Heinz Kimmerle (2015) photo by Urban Tribes

In the autumn of 2013 prof. Heinz Kimmerle and I met in Zoetermeer. He was emeritus professor philosophy at Erasmus University Rotterdam. The last five years of his appointment (1990-1995) he had a special chair Foundations of Intercultural Philosophy with focus on African philosophy.  I had never heard of African philosophy until then, despite working, living, and traveling in various African countries. I felt embarrassed and fascinated at the same time.

In the period that followed Heinz and I engaged in conversations, with topics ranging from African philosophy to art and agricultural development. We learned from each other during these dialogues, and became friends. His book ‘Mazungumzo. Dialogen tussen Afrikaanse en Westerse filosofieën’ was an eye-opener for me. Our dialogues and his work inspired me deeply: things seemed to fall into place. I started putting my ideas on paper to link African philosophy to agricultural development. Heinz was enthusiastic and encouraged me to continue.

On the 18th of January 2016, I was at home waiting for Heinz to continue our dialogues. As usual, a pot of tea, two cups and some biscuits stood on my table. He did not arrive. He had passed away the day before, at the age of 85.

There is no escape from the deep sadness that comes with the loss of a friend. It is part of life. Nevertheless, I feel an immense gratitude for his friendship and the wisdom and insights he shared with me. Heinz’s work and that of his colleagues awakened an enormous internal motivation in me to link agriculture to African philosophy and a wish to inspire people to learn about and from African philosophies.

I only knew prof. Heinz Kimmerle for what became ‘the last 2,5 years of his life’. I will therefore refrain from trying to write a summary covering his entire working life and his numerous publications and books. You can read more about him on the website of his Foundation for Intercultural Philosophy and Art (IFK) and on Wikipedia. He was a much appreciated and respected professor in Africa and Europe. Below is an overview of various in memoria written by colleagues and friends of Heinz.