Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

Zimbabwean historian Terence Ranger dies

Prominent African academic and historian Professor Terence Osborn Ranger (85) who dedicated most of his work on Zimbabwe has died. 

Airport Farewell at Deportation of Professor Terence Ranger in 1962
Airport Farewell at Deportation of Professor Terence Ranger in 1962: Left to right: T. O. Ranger, Shelagh, Joshua Nkomo, James Chikerema, Robert Mugabe, and John Reed (Photo courtesy of David Wiley, African Studies Center, Michigan State University)

A post on the Britain Zimbabwe Society Facebook page yesterday said:

“An email from Marieke Clarke has just shared the news that Terry Ranger passed away in his sleep last night in his home at Oxford. Marieke was asked by Shelagh to send the news around.”

Ranger was deported from Rhodesia in 1963 and thereafter held Chairs at the Universities of Dar es Salaam, UCLA, Manchester and Oxford.

On retiring from Oxford where he held the Rhodes Chair of Race Relations until 1997, he went to the University of Zimbabwe as Visiting Professor and taught there for four academic years.

Terence Ranger has published and edited dozens of books, and published some 150 articles and book chapters.

In his work, Ranger contributed substantially to the historiography of East Africa in general and Zimbabwe in particular.

He is equally renowned for the continuous methodological renewal of African historiography over the last decades.

In 1980, Ranger founded the Britain Zimbabwe Society with Guy Clutton-Brock, of which he was president (2006-2014).

During 1980-82, he was President of the African Studies Association of the UK (ASAUK).

He also was a trustee of the Asylum Welcome organisation, and much of his academic work was concerned with human rights in Zimbabwe.

He spoke out against forced removals from the UK of Zimbabwean asylum seekers during the crisis in Zimbabwe.

In retirement, Prof Ranger was made a fellow of the Oxford Centre for Mission Studies.

Ranger was born in 1929 and took his first degree and doctorate at the University of Oxford. He went to the University College of Rhodesia (later Zimbabwe) and Nyasaland (later Malawi) in 1957 as Lecturer in Medieval and Early Modern History.

Very soon, he became involved in the human rights struggle and turned himself into a historian of Africa.