BLANTYRE-(MaraviPost)-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 Sunday morning at Mwayiwanthu hospital 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.
Conleith Chester Selenje, Research coordinator for Lost History Foundation in a press statement made available to Maravi Post says, “We have always admired not only his vivid documentation of Malawi history but also the depth of his analytical work on the political economy of Malawi and his immaculate image of a distinguished intellectual.
“We will continue to immensely utilise his writings on history as valuable reference materials, and himself will remain forever in our hearts as our role model in our journey of digging and interrogating the history of Malawi which has remained purposefully hidden, distorted and misrepresented for a long time”.
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’.
Maravi Post Senior Editor Janet Karim described Phiri as a moving library and encyclopedia.
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.
The family member told this publication that DD Phiri’s ailing health has been lack of appetite with no or little food consumption and for almost a week he has been panicky breathing.
DD Phiri was this week on Oxygen-dialysis machine.
Dr. Phiri was instrumental to historical and economic analysis of the country
Phiri received an honorary doctorate from the University of Malawi.
He worked as a diplomat in the foreign service and retired from the civil service in 1976.