Zambia has over 73 different tribes, with a population of just over nine million people most of whom live in and around the urban centres.


I was only a little girl, only 18 months old, when my parents went out to Africa ... back in 1956. My father was tired of the life in England and the Government politics and systems. A company was looking for people to go out to Africa or America to build towns, houses, roads etc. My father, being an engineer, was given the choice to accept the job in either country - he chose Africa! The job was in ...

Northern Rhodesia
... in central Africa (now called Zambia)

Country Profile

My dad went out alone, leaving me and my mum in England until the men had built houses for the women and families to live in.

He was stationed on the Copper Belt near the Congo border and it was his job to maintain the vehicles for the construction company. Copper had been found in abundance in the area and the mine eventually became one of the biggest open-cast mines in the world!


The Roads in Zambia

When we first went out to Northern Rhodesia the roads were virtually non existent ... some were mere tracks through the bush. Petrol stations were few and far between ... you learnt to take with you on journeys extra fuel, spare tyres, numerous spare parts including a shovel ... for digging yourself out of a swampy pothole! All main roads were gravel which in the rainy season used to get very muddy and flooded.

The Great North Road was the dream of Cecil Rhodes to have a highway running from one end of the country to the other ... Cape Town to Cairo!!

I still have the book Trans African Highway which describes the routes between the two cities! It is interesting in that it quotes "turn left at the big tree and then drive 100 miles to the rocky outcrop where you then turn right" ...

Tarmac first appeared in the form of two narrow strips. Then the small middle section between the strips was later tarred. The road was gradually built up by adding strips on either side ...


6 months later my mum and me came out to Northern Rhodesia. The journey took 3 days by air as there were no direct flights. My mum described the journey as terrifying as she had never been in a plane before and the trip from Lusaka, the capital of  Northern Rhodesia, to Ndola aerodrome was in a small charter plane that shook and rattled!

My dad collected her and me from the aerodrome and drove along the narrow strip road some hundred miles away. In the above picture of the Bancroft Mine sign and the Congo border sign you can see that the road, although sand, was quite good as it was constructed with the mine machinery, but in the picture below you can see what a "bush road" was like.

The road to Kafue

My mother had thought she had landed in hell! It was hot! Temperatures in the summer months reached well over 100 degrees Fareinheit. October was called "suicide month" as men often actually committed suicide with the heat!

She was fearful of the natives, never having seen so many black-skinned people before.

She was fearful of the wild animals that she could hear calling in the night. There were all kinds of animals and creatures she had never seen - snakes were always a danger. She cried when she saw our house!


Our first house! ... No electricity. No running water as such. No toilet. Water was collected in 44 gallon drums and fed by gravity into the house (which you can see in the photo). Water was heated over an open fire. And the toilet? It was outside ... a hole in the ground covered with a makeshift seat made out of wood.

As the towns grew, life improved for the ex-patriates there - schools and hospitals were built, shops, cinemas sprang up. Progress and technology came ... running water, toilets, swimming pools, new cars ...etc.

My father bought a boat and we spent many a weekend boating down the local rivers which incidentally were teaming with wildlife - fish, crocodiles, hippos ... Yes we saw many a mean tooth glinting in the clear waters!

My mother recoiled in horror when the natives told us what to do in case of an attack by one of these fearsome creatures.

And there were tales of how some people had been trapped in a tree for 24 hours when their boat had been charged and smashed by an angry hippo!

No one dare go swimming in these rivers! Well apart from some drunken German teenagers one day ... barely 100 yards downstream from where we had seen about 20 crocodiles! My mother panicked when the lads wanted to come on board our boat for a ride ... they were hanging on to the sides and the boat was rocking violently!

I recall an incident that was reported in the local newspaper, and is mentioned in the book

Among Animals of Africa by Bernhard Grzimek.

In September 1962 some children belonging to a settler named William Cox, three boys ranging in age from 8 - 12, were bathing in the Kafue River at Chingola. John Maxwell, a British policeman who was also bathing in the river, caught sight of a 16-foot crocodile swimming towards the children.

He immediately dived in and hoisted the boys on to a rock, but was seized by the leg and dragged under. Being a resourceful and athletic man, he compelled the crocodile to release him by gouging out its eyes.

Meanwhile, a young African woman named Malomi had come running in response to his cries. Although unable to swim she plunged into the water, helped Maxwell on to her back, and carried the gravely injured man to safety on all fours.

John Maxwell had his left leg amputated, was flown to England and invested with the George Medal.


John Green remembers that John Maxwell had been assigned to farm patrol - a job he seemed to relish and of course he made many farmer friends between Chingola and Solwezi.

The night before, Maxwell had mentioned that he was going to the river with the Cox children and Green remembers reminding him of the crocs that were plentiful in those days. John Green had a plot on the river at that time and had been in the country a lot longer than John Maxwell so he felt justified in warning him. However Maxwell shrugged off the warnings and the next day off he went.

Although Green cannot vouch for the next part of the story he thinks that Maxwell was hauling his body out of the water when the croc siezed him by his right leg and dragged him back into the river. But Maxwell, always a fighter, gave it a mighty punch on the snout and suprisingly it let go of him. By this time however Maxwell was in the centre of the river and turned to clamber on to a large rock. Just as he was attempting to climb out of the water the croc came at him again.

This time it got a good grip on Maxwell's other leg and it took him down to the bottom of the river, holding him down there hoping to drown him. Maxwell later told Green it could have only been a minute down there but it seemed like a life time.

But once again the croc underestimated Maxwell and he felt along its jaws and teeth with one hand either side of its jaws until he came to its eyes and then gouged them both out with his thumbs. That did the trick and the croc immediatley let go of his leg. However, the damage was terrible to see and this leg was nearly severed. Maxwell pulled himself out of the water and laid on the rock in the middle of the river.

The commotion had attracted the attention of the African lady, who on seeing Maxwell's plight, waded out to him. She some how got him to the bank and into his land rover where he fitted himself up with two tourniquet's one on each leg. He then got a young woman who could not drive to steer the vehicle whilst he changed gears.

He just managed to make it back to the main road to Chingola where he flagged down a motorist. He only just made it into hospital before he died from loss of blood - a very courageous man.

John Green went to see him the next day and was amazed at the change in him. John Maxwell's hair had turned white over night and the shock and pain in his eyes was terrible to see. They had amputated one leg straight away and were considering taking off the other one.

Maxwell was eventually sent to the Uk where he spent months in a Liverpool hospital recuperating. There he met a nurse who was looking after him and eventually married her. In fact, the nurse ... Janet, had read about his bravery in the papers and decided that she just had to meet him.

John returned to the force and carried on his duties with great gusto never letting his leg bother him. When he later retired he went into the private detective game and in 1976 he was still living in Ndola.

Nico Samsara remembers that when he was aged 5 he played with John Maxwell's children when they were living in Ndola and that they had a dog called Loopy and a white VW Beetle.

John Maxwell is now living here in the Uk and I believe that he is now divorced.


The crocodile, I recall was eventually shot and when they split its belly out tumbled an assortment of human remains, some still wearing bracelets.


Wildlife   Conservation   Poaching

Species Information

The natives often used to take baby animals from the wild and sell them to the Europeans.

My father felt sorry for the tiny little fledglings, some without even feathers, that the natives brought and he tried to act as their "mother" by feeding them with an eyedropper ... but his efforts were usually in vain as they were just too young to have been taken from the nest.

 The longest "survivor" was a Golden Oriel ... He came everywhere with us and really thought my mum and dad were his parents! He used to hop around the house chirping and singing and it was if he was asking what everyone was doing ... he was very inquisitive. Unfortunately, it was through his inquisitiveness that he met with his accident. He was inspecting the undersole of my dad's shoe but my dad didn't see him there and ...... I cried my heart out when the little thing died.

We had a couple of Bush Babies (Nagapies) as "pets", again that the natives had brought to us when they were babies, and when they were old enough my dad used to let them back into the wild.


Bush Baby

Other interesting wildlife were the huge Emperor Moths whose wingspan could reach to 190cm!



Mopane Worms

Insects have been widely used across Southern Africa and form an important part of many people's diets. Among these a caterpillar (the Emperor Moth) that feeds on the mopane tree, known as the mopane worm, is considered a delicacy by rural and, increasingly, urban populations in southern Africa and beyond.

Courtesy of:

Forestry Research Programme of the UK Department for International Development (DFID)



Putu (a stiff maize meal porrige) and Kapenta was a favourite meal of the servants in Chingola and is a national dish of Zambia. As children we often went to their quarters to eat this dish with them ... although I never ate the little fish!

Kapenta (Limnothrissa miodon) first came to the towns and cities of Zambia from Lake Tanganyika, although as early as 1860, the explorer Richard Burton had described the use of circular nets lowered from a canoe to catch fish attracted by the light of an mbaula (wood-fired brazier).

In 1967 250,000 sardine fry were released into Lake Kariba from Lake Tanganyika. This involved 26 airlifts. In August and September 1968, a second series of flights took place and over 120,000 sardines were released.

Read more about these little fish ...


Courtesy of :

The Lowdown - Zambia's Online Magazine


Chameleons, Dung Beetles, and the colorful Agama lizards.

Chameleon (left) ... Agama Lizard (right)

Large 2.5cm black ants, called Matabele Ants.


Over the years we had several pet animals. We had a Jack Russell dog called Sally.

I also had a white rat called Snowy, which had been sold to me by one of the native children for a tickey (3 pence). Snowy and I were inseperable ... he used to like sitting on my shoulder behind my hair, and when you put him on the floor he used to sniff around until he found me and then run up my arm to his favourite place.

We also had a "pet" pig ... 


Percy the Pig was in fact Christmas Dinner. He was supposed to have been delivered on Christmas Eve ready slaughtered and prepared.

However there was a mis-communication with the butcher and "Percy" the Pig was delivered two weeks before Christmas and very much alive. He immediately became my pet pig ... and I loved him!

Two days before Christmas my mum told me that Percy had to go on holiday ... back to the farm when he had come from. I was happy for Percy, he would have a lovely time with all the other pigs!

The next day another pig arrived ... dead. Mum tried fervently to convince me that this was NOT Percy ... but I knew that it was! I was heart broken! That Christmas I refused to eat any dinner!


As the wildlife was so much in abundance, many men turned to fishing and hunting for sport. My father, although he owned a shotgun, never went hunting. He wasn't much of a fisherman either, but tried his hand. We went on several camping trips into the "bush" as we called it, in pursuit of river fish. My father's love was for the camping and the travel, and of course the boating.

Rodwin Dam was a small man-made lake where we used to go camping quite a lot. There were modern facilities there ... a small shop, a café restaurant, a small wildlife centre. It was safe to swim in and we all used to have a wonderful time on the rope swings and rafts, having barbeques etc.

Mufulira Dam was also a man-made dam but much larger than Rodwin. Many people went here with speed-boats and yachts. I remember my dad drooling over a blue and white boat, with white padded leather upholstery, and equipped with two 500cc inboard Mercury engines! Ours by this time had a 350cc outboard West Bend engine, but was still our original boat.

Mufulira was where I learnt how to catch my first fish. I am petrified of fish! And my friend Robin Haynes had to bait the line for me with the worms and then had to remove the tiny little flapping creature from the hook! ... much to his amusement.


Instead of hunting and fishing, my dad's real love was for speed! As much as he loved the boat, it wasn't enough.

Some of his friends also had this passion and had imported a couple of scrambler bikes which they used on their farm. They built a small track and would often have mini-races on weekends. Talk began about ...Wouldn't it be nice if we had a real track?!?

So that's what they did ... built a race-track ... for cars! I remember all our weekends down at the track ... constructing it. They brought in the Mine's earth and bush clearing machinery, the Town Council's graders and road-rollers, scrounged every garage and petrol station for used oil to compact the soil ... and built it!

My dad and his friends were in their element! My dad built his own race car, a Triumph Special. Ken Hill bought his in South Africa and shipped it back. And so my dad became a race car driver. He won nearly every race. The community became impressed and interested ... soon they were holding regular competition races with drivers from other parts of  Northern Rhodesia, from Southern Rhodesia, and from South Africa.


One day while we were at the track in the days that it was still being built, a troop of monkeys decended from the trees. The natives whom we had brought along to help out became excited!

"Bwana," said one of them to Ken Hill, "lend me your gun." Ken always brought his gun along just in case we needed protection from  the odd lion or elephant. Ken gave the guy his gun, and the two natives set about firing at the monkeys. They must have shot about a dozen.

Their wives who had also come along for the day collected up the dead critters and set out skinning them, tossing their heads and bodies into a large cooking pot. My mum and Ken's wife, were horrified ... "Surely they are not going to eat them"? asked my mum. "Yup" said Ken. I went to have a look ... I still remember the little heads floating in a pool of blood and water!

My dad became chairman of the Nchanga Motor Sports Club. They tarmacked the track, and upped the stakes by awarding prize money and trophies. One of the trophies, the Vic Paulsen Trophy he won in both years' events. Had he won it the third time in succession he would have been able to have kept the cup. But sadly he lost control of his car and crashed, and the trophy was awarded to someone else. After that he gave up the racing ... probably at the insistence of my mother!


After the little "native house" we lived in an apartment block in Bancroft for about 2 years and then my father got a job with the Town Council in Chingola. It is Chingola where I grew up and went to school.
I started at the Convent School which I hated because the nuns were heavy handed with the cane and I remember my first day vividly ...
I was hit over the knuckles with the cane because I couldn't write my name! Even at the tender age of 4 I thought to myself that I was at school to learn and the nuns were there to teach me, and that it was terribly unfair of them to chastise me for not being able to write! I hated  the Convent and cried and protested every day when the bus came to the house to fetch me.

Eventually I was moved to Chingola Kindergarten, the Government School, and later attended Chingola Primary School. Both of which I loved.

I remember playing in the park with friends. Going on adventures on bicycles with the boys into the "bush" to play by the stream or by the railway line. A favourite game was to sit under the low railway bridge until a train came by and being both terrified and excited as the huge engine and carriages came thundering over the bridge!

I remember going with friends to the swimming pool, an Olympic sized one, with high diving boards and a paddling pool for the little kids. We used to take sandwiches and spend the day there.

I did ballet, climbed trees, played with the neighbours dogs ... child things. Toys were hard to come by and expensive so my father made me things. He made me a dolls bed, he made me a scooter, he made me a see-saw, he made me a wendy-house.

My father loved making things. He made some motor-bikes called Corgis which could be folded down and transported in the back of a small van or car.

In Chingola we first lived in a road called The Close, and then in a road called Kabundi Road.

Whichever house we lived in my father used to build things and make gardens. He was also renowned for his metal work and would always make wrought-iron fences, gates, signs ... even tables and chairs! He made the lamp at Kabundi Road.

One of his "trade-marks" was paving and patios. It didn't matter that we never actually owned any of the houses, we only rented them ... my dad had to build his patios.

The patio was hung with coloured lights and there was a barbeque. We had many outdoor parties, and we kids thought it was all so magical with all the lights. The hot weather made outdoor living almost a necessity.

It used to rain every day ... regularly at 4.30p.m. for about half an hour and then once again the sun came out. When it rained it was a tropical downpour ... thunder, lightning ... like all of god's wrath! Roads flooded at the storm-water drains couldn't cope with the volume of water flowing down them. The "street pools" were wonderful for us kids ... we used to splash about in them. I was often brought home by neighbours thoroughly soaked ... much to the dismay of my mother!

Thoughout all our time in Africa my parents never, like other expatriates, employed servants. My father didn't believe in it.

Both he and my mother had grown up in service in their youth and knew that it was a demeaning, often thankless job, that was not well paid.

He didn't think that the natives should be employed in this way especially when they had their own families to look after.

If they came to him asking for work, he would try and find them a position in a firm where they could (theoretically) earn better money and learn a trade. And he always treated the natives fairly, never insisting that they call him "bwana" or bow and scrape to him ... "a man has to have his dignity".

He employed a man in a servant capacity only once - when the man had begged and pleaded with him for work and none was available.

My father gave the native man the job of helping my mother around the house and some gardening work in the interim while he could help him to find better work. But the man didn't stay long ... he stole my dad's watch, some clothes, food and disappeared before my dad could fire him!

We did a lot of travelling ... my father was an adventurer! We went to places in the north ... Samfiya Beach at Lake Banguela, Itimpi, the Kafue River. The quickest route to these places was through the Belgian Congo.

We also went south ... to Victoria Falls. To Kariba Dam ... the largest made-man dam in the world.


Kariba Dam 1960





Kariba means "narrow gorge".

It was built to harness the river for a hydro-electric plant.
There were 6 turbo generators in use and provision was made for the installation of a second set.

The dam wall is a double curvature concrete arch with a crest length of 618m and a height of 128m. A 12m road runs along the top and the 6 flood gates each measure 9.1m by 9.4m.

The dam created a lake 274km long by 32km wide. In this photo the dam is not yet full.

The ball on the right is one of the huge iron balls that were chained together and used to clear the bushveld for the construction of the lake.

Tiger Fish and Bream and plentiful in the lake and cruising on the lake is like sailing on an inland sea. There is now accommodation at Kariba including hotels, motels, and boatels.

More about Kariba

Operation Noah

The building of the dam, although beneficial for the country as a source of hydro-electricity, and a vast expanse of readily available water, meant that the local tribespeople living in the gorge and near to the river would be displaced. They were fearful of displeasing the river god not to mention losing their tribal lands. Eventually they did leave and were relocated on higher ground and many have benefitted from the fishing and other income that the dam has produced.

However the building of the dam was beseiged by problems. A few lost their lives in various accidents and irregular flooding several times washed away the dam wall ... claimed by the tribesfolk to be the wrath of the rivergod!

No-one though accounted for the wildlife ... when the waters began to rise the animals naturally sought higher ground ... only to be trapped on small islands which were becoming more and more submerged.

Read about Operation Noah and how the animals were saved

Courtesy of : Zambian Tourist Board

We went to Southern Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) ... to Zimbabwe Ruins, the Matopas Hills where Cecil Rhodes is buried, to Salisbury (Harare), Bulawayo, Sinoia Caves, the  Mazoe Valley, Wanki Game Reserve, Pungwe Gorge, the Bridal Veil Falls ...

My uncle Geoff Bannister, my mother's brother, lived in Salisbury. So we went to visit him and his family. He married at local native girl called Anna and they had 12 children. Some of his decendants still live in Harare, but some of them have now moved away to foreign countries ... America, Britain, and Germany.

My father was fascinated with the history of Northern and Southern Rhodesia. He marvelled at how Livingstone, Stanley, Rhodes explored these great countries. He was in awe of the great Chiefs of the past ... Mzilikazi, Lobengula. And he was intrigued by the Portuguese sailors and of the places that they first visited ... Nova Sofala, Beira ...

We used to stop over at the Victoria Falls Hotel or sometimes at a place with the romantic name of Tongabezi where we used to have meals right by the Zambezi River.

At Livingstone on the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe at Victoria Falls there was an African tourist village where you could see some wonderful African masks. The masks were used by the natives in their tribal dances.

The native name for Victoria Falls is Mosi o Tunya which means "the smoke that thunders". But is also known as Lwambayi (great river) and Manza Thunqayo (water that rises like smoke). Victoria Falls are one-and-a-half times as wide and twice as high as Niagara Falls in America.


Northern Rhodesia became independent in 1964.

At the time there was a lot of trouble going on in the Belgian Congo with the civil unrest. Dusk to dawn curfews began to be imposed on the people living on the Copperbelt and there were many reports of white abductions, murders, rapes, and burglaries. Many expatriates began to leave.

Some went to Southern Rhodesia, others went to South Africa, and three families went to Swaziland ... the Carrs, the Golesworthys, and ourselves.






The Great North Road

The building of the Great North Road is attributed to Sir Stewart Gore-Browne, the only survivor of the pioneers who hacked out sections of the original road. The most positive monuments to Sir Stewart's enthusiasm and skill were in his bridges -- all of which still survive and some of which are still in use.

Read more about the building of The Great North Road

The true motor pioneer, however, was a German -- Oberlieutenant Paul Graetz, a member of his country's regime in East Africa. Successive British historians and diarists seem to have overlooked his achievement of driving a car right across Africa between 1907-09. But author Lawrence G. Green dug out the facts. "Graetz started from Dar-es-Salaam in August, 1907," he writes. "He seems to have had unlimited money at his disposal. This supports a theory many people formed at the time that his adventure down the Great North Road into British territory was really a military intelligence exploit.

Read more about Graetz's trip

Courtesy of the website: The Great North Road


The Great North Road Website

Old Photos of Kitwe, Ndola, Lusaka

Northern Rhodesia : 1950/60s


Video of the
total solar eclipse - June 21 2001

Lowdown : Zambia's Online Magazine




Back to Africa    Continue Tour 




Broken Hill Man

We already know that Zambia was made famous by the explorer Dr. David Livingstone. You can read more about him in my Voyages of Intrepidation page in the Gallery.


But early stone age sites have been unearthed in many parts of Zambia, the most significant being at the Kalambo Falls in the North and at Victoria Falls in the south. At the former there is evidence that primitive humans began using fire systematically some 60 000 years ago. At the latter, a complex has been fully exposed showing the development of skills from the most distant past (this ‘dig’ is enclosed at the Field Museum at the Victoria Falls).

The skull of Broken Hill Man, dated to 70 000 years ago, gives an indication of what humans of that period looked like.

Read more about these early finds and how Europeans played a part in the making of its history ...


©Tim Holmes

Courtesy of :

Zambian Tourist Board





Zambia has been a mining country for more than 1,000 years, and an exporter of refined copper to Asia, the Middle East and Europe for at least 400 years.

History of Copper Mining and Smelting with images of copper ore

Started in the early 1950s, ZCCM's Nchanga open cast division is located at Chingola, in the Copper Belt region and its main pit has developed into one of the largest open cast copper mines in Africa with a rim reported to be 10 km in circumference. 

Originally mining copper ore, the Nchanga mine now extracts both copper and cobalt and has an estimated 15 years of life remaining.

It currently operates a fleet of 72 Wabco and Unit Rig dump trucks. The duty cycle for equipment operating at Nchanga is extreme, with gradients of 8%-11% in the main pit and no trolley-assist system.

Dump trucks take up to 40 minutes to make the journey from the bottom of the pit to the top when fully loaded.

Zambia fights to save copper mines   -  
Monday, 1 April, 2002, 10:56 GMT 11:56 UK

The government of Zambia is making a last-ditch attempt to save its new mining project, Konkola Deep, the country's best untapped copper ore body.

Modern Zambia was built on copper. The mines, previously owned by a company that later became Anglo American, were nationalised at independence by the president, Kenneth Kaunda.

Early European prospectors were shocked at the extent of tribal diggings found on the Copperbelt and the Katanga pedicle. Even before the Lunda and Mwata Kazembe Empires of last century, copper was in circulation in the form of ingots or crosses. Used as currency in central African trade it was somewhat eclipsed in value with the increase in slave trade. In keeping with the attitudes of the time, many prospectors refused to believe that the local tribespeople were in fact responsible for the digging.

The early European discoveries by prospectors like William Collier (reputed to have made his discovery on the site where he had shot a roan antelope) in 1902, had to await economic viability before any serious mining attempts were undertaken. It was only in the 1920’s that a technical breakthrough was achieved that made the mining of the then Northern Rhodesia’s ‘red gold’ highly profitable. And the fortunes of the country were irrevocably changed.

The claims that made up the Copperbelt were divided between two conglomerates - the Anglo American Corporation of South Africa and the U.K. Selection Trust. (Later the Roan Selection Trust - RST) An initial boom in the industry was affected by the Great Depression of the 1930’s. International gearing up for the hostilities that resulted in World War 2 created the next boom which lasted until the early seventies. This broad outline does not even begin to illustrate the enormous impact that copper has had on the country which is Zambia today.

It was copper that motivated infrastructural development in a country low on the priority list in the Colonial repertoire. It was copper that shaped colonial policies towards a federation with the then Southern Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) and Nyasaland (Malawi). It was copper that created the social realities that fomented trade unions and the birth of Zambian Nationalism. Zambia was born with a ‘copper spoon in its mouth’. A newly independent Zambia based political and socio-economic policies and strategies on the fortunes of copper.

With the collapse of copper prices, Zambia has become a nation foundering, struggling to find a replacement for foreign exchange earnings. Copper, once the country’s saving grace, has become its albatross.

Courtesy of : Zambian Tourist Board



In addition to copper you see a lot of products made out of Malachite. Malachite is a secondary ore that occurs in the upper levels of copper deposits.

The hydrothermal action of atmospheric agents on copper mineral outcrops has combined copper with solutions of carbonated water to produce malachite. It is the copper content of malachite that gives it a green (like tarnish) color. More water in the copper makes it lighter and less water makes it darker. The absence of water makes it black.


Read more about Malachite ...

Courtesy of:

Dave's Rock Shop


Create your very own Dump Truck

Gallery of Dump Trucks and other heavy industrial equipment




Troubles in the Congo


Troubles in the Congo  :  Photos

The landless Baluba in the Kasai, living as virtual slaves to the Lulua, were quick to seize the opportunities for advancement offered by the mission schools and the colonial government.

While the aristocratic Lulua sat back on their prerogatives for sixty years, the ambitious Baluba got educations, took government jobs, went into business, and even managed to obtain large amounts of Lulua tribal land through a government scheme which was aimed at producing cheap manioc to feed the African mine workers. Under this government scheme, all unused land was declared public domain to which any African could obtain title by farming it. Soon Baluba farms encircled the town of Luluabourg.

Then without warning, the distant dream of independence became an impending realty, and it was clear to the Lulua that after independence the Baluba, with their educations, economic power, and experience in government, would take control of the province. This was intolerable to the Lulua, the ancient aristocrats of the land. The Belgians didn’t like it either, because the unpoliticized and tractable Lulua were far more likely to give the Belgians a free hand with the diamond mines, than were the knowledgeable and truculent Baluba.

So being good businessmen the Belgian Government and the Royal Family decided to grant independence to the Congo, but on six months notice and with absolutely no preparation for self-government- no Congolese has ever had a higher education. That alone should insure disaster, but in addition the Belgians are fostering tribal wars and supporting tribally based politicians who want their own domains, so that the Congo will be torn apart after Independence.

Why should Belgian want to tear the Congo apart? So they can hold onto the mineral rich areas of Katanga and the Kasai from the chaos. As for the rest of the Congo, it can go to Hell. And it will go to Hell, believe me it will.

And the tribal war in Luluabourg? A little trouble the Belgians brewed up that’s come to the boil too soon. They have to keep it a secret, because if the world knew what the conditions were in the interior of the Congo, the Belgians might be pressured into postponing Independence. And I wouldn’t want to be in the Congo the day that happened, either!

Every African was set an annual quota as a ‘tax’ which he had to deliver to the government station. Those who could not meet these all but impossible quotas, were punished by the African police.

The police, recruited from enemy tribes, went out to delinquent villages and cut the right hands off men, women, and even small children. The African police would smoke the hands and carry them back to the government station by the basketful to be tallied, and the payment was the same for the hand of a little girl as for her father's hand. At other times the police were ordered to enslave, torture, or kill tax delinquents. These were not isolated incidents, but on-going policy throughout the Congo which continued into this century. It is estimated that as many as ten million Congolese died as a direct result of King Leopold's administration.

Roger Casement’s report to the British Government and Edmund Morel’s book 'Red Rubber' published in America in 1907, brought the force of world opinion to bear on the Belgian parliament which in turn made Leopold turn his Congo Free State over to the Belgian Government as a colony.

But Leopold managed to profit from even this, retaining the best lands and most valuable monopolies for himself and receiving payment for the roads and other improvements in the Congo he had built with African slave labor. The last thing Leopold did was empty the Congo treasury into his own pocket.

While the Belgian Government did not resort to cutting the hands off little children, they established an efficient, all-pervasive administration which was even better at exploiting the Congo and its people then Leopold had been.

Courtesy of: D Lynn Waldron




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