Rhodes University lost its most senior student on 30 July with the passing of Martin Allison at the age of 83. His PhD supervisor, Prof ROBIN PALMER, pays tribute.
Martin Allison was an English gentleman with an adventurous spirit. Trained by articles in accountancy, as everyone was in his day, he spent most of his career in Zambia and then Swaziland (now Eswatini), eventually retiring to Port Alfred.
Feeling bored at the age of 73, he decided he wanted a degree, so he registered at Rhodes University, majoring in Anthropology and History.
Not content with a BA, he stayed on for Honours, with me as supervisor. He enjoyed that so much that he continued with me, now also retired, to complete an MA by thesis. A keen pilot with his own plane stored at 43 Air School a stone’s throw from his home, it was not surprising that he chose the school for the topic of his dissertation and did an excellent job of it.
He graduated with great acclaim in 2019 at 81. After much chopping and changing, he was about to submit his PhD proposal, again under my supervision, when he died. It was sudden and not unexpected, and he did not suffer. I was looking forward to his study of Rotary in South Africa with special reference to the four clubs in Albany District, but it is not to be.
Despite his advanced age, nothing daunted Martin. He was a great character who charmed and inspired everyone he encountered at Rhodes. He will be missed, not least by his children and former wife, but also by me following our 10-year close acquaintance.
Rest in Peace, Martin, Hamba Kahle.