NAIROBI - Renowned pan-african activist Dr Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem died yesterday morning in a car crash as he headed for the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi for a Kigali bound flight.
A Nigerian national, Tajudeen’s death coincided with the Africa Day.
Tajudeen, who has been the General Secretary of the Global Pan African Movement, was headed to Kigali in his capacity as Deputy Director (Africa) for the United Nations Millennium Campaign.
“We have just learnt of Dr Tajudeen’s death and I feel this is a big loss to the entire African continent,” said Sports and Culture Minister, Joseph Habineza when contacted yesterday.
According to Olu Wole Olaleye, a friend to the deceased, Tajudeen’s accident which occurred three kilometres to the airport may have been caused by the state of the Mombasa Road that is currently under construction.
“No one precisely knows the exact cause of the accident but I think the works along the road might have led him loose control,” said Olaleye to The New Times over the phone from Nairobi.
Tajudeen’s flight to Kigali was slated for 3 am yesterday morning.
“Tajudeen was a man of consistency and integrity…I have known him since my teens; he belonged to the brand of pan-African activists, who believed in mentoring the next generation of activists, whose view of liberation go beyond just defeating colonialism,” said Grace Kwinjeh, the Managing Editor of The New Times.
She said that throughout this time, she learnt a lot from him and others like Professor Horace Cambpell, his wife Makina, on the value of self, as a black woman.
“I have carried this mentorship with me in my life.”
“I missed his call on Saturday morning. Only to be told early yesterday morning that he had died,” said a grieving Kwinjeh.
She described him as a man who, when it came to articulating Rwanda’s politics, was one of the finest intellectuals who could dissect the country’s story in its proper historical context, while being in solidarity with the leadership on the way forward.
“He rang me just when I got here; just to emphasize Rwanda was his second home. All I can say is he died on his way home,” she added.
According to the head of Pan-African movement, Rwanda Chapter, the death of Tajudeen is a blow to their cause but encouraged activists to carry on the legacy left by the deceased.
“He has left a legacy in the different educative books he has written especially on social justice,” said Medard Rutijanwa, a former parliamentarian who has headed the chapter since 1994.
According to Rutijanwa, the deceased will especially be remembered for his catchphrase during the global pan-african conference that took place in Kampala-Uganda in 1994 which said ‘Don’t Agonise, Organise.’
Dr. Abdul- Raheem Tajudeen has been a famous columnist on African issues. His work has been published in different media houses in his weekly column the ‘Pan African Postcard’.
The column has been published regularly in Pambazuka News, The Monitor and The New Vision (Uganda), Weekly Trust (Nigeria), The African (Tanzania), Nairobi Star (Kenya) and the Weekly Herald (Zimbabwe). He also contributed to The New Times on several occasions.
Tajudeen is survived by a wife and two daughters. His body was flown out of Nairobi last evening for Funtua-Kastina state, Nigeria.