South Africa mourns the passing of Professor Vilakazi

PROFESSOR Herbert Vilakazi (73), one of Mzansi’s leading sociologists, died of prostate cancer on Tuesday afternoon at Wilgers Life Hospital in Pretoria East, Tshwane.

Professor Herbert Vilakazi was born at Nongoma, KwaZulu/Natal, South Africa. He received his tertiary education at Columbia University, and at the New School For Social Research, both in New York City, USA. He has taught sociology and other social sciences at various tertiary institutions in and around New York City (City College of City University, Essex County College in Newark, Livingstone College, and State University of New York). He has also taught at the University of Transkei (now Walter Sisulu University), University of the Witwatersrand, University of Cape Town, and University of Zululand. He served as Deputy-Chairperson of the Independent Electoral Commission from 1998 to 2004. He has also served as Special Advisor to the Premier of KwaZulu/Natal (2005-2007). He is Chairperson of Vilakazi Development Strategies.

Family spokesman advocate Chain Vilakazi said the illness had taken its toll on the charismatic professor.

“He just lay there motionless. His family including his mother and daughter had just arrived from Maryland, US, to be by his side,” said Vilakazi.

President Jacob Zuma has extended condolences on the passing of Professor Herbert Vilakazi.

The Presidency on Friday said Vilakazi was a renowned sociologist and one of the most insightful intellectuals in the country.

“We deeply mourn his passing and wish to convey our deepest condolences to his family and colleagues. May his soul rest in peace,” said President Zuma.

The professor spent almost three months in intensive care.

He obtained his BA in sociology and anthropology from Columbia University in New York in 1966.

He went on to receive his MA in sociology and education at the same university.

Vilakazi is said to have produced no less than 400 papers, articles, chapter contributions to books and tributes to luminaries all over the world.

He will be laid to rest next Saturday at the Pretoria East Cemetery.

A memorial service will be held for him at Unisa on Wednesday from 4pm.

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