Madama Di - A Nyasaland Policeman

Madama Di - A Nyasaland Policeman



Margaret Metcalfe was married to Major Charles C Metcalfe of the Kings African Rifles. They arrived in Nyasaland (now Malawi) in about 1910 where he served in the multi-battalion British colonial regiment raised from Britain’s various possessions in British East Africa from 1902 until independence in the 1960s. This portrait of the native Nyasaland policeman, Madama Di, shows him in the uniform of the Nyasaland units and wearing their distinctive black feze. Margaret was a distinguished anthropologist, archaeologist and talented artist who first started on pioneering research in Central Malawi in the early 1920s. She famously explored and described the rock paintings of the Dedza Hill in central Malawi and her descriptive survey, Some Rock Paintings in Nyasaland, was published in The Nyasaland Journal in 1956. The article was illustrated with her own drawings of the rock paintings. Metcalfe is credited by J Desmond Clark with propelling the development of prehistoric studies in Malawi, her article being the first to report on the region’s antiquities. She donated a number of masks and beads to the British Museum. In 1944 Major Metcalfe retired from the army and they purchased the Namikango Estate from the Thondwe Tobacco Company and became tobacco farmers. They eventually retired to England in 1961.


Height 119.38 cm / 47 "
Width 86.36 cm / 34 "
Framed height 163.83 cm / 64 "
Framed width 129.54 cm / 51 "