Richard Seymour Hall

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Richard Seymour Hall (22 July 1925 – 14 November 1997) was a British journalist and historian, writing primarily about Africa.

He was born in Margate, and spent several years of his childhood in Australia. On returning to the UK with his mother after his parents separated he attended Hastings Grammar School. After a short period working as a junior reporter on local newspapers he enlisted and served as a signaler in the Royal Navy. After WW2 he obtained a place at Oxford University and received an honours degree from Keble College, Oxford. During this time he married Barbara Hall.

He worked first on Fleet Street for the Daily Mail, and then went to Northern Rhodesia where he was co-founder and editor of the African Mail (also known as the Central African Mail) with Alexander Scott.[1]

Throughout the 1950s and 1960s he remained at the centre of the de-colonisation process in Zambia, with friendships that included Kenneth Kaunda, who became first president of Zambia. Following Zambia's independence in 1964 he became editor of the Times of Zambia a newspaper owned by Tiny Rowland.

In 1967 he returned to England as African correspondent of The Observer, including reporting on the Biafran war. He later became editor of the Observer Magazine, and during that time was a proponent of an ultimately unsuccessful fight for greater journalistic independence from its owners. During the early 1980s he worked as a senior columnist for the Financial Times. In 1986 he founded his own financial and political bulletin Africa Analysis.[2][3]

He remained active both as editor of Africa Analysis and as an author until his death in 1997. Richard Hall married twice, first to Barbara Hall, a successful journalist and author in her own right and a respected crossword compiler and puzzles editor for the Sunday Times. His second marriage was to Carol Cattley, whom he met whilst working at the Observer. Richard Hall had 5 sons from his first marriage.


He wrote a number of books on Africa politics, history, and biography, for adults and children.

For adults[edit]

  • Empires of the Monsoon: A History of the Indian Ocean and its Invaders, HarperCollins 1998. ISBN 0006380832
    • Chinese translation: 季风帝国 印度洋及其入侵者的历史, Gingko (Beijing) Ltd, 2018. ISBN 978-7-201-14341-5
  • My Life with Tiny: A Biography of Tiny Rowland, Faber and Faber, 1987. ISBN 0571147372
  • Lovers on the Nile: The Incredible African Journeys of Sam and Florence Baker, Random House, 1980. ISBN 0394502272
    • Spanish translation, Los Amantes del Nilo
  • (with Hugh Peyman) The Great Uhuru Railway: China's Showpiece in Africa, Gollancz, 1976. ISBN 057502089X
  • Zambia 1890-1964: The Colonial period, 1976. ISBN 0582646200
  • Stanley: An Adventurer Explored, Houghton Mifflin, 1975. ISBN 0395194261. According to WorldCat, the book is held in 1312 libraries[4]
    • Japanese translation by Kiyotaka Yoneda, 栄光と幻想 : 探検家スタンレー伝 / Eikō to gensō, OCLC 672634044
  • The High Price of Principles: Kaunda and the White South, 1969, Holmes & Meier. ISBN 0841900388
  • Zambia, Praeger, 1966, 357 pages, OCLC 420544

For young people[edit]

  • Explorers in Africa. Usborne Publishing, 1975, ISBN 0860200132
  • Discovery of Africa Hamlyn 1970, ISBN 060000130X
    • Also published in French as Decouverte de l'afrique
  • Kaunda, founder of Zambia. Longmans, 1967.


  1. ^ Cockcroft, Laurence (19 November 1997). "Obituaries: Richard Hall: Tough Love For Africa" (PDF). The Guardian. Retrieved 4 January 2018.
  2. ^ "Obituary". The Times. Retrieved 4 January 2018.
  3. ^ Anthony Sampson, "Dick Hall, a passion for Africa". The Observer, 1997.
  4. ^ WorldCat identities

External links[edit]