‘Professor Kings Phiri was a great teacher’


Renowned historian Professor Kings Phiri who died Sunday at the age of 74 has been described as a great teacher, a man of impeccable integrity and a paragon of virtue.

Professor Danwood Chirwa who is a law lecturer at University of Cape Town in South Africa has said in a Facebook post that Phiri lived a life that can inspire generations.

He noted that several people had the privilege of being taught ‘Africa since 1800’, HIS100, by him at University of Malawi.

“For someone who’d not taken history at secondary school, I found Kings to be a great teacher. The irony was that the man wasn’t a great speaker, you know, et, you know, cetera! Kings taught us that one can be a terrific lecturer without being articulate or flamboyant.” Says Chirwa

Chirwa continued to say that Phiri always looked prepared for his lectures and never missed his lectures.

“He was always the first to enter the lecture hall. He took tutorials very seriously and delivered them himself. He respected students, male and female, and was fair to all,” he said.

Chirwa also noted that, as Head of History, Phiri consistently run departmental seminars at a time when sexual harassment of female students by lecturers, lecturers skipping classes and alcoholism among students and lecturers were rampant on campus.

“Most of people will remember Kings as a man of impeccable integrity, a paragon of virtue. He inspired students like me whom he taught and students he never taught.

“This man served Malawi with all his heart and to the best of his abilities. News of his death naturally causes untold grief and pain. But today, that pain is over. I will celebrate the life of a special man: a man who showed me that I could do humanities and be fine.”

Also writing on Facebook, writer and former cabinet minister Ken Lipenga who worked with Phiri at the University of Malawi in the 1980s said: “I have memories of a soft-spoken, extremely polite man, the embodiment of humility; and above all, an extraordinarily erudite scholar. With the passing of Professor Phiri, Malawi has lost one of its finest men of letters.”

Phiri authored books such as Twenty-Five Years of lndependence in Malawi, 1964-1989 as well as articles on precolonial, colonial and post-independence Malawian history.

Phiri has been buried today at Efeni, T.A. Mabilabo in Mzimba.

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