One of the most pivotal pieces of academic writing I came across while doing research on African history, was a book edited by Prof. Ranger – The Invention of Tradition.
I argued against the book and then gradually understood and argued for the book. It will be the subject of an upcoming art exhibition.
I never thought that the author, at the time, what I would describe as a dusty Oxford lecturer, would become a friend.
One evening, following a lecture where I had vehemently argued against the speaker over a topic that I thought she had misunderstood, Prof. Ranger made his way to me, stuck out his hand and introduced himself as “Terry.”
I was ofcourse taken aback and slightly tongue tied. THE Terence Ranger. Right there. In velvet slippers, wispy hair and a very, very red nose. Saying hello to me.
He told me he liked me. I was feisty and maybe that is what Oxford needed. He quickly became a friend.
I visited him a couple of times to talk about life at Oxford and the research I was undertaking. Each time I left even more inspired.
His youthful fight became my push to continue and at my lowest point, he offered great support.
On my last visit to Oxford I contemplated visiting him. Choosing instead not to. I would have been heartbroken to see him sick.
Rest in Peace, Terry. You will not be forgotten.
History will be kind to you for you have written it.
Thank you. Thank you.