In South African intellectual circles, Archie Mafeje’s intellectual prowess is still treated as something of a rumour. More often than not, those who speak of him tend to do so through the biographical medium. This short paper moves away from such biographical narratives. Instead, it gives an overview of the three clusters of Mafeje’s work. The paper comprises three parts. First, it deals with his programmatic critique of the social sciences. Second, it gives a brief overview of his writings on the land and agrarian question in sub-Saharan Africa. The remainder of the paper assesses his work on the responsibility of the African intellectual.