In memoriam: Milan Kalous, 1936–2017

08 January 2018
Dr Milan Kalous playing chess

Dr Milan Kalous, a lecturer in History at the University of Auckland in the 1970s, passed away peacefully at the Elizabeth Knox Home, in Epsom, on 19 September 2017. He was 81 years old.

Milan Kalous was born on 23 January 1936 in Prague in the former Czechoslovakia. He attended Charles University in Prague, studying History and several foreign languages. He completed his PhD in African history in 1966 with a thesis entitled 'The Oldest History of Southern Nigeria'.

After posts in the Soviet Union, Ghana, and Sierra Leone, he began lecturing at the University of Auckland in 1971. Milan became a New Zealand citizen and taught African history through the 1970s. He left the University to take a post in the Department of African Civilisation and World History at the University of Maiduguri in Nigeria in 1979.  

Health problems prompted Milan to return to New Zealand in 1980. He lived in Mangamuka Bridge, Kaitaia, and Papatoetoe, where he wrote a history of Papatoetoe for the Town Council. After a visiting appointment at the University of Bayreuth in Germany from 1984 to 1985, he retired to Auckland, where he wrote about African history and gave private lessons in various languages and the game of chess, one of his life-long passions.

Milan suffered a stroke in 1989, but continued to play chess with a grateful group of visitors up to his death, due to a second stroke.

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