Press Announcement: Rok Ajulu

Date: Tuesday, December 27

It is with a profound sense of sadness that the Ajulu and Sisulu families announce the passing of Professor Rok Ajulu.

Professor Ajulu passed away on Monday 26th December 2016 at Meulmed Hospital in Pretoria where he’d been admitted for complications linked to pancreatic cancer.

Professor Ajulu read for a DPhil at Sussex University, and was a fellow at the African Studies Centre at Leiden University, Netherlands.

Well renowned for his sharp mind and keen insights, Professor Ajulu was a lecturer in Politics and Internal Relations; teaching at the National University of Lesotho 1980-1984, Leeds University in UK 1990-1994, Rhodes University 1994-2003, University of the Witswatersrand from 2003-2007 and was a Research Professor at the University of South Africa (UNISA) from 2008 to 2010.

Over the years Professor Ajulu wrote extensively on issues of political economy of Africa and on International Political Economy, authored and cited or co-edited a number of book chapters and numerous articles in internationally refereed journals, including the following volumes: (2002) with Prof. Adar, Globalization and Emerging Trends in African States' Foreign Policy Making; The Remaking of a region: The Revival of the East African Community; Two Countries One Dream: The Challenges of Democratic Consolidation in Kenya and South Africa; and A Region in Transition: Towards a New Integration Agenda in East Africa. He was in the process of concluding a book titled: "Kenya: The making of an Authoritarian and Predatory State”.
Professor Ajulu served on the South African Presidential Review Group, was a contributing editor of the Review of African Political Economy, and Associate Editor of Africa World Review, and a member of the International Advisory Board of Lesotho Social Science Review.

Professor Ajulu contributed to the work of numerous panels and advisory teams such as the Federal Trust for Education and Research, London (2005), the External Advisory Panel for the preparation of UNDP South Africa Human Development Report (2003), the UN Foundations’ sponsored, The Future of Development Aid: towards the Post-Monterrey Regime: Financing for Development (2003), the Eskom’s Corporate Strategy advisory team (1997).
Throughout his life, Professor Ajulu considered his contribution to political thought an expression of the political activism he came of age in. As a student he was expelled from the University of Nairobi for participating in student protests against the government of the day. He joined the rapidly growing socialist student movement in East Africa and was sent to study in Bulgaria. Professor Ajulu was an anti-Apartheid activist from a young age, and was president of the Congress of South African Students against Apartheid, whilst studying at the National University of Lesotho (known as Roma) in the 1980s. Through this he became an ardent internationalist and worked in solidarity with many African nationalist causes.

He followed in the footsteps of his father, Stephen Odero Ajulu, a political activist with Kenya People’s Union, the party led by Jaramogi Oginga Odinga. Professor Ajulu would later become an adviser to Odinga, father to Kenyan opposition leader, Raila Odinga.

In his latter years he ventured into business, founding and chairing Dajo Holdings, a diversified investments company. He also served on the boards of the Institute for Global Dialogue (IGD), a research company and Kwezi Mining.

He will be remembered for his compassion, his outspokenness, his abiding love of knowledge and quick wit. He has inspired many a generation of students, and thinkers, as such he will live on for generations to come.

Professor Ajulu is survived by his wife, the South African Minister of Human Settlements, Lindiwe Sisulu, and their 5 children, two children in-law, 5 grandchildren and 9 siblings.

He will be laid to rest in his ancestral home, Dajo Ka Ajulu, in Bondo on the shores of Lake Victoria in Kenya, alongside his beloved mother whom he buried earlier this year.

Funeral arrangements will be announced in due course.