My thoughts and sympathies are with Gary Marsden’s family, friends, and colleagues. It was such a shock to hear he had passed away. An amazing, inspirational person has left us much too soon.
I barely knew Gary before I moved to South Africa in 2009, but Gary welcomed me to UCT’s “ICT4D” community as a colleague and we became great friends. Gary, Gil, and their children were wonderful hosts for my family, and we will treasure the long afternoons full of conversation, food, and play our two families spent together.
As a colleague, he was unparalleled, and I miss him already. I learned a great deal by collaborating on writing projects with him, and by working together closely on the ICTD2012 and ICTD2013 conferences. Up close, I came to appreciate how Gary was passionate, progressive, and yet also pragmatic in his work in the field. You could count on Gary and his students to help the communities they worked with “build stuff” that really worked. In our field of ICTD, that’s no easy task, but Gary had a particularly nuanced and powerful balance of optimism and humility, of patience and sensitivity that allowed him to harness the complexities of intermingling technologies and community development.
The abundance and intensity of Gary’s compassion, insight, empathy, and kind spirit remains reflected in the network of remarkable colleagues and scholars Gary helped nurture in South Africa and beyond. Since coming to Cape Town I have been so fortunate to work with many of Gary’s former and current graduate students. I will continue learn from each of them as I learned from Gary, and in so doing will have some way to stay close to his energy, and to continue be inspired and guided by his perspectives.