The Mapungubwe Institute for Strategic Reflection (MISTRA) has learnt with great shock and sadness of the passing of Professor Thandika Mkandawire.

An accomplished scholar, researcher and teacher, Prof Mkandawire was one of the shining stars in the firmament of African intellectual pursuits. Born in Malawi, his career spanned many geographies and disciplines, displaying a profound understanding of the African and global political economy. Prof Mkandawire eschewed the pursuit of knowledge for its own sake and sought always to complement his probing analysis of African societies with bold propositions on how the continent can lift itself from the legacies and path-dependencies of the colonial era.

We are proud as the Mapungubwe Institute and its partners to have been among the beneficiaries of his erudition and wisdom. In particular, we are truly honoured that he delivered the inaugural Mapungubwe Annual Lecture in 2012. His profound thoughts on the theme, Building the African state in the age of globalisation – the role of social compacts and lessons for South Africa, remain an enduring source of knowledge and inspiration as South Africa climbs out of the quagmire of debilitating neopatrimonialism and state capture.

In this hour of grief, MISTRA draws solace from the conviction that Professor Thandika Mkandawire will continue to inspire intellectuals and practitioners alike in the cause of improving the human condition in Africa and further afield.

We express our profound condolences to his family and all his colleagues around the world.


Joel Netshitenzhe

Executive Director