Renowned Malawian author, historian and economist Dr. Desmond Dudwa Phiri, popularly known as D.D. Phiri, has died this morning at Mwaiwathu Private Hospital in Blantyre.
His family has confirmed to the local media about Phiri’s death saying the historian will be buried on Tuesday at HHI Cemetery in the commercial city.
On Friday, the public broadcaster MBC reported that Phiri had been in the hospital for almost three weeks as he had breathing problems.
Writer Onjezani Kenani wrote on Facebook that Malawi has lost a great son who chronicled the history of the nation.
“Sad to learn of D.D. Phiri’s passing. For decades he, through his pen, chronicled the history of our nation and was an authority on John Chilembwe. He also dutifully wrote biographies of many men and women who played significant roles in building our nation. He also wrote fiction and plays and ran columns in The Nation newspaper for 25 years non-stop. We have lost a great son of the soil. May his soul rest in eternal peace,” Kenani said.
Phiri was born in Mzimba and was the Principal and proprietor of the Aggrey Memorial School in Blantyre.
He went to Blantyre Secondary School and Livingstonia Secondary School. He later moved to England and studied Economics, History, and Sociology at the London School of Economics (part of the University of London).
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.
As an author, Phiri was an acclaimed national and international figure who received accolades from the University of Malawi, Pan African Writers association (PAWA) and Malawi Writers Union (MAWU).
He published 17 books in the fields of history, sociology and economics and was columnist in The Nation newspaper.
His books include Let Us Die for Africa: An African Perspective on the Life and Death of John Chilembwe of Nyasaland and Dunduzu K. Chisiza and Inkosi Gomani II: Maseko-Ngoni Paramount Chief Who Suffered Martyrdom for His People and Country published 1973.
He also wrote history books such as From Nguni to Ngoni: A History of the Ngoni Exodus from Zululand and Swaziland to Malawi, Tanzania and Zambia, History of Malawi: From Earliest Times to the Year 1915 published in 2004 and History of the Tumbuka People published in 2000.
Phiri was also a novelist with novels in Tumbuka language such as Mankhwala a Ntchito, Kanakazi Kayaya and Ku Msika wa Vyawaka.