In Memoriam: Bill Freund (1944-2020)

It is with great sadness that the African Studies Centre Leiden has heard the news of the death of Prof. Dr Bill Freund.

Bill Freund was a renowned scholar of South(ern) African economic history. He was a remarkable and prolific scholar, who continued his studies and publications after his retirement from the University of KwaZulu-Natal – to which he continued to be affiliated. He was a great source of inspiration and mentor of generations of Southern African scholars.

For many years Bill Freund served as a member of the editorial board of the Afrika-Studiecentrum Series (viz. of the sub-series focusing on South Africa, in collaboration with SAVUSA), published with Brill Publishers. His detailed, critical but constructive reviews of new manuscripts will be greatly missed, as will his scouting for new manuscripts. He was a regular visitor to the Netherlands – until the COVID-19 pandemic. He was a very amicable man, and always brought a spark to the meetings he had with colleagues, as well as many insights and ideas.

Bill Freund had just finished work on his autobiography, Bill Freund: An historian’s passage to Africa, due to be published in May 2021 by Wits University Press.

We mourn the passing of a great and erudite colleague.

Marja Spierenburg, Frans Kamsteeg (Series Editors),
Jan-Bart Gewald, Director African Studies Centre Leiden