Professor Terrence Osborne Ranger. African Historian. Renowned historic academic of Zimbabwe’s bygone times and a true embodiment of an Afrolutionist.
Ranger has peacefully passed away in his sleep earlier last Friday according to a statement made by Britain Zimbabwean Society.
Ranger dedicated the majority of his 85 years living to unearthing history in East Africa in general but Zimbabwe in speciality –through documenting and creating academic references to preserve historical findings. He moved to Zimbabwe during the height of the period of African nations fighting for independence, where he was welcomed by nationalists as a comrade.
Equipped with a doctorate from the University of Oxford, Ranger taught medieval and early modern history in the University College of Rhodesia, however, he expanded his footprints into becoming an activist for African independence and self rule. His activism for independence and human rights caused his deportation in 1963.
Deportation from Rhodesia didn’t stop Terence Ranger from his passion in African History and civil rights, he moved to Tanzania and lectured at the University of Dar es Salaam. However by 1980, he left back to his home in Britain and founded the Britain Zimbabwe Society with Guy Clutton – Brock. He also became the president of the African Studies Association of the UK (ASAUK) for two years.
Professor Ranger extended his work to supervising PhD Zimbabwean students, traveling back to Zimbabwe in the 1990’s to extend his research on Zimbabwe’s vast historic activities. In recognition and appreciation of Rangers work, two universities he engaged in proved that his hard work did not go unnoticed. Upon Ranger’s retirement in Oxford, he became a fellow of the Oxford Center for Mission Studies, and University of Zimbabwe honoured his work in historiography and was capped by President Robert Mugabe, a person he regarded as a friend at the time.
Prof. Ranger has written and published well over 100 articles based on African history pertaining to Zimbabwe as well as publishing 7 books between 1967 and 2000, including Revolt in Southern Rhodesia, 1896-97 and Violence and Memory: One hundred Years in the Dark Forests of Matebeleland with Jocelyn Alexandar and JoAn McGregor. His academic passion for human rights in Zimbabwe trickled into social responsibility, becoming a trustee of the Asylum Welcome organization.
Before he passed, he gave the world his last offering about Zimbabwe titled: “Writing Revolt: An Engagement with African Nationalism” in 2013. A memoir based on the years between 1957 and 1967 in Rhodesia – telling a story of African awakening through his eyes during his stay in Rhodesia. The memoir also cleverly proves the interaction between politics and history and noted how Ranger empowered other comrades through distributing his seminar papers to prisons and other restriced areas at the time – to keep par upon African consciousness. His book redefines the political and intellectual discoveries. His book is currently available in Amazon.
Ranger’s teachings, ideologies and historic work has rippled across various countries and has altered the negative perceptions of African history, particularly to EAST Africa and Zimbabwe. His legacy lives on through the power of pen.