South African CP, Solly Mapaila, SACP General Secretary, conveys a heartfelt message of condolences on behalf of the Party to Professor Tom Lodge’s family

11/20/23 12:01 PM
  • South Africa, South African Communist Party En Africa Communist and workers' parties

South African Communist Party

Solly Mapaila, SACP General Secretary, conveys a heartfelt message of condolences on behalf of the Party to Professor Tom Lodge’s family…


Friday, 17 November 2023

It is with deep sorrow that we extend our message of heartfelt condolences on the passing of Professor Tom Lodge. Solly Mapaila, the General Secretary of the South African Communist Party (SACP), conveys the message to Professor Lodge’s family, comrades, friends, and the academic and research fraternity.

We had eagerly anticipated Professor Lodge’s presentation on sectoral work at the Jack Simons Party School at the end of October. Regrettably, the seminar had to be postponed due to flu symptoms, said the co-ordinator, Jenny Schreiner, member of the SACP Central Committee and Politburo, and co-ordinator of the programme, when reporting the sad news to SACP Central committee and Politburo members. It was with great sadness that we learnt of Professor Lodge’s passing. Our hearts ache as we had hoped for his swift recovery.

Professor Tom Lodge, 72, has left an indelible mark on our hearts and minds through his profound contributions, particularly in his work, Red Road to Freedom: A history of the South African Communist Party, 1921 – 2021, published by Jacana Media in 2021.

Born in Manchester to Roy Lodge and Vera Kotasova, Professor Lodge’s early life in the Global South motivated his interest in studying colonial and post-colonial development. His journey took him from Nigeria to North Borneo and eventually to the University of York, where he earned a degree in history.

Professor Lodge’s dedication to academia and his impactful role in the struggle against apartheid led him to the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. Despite facing many challenges, including threats and the burning of his office, he continued to make significant contributions to the academic world and gained the trust of many in our liberation movement.

Professor Lodge’s journey took him to New York City in 1988, where he worked for the Social Science Research Council before returning to Wits in 1992. Later, he held the position of professor of peace and conflict studies at the University of Limerick in Ireland and became the dean of arts in 2012.

In 2021, Professor Lodge retired to Saint Seurin de Prats, France, but his commitment to South Africa remained strong. This is the year in which his book on the history of the SACP was published.

At the time of his passing, he was working on a project focused on Walter Sisulu, one of the SACP’s and the ANC’s leading members of his revolutionary generation. Professor Tom Lodge’s legacy lives on through his family—his wife Carla and their sons, Kim and Guy.

During this difficult time, may we find solace in the memories of a remarkable individual who dedicated his life to knowledge and the pursuit of economic and social justice and freedom.

The Guardian has published Tom Lodge obituary, offering extensive details about Professor Lodge, including the important points included in this message.

In memory of Professor Tom Lodge, the SACP will continue with the Jack Simons Party’s School seminar he was scheduled to address at the end of October. We will announce the date and logistical details at an appropriate time, maintaining the topic he was scheduled to unpack.

We will also strengthen our efforts in developing professional, academic and research capacity in the rank-and-file of our membership and the working-class at large, towards socialism, the solution to the exploitative system of capitalism, imperialist wars and forms of oppression.