This final piece marks Zeleza’s end of term as Vice Chancellor of United States International University in Kenya.
- What other roles have you played in promoting African higher education that you’re proud of?
I am most proud of four things. First, my scholarship on higher education, which I believe has had some influence. My interest in higher education started when I was at the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign, as part of my burgeoning interest in intellectual history—the history of ideas and of knowledge producing institutions. This interest was sparked and sharpened by my efforts to understand the epistemic dynamics and discourses of African studies when I became center director.
The first part of my foray into intellectual history culminated in my participation in a huge project, as Associate Editor of the six-volume encyclopedia, New Dictionary of the History of Ideas published in New York in 2005, in which we looked at the evolution of major ideas and intellectual trends and their different iterations around the world. The institutional dimension received considerable boost from a conference the center organized jointly with CODESRIA in April, 2002 on “African Universities in the Twenty-First Century.” The conference was held simultaneously at UIUC and in Dakar, and the two sites were connected by video for about three hours a day, which was quite a novelty in those pre-Zoom days.
The result was a two volume collection that Adebayo Olukoshi, CODESRIA’s Executive Secretary, and I co-edited, African Universities in the 21st Century. Volume 1: Liberalization and Internationalization, and Volume 2: Knowledge and Society. In 2015, I had the privilege of being contracted to produce the framing paper for the 1st African Higher Education Summit held in Dakar, March 10-12, as well as the draft of the Summit Declaration and Action Plan. My knowledge of the state of African higher education was an asset when I became Vice Chancellor.
Second, I’m proud of the Carnegie African Diaspora Program. It has been gratifying to see one of my research projects turn into a transformative program. To date, CADFP has funded 465 fellowships hosted by more than 150 universities in nine African countries. Altogether, the program has received 1,100 project requests from 206 accredited African universities. Data shows that the program has helped to build the capacities of African higher education institutions by increasing curriculum offerings, graduate programming, and research production. Surveys completed show that the average fellowship contributed two to three courses to host institutions. After participating in the CADFP, alumni continued to co-develop curricula with African institutions, collaborate in research and joint applications for funding. Many inter-institutional partnerships have also been set up between the home and host institutions of the fellows.
Third, I am proud of my membership of various higher education boards, on which I try to make contributions. Besides CADFP whose Advisory Council I chair, I currently serve on the Administrative Board of the International Association of Universities (IAU) as one of two representatives for Africa; the Advisory Board of the Alliance for African Partnership (AAP); I chair the Board of Trustees of the Kenya Education Network (KENET); and I am a member of the University of Ghana Council.
The IAU represents and serves the full spectrum of higher education institutions and their associations and works to enhance the higher education community’s role and actions in advancing societies worldwide. Its hub of resources include the World Higher Education Database, the most comprehensive database on higher education, reference publications including a journal, an international handbook of universities, a global survey of Internationalization, a magazine, and specialized reports.
The AAP was launched in 2016 as a consortium of Michigan State University and nine African universities in Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, South Africa, Botswana, Nigeria, and Senegal. It provides funding for research some of which targets women and early career scholars, as well as strategic funding for institutional transformation.
KENET promotes the use of ICT in teaching, learning and research in higher education institutions in Kenya and interconnects universities, tertiary and research institutions, facilitates electronic communication in member institutions, and promotes the sharing of learning and teaching resources. The University of Ghana, one of Africa’s premier universities, allows for one Vice Chancellor from an African university to sit on its Council.
Finally, I’m proud of my fundraising efforts especially for student scholarships. Most recently, in July 2020, USIU-Africa signed a $63.2 million partnership with the Mastercard Foundation for 1,000 talented, yet economically disadvantaged young people at our university to receive quality education and leadership development over the next 10 years. It targets 70 percent young women, 25 percent displaced youth, and 10 percent young people living with disabilities. When I imagine the transformative future that awaits these young people, for themselves, their families and communities, and for the continent, I am filled with a deep sense of gratitude that I made a small contribution to that future.
- You have published extensively, how would you characterize the scope of your work?
As evident from what we have discussed thus far my scholarship, like anyone’s scholarship, has been framed by the itineraries of my historical geography, that is, the changing locations in time and space for me as a person and a professional. Clearly, the places and institutions and temporal contexts of each have framed the broad contours and shifts in my academic work. As I know from my studies in intellectual history, there are four crucial dynamics of knowledge production: first, intellectual, which refers to the prevailing paradigms in one’s field, space and time; second, ideological, in terms of the dominant ideologies; third, institutional, as far as the nature of institutions one is affiliated with is concerned; and finally, individual, one’s social biography with reference to gender, race, nationality, class, religion, etc.
Looking back, I think there are four key academic and social contexts that have shaped my scholarly work. First, is the fact that I was educated in three countries on three continents in different fields—Malawi where I received my undergraduate education majoring in English and history; the United Kingdom where I studied for my masters degree in history and international relations; and Canada where I concentrated on economic history. I have worked in five countries: two in Africa—Malawi and Kenya; two in North America—Canada and the United States; and one in the Caribbean—Jamaica.
Second, I’ve worked in a diversity of institutions in terms of their relative size, research intensity, in both public and private, secular and religious affiliated. Also important is the fact that I’ve had appointments in disciplinary and interdisciplinary units. When I started my academic career at the University of the West Indies I was simply a historian with an appointment in the history department. It was the same at Kenyatta University. It was at Trent that I began to straddle more than one unit. While my appointment remained in the history department, I also taught in the department of development studies, an interdisciplinary unit. When I relocated to the United States all my appointments were joint.
At UIUC, I was Professor of History and African Studies; at Penn State Professor of African and African American Studies and History; at UIC Professor of African American Studies and History; at LMU Professor of African American Studies and History; at Quinnipiac University I returned to being Professor of History; and at USIU-Africa I was appointed Professor of the Humanities and Social Sciences, perhaps because there’s no department of history or African studies! My transnational appointments have similarly been interdisciplinary. I was appointed Honorary Professor at the University of Cape Town in 2006 and affiliated with the department of history, the African Gender Institute, and the Center for African Studies. In 2019 I was appointed Honorary Professor, Chair for Critical Studies Higher Education Transformation at Nelson Mandela University.
Third, my career has spanned the immediate post-colonial era, the Cold War era, and the first two decades of the 21st century. Each of these periods had its dominant political economies, ecologies and discourses; they were conjunctures that conditioned the parameters of research and the rhythms of my intellectual life. Finally, it is clear my academic trajectories emerged out of the changing intellectual influences, ideological proclivities, institutional locations, and individual circumstances including aging! There were of course some enduring key drivers throughout, most critically an abiding curiosity and a deep sense of ignorance that generated lasting voracious reading habits. My scholarship has also been propelled by enduring passion for social justice and transformation.
These, I believe, are contexts that explain my main intellectual preoccupations since the 1970s. If I were to summarize them, eight thematic areas would stand out. Altogether, I have published more than 300 journal articles, book chapters, reviews, short stories and online essays, and authored or edited 28 books, several of which have won international awards. I have presented nearly 250 keynote addresses, papers, and public lectures at leading universities and international conferences in 32 countries. I have also served on the editorial boards of more than two dozen journals and book series, and currently serve as Editor-in-Chief of the Oxford Bibliographies Online in African Studies.
The first thematic area is literature. As noted earlier, I started creative writing as an undergraduate student. I have published two collections of short stories and a novel. Several of my short stories have appeared in literary magazines and collections of African and African Canadian short stories. My interest in literature later extended to literary criticism in which I have published several essays including some on the works of specific writers such as Ngugi wa Thiong’o, Nurrudin Farah, Ben Okri, Buchi Emecheta, Mariama Ba, and Yvonne Vera, to mention a few, as well literary critics such as Edward Said. My interest in literature later morphed into cultural studies. An example includes a co-edited book, Leisure in Urban Africa, in addition to several articles.
The second area for which I became known is economic history, especially for the book A Modern Economic History of Africa, Vol. I: The Nineteenth Century that in 1994 won the Noma Award.. I am still working on Volume II on the twentieth century! Out of this grew my work in development studies in which I have published numerous essays and three books, Sacred Spaces and Public Quarrels: African Cultural and Economic Landscapes; Rethinking Africa’s Globalization, Volume1: The Intellectual Challenges, and Africa’s Resurgence: Domestic, Global and Diaspora Transformations.
The third area is gender studies, which was inspired by my fascination with the matrilineal cultural underpinnings of the communities my parents hailed from and the patriarchal realities of the colonial and postcolonial society I grew up in. In fact, my first published academic book was on Women in the Kenyan Economy and Labor Movement, and later I co-wrote a book on Women in African Studies Scholarly Publishing. In addition, I wrote a series of essays on gender. Perhaps one of the most well is “Gender Biases in African Historiography,” in a landmark volume published by CODESRIA, Engendering the Social Sciences in Africa. In all my scholarly work I try to integrate a gendered analysis. Perhaps because of this work in 2003 I was invited to join a nine-member Gender Advisory Group, as one of two men, formed by the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development, to produce a report on the implementation of gender reforms and mainstreaming agreed at the 1995 UN Women’s Conference held in Beijing. Out of the project came Gender Equality: Striving for Justice in an Unequal World, which was launched at the UN headquarters in 2005.
Fourth, I became quite prolific in publications on intellectual history. Besides numerous essays, I have published six books dealing with various aspects of the history of ideas, universities, and the development of the disciplines and interdisciplinary fields and the construction of knowledges on Africa. My first book in this endeavor was Manufacturing African Studies and Crises which received the Special Commendation of the Noma Award in 1998. This was followed by 2 volumes of African Universities in the 21st Century. In 2016, I published The Transformation of Global Higher Education, 1945-2015, the first book I’m aware of by a single scholar looking at the development of higher education on every continent over 70 years after World War II. On a more global level, I mentioned earlier that I served as one of the associate editors of the six-volume New Dictionary of the History of Ideas.
The fifth area of my scholarship informed by my political activism is human rights studies. Again, in addition to several essays, I’ve published several books dealing with human rights directly and related issues of conflicts. This includes the co-edited collection, Human Rights, the Rule of Law and Development in Africa, and two connected volumes, The Roots of African Conflicts and The Resolution of African Conflicts.
The sixth area that has fascinated me focuses on trying to understand African modernities and transformation due to globalization, and most recently the rise of the Fourth Industrial Revolution as well as the unfolding impact of COVID-19 on the digitilization of various spheres of economic and social life. My first book length publication in this field was, In Search of Modernity: Science and Technology in Africa. Two years ago I made a plenary presentation at the inaugural conference of Universities South Africa on African Universities and the Fourth Industrial Revolution which is included in my recently published and wide ranging essay collection, Africa and the Disruptions of the Twenty-First Century. Last December, 2020 I co-authored a paper that I mentioned earlier on “Enhancing the Digital Transformation of African Universities: COVID-19 as Accelerator” that will be published in the Journal of African Higher Education.
The seventh area that I’ve focused my scholarly work on is diaspora studies. I discussed earlier the personal, family, and social contexts that drove me to this exciting field. In preparation for and during my global diaspora project I wrote a series of theoretical essays on the diaspora paradigm, such as “Rewriting the African Diaspora: Beyond the Black Atlantic,” “Africa and Its Diasporas: Remembering South America,” “Reconceptualizing African Diasporas: Notes from an Historian,” “Dancing to the Beat of the Diaspora: Musical Exchanges between Africa and its Diasporas,” and “African Diasporas: Towards a Global History,” which I gave as my presidential address at the ASA Annual Meeting in 2010. As noted earlier, my research travels resulted in the book, In Search of African Diasporas: Testimonies and Encounters. Prior to that I had published a book, Barack Obama and African Diasporas: Dialogues and Dissensions, which examined the meaning of the Obama candidacy and presidential victory for the Pan-African world. The comprehensive study from the research project is yet to be written.
Capping all this is, finally, the production of what I would call academic service work and public intellectual work. The first refers to such work as encyclopedias and school textbooks or adolescent texts, of which I’ve done about five. At the turn of the new century, I edited the Encyclopedia of Twentieth Century African History by Routledge. My public intellectual work consists of essays I write for public audiences and publish as blogs, newspaper articles, and essays in popular magazines. Some of my blogs have ended up being published in my essay collections. Since I returned to the continent in December 2015, Kenyan and Malawian newspapers have carried several of my commentaries and interviews on national and global events. Over the years University World News has published several of my essays on higher education. And more recently, I’ve discovered the world of podcasts!
I see these outlets as a critical part of my role as a public intellectual, to translate research and share ideas in the public realm; to participate in ongoing popular conversations outside the often convoluted and self-referential confines of the academy, with their incomprehensible and cultish discourses to disciplinary or theoretical outsiders.
INTERVIEW ANALYSIS AND REFLECTIONS BY TOYIN FALOLA
The Economy of Transnational Teaching and Publishing (9 & 10)
Teaching is a natural assignment where everyone is tasked with the responsibility of defeating their ignorance so that they could become valuable to themselves and their society. However, that is the concept of teaching in the most innocent and basic form. Teaching requires something more. It demands that teachers first be identified as incurably curious and must show insatiable interest in the things of the world to develop appropriate skills and methodologies to hand their knowledge to the succeeding generations. Nevertheless, the quality of teaching lies in the intellectual coverage of expansive educational fields that determine what one can give to people at a particular moment. Therefore, people who would be considered teachers must be versatile and programmatically eclectic as this would influence what and how they teach. In contemporary times, however, there is a need to understand the changing dynamics of knowledge production. Globalization has necessitated that people improve their understanding of the world around them, which continues to be expansive and complex because this is the prerequisite to expose learners to the diverse sociocultural identities of the world and, therefore, imbue them on ways to navigate the complex politics of the world.
Between Africa and the world is an umbilical cord facilitated by two different experiences– the phenomenon of slavery and enslavement and the expediency of migration. A careful observation of these two factors would reveal that they belong to the same origin. Irrespective of the flexibility of human relationships in recent times, it is not easy to talk about the history or prospect of transnational knowledge production and sharing without touching on the different histories that brought about the sociopolitical and sociocultural miscegenation of the current time. People are mixed despite their varying cultural and religious philosophies. The politics of association bring about the economy of teaching in a globalized world to reinforce the place of human identity and or complexity in sharing knowledge. In essence, human experiences are the accumulated materials that inform the nature of human knowledge. In it lies the information needed to structure their civilization that would protect their said identity and mark them as different from others, despite being in the galaxies of human identities. There are Africans in the Americas and European countries whose sociopolitical experiences have informed expanded sites or research, all of which become the background for improving one’s knowledge about self and the environment.
Undisputedly, Paul Zeleza is one of the most shining icons that transnational knowledge generation and production domain have produced recently. It is not principally ironic that his overseas and offshore experiences have increased his intellectual brilliance and enriched his knowledge about international politics. It is equally amazing that he has made extensive contributions in building a worthwhile image for the African diaspora in numerous ways. There is the paucity of information or knowledge of Africans by the external cultures and civilizations, and their knowledge gap about the said people have always been substituted with arrogant generalizations and many unfounded conclusions that have always demanded deconstruction from intelligent individuals who would come with a strong evidentiary foundation to counter different assumptions against Africans. We are aware that the West is steps ahead in their documentation of human experience, and they have always leveraged this to make newfangled projections about Africans.
Being well-bred in historical scholarship, Zeleza has been a committed member of the intellectual community who offer their knowledge to construct an encyclopedia of history for the people. This would serve different important purposes–the revaluation of African identity and the revitalization of their cultural traditions in contemporary times. Without knowing any more about a people, making unreal projections about them cannot be helped. Zeleza did not only teach in diaspora communities, his teaching also facilitated the rebirth of African identity. He has been an important voice in the topics of African identity in the diaspora, and this is observed in his participation and contribution to papers and writings that have anything to do with knowledge productions about Africa.
Precisely because there has been a misconception of the African people circulated unduly to external cultures and civilizations, there has been the desire for erudite scholars, who are familiar with the African epistemological terrain and who also consciously improve themselves as a commitment to advance human knowledge, to offer their perspective to the issues of identity and human relationships. While they uplift their continent of birth in the process of this self-discovery, they simultaneously improve their educational competence needed in different areas of human existence.
The age-long transnational teaching experience propelled Zeleza into writing a book that serves as the material for developing a course of study. For example, the Carnegie African Diaspora Program has appropriated one of his research projects as the bedrock of creating a transformative program. Due to the existence of this program, numerous scholars have been funded by the same group, each of them expected to expand the horizon of international knowledge productions. In this regard, Zeleza has comfortably added to the school of academics in the art of teaching and researching. He has been introduced to a mélange of opportunities to represent Africa by coordinating many of the joint knowledge generation and production.
Serving as an administrative board member in the International Association of Universities (IAU) means his services as an impressive academic have been noticed. He is equally serving on the Advisory Board of the Alliance for African Partnership (AAP) as a representative of the continent and as the Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Kenya Education Network (KENET). These are the results of having transnational teaching experience because his expertise and informed knowledge won him the opportunity to represent at these levels. Meanwhile, the essence of being a member or representing in these capacities is to draw from their academic experience and the knowledge gathered in the process of teaching, as this is very valuable in enhancing the progress of the people and the society generally. Teaching in America, Canada, and also Africa has given him the necessary foundation for diagnosing the educational problems facing the people and the corresponding ways they can be surmounted. The fruit of this is very outstanding.
One of the innovations that the exposure to diaspora knowledge systems and its generation brings is the introduction of ICT as a medium of academic development in modern time, and Zeleza is exploring this in relation to growth in African knowledge production. The benefits of transnational teaching are immense because apart from animating the values of the teachers involved in the exercise, it also opens a door of opportunity to various individuals. His impact in the international space has given several students in Africa access to funds and collaboration that would improve their situations and make them valuable to their immediate society. One such occasion was the award of $63.2 million by USIU-Africa, in partnership with the MasterCard Foundation, that would benefit exactly 1000 students, most of whom are females and socially disadvantaged. This is one important significance of continued dedication to the academic struggles on the home front and the international environment.
A teacher of such status and caliber belongs to the research community, digging ferociously deeply into their sociopolitical and socioeconomic affairs to educate the world about areas that need utmost intellectual and political attention to enhance collective advancement. The world is educated daily on why there should be expediency to extend help and concerns to people collectively considered disadvantaged. This is because they are not only important in the process of securing an environment habitable for all, but their lack of access to economic and political opportunities is also a threat to the well-being of others who have it.
The crucible of Paul Zeleza’s academic adventure is the accumulation of socio-educational and trans-Atlantic experiences that are acquired in the continuously changing world. He is unfixed, and this progressive mobility has informed his knowledge generation and provided the materials around which his academic brilliance hovers. Whereas being in the state of flux can be generally seen as psychologically disturbing because it keeps moving and changing the perception of the individual and makes them entirely unfixed, for people who exude that great level of human sagacity such as Zeleza, they usually make the best use of the experience to build something impressive. This is what describes Zeleza as a scholar and a progressive individual. In tasting and testing different cultural traditions and being exposed to multivariate ideas, he built a knowledge identity and systems that are constantly sought out today in human academic endeavors. We are driven to the wide range of research engagements that scholars have undertaken about transnational studies, and we are, therefore, educated about how cross-country trade and trans-Atlantic experience has changed the course of different people, including Africans who were victims of enslavement and races like India with a similar fate.
To arrive at the respectful state of knowledge production that Zeleza is known for in contemporary times requires more than being an intellectually informed individual; it demands that one is conscious about self-growth. Zeleza’s growth has been such an amazing one because he determined that he would be exceptional in his endeavor. He chose eclecticism from time immemorial, and while striving to make himself relevant in academic matters, his social history keeps bringing complex experiences into his adventure, and fortunately, he has satisfactorily brought everything under his control. He got his academic dexterity from tasting different cultural traditions and varying fields, recording success in them beyond what could be attained by ordinary individuals.
As an undergraduate, he majored in English and History, and it was exceptional that he became one of the most credible candidates to have graduated from his alma mater. After this, he went to the United Kingdom for a different course of study, which complemented and sharpened his undergraduate and formative education a little more. The study of History and International Studies prepared him for a bigger academic responsibility in the diaspora as he served not only as an instrument to bring about or facilitate stronger relationships between African countries and the international world, but he is also a deciding force on the production of knowledge for the people within his academic space. His Ph.D. in Canada was in the area of economic history, which assisted him to better understand the sidelined history of African people, especially before and during colonization and the eventual consequences.
The promiscuity of his academic engagement has facilitated a constantly evolving teaching and researching career that he developed as an individual and a scholar. He has worked as a dignified researcher in three continents—Africa, Europe, and America. Functioning as professor of History and African Studies at UIUC, Professor of African and African American Studies and History at Penn State University, Professor of African American Studies and History at LMU, and a figure of coordinate significance in very many other important schools and academic societies indicate that Zeleza is a man of diverse identities. The attainment of these feats is ascribed to his insatiable quest for knowledge.
Zeleza is a man who is not tired of breaking boundaries, and irrespective of how demanding a new pursuit seems, he always gives his commitment to the extent that he achieved something invaluable from his embarkation. He is not a rigid human, and he has always opened his arms to knowledge, challenging himself whenever he realized that there are grounds to cover. He would always bring out fresh perspective to even over-flogged or over-researched academic fields. On a certain occasion, he was drawn to consider a field he has not covered because a curious student innocently asked about the economic history of Africa before the ascension of Europeans. While he gave an unsatisfactory response to the question, he took the challenge and delved into the virgin academic territory, producing something worthwhile years later.
As the African world continues to change because of the consequences of colonial structures imposed by Europeans that still linger on in postcolonial time, the academic engagement of intellectuals also changes to accommodate the rhythms. After the various agitations of various state nationalists that birthed African independence in the 1960s, African countries immediately entered into an economic surplus that came as a relief and gave the impression of a beautiful future. However, the relief was short-lived and was immediately replaced by a cloud of uncertainties after the euphoria of feigned economic buoyance died a natural death. Succeeding decades are unveiling in their exposure to the accumulated misfortunes waiting to greet the Africa future earlier believed to be well-secured. Therefore, the unfolding events suggest that the consequences would not only be felt on the people’s economy, but it would also indefinitely spread to their knowledge generation and production. This is where the academic community understand that they have an important role to play in examining and evaluating African sociopolitical ecologies, so that appropriate philosophy and ideology would be constructed for the enhancement of collective success. People like Zeleza have touched this aspect in their concentration on diagnosing African problems.
All of these have been the context of his preoccupation for approximately fifty years, and results show in the complexion of his academic engagement and knowledge productions altogether. Zeleza has authored books, published journal articles, and contributed to book chapters. He has delivered many keynote addresses and contributed immensely to online and offline academic engagements within this relatively short period of his involvement and engagements. Perhaps his academic dexterity and knowledge diversity are products of his constantly evolving teaching experience; nonetheless, it is outstanding that the man whose academic background was found on history would grow up to challenge himself in different fields and make impressive additions and contributions to these areas of intellectual engagements. Of course, he is successful in his forage into economic history, and he remains a renowned egghead in international history and politics, including but not limited to African-American sociocultural and sociopolitical conditions and experiences in the past and contemporary time. However, he added another feather to his cap by venturing into literary engagement, which eventually morphed into cultural studies.
It would be comforting to know that Paul Zeleza did not refuse to cover gender topics in discursive engagement to represent the experiences of women who are confronted with the challenges of marginalization and suppression of their identity in a world that is affected by the complex politics of neoliberal economy. Meanwhile, the African society from where he was raised is usually identified as being essentially patriarchal, but despite this, he was able to interrogate the matrilineal cultural underpinnings associated with the same society. It, therefore, makes enough sense to consider the said society as a good scope of research that would enrich the academic culture of the international community, especially in areas of social structuration along patriarchal and matriarchal lines. African societies that are expressly patriarchal have social configurations that ensure that women have a reasonable level of influence in their configuration. Family members relate with their matrilineal background than they do to the other end. All these are key issues that inform Paul Zeleza’s research and also his academic publications.
Despite all of these involvements, he remains a committed activist who dedicates himself to the course of justice. By constantly giving his voice to the rampaging topic of rights abuses that have almost become synonymous with the African political system, Zeleza has also singled himself out as an outstanding individual and an instrument of social renegotiation. Like most scholars of his time and age, he understands that conflicts are inevitable in a fledging continent like Africa, as they are incubated by the various actions and inactions of colonial structures and the ascension of the elite class who are more vindictive than productive. They have seized the opportunity to amass common wealth at their rise into power in post-independence and without making sufficient efforts on the ways to set the people free from the impending economic doom to greet the life after colonialism. As such, conflicts are not avertible but the most important thing to do in this situation is to ensure that efforts are made to facilitate resolution in the case of erupting controversies. Zeleza has done this by leveraging his academic engagement and teaching experience, as a teacher and an administrator, to offer informed solutions to the countless challenges facing people in the society. We cannot pretend that Paul Zeleza is immensely valuable to Africa’s academic and political stewardship, for he has offered contributions that continue to speak volumes of his intellectual brilliance.