J. Desmond Clark
In the 1970s and 1980s if one wanted
to study African archaeology, the University of California, Berkeley
was one's first choice. Why? Because Professor J. Desmond Clark
was there. I am one of the few African students who had never met
him before being admitted to Berkeley. So I looked forward to our
first meeting with great anticipation and a bit of fear. I had read
so much about his achievements and I knew so little about archaeology
that I dreaded the day. But the day had to come and it did. He was
on sabbatical in 1975-76 and was based at Palo Alto. He and Betty
drove all the way to Berkeley not just to see me but to pick me
up to spend the night with them at their house so that we should
know each other better. He went out of his way to make me feel at
ease. A lot has been written and a lot more will be written about
Desmond Clark's achievements and contribution to African archaeology.
One of his greatest achievements however, is his Africanization
of African archaeology by training African archaeologists. Desmond
Clark was instrumental in encouraging Africans to study archaeology
and to carry out research in their respective countries.He brought
many African students to Berkeley. Between 1972 and 1984 he trained
three Malawian students. During the same period Desmond was also
training other African students from Zambia, Tanzania, Kenya, Ethiopia
and Nigeria. Today the Desmond African Graduates are contributing
significantly to archaeological research, education, museum management,
cultural heritage conservation and other areas of public service
in their countries. Some of them are begining to have their own
offspring ("Desmonds's professional grandchildren!").
That indeed is the mark of great success. Desmond's soul must be
very happy where ever it is and may it rest in eternal peace.
-Yusuf M. Juwayeyi, Hunter College,
City University of New York and former Commissioner for Culture
and Ambassador of Malawi to the United Nations.