Dr ALISON REDMAYNE, a dedicated and meticulous anthropologist known chiefly for her ethnographic and historical research among the Hehe and neighbouring peoples of Tanzania, died on 20 February 2013, aged 76. During the 1960s she produced a small but important body of research which remain the standard works on the precolonial and colonial history of the Hehe. She also made tape-recordings of a large corpus of oral tradition and musical performances in the field which are now preserved and digitised in the British Library. Her careful description of Hehe resistance and eventual submission to German military force highlighted an episode of enduring significance to the history and historiography of Tanzania and colonial violence. Alison was adopted as a member of the Hehe royal family, and used her Hehe name (Mung’anzagala Gisakamutemi Msengidunda Semugongolwa) with considerable pride. The people of Iringa and Mufindi will remember her for her deep knowledge of their past and present, and for her unending devotion to their welfare.
(Abridged from a longer obituary by Martin Walsh, written for the Journal of the Anthropological Society of Oxford)
Dr ANDREW DAVIS, who died on January 10 aged 84, was director of parasitic diseases for the World Health Organisation (WHO) and champion of Praziquantel – a life-saving drug against the tropical disease schistosomiasis. Schistosomiasis (also known as bilharzia) is a tropical worm disease and although not usually fatal, it can severely affect internal organs and, in children, lead to stunted growth and brain damage. Davis’s work involved the clinical pharmacology of drugs, notably Praziquantel, which he helped distribute to those in need: some 200 million people. After graduating from Durham Medical School in 1951, he reached the rank of acting lieutenant-colonel during his National Service in the Army. Davis was appointed director of the WHO bilharziasis chemotherapy centre at Tanga on the East African coast in what is now Tanzania in 1962. There he investigated various preparations of the metal antimony against schistosomiasis, work that gained him his doctorate. Thank you to David Kelly for this item, reported in the Telegraph.
IAN McKEEVER, who was leading 22 Irish charity climbers up Mount Kilimanjaro, was struck by lightning and killed on December 30. His fiancée, Anna O’Louglin, 34, whom he was due to marry in September, was injured in the storm, as were up to six other members of the expedition. In 2008 Mr McKeever helped godson Sean McSharry aged 10 to become the youngest person from Europe to scale the mountain. (Telegraph and Evening Standard)