Immediately, there’s a calmness. Everyone is going about their business at the Park Hyatt. It’s a rush of suits doing breakfasts and there are loud conversations over laptops between men in ties. Waiters hurry past. Cutlery clinks. Then Mahmood Mamdani appears, as if out of nowhere, and instantly, there’s a quietness. “Usually, I would be reading,” he says as we walk to a garden space. “I’m not used to all of this.” Perhaps it’s the surprise. Mamdani is, after all, one of the world’s foremost minds. His is a name known to thinkers everywhere, and to many academics and politicians.
He was once voted in the top 10 of the world’s public intellectuals by Britain’s Prospect magazine and the US’s Foreign Policy. You would almost expect him to be overtly self-confident.
*Originally published in the Sunday Independent
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