It is with much sadness that the African Media Initiative notes the sudden passing of Mr. Nazeer Aziz Ladhani of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) in Nairobi, Kenya, on February 19, 2020. Mr. Ladhani was a trusted colleague, respected mentor and cherished friend to many stakeholders of AMI and the larger African media community. May his soul rest in peace.
Mzee Nazeer, as we fondly called him, devoted his career to the academic, intellectual and cultural development of Africa through his decades’ long association with the AKDN, working tirelessly across Africa, Asia and Canada. He personified all the traits that are great in the human spirit: affection, empathy, caring and compassion, deep intellectual curiosity, insatiable quest for knowledge and, above all, a commitment to uplifting members of the human family.
Nazeer will be most remembered for being a staunch educationist and builder of academic institutions. At AMI, he was a frequent and passionate interlocutor, one who believed in the power of journalism to be a force for good. He was a frequent speaker at journalism training workshops organized by AMI.
Jocular, personable and extremely witty, Nazeer invested splendidly in human relationships and seized every opportunity to interact with those he believed would engage him meaningfully in an intellectual discussion. The AMI team was fortunate to have had the pleasure of interacting with him in December 2019 at the Kusi Ideas Festival — organised by the Nation Media Group — in Kigali, Rwanda. At a memorable dinner meeting, he was lucid and spoke passionately about how learning and knowledge were going to be central for Africa’s future. The AMI team also marveled at his unique tolerance for capsaicin, the active ingredient in fiery hot green peppers, he munched on them as if they were cucumbers.
In summary, through a lifetime of commitment and dedication, Nazeer made notable and salutary contributions to the cause of educational advancement in Sub-Saharan Africa. He will be sorely missed.
Eric Chinje, Sarwat Hussain and Wangethi Mwangi, African Media Initiative.