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Papers of Fergus Macpherson (1921-2002)

Identifier: CSWC 49

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of: transcripts and translations of oral interviews with Kenneth Kaunda and colleagues, and with many Zambians from different areas of the country; the interviews touched on social, political and religious changes in Zambia (mainly conducted 1960s-1973, but referring back to the 19th century and David Livingstone); papers on Zambian history and religion presented at oral history seminars (1971-1974); material on the African National Congress (Zambia), the United National Independence Party, nationalism and Federation including correspondence, circulars, bulletins, minutes and papers (1951-1970s); other papers and circulars on Zambia; and copies from archives and research notes made by Macpherson.

Content warning: contains offensive language and accounts of violence.


  • Creation: [ca. 1951-1975]

Language of Materials

English, Bemba

Conditions Governing Access

Contact the repository for details.

Conditions Governing Use

CSWC 49/ Box 5 (1971-1972) Open CSWC 49/Box 19 (c.1869-1969) Open for consultation but copying may be restricted.

Biographical / Historical

Fergus Macpherson, Church of Scotland missionary in Zambia and Malawi and historian, was born on 9 August 1921 at Newmilns, Scotland. He was educated at Edinburgh University and New College and graduated MA in 1943. Between 1943 and 1944 he was student assistant at Edinburgh Nicoloson Street and from 1944-46 at Guthie Memorial. Macpherson was ordained in 1946 and left in the same year for missionary service in Mufulira, Northern Rhodesia (Zambia) where he stayed until 1950. He worked as a minister and as a manager of schools, and developed an increasing interest in Zambian history and education and Zambian interaction with missionaries and with European culture in general. From 1951-1954 he was stationed at Lubwa and later was for three years Principal of the Overtoun Institute, Livingstonia, Malawi. In 1959 he resigned from service in Northern Rhodesia and was inducted to Greenock St Ninian's near Glasgow where he stayed until 1964. Macpherson returned to Zambia and took a post as research historian at the University of Zambia, Lusaka and was director of the Kenneth Kaunda Foundation. Returning to Scotland in 1978 he worked at Auld Kirk Kilbirnie until 1984 when he was appointed World Mission Secretary to the British Council of Churches. He finally retired in October 1988. Macpherson was well known in Zambia and was a personal friend of Kenneth Kaunda. Widely respected as a scholar and historian Macpherson has published several works on Zambia and its history as well as some fiction. He was awarded a DD from Edinburgh University.


19 boxes


The material is arranged as described above. When the material was deposited the boxes had been labelled by Macpherson and the labels have been kept as the file titles above. The order of the boxes and files has been somewhat changed to allow, for example, the interviews to be grouped together but the order of papers within the files has not been touched.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The collection was presented to the Centre for the Study of Christianity in the Non-Western World by Fergus Macpherson in the 1990s.


None expected.

Related Materials

The Centre Library holds many books and pamphlets on Zambia.


Some of the material consists of notes and copies from archives in various locations including Rhodes House, Oxford and Lusaka, Zambia. Copies of archives held elsewhere cannot be reproduced for readers and they should contact the original repository.


The biographical history was compiled using Fasti Ecclesiae Scotticanae (editions 9, 10, and 11).

Language of description
Script of description
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Repository Details

Part of the University of Edinburgh Library Heritage Collections Repository

Centre for Research Collections
University of Edinburgh Main Library
George Square
Edinburgh EH8 9LJ Scotland
+44(0)131 650 8379