Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa
Conseil pour le développement de la recherche en sciences sociales en Afrique
Conselho para o Desenvolvimento da Pesquisa em Ciências Sociais em África
مجلس تنمية البحوث الإجتماعية في أفريقيا

Tribute to Professor Sam Moyo, a Great Intellectual, and a Man of Integrity

The Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA) deeply regrets and mourns the passing away of its former president, Professor Sam Moyo. Professor Moyo was in New Delhi, India, where he was attending a conference on “Labour Questions in the Global South”. The vehicle in which he was travelling was involved in a serious accident in the evening of Friday, 20 November, and Professor Moyo died in the early hours of Sunday, 22 November 2015.

Sam had been an active member of CODESRIA since the 1970s. He coordinated a number of CODESRIA working groups and research networks, and was a tireless and inexhaustible resource that CODESRIA heavily relied upon. Several of his most important ideas were first carried in CODESRIA publications. In 1998, he was elected Vice-President of CODESRIA. During the 12th General Assembly held in Yaoundé, Cameroon in December 2008, Sam was elected President of CODESRIA, a position he held until December 2011. He continued to play a vital role in the life and work of CODESRIA, attending general assemblies, representing CODESRIA at many events, hosting activities in Harare, advising on research programmes, contributing to the deepening and broadening of intellectual exchanges across the Global South and providing wise counsel to the leadership.

Sam was Africa’s leading intellectual voice on land and agrarian transformation. Over long periods when there was little policy interest in land reforms, he and a few other scholars kept the issues alive through rigorous empirical research and theorizing about Africa’s land and agrarian questions in the context of globalization. Throughout an intellectual career that spanned decades and produced a massive body of work, he consistently championed the rights of Africa’s smallholders as well as its landless and dispossessed communities and chronicled the struggles of agrarian social movements for equitable land rights. He followed up his research with engagements with policy makers, civil society organisations, research networks on agrarian issues as well as social movements. He was much in demand in Africa and beyond as a policy advisor on land and agrarian issues.

Sam showed great courage in his robust engagement with Zimbabwe’s land reforms. He charted a course of independent research which eschewed sensationalism and illuminated the scale and significance of land redistribution represented by the Fast Track Land Reform Programme which saw over two hundred thousand Zimbabwean households acquiring land for their livelihoods. In spite of the fact that this was for a long time a very lonely undertaking, which incurred the disapproval of the different sides of the debates on Zimbabwe’s land reforms, he was much respected and admired not only within CODESRIA, but in the wider community of progressive intellectuals within the global south for his consistency and the quality of the evidence he produced to back his positions. The growing acceptance of Sam’s positions in the wider land and agrarian studies community sadly failed to give him full credit for his pivotal role in changing the debate about Zimbabwe’s land reforms.

Sam was full of life and lived life to the full. He was warm, kind hearted, humble and respectful of every member of staff at CODESRIA. So was he with the countless numbers of younger scholars and colleagues he mentored over the years. We will miss a man of integrity, a committed pan Africanist, a loyal friend, and a great leader.

Ending his short but extremely productive journey in this world in India speaks volumes of Sam’s commitment to scholarship and to the cause of the peoples of the Global South. This commitment was much in evidence in his leadership of the Agrarian South Network, a tri-continental research network on agrarian issues he co-founded with colleagues from Africa, Asia and Latin America.

On behalf of the Executive and Scientific Committees, and the staff of CODESRIA, we would like to offer our sincere condolences to Sam’s partner Beatrice, his mother Madam Mavis Moyo, his daughters and his wider family and friends, to the staff of the Harare based Africa Institute of Agrarian Studies that he founded and led for many years, and to the entire CODESRIA community, which was his extended family.

Hamba Kahle, Sam. Go well.

Professor Dzodzi Tsikata, President
Dr. Ebrima Sall, Executive Secretary
23 November 2015

Tribute to Professor Sam Moyo


Brahim Elmorchid (2015-11-28 14:18:31)

L’Afrique vient de perdre l’un des ses grands intellectuels. J’avais l’honneur de le connaître et je l’estimais autant qu’il le méritait. En ces durs moments que la vie nous impose, je tiens à apporter tout mon soutien à ses proches et à ses amis. B. ELMORCHID Marrakech University

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Bekombo jabea claude (2015-11-26 18:12:36)

Cher grand maitre,professeur Sam MOYO,j’ai eu l’honneur de te rencontrer en juin a dakar pendant l’assemblee generale du codesria,en tant que laureat de l’institut sur le genre.Professeur vous m’aviez fait la faveur de 30 minutes d’echange intellectuel que je n’oublierait jamais sur les interactions normatives.Merci pour ce cours gratuit et inestimable.Merci...

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Jean LIYONGO EMPENGELE (2015-11-26 17:31:41)

Mes condoléances à la famille biologique de Sam MOYO, à la communauté scientifique de son pays (la Zambie) et à toute la communauté des chercheurs africains membres du CODESRIA. Que son âme repose en paix.

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Jane-frances Agbu (2015-11-26 16:55:05)

OOOh this is shocking!!! Ohhhh our dear Prof Moyo is gone! Our ever smiling Prof. He was a mentor and a dear, full of reassuring smiles and encouragement for younger scholars and colleagues. This is a huge loss to CODESRIA family and all. May his gentle soul rest in perfect peace,...

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Bella Matambanadzo (2015-11-26 12:38:09)

An Ode in Memory of Chimusoro Sam Moyo By Bella Matambanadzo An unimaginable loss has happened. Our phenomenal intellectual pan African giant on land issues, Professor Sam Moyo, has died following injuries sustained during a terrible car accident in New Delhi, India. We are in disbelief. We are waiting for him to come home. We feel ripped apart with...

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Mwalimu Senkoro (2015-11-26 12:36:48)

Dear Dzodzi and colleagues, Its 02:00am here in Windhoek, and I just woke up to finish writing a piece on popular culture and youth engagement in Namibia, only to read Dzodzi’s mail and the shocking news of the passing away of Sam Moyo. This is VERY sad news indeed. It’s a very big loss to Zimbabwe and to the social science community in Africa. May his...

[Reply to this message] (2015-11-26 12:34:35)

Dear colleagues This is my own condolence message. It is unfortunate that we are reconnecting with each other at so tragic a moment. We may come back to our conversation as initiated by Mwalimu later but it is necessary. "This news of Sam Moyo came as a veritable shock indeed. Sam died on the battlefield of science as he travelled to attend this...

[Reply to this message] (2015-11-26 12:33:17)

Dear colleagues I am currently taking notice of the tragic death of Sam. I am completely shocked. I participated in a panel discussion during the annual meeting of the graduate programs in social sciences from Brazil in the last week of October in which we talk about Sam and his work for the strengthening of South-South cooperation, that the Agrarian...

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Prof Puleng LenkaBula (2015-11-26 12:31:29)

Dear Claudio and colleagues, What a loss… I think these are the words I can humbly share with you now. It is really a sad situation to lose a colleague who was full of life, loved his work and was intellectually astute with a broad footprint in many disciplines and particularly on the land questions and agrarian issues, in very detailed way… I am...

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El Hadj SANE (2015-11-26 12:29:53)

Ebrima, Il est vrai que Sam va manquer à tout le monde. Une triste nouvelle, vraiment. Me concernant, je vais très bien et à l’occasion je passerai au bureau pour saluer et discuter un peu. Amitiés. El Hadj SANE Human Resources Director Atlantik Sea Food SA +221 77 639 13 50 9 Rue Jean Mermoz Imm. CSS 7e Etage Dakar,...

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gladys tlechini (2015-11-26 12:28:25)

Dear Sam and Ebrima So long without getting in contact with you. I hope you are both well I am writting you this time just to share my regrets and sorrow for the desappearance of our friend Sam Moyo. Although we have not met for a long time, since I had to leave CLACSO, I have the best remembrances of the old times together. My sincere and profound...

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Jean Liyongo Empengele (2015-11-26 12:26:59)

MM le Secrétaire Exécutif, Je viens de lire, à l’instant, ce 24/11/2015, sur le site de CODESRIA, la triste nouvelle de la mort brusque du professeur Sam MOYO. Je présente mes condoléances à sa famille biologique, à la communauté scientifique de son pays (la Zambie) et à toute la communauté des chercheurs africains membres du CODESRIA. Que son âme repose en paix....

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Rama Salla Dieng (2015-11-26 12:24:48)

Dear Fellow members of CODESRIA, Please accept my condoleances for the loss of our Professor Sam Moyo. I am writing the word ’loss’ unwillingly. It is so hard to accept the news. I had turned to land studies because of his great passion and commitment at the first PanAfrican land grab conference in 2013 in Addis, because of his writings, those of Prof...

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IDEAS (2015-11-26 12:22:44)

Dear All, A Condolence Meeting was organised to honour Prof. Sam Moyo and celebrate his extraordinary life on November 24 (Tuesday) at SSS-I Committee Room at 11 a.m. The meeting was webcast live and is now available at IDEAs...

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Gilson Lazaro (2015-11-26 12:15:06)

Tributo a Sam Moyo, Foi com profundo pesar que tomei conhecimento do passamento físico do professor Sam Moyo, que conheci na 13ª Assembleia do Codesria. Naquela altura recebi com muito gosto e admiração às palavras de encorajamento de uma figura como a dele que somente conhecia dos livros. Nesta hora de dor e de luto endereço à família e ao CODESRIA as mais...

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B. ELMORCHID (2015-11-26 12:14:15)

Cher(e)s collègues Je tiens à m’associer à votre peine et apporter tout mon soutien à ses proches et à ses amis en ces durs moments que la vie nous impose. L’Afrique vient de perdre l’un de ses plus grands chercheurs en sciences sociales. Veuillez accepter mes plus sincères condoléances B. ELMORCHID Marrakech...

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AHMAT HESSANA (2015-11-26 12:13:17)

Je suis profondément choqué par la nouvelle de la disparition du Pr SAM MOYO. Il a forgé en moi une méthodologie spécifique aux études foncières, après ma participation à l’Institut sur le genre 2014. En rentrant à Yaoundé dans l’avion, j’ai dévoré passionnément son ouvrage qui a fait de moi un chercheur du foncier. C’est ce que je retiens de lui, bien que je ne...

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Isabel Maria Casimiro (2015-11-26 12:09:37)


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Marie-France Baron Bonarjee (2015-11-26 12:08:04)

I would like to share a poem I wrote in tribute to Prof Sam Moyo - A light in our midst is extinguished today. A luminary in the struggle for justice. An intellectual An idealist. Sam Moyo, a man of wisdom, patience, enthusiasm, humour and wit. A great heart. Generous with his time, his knowledge, his laughter, his vision. We mourn the loss of...

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Samia Zennadi. (2015-11-26 12:06:39)

Chers amis et camarades, C’est avec une grande tristesse que je relais la terrible nouvelle de la disparition du Professeur Sam Moyo. Je ne le connaissais pas très bien mais j’ai eu à le rencontrer au Forum Social de Dakar où il a intervenu dans les activités organisées par le FMA. Depuis, j’ai pu lire plusieurs de ces écrits qu’il a consacré à la question de...

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Francois Houtart (2015-11-26 12:05:12)

Chère Samia, Cela me fait beaucoup de peine d’apprendre la mort de Sam. Ses travaux ont été une inspiration pour beaucoup. Il a pu ainsi faire entendre la voix de l’Afrique dans un domaine essentiel pour l’avenir. J’espère que l’on pourra lui rendre hommage à la hauteur de son apport. Si tu as des contacts avec sa famille, dis-leur que je prends une grande part à...

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Founou Tchuigoua, Bernard (2015-11-26 12:03:15)

La terrible nouvelle de la disparition du Professeur Sam Moyo Bernard Founou Third World Forum/Forum du Tiers Monde Je laisse à Samir exprimer nos condoléances au nom des réseaux du Forum mondial des alternatives et du Forum du tiers monde. J’ai eu l’occasion de travailler avec Sam dans nos colloques et nos conférences. Il était un des chefs de file de...

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Natasha Issa Shivji (2015-11-26 12:00:54)

When I heard the heart breaking news, all that came to my mind was that bright smile on Mwalimu Moyo’s face that expressed encouragement and hope, that smile that never failed to make its appearance no matter how difficult the situation. He treated all of us as equals as we stumbled and learned, as we tried to grasp ideas as we experimented with...

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Maria Eugenia Santana E. (2015-11-26 11:58:44)

Greetings, with tragic news from Ebrima, whom you remember is the secretary of the Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa: We just received this evening the sad news of the passing away of Professor Sam Moyo, former President of CODESRIA. Sam was in India for a conference and got caught up in a bad car accident and got...

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Amina Mama (2015-11-26 11:55:40)

Goodbye Sam: brother, comrade, fighter and friend. Kotoka International Airport , Accra, was the last place I ran into Sam, seated in the departure lounge after a workshop on the land questions that he devoted his intellectual life to. We shared a beer, talked with intimacy about his life and mine, how both are inflected with the disparate ancestral...

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Jean Liyongo Empengele (2015-11-26 11:54:09)

MM le Secrétaire Exécutif, Je viens de lire, à l’instant, ce 24/11/2015, sur le site de CODESRIA, la triste nouvelle de la mort brusque du professeur Sam MOYO. Je présente mes condoléances à sa famille biologique, à la communauté scientifique de son pays (la Zambie) et à toute la communauté des chercheurs africains membres du CODESRIA. Que son âme repose en...

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Jessie Kabwila (2015-11-26 11:52:34)

I m still trying to get to terms with this devastated piece of news. The loss of Professor Sam Moyo has really shocked me and reminded me that life is too short. we have really lost one giant of a scholar. very sad for the codesria family.

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Dr BE Nzimande (2015-11-25 18:42:39)

In Memory of Prof Sam Moyo Message from Dr BE Nzimande, MP, South African Minister of Higher Education and Training I would like to express my deepest condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of Professor Samson Moyo. His untimely passing was a great shock to me and to other South Africans who knew him. I feel his loss very deeply as he was a...

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Anyidoho (2015-11-25 18:41:25)

For Sam Moyo There was this thing about Sam Moyo: A forever sparkle in his eyes A certain gliding motion in his walk A heart the size of Love forever trembling with care and tenderness A voice that soothes even in rage— amidst CODESRIA’s countless arguments his voice comes home with a soothing balm A mind the pointed sharpness of laser...

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Thandika (2015-11-25 18:40:40)

Sam Moyo In my current state of shock I cannot write much by way of an intellectual tribute to Sam Moyo and his rich life. Such an undertaking will have to wait. I met Sam in the late 1970s in Dakar at the IDEP library – IDEP was at the time run by Samir Amin and was a veritable pan-African intellectual magnate. Sam had an uncle who lived in Dakar so...

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Mahmoud Mamdani (2015-11-25 18:39:26)

A Tribute to Sam Moyo I no longer recall when exactly I met Sam. Maybe it was in the late 70s at CODESRIA, or in the early 80s at the Zimbabwe Institute of Development Studies. The late 1990s, though, was the time we truly got to work together, closely and intensely. The two of us were at the helm of CODESRIA’s leadership, as President and Vice...

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Pravin Jha (2015-11-25 18:38:36)

To mourn Sam is impossibly difficult for me. It seems like a most cruel and twisted nightmare. Nightmare is not even the right word – as nightmares end but this will not. As some of you know, for well over a decade I was fortunate be very close to him, both professionally and personally. Along with a network of comrades from different parts of the...

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Raufu Mustafa (2015-11-25 18:35:11)

In memory of Sam Moyo It is hard to think of Sam in the past tense. It is deeply saddening to come to terms with the loss of this illustrious academic and son of Africa. The last time I saw Sam was at the CODESRIA General Assembly in June 2015, in Dakar. Sam was his usual warm and generous self. Clear in his commitments, perceptive in his observations,...

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KOUADIO M'BRA KOUAKOU DIEU-DONNE (2015-11-25 16:07:09)

C’est avec beaucoup d’émotion que j’ai appris le décès du Professeur SAM MOYO. En cette circonstance douloureuse, je présente à la famille de l’illustre disparu ainsi qu’à toute la communauté scientifique africaine, mes condoléances les plus attristées. Puisse Dieu Tout-Puissant, sécher les larmes des uns et des...

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AHMAT HESSANA (2015-11-25 09:48:21)

Il est plus douloureux de perdre un érudit comme le Pr SAM MOYO que de s’apercevoir qu’il est le prototype pour former encore de jeunes intellectuels africains dans le cadre du CODESRIA.

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Delmas Tsafack (2015-11-24 21:09:59)

A very sad news for our community. We met last June in Dakar at the 14th General Assembly of CODESRIA. May he rest in peace (Msg received on facebook)

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Annette Mogoum (2015-11-24 21:08:49)

Quand un chercheur décède, c’est toute la communauté scientifique qui est attristée (Msg received on facebook)

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Mamadou Alpha Diallo (2015-11-24 21:07:15)

Que la Paix de DIEU soit avec (Msg received on facebook)

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