Fans of humanitarian Dr. Lotta Hitschmanova will be saddened to learn that her biographer, Clyde Sanger, passed away in Ottawa on January 20, in his 94th year.
Sincere condolences to Clyde’s family and many friends and colleagues around the world.
In their lengthy tribute to Clyde, Carleton University notes that “The world has lost a great writer, professor of journalism and champion for Africa and the global South.”
I share this deep sense of loss, but also celebrate Clyde as a mentor and friend, spanning more than four decades.
I first “met” Clyde when I worked in Tanzania in the late 1970s and early 1980s. His insightful articles on Africa were regularly published in the Tanzanian English language newspaper, which I avidly read whenever they might arrive in the remote village where I lived. I learned so much from him about the broader African context in which I was working.
A decade later, I finally met Clyde in person, when I joined the organization that Lotta founded, USC Canada (renamed SeedChange in 2019). To my delight I discovered that Clyde was an active USC volunteer, a member of our Program Review Committee, and a former Chair of USC’s Board of Directors. His comments and critiques of our work were always given in a thoughtful, respectful, yet challenging and often very witty way. Again, so many opportunities to learn from his vast experience and accumulated wisdom.
Then a decade later, I took over responsibility for USC’s legacy giving program, and discovered how important Lotta Hitschmanova was to so many USC supporters. I immediately read Clyde’s excellent biography, Lotta and the Unitarian Service Committee Story, from cover to cover, and frequently consulted him on Lotta’s story.
And then a decade later, after retiring from USC Canada, I created this blog in honour of Lotta. Clyde provided great encouragement for the project. And truth be told, this blog could not exist were it not for the painstaking biographical research that Clyde carried out in the 1980s.
Our collective debt to Clyde is significant. We have indeed lost a world class journalist, researcher, writer, mentor and friend.