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Rhodes Politics Department honours Dr Sipho Maseko

Date Released: Fri, 23 May 2014 16:00 +0200

During a seminar which considered the teaching of politics at Rhodes University, senior lecturer in the Political and International Studies Department Dr Anthony Fluxman paid tribute to the late Dr Sipho Maseko, a young and promising political scientist.

In order to honour his memory, a copy of the 40th Anniversary edition of the journal Politikon was presented to his widow, Dr Pamela Maseko of the Rhodes School of African Languages.

Dr Fluxman described Sipho as “a political scientist of note” and perhaps one of the most promising of the new generation.

Dr Pamela Maseko said that her husband’s interest in Politics was born while he was studying for his undergraduate degree during the mid-1980s when apartheid was at its height.

“His primary concern was that young people should be able to make informed political choices when required to, and not be afraid to be different from popular choices,” she said.

Dr Pamela Maseko felt that her husband would have been humbled by the tribute paid to him at the seminar, but said that he would have been likely to say that he need not be celebrated. She believes that, for him, reflection on his work would be the true tribute.  “He would have preferred that people engage critically with his work, especially 20 years after our democracy,” she said.

The tribute by Dr Fluxman certainly brought out themes about Maseko’s approach to his scholarship, emphasising that throughout his work he remained passionately committed to honesty and justice. “He was far more than just a scholar,” Dr Fluxman said. “He was an individual of quite exceptional courage.”

Dr Pamela Maseko described him as a fun-loving, full-of-laughter, loving husband and father, saying that this is how she and their two children remember him primarily. She recalls how Maseko’s work was a part of their home life as well, saying, “Politics were never separated from our everyday activities - there were often debates at our dinner table on political issues as they were presented in the media.”

“We are deeply honoured as a family, and really thankful to his colleagues, especially Prof Peter Vale, that they think that his work is important in the study of Political Studies in South Africa,” she added.

Dr Fluxman concluded with a statement that suggests the honour is certainly deserved, saying, “Maseko was perhaps the very finest that this country has to offer.”

Born in Dube, Soweto, Dr Sipho Maseko obtained his Bachelor of Social Science in Political Science, Public Administration, and Social Psychology at the University of the Western Cape and Honours at the University of Natal, Durban.

He later completed his Masters in Canada and a PhD which challenged the prevailing view that the black capitalist class in post-apartheid South Africa was the result of reforms introduced by the National Party.

By Kyla Hazell