D.W.K. Macpherson
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An Appreciation



Diary in Portuguese East Africa and Nyasaland


This is a book about my father, David Macpherson; an extraordinary man living in an extraordinary time. This is his diary and the stories he wrote whilst hunting in Nyasaland (Malawi) and Portuguese East Africa (Mozambique) during 1928 - 1929.

He had acquired some of the skills and knowledge needed to track big game in Tanganyika (Tanzania) whilst serving with the King’s African Rifles. He resigned his commission with the army in 1926 and was starting anew, without the support of his hunter Hassani, and in strange country. He endured great hardship, danger and disappointment mingled with excitement and triumph in his search for elephant.

He was a pioneer of African ornithology, studying and making a collection of the birds of this part of the world. This collection is still held by the British Natural History Museum His discovery in 1933 of the beautiful White-winged Apalis subspecies in the forests on Thyolo Mountain was to bear his name.

My father used the money he raised elephant hunting to purchase farming land which he took up towards the end of 1929 - he never hunted again. He employed several hundred local people who worked the land as tenants. He lived his life and raised his family in Malawi; people came from all over the country to learn from his huge knowledge and experience of Africa. He was both loved and respected but not always liked. He did not suffer fools gladly and was intolerant of small children “who didn’t know how to behave”. With his family he was tough and his lessons were hard - there was no such word as ‘can’t’; it was “you can do anything if you really want to”. One didn’t ‘forget’ but “neglected to remember.”

He was a very private man. He spoke little of his adventures, but his writing has uncovered a treasure trove..










Copyright © 2005, Isabel Macpherson. All rights reserved.