My father-in-law, Lawrence Vambe, who has died aged 102, was a journalist and historian who chronicled the history of Zimbabwe from the time of the arrival of the white colonists until the middle of the 20th century.

He was born in the village of Chishawasha in what was then Southern Rhodesia, where his father, Joseph, was a peasant farmer. Lawrence was born during an influenza pandemic, which killed his mother when he was a baby. He was taken into care by Jesuits who had a mission there. Lawrence attended Kutama College, where Robert Mugabe was also educated. Although Mugabe was seven years younger, the two became well acquainted when Lawrence returned as a teacher.

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