Beloved South African activist and author, Eusebius McKaiser, passed away on 30 May 2023, at the age of 45. Many in the African literary community are devastated.

McKaiser was born in Makhanda (previously known as Grahamstown) where he grew up, completed his schooling, and continued on to study at the local university. A graduate of Rhodes University, where he obtained his bachelor’s, honours and master’s degrees, McKaiser worked for some time in consultancy before taking on the role of a political and social analyst at the Wits Centre for Ethics and the University of Johannesburg Centre for the Study of Democracy. His deep commitment to activism garnered recognition, and in 2010, he was included in Mail & Guardian’s prestigious Top 200 South Africans to Take to Lunch. He also received The Emerging Old Rhodian Award in 2012, a significant honour awarded to former Rhodes University students under the age of 40 who have achieved significant success in their respective fields.

McKaiser then went on to become the deeply impactful broadcaster and author that many remember him for. With a popular radio show, an insightful podcast, and critically acclaimed books like A Bantu in My Bathroom!: Debating Race, Sexuality and Other Uncomfortable South African Topics, he was essentially a wholesome household name. McKaiser was one of the few people who could be a favourite for every generation in the family. The older generation tuned into the radio show and read the newspaper articles. The middle generation listened to the podcast and read his books. And the younger generation was doing all of the above whilst also feeling represented by someone who was unapologetically himself so that others felt brave doing the same.

McKaiser was a lighthouse to South African society. He triumphed over his own personal challenges around race and sexuality in a volatile political landscape, and he continued to tackle these challenges for those around him in South Africa and beyond. While it is incredibly heartbreaking to lose such a cultural force, it brings contentment to know that those who come after him will still benefit from the legacy he leaves behind.


All through yesterday, condolences and goodwill messages poured in as fellow writers, as well as fans, struggled with the shock and grief of his passing.

South African Writer, Ferial Haffajee shared:

Be still. A great spirit is passing. Like his namesake, a polemicist of excellence. A resonant mic 🎙️ is quieted. A pointed pen 🖊️ laid down. Rest softly, Eusebius McKaiser. 🇿🇦 fine son of our soil.

Namibian LGBTQ+ rights activist, Omar van Reenen wrote:

This is such a loss & I’m lost for words. Eusebius was a powerful & unapologetic voice in the political space. He inspired me in many ways to stand up for what’s right, just and what I believe in. Especially as a gay man in a political space where our voices are often silenced.

South African journalist, Iman Rappetti pens:

To move a life you loved from present to past is one of life’s greatest cruelties. Eusebius McKaiser I am struggling to comprehend that your form is taking another.

Zimbabwean journalist, Hopewell Chin’ono mourns:

We communicated about the Zimbabwean crisis, and he strongly spoke out when I was arrested for exposing corruption in Zimbabwe. A friend who knew him personally spoke about how he was an avid reader, fierce intellect, and gifted debater. This illustration of his life was self evident in his writing and podcasts. May his soul Rest in Peace.


We will forever mourn the beautiful soul that was Eusebius McKaiser.
Rest in Power 🖤