Merfyn's life in print and on film

PUBLISHED: 10:36 04 February 2010 | UPDATED: 00:52 16 June 2010

MERFYN Temple at his book launch in Honiton.

MERFYN Temple at his book launch in Honiton.

There was an appealing and poignant bonus available for those who attended retired Methodist minister Merfyn Temple s book launch in Honiton last Saturday - a black and white film from the 1950s, showing his life and work in Africa.

There was an appealing and poignant bonus available for those who attended retired Methodist minister Merfyn Temple's book launch in Honiton last Saturday - a black and white film from the 1950s, showing his life and work in Africa.

As the 90-year-old signed copies of Zambia Stole My Heart - Volume One for a steady line of locals in St Paul's Church, many then moved to another room and saw Merfyn, his late wife, Audrey, and his children working there.

He was seen cycling away from home to visit parts of his large designated station, near Lusaka in central Zambia.

Audrey, a doctor, was featured taking care of local men, women and children, but didn't shirk another test when she organised men to beat back a corn field fire and even wielding a brush herself.

Children from nearby villages were seen happily playing where the Temple family lived.

As Merfyn explains in his book, he combined teaching peasant farmers about religion with passing on tips about how to improve their way of working in the fields with their crops. Alongside Merfyn as he signed books and talked to visitors and Methodist ministers from across East Devon was Shimwaayi Muntemba, whose charity for orphans in Zambia will receive all profits from the book.

"I first met him, his wife and his family when I was only a youngster and we all called him Mulutu Tempulu," said Shimwaayi.

"They were very different from any other white people we came into contact with.

"Perhaps, as a child, I didn't really understand words like injustice and politics but, years later, when I came to the UK to work for a PhD degree, I realised what he was trying to teach the people he lived among for so many years.

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