Fergus Macpherson, Church of Scotland missionary in Zambia and Malawi and historian, was born on 9 August 1921 at Newmilns, Scotland. He was educated at Edinburgh University and New College and graduated MA in 1943. Between 1943 and 1944 he was student assistant at Edinburgh Nichloson Street and from 1944 to 1946 at Guthie Memorial. Macpherson was ordained in 1946 and left in the same year for missionary service in Mufulira, Northern Rhodesia (Zambia) where he stayed until 1950. He worked as a minister and as a manager of schools, and developed an increasing interest in Zambian history and education and Zambian interaction with missionaries and with European culture in general. From 1951-1954 he was stationed at Lubwa and later was for three years Principal of the Overtoun Institute, Livingstonia, Malawi. In 1959 he resigned from service in Northern Rhodesia and was inducted to Greenock St Ninian's near Glasgow where he stayed until 1964. Macpherson returned to Zambia and took a post as research historian at the University of Zambia, Lusaka and was director of the Kenneth Kaunda Foundation.
Returning to Scotland in 1978, Macpherson worked at Auld Kirk Kilbirnie until 1984 when he was appointed World Mission Secretary to the British Council of Churches. He finally retired in October 1988. Macpherson was well known in Zambia and was a personal friend of Kenneth Kaunda. Widely respected as a scholar and historian Macpherson has published several works on Zambia and its history as well as some fiction. He was awarded a DD from Edinburgh University.