Alastair White obituary

From Aid | The Guardian Thu Dec 20 2012, 08:12:43

My friend Alastair White's childhood in Kenya set the arc of his life. Alastair was born during the second world war to Hilda, an art teacher, and Hugh, a science-fiction cartoonist, in Esher, Surrey; but after his parents divorced, Alastair's father took him to live in Nairobi. Placed in an all-white boarding school, he ran away frequently to the bush; it was on these escapes that he encountered the tribal people whose plight informed his view of the world as unfairly divided. Alastair, who has died aged 71, dedicated himself to improving the lives of the world's poorest and most socially deprived people.

After returning to Britain, he went to Battersea grammar school, and at Jesus College, Cambridge, studying languages, he met Ljiljana; they married in 1962. Alastair's PhD was on urban poverty in El Salvador. His social and historical study turned into his first book, El Salvador (1973). When the civil war there finally ended in the 1990s, Alastair was part of a European Union mission to identify ways to help reconstruction of the country. He stressed the need to strengthen institutions to safeguard human rights and fair elections.

Alastair was a lecturer in sociology at the universities of Belgrade, Stirling, Brighton and Liverpool, and a consultant in socio-economics for international development agencies. He was resolved that aid must be directed towards projects that are sustainable by local people and be part of a long-term process for reducing social inequality. This view frequently brought him into conflict with the aid agencies for which he was working.

His first marriage ended in divorce. In El Salvador he met Rita, who was also working for national reconstruction, and they married in 1992.

[view whole blog post ]
 See More    |     Report Abuse

You might also be interested in the following news stories:

South Sudan:   Armed Groups Free 145 Child Soldiers (news)
Deutsche Welle
26 October 2016

UNICEF says it has negotiated the largest single release of child soldiers in South Sudan since 2015. Once reunited with family they receive three months of food aid and livestock. Two armed groups in ... [read more]

Somalia:   Militants Seize Port Town (news)
Deutsche Welle
26 October 2016

A militant group linked to the self-proclaimed "Islamic State" (IS) has taken control of a small port in the Horn of Africa. The organization is a rival to the al-Shabab terror group, which is linked ... [read more]

South Africa:   Thousands in Fees Must Fall March On Parliament (news)
26 October 2016

Several thousand students marched through Cape Town today to demand "free decolonised education". Just as the march was set to end and disperse violence broke out, bringing chaos to the CBD. Earlier ... [read more]

blogAfrica is's platform to help you keep an ear on the African blogosphere. We draw diverse voices from around the world who post regularly and insightfully about African issues. Bloggers, submit your blog's rss-feed!