave Africa.. there is no substitute.. Hard to find a Tajudeen amongst us.. My
brother, my brother, my brother--unbearable tragic news and loss not just to family to all of us.. to all of Africa!!!

From a Numbed Mammo from deep sadness

Mammo Muchie

It was a teriible shock to hear about Taju's passing.

Who can ever forget his genuine dedication to Africa and her people, his energy, animation,voice and humour.

Who DARE forget and fail to carry his spirit and message forward with the earnestness he showed.

Rest in Peace Taju - until we meet again.

My sincere and heartfelt condolonces to his family and friends.

Wangari Kinoti (Action AId International)

It is with a heavy heart that i read that the great Taju has left us. May his family and friends find strength in the knowledge that he fought for Africa until the end and that he will continue to watch over us from beyond the clouds. May God Bless your Soul Taju.

Maimouna Jallow, BBC

I met Tajudeen once, in Nairobi when Dennis Brutus was celebrating his 83rd birthday. Tajudeen came across town (through that Nairobi traffic) to celebrate, cut a big cake, and generally add meriment. What an awful loss to Pan Africanism, African political economy, reform of MDGs (since he was valiantly battling to get good projects and policies through the UN) and our broad left community, and to his immediate family and friends. Dennis is having an xray as I type, a few meters away, and no doubt will pass along his own condolences.

Thanks for alerting us

Patrick Bond, CSS, University KwaZulu Natal

May I please add my condolences? This is a terrible shock and a
tragedy. I knew Tajudeen from when he was a brilliant young scholar at Oxford and from lively conversations in Gavin Williams' informal Nigeria seminar. He moved effortlessly from highly critical scholar to
committed journalist to stunning activist. You were such fun to know.
You are sorely missed, Taju.
Rosemary Galli

rosemary galli

This is unbelievable as EXACTLY a year ago, on Africa Liberation Day 2008, we hosted Tajudeen at Aalborg University. And as usual, the topic was on the challenge of African unity. Tajudeen was at his provocative and ispirational best. Certainly, this is one loss we did NOT need at this critical phase of our struggle. But if there is one voice that can not be shut in this struggle, it certainly is that of Tajudeen's. In the long history of our strugle, he inspired all of us! May the memory of this great son of Africa challenge us to continue the fight to rebuild the walls of Africa. And may he rest in Peace!!!

Dr. Paul Opoku-Mensah, Aalborg University

I din't know him personally - thought will meet him in the Mwalimu Nyerere Intellectual Festival where he was supposed to be in a roundtable discussion but somehow he could not make it - but its always saddening when I hear this happening to the finest sons and daughters of Africa. May comfort sojourn with his bereaved family. May consolation encompass his cristfallen comrades. And may all those he inspired while alive and those he will inspire from now onwards take a baton from him and keep fighting the good fight for the emancipation of Africa and its Diaspora. AMEN - THAT IT MAY BE SO!

Chambi Chachage

A tragic loss for Africa. I will always remember the heated and engaging debates we had on Pan Africanism. My condolences to his family and friends.

Fatuma Abdulahi

I am shocked and saddened by the sudden loss of a friend and a man of the integrity and commitment that Taju has demonstrated in his political practice. Privately, too, I am very saddened by the death of a student of mine and participant in the intellectual life of Oxford University.

Gavin Williams

I was shocked to learn of Dr Tajudeen Abdul Raheem’s tragic death this morning! Really a great lost to Africa but we all need to keep this vision and spirit alive. Condolences to all and especially if you happen to visit his family please pass our condolences to them. Very sorrowful! It is hard to concentrate on work today. Made Allah bless soul. Amen.

Faiza Mohamed, Equality Now Africa Regional Director

Tajudeen was indeed an African giant. I write this disbelieving that we have lost his voice, his laughter and his warm embrace. He fought tirelessly for Africa's liberation and spoke fearlessly about our unity. His uncompromising message was always delivered with a humor and gentleness that drove the point home to all who dared to listen. In the words of Thomas Sankara, Tajudeen "dared to invent the future". He had a vision of Africa as she is meant to be and offered us his love to join him in making it a reality. May we all continue his legacy. Forward ever!

Until we meet again brother....

Hakima Abbas (Fahamu)

Today, Taju, tears flow in sorrow at your passing. Reminding us of the many times that our tears flowed in laughter, your humour bringing joy and your example bringing hope even to the most depressing events :)
You, your lifes work, remain an inspiration. Your expansive soul lives on large as in life within the many you have touched and inspired.

Laurie Adams, ActionAid International

I know my tears will make nothing in bringing back Taju's life...but I can't hold it back. The last two days I was browsing some websites in memory of African Liberation Day and Taju came to my mind so many times with his powerful,energetic, truly African and inspiring words. The events that I attended while he made a speech were more than any thing that I would want to strengthen my committment for my vision. He was my Spiritual Leader in my current youth activism and future engagement in our continet's's a gloomy African Liberation Day...
Taju...your spirit, your genuine commitment for our people, your words, your sense of humor...and everything will be with me always...

Eyob Balcha

I am so sorry hearing about this tragic accident. I had chance to work Tajudeen in his active role on connecting people's movements under South - South People's Solidarity platform and I was very much impressed.

May his soul rest in peace!


I have been touched/inspired/encouraged by Taju...Yes, if it wasn't for him all the negative responses I got to my Pan Africanist tendencies would have put me down...he reinforced a lot of my thoughts...Spirit Father...grateful to have been blessed with your presence...We will take it forward...We won't agonise but organize! RIP Dr. Tajudeen Abdul Raheem

Addisalem Tesfaye (Speak Africa)

I am deeply shocked by this tragic news. Dr Tajudeen was an inspiration to many young Africans and a mentor to those who have high hopes for the liberation of the continent. A very intelligent man, a fierce defender of human rights. He made a difference...He did not die in vain.

May the Almighty Father bless his soul.

Debbie Ariyo (AFRUCA)

It is with shock and a feeling of loss and despair to learn about the sudden and untimely death of Tajudeen Abdul Raheem. Although I never had the privilege to meet him in person, he was a firm and fixed star in my personal universe. A true Pan Africanist not merely by his regular column “Pan Africanist Postcard”, which as a reader of Pambazuka News I was often looking forward to benefit from, as it provided inspiration and guidance on some of the more tricky issues related to the challenges how to position oneself on the thorny issues of solidarity. Tajudeen never compromised on fundamental human values for the sake of cheap political scores. For him, the people were at the core of his concerns. African despots, who tried to occupy with cheap pseudo-revolutionary rhetoric the arena in pursuance of their own interests, did not manage to mislead Tajudeen. His loyalty and commitment was with the true principles of emancipation. He sided with the povo, not the kleptocracy. We owe it to him and the world he was fighting for, to continue this struggle for social emancipation beyond the false dichotomies promoted by those in power.
Travel well, friend.

Henning Melber

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