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Mombasa educated luminary Professor Klaus de Albuquerque

Mombasa educated Luminary Professor Klaus de Albuquerque (1946 to 1999) - Early Memories in Mombasa: Project: "Archiving Memories of Mombasa Goan School/ Sacred Heart School" – May 2017)

Klaus was born in Kampala in 1946 but raised and schooled in Mombasa, writes Marci Pereira.

He achieved his Senior Cambridge School Certificate at the Sacred Heart School in 1962.
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He being younger, (I finished in 1958), I have vague memories of him as being friendly and easy going.

If we met, it would be mainly at the Holy Ghost Church in Mombasa, where I was an altar boy.

Often, before services, several of our mates used to congregate outside the sacristy for chats and banter.

This is where I remember Klaus best - his fair skin, fluent English, jovial, easy, chatty demeanour.

I knew he did not live on the island of Mombasa itself, but somewhere on the mainland, in the Changamwe direction.

     Career Development in the USA: My research shows that after the Sacred Heart School, Klaus left for higher education in the USA in 1964.

 

Late Professor Klaus de Albuquerque | Coastweek

Mombasa educated luminary late Professor Klaus de Albuquerque.
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Interestingly, as will be seen from his bio, summarised in the Goan Overseas Digest obituary (Klaus passed away on 10 December 1999), he pursued an agriculture-related course to begin with, at the California State University and followed that up with a Masters Degree in Poultry Science.

I was vaguely aware that his father owned a large "Shamba" (farm or estate) in Mombasa and therefore finding this agricultural link, did not surprise me.

Also, the Digest bio does state that his father was "in chicken farming in Mombasa"

That explains, I suspect, that his father may have been preparing him for a life back in Kenya.

Not too dissimilar from myself, having opted to do a Masters in ‘Tropical Agricultural Engineering’ after graduating in Mechanical Engineering, in the hope of returning to Kenya.

All that went overboard with the political developments that followed in Kenya and Uganda from the mid-sixties.

What did surprise me however, in my research, was to note Klaus switched discipline to ‘Sociology and Anthropology’, which is diametrically opposed, I would have thought, to his agricultural qualifications, earlier.

I picked up no mention on whether he did practice agriculture before switching disciplines.

The Goan Overseas Digest obituary hints he moved straight over.

I am most curious to find out what prompted him in that change.

However, I note, the two disciplines do complement his chosen career and work, thereafter.

Following his appointment as the Professor of Sociology, at the College of Charleston, in South Carolina, USA, in 1976, he proves himself to be an outstanding scholar, researcher, writer and lecturer.

     Renowned ‘Caribbeanologist’: As per my research, after his Doctorate in Sociology, his first work assignments were in the West Indies, with a huge focus on the Rastafarian Movement, its politics, culture, impact in the region and even forecasting its future.

Casting my eye over 'Selection of Books, Papers, Reviews and Articles Published' I note that in the period 1975 to 1980, Klaus produced three books plus a paper on the Rastafarians.

Furthermore, I also came across mention that the title of his PhD thesis at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University was: "Millenarian Movements and the Politics of Liberation: The Rastafarians of Jamaica".

That study includes: "A Rastafari and Raggae Bibliography"

My curiosity runs deep.

Where did his fascination for the Rastafarians stem from?

Was it at university, having befriended someone from Jamaica or the Caribbean perhaps?

Or may be, love of Raggae Music ~ Bob Marley et al?

It is even more puzzling that although he was not a native of that region, 24 of the 27 seminal listed publications, relate to issues in the Caribbean such as:

Inter-Island Migration; Demography; Tourism Strategies; Socio-Economic Impact of Political Change, Agriculture, Drugs, Crime, Gender Equality etc…

His rich legacy still lives on as his work continues to be a vital reference source, to modern day students, on the Caribbean.

Based on the subject matter of his work, which clearly demonstrates his strong affiliation to, and deep understanding of that region, it will not be amiss to describe Klaus, as a "Son of the Caribbean".

Probably more so, than East Africa.

From my research, he is ‘An Outstanding Caribbeanologist’.

What an honour for this fellow Mombasa Goan School/ Sacred Heart School ex-student.

     Parallels between East Africa and the Caribbean: I have been trying to figure out how his deep love and attachment to the Caribbean will have come about.

There are similarities with East Africa, where he was born and schooled:

Both geographical regions were formerly parts of the British Empire.

Hence, systems of colonial administration would be quite similar and in the same language.

Like East Africa, the ethnic mix of citizens comprised of people of African, European and Asian origin, in many parts of the Caribbean.

East Africa and the Caribbean would be termed ‘developing countries’ and hence the challenges for advancement would not be too dissimilar.

Based on these similarities, it may be no big surprise, that he adapted so well to the Caribbean.

I have no doubt that Klaus, that multi-gifted and illustrious ex-student, will have been a success wherever he went, and with whatever he did.

We see from his work, that his genuine concerns for the advancement, welfare, social justice and inequalities towards the poor, were the same wherever he went.

His upbringing in East Africa will have provided him with ‘real-life experiences’ when he took on the Caribbean challenge.

His life on a farm in Mombasa and subsequent agricultural studies, will have given him a good insight into the problems confronted by rural communities in developing situations.

His work shows he proposed visionary ways to address problems.

His accomplishments, understanding, knowledge, insight and contribution to wide ranging development issues, relating to the Caribbean, are highly regarded and respected to this day.

International Scholar: Apart from his links with East Africa and the Caribbean, Klaus also made an impact in Papua New Guinea (PNG).

He spent some years at the PNG University in the ‘Institute of Applied Social and Economic Research’.

There he published two books and a Paper.

His first book was: "Social Implications of Population Growth in Papua New Guinea, 1980-1985".

His paper: "Spatial Inequalities in Papua New Guinea" was co-authored with Eddie D’Sa, a lecturer at the PNG University, (later the Editor of the Goan Overseas Digest), who by all accounts, appears to have known Klaus well.

He states in the obituary, that Klaus returned to the USA because of a "virulent strain of malaria".

     Prolific Writer: Selection of Books, Papers, Reviews and Articles Published by Klaus, gives a good measure of what a prolific, scholarly writer he was.

That listing is only a selection extracted from my research.

I expect there must be many more that I have not come across.

He commanded the respect of politicians, academics and the media alike for his seminal works.

Being a statistical researcher, he offered hard research-based evidence when putting his arguments forward.

     Concluding Remarks: Another of Klaus’ confidantes will have been his son - Aneel James de Albuquerque - who would have been at the tender age of 13 or so, when his dad passed away.

As per the obituary by Eddie D’Sa, Klaus was close to his son and did produce an unpublished 177-page Memoir, strictly for Aneel, that was distributed to close network of family and friends, before he passed away.

My research picked up mention of the "De Albuquerque Klaus Trust", presumably set up by the family in his honour.

This outstanding Mombasa Goan School/ Sacred Heart school ex-student has left a lasting legacy of his academic and scholarly excellence, evident from his numerous publications.

     Obituary: Professor Klaus de Albuquerque [by Eddie D’Sa ~ Editor ~ Goan Overseas Digest, Issue 8.1 (2000)]

Professor Klaus de Albuquerque died on 10 December 1999 after a three-year battle with cancer.

He was on the Advisory Panel of the Digest for several years and contributed a number of articles, the last in January 1999.

Klaus was born in Uganda in 1946 of a Goan father and German mother.

He schooled in Mombasa and left for higher studies in the US in 1964.

He acquired the Masters in Agriculture in 1968.

He then switched to Sociology, taking the MS and then the PhD at Virginia State University in 1976.

He joined the College of Charleston in South Carolina at the Department of Sociology and Anthropology.

He taught courses like Development of Social thought, Race & Ethnic Relations, Urban Sociology and Population and Society.

He was full time Professor there until his death.

Klaus published scores of original articles, reviews and reports.

He had a special interest in tourism in the Caribbean and wrote on various aspects (development models, crime, drugs and the behaviour of female tourists).

But Klaus had wider literary interests.

He was deeply attached to the East African region and has written vividly about his life there.

An account of his early years in Kenya appeared in the US based journal ‘Transition (issue 73, 1998)’.

A shorter version appeared in two parts in the Digest (Oct 98, Jan 99) under the heading ‘Growing up in Colonial Kenya’.

There was a fine review ‘Saving Africa from the Africans’ in the literary journal ‘Wasafiri (1998)’.

It was a critique of Hollywood representations of Africans in films.

Another delightful piece, ‘On Golliwogs and Flit Pumps’, appeared in ‘Jouvert (1998)’.

It recounts how assorted British products foisted on colonial subjects became household names.

Klaus’ research output was considerable.

Though he could not make it to the millennium, at least five of his articles are due to be published this year, four of them on tourism.

I first met Klaus in 1984 in Papua New Guinea in 1984 where I taught at the University.

Klaus had joined the Institute of Applied Social & Economic Research.

We soon undertook joint research work.

He had to cut short his stay in PNG because he caught a virulent strain of malaria.

But we kept much in touch.

Klaus’s paternal grandfather, John Baptista, was business minded.

He came to Africa in late 19th century and began trading in hides and skins in Kericho (Kenya).

Klaus’ father Alfonso was the second of eight children, six of them girls.

Alfonso trained as a barrister but later gave it up in favour of chicken farming in Mombasa.

There were two children, Klaus and an older girl, Claudia.

Klaus had just one son, Aneel, now about 13.

Though his marriage ended in divorce, the couple stayed on good terms.

His ex-wife came down to Charleston when Klaus’ condition was getting worse and his son (who lives with the mother in New Jersey) visited Klaus regularly.

Aneel kept asking him about life in East Africa, relatives and so on.

Klaus obliged by writing a highly readable 177- page account ‘A Colonial Boyhood: Growing up in Three Different Worlds’ just for his son.

There are some 100 photos of family, relatives, friends and places of interest.

It was published in September 1999 and copies were distributed to relatives and friends.

To those who knew him, Klaus was a kind, warm hearted and generous person, deeply concerned about issues of social justice.

Aneel must no doubt feel proud to have had such a father.
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Contact information:

Marci Pereira - Project: "Archiving Memories of Mombasa Goan School/ Sacred Heart School"

mombasagoanschool@gmail.com

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FURTHER READING:

Klaus de Albuquerque. A well known scholar and teacher. His most
enduring professional legacy is his research on Caribbean Society.

             

 

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