Merfyn Temple

The title page of the book he published in 1950. In later years, when I worked with him, Merfyn had moved into a much more active social and political role. Indeed, along with the Rev Colin Morris, he was one of Kenneth Kaunda's mentors. At that stage, he was a little embarrassed about the style of this book, as it was patronising, in the old missionary sense of the term.

Merfyn's preface to the book.

As well as the general bookshop in the main shopping centre in Kitwe, and the educational depot in Blantyre Road, we had outlets for educational books and stationery all over the Copperbelt. One of our staff would drive round them all, each week, replenish their stock, and balance the accounts. In some cases, as seen here, the books were simply spread out on the ground.

In other cases, we rented small premises. This one has the standard large front window, with a grille to prevent theft, and evidently a very young bookseller on duty.

We also had a mobile bookshop, in the form of a large van, which toured the outlying parts of the country. Merfyn initiated the use of specially equipped scooters (remember Vespas?). This the the Lusaka (head office) scooter, with its bookmobile section opened up for display and sales.

When Merfyn had a similar scooter equipped for us to use on the Copperbelt, he personally drove it, at some dreadfully slow speed, all the way up from Lusaka. That's the sort of thing he did. He was a giant among humans. We had the official launching and blessing. Merfyn can be seen on the left. The man wearing a cassock is, of course, Canon Eaton. I think the lady must be the mayoress, because the mayor is next. He was probably, come to think of it, the last "white" mayor of Kitwe. On the right, the Rev Gordon Morris, the minister of Kitwe United Church.

Although this letter headed "Confidential", I think it can go into the public archive after all these years. It is the letter Merfyn wrote to us when he decided to return to the UK, after so many years in Africa. You can get an idea of the spirit of the man, the giant, simply from the way he writes. It wasn't long after that, I believe, that he was featured in the UK media. He decided to go on a fast, sitting on the steps of Westminster Abbey or somewhere equally grand, in protest about some social cause dear to his heart. A giant of a man.