Hastings Kamuzu BandaLambert Ulrich (“Bertie”) CammReginald Sydney (“Reggie”) Murley

BMJ 1998; 316 doi: (Published 14 March 1998) Cite this as: BMJ 1998;316:868

Hastings Kamuzu Banda

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Former general practitioner Harlesden and president of Malawi (b 1898, two years after the British colonised his Chewa tribe; q Nashville, USA, 1937, Edinburgh 1941), died of pneumonia on 25 December 1997. Kamuzu (a little root) testifies to herbal help in his conception; he was baptised as Hastings. Witnessing an arrow removed from a man's back and later a woman dying in childbirth fired his interest in medicine. In Rhodesia and South Africa he worked in the mines, attended night school, and saved enough to travel to America. He experienced racism at first hand, witnessing a lynching near Chicago, but also benefited from white philanthropy and friendship. In 1937 he sailed for Scotland, where he spent three years in general practice. He refused to be conscripted during the war, and at its end established a general practice in Harlesden. He joined the Labour party, interacting with African intellectuals and activists in London, including Jomo Kenyatta and Kwame Nkrumah. His practice flourished and Banda is remembered with affection as a caring and kind doctor. In 1953 Banda went to Ghana for political and personal reasons: his affair with his …

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