Harry Garuba death: University of Cape Town professor cause of death

Harry Garuba cause of death: Renowned University of Cape Town professor Harry Garuba death happened on the evening of 28 February 2020 following a long illness. He was 65 years old.

Harry Garuba death: University of Cape Town professor cause of death


UCT mourned the renowned academic, author and poet in a statement that read:

‘His dedication to his field was critical in developing the UCT Centre for African Studies as a hub for research on the African continent.

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

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

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

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

Garuba was born in Akure, southwestern Nigeria, in 1958. At seventeen he began his undergraduate studies in English at the University of Ibadan. He earned his PhD at the university and published his first academic book, Mask and Meaning in Black Drama: Africa and the Diaspora, in 1988.

He taught at Ibadan for fifteen years before emigrating to South Africa to teach in the English Department at the University of Zululand.

In 2001 he moved to the University of Cape Town, where he taught in the African Studies and English departments until 2019, and published widely in the fields of African and postcolonial literature.

Garuba is survived by his immediate family in Cape Town, his wife, Zazi, son, Ruona (twenty), and daughter, Zukina (fourteen).

Details of the funeral and memorial service will be shared by the UCT English Department as soon as the information is available.

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