Tributes pour in for DD Phiri


By Jameson Chauluka:

Tributes are pouring in following the death of veteran economist, writer and historian, Desmond Dudwa Phiri, who was popularly known as DD Phiri.

Phiri, who died yesterday morning in Blantyre, is renowned for his contribution to the preservation of the country’s culture through his books, which include The History of Malawi volumes 1 and 2.


Renowned historian Puleni Chilikunzako said he started reading Phiri’s books in the 1970s.

Chilikunzako said Phiri was an opinion leader who addressed divisive topics soberly.

“One thing which stands out in all his writings is that he was not a tribalist. He wrote the most books talking about the history of the country and its tribes. Where there was debate, he would address them through his columns in the country’s newspapers so well that no one spoke again. His death is a huge loss,” he said.


DD Phiri, who was originally from Mzimba, also published a column in The Daily Times of Wednesday titled ‘DD Phiri Insight’.

Times Group Editor-in- Chief, George Kasakula, Sunday described Phiri as a moving library and encyclopedia.

“He was a fantastic columnist who combined the almost impossible combination of economics, history and sociology. He wrote with competence and finesse. He was always timely with his columns. People think writing a column is easy. They start with enthusiasm but falter along the way. It was not the case with DD Phiri. We will miss him. May his soul rest in peace,” Kasakula said.

DD Phiri’s son, Kwame, said he remembers his father as a disciplinarian who wanted the best from his five children.

“He encouraged all his children to be disciplined and follow Christian values. He did all he could to encourage all of us, his children, to go to school,” he said.

Kwame said the body of Phiri, who was born on February 23 1931, would be laid to rest tomorrow at HHI Cemetery in Blantyre.

Books Phiri authored include Let Us Die for Africa: An African Perspective on the Life and Death of John Chilembwe of Nyasaland, From Nguni to Ngoni: A History of the Ngoni Exodus from Zululand and Swaziland to Malawi, Tanzania and Zambia.

Phiri also ran privately-owned Aggrey Memorial School at Trade Fair Grounds in Blantyre.

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