For four decades, Makerere University, known as the Oxford of Africa, was the sole university-level institution in all of East Africa. A fabled Mecca for aspiring youth, it trained many of the regions first generation of intellectual and political leaders, including the present presidents of Kenya and Tanzania. It remains one of Africas most important universities today.
As one of the first comprehensive look at an African university, this book tells the story of Makereres colonial beginnings, its efflorescence during the 1950s and 1960s, its calamitous decline during nearly two decades of tyranny and civil war, and its resurgence following the restoration of peace and relative stability. Throughout this history, Makerere has grappled with the fundamental question asked in this book: how to create a truly African university in an increasingly globalized world.
Based on extensive research in libraries and archives in Africa, England, and the United States, Becoming an African University analyzes Makereres connection with East African national aspirations, its role in the formation of an African intellectual class, and its present dilemmas as it strives to become an African university of the twenty-first century.
"Everyone concerned with the history and prospects of Makerere University in particular, and the history and policies of education in Africa in general, will be indebted for a long time to Carol Sicherman for this monumental, incisive, and well-written account. Dozens of scholarly books and monographs, not to mention novels, plays, and poems, could be generated from this patient, sympathetic, scrupulous work of historical recovery, reconstruction, and narration."
Joseph Campbell Chair in the Humanities, Sarah Lawrence College
In its various manifestations in time Makerere University is inseparable from a certain sense of applied Pan-Africanism. In its heyday, it brought together students from East and Central Africa and Nigeria. But the story of Makerere in terms of the glorious and the gory, hope and despair and hope again, is really the story of Africa. Carol Sicherman tells this story with clarity and humor. It is a narrative spiced with interesting anecdotes and insightful observations. For those who have had the privilege of attending Makerere, the story will taken them down memory lane. But the book should attract the general reader as well the student of African education, culture and politics.
Ngugi wa Thiongo
Distinguished Professor and Director, International Center for Writing and Translation, University of California, Irvine
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Carol Sicherman is Professor Emerita of English, Lehman College, City University of New York. She is the author of Ngugi wa Thiongo: The Making of a Rebel and Ngugi wa Thiongo: A Bibliography of Primary and Secondary Sources, which won the Conover-Porter Award of the African Studies Association in 1992. She has published many articles on African literature and higher education in East Africa, as well as the Afterword to You Cant Get Lost in Cape Town by Zoë Wicomb (Feminist Press, 2000).