Zambia’s Support for Liberation Movements; 1964-1979

The support Zambia gave to the liberation movements of southern Africa is a strong theme in Zambian history and national identity; the lengths to which they aided the various movements came at a great cost ‘in terms of human life, infrastructure and lost opportunity for economic growth’, as Livingstone Museum, southern Zambia, explains.  But there has been surprisingly little research done into the historical realities of that support, despite the large amount of written work on the conflicts that engulfed the region in the 1960s and 1970s.  This is perhaps due to the perception that Zambia’s support for the liberation movements was a mere ‘aspect’ of its foreign policy, that it formed ‘only one element of a broader strategy’.[1] This may be true, but there is scope for more work on this subject, which this paper hopes to illustrate by briefly covering some of the major themes.  The most substantial work thus far has been done by Douglas Anglin, cited above, but his work only covers the period up to 1974.[2] The years from 1974 to 1979 cast a different light on the topic, raising questions of the efficacy of Zambia’s support and the nature of Kenneth Kaunda’s role.  Further work by Anglin, Joseph Hanlon, Stephen Chan and Martin Meredith have shown the regional relevance of Zambia’s foreign policy, but more attention is paid to the relationship with South Africa and Rhodesia than the internal intricacies of Zambia’s support for liberation movements.[3] Hanlon shows Zambia’s role in the region in economic terms, such as how South Africa benefited during this period from trading with Zambia but still punished it with military raids for its support of liberation movements.[4] Chan also questions the relationship that formed between South Africa and Zambia during this period, and speaks of a ‘Zambian elite’ who benefited from this relationship despite its unpopularity with the general population.[5]

This paper is by no means an exhaustive study; much information such as that which concerns the funding provided to the liberation movements is still classified, and much business was done in secrecy.[6] The information sourced for this paper includes the University of Zambia (UNZA) library and the National Archives of Zambia.  The library is a useful source but the collection is rather depleted and run down, and there is a severe lack of Zambian scholarship in the fields of history and international affairs.  The National Archives of Zambia have recently been refurbished, although access to some documents, such as the Ministry of Home Affairs, is still limited and other documents pertaining to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs can be hit or miss when it comes to valuable information.  Their collection of newspapers, such as the Times of Zambia, was useful; despite being a government paper it was not shy of criticizing government policy and can be used to gauge what public opinion was like at the time.  Once Zambia became a one-party state in 1972, much of the archived material after this date is less useful as it was transferred from government departments to the Central Committee of the ruling party, the United National Independence Party (UNIP).[7] The National Archives at Kew, London, are also useful, as some recently released documents under the 30 year restriction rule sheds light on British involvement and policy at the time, such as that of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.  By reassessing these Zambian and British sources, this paper hopes to provide a fresh examination of the nature of Zambia’s support for southern African liberation movements.  It raises questions about the efficacy of this Zambian support and the degree to which President Kenneth Kaunda really was – as he liked to portray himself – the principle architect behind this part of Zambian foreign policy.  This paper takes issue with the assertion made by Stephen Chan that Kaunda was the main source of decision making in Zambian affairs, by showing that he did in fact come under pressure from members of his own government and on several occasion succumbed to this pressure.[8] Despite the rhetoric displayed by Kaunda during this period, it will be shown the extent to which Zambia was brought to its knees by continuing its policy of supporting liberation movements.  The period of 1964 until 1979 has been chosen as it shows the period from Zambia’s independence until the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting held in the Zambian capital of Lusaka in 1979, a watershed moment in Zambia’s history.  The Commonwealth will also be referred to in this paper; it provides an insight into Britain’s involvement in the region, the relations Britain formed with its former colonies and how Kaunda used this relationship to garner support for his policy on liberation movements.

Zambia was formerly the British colony of Northern Rhodesia and in 1953 was brought into the Central African Federation, incorporating Southern Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) and Nyasaland (Malawi).  But by the time of British Prime Minister Harold MacMillan’s tour of African in 1960, and his famous ‘Wind of Change’ speech given in Cape Town on the 3rd of February that year, it was clear that independence would eventually be on its way to the member states of the Federation.  But this did not mean that Kaunda did not have to fight against the Federation for independence; indeed he was responsible for the Cha Cha Cha campaign of civil disobedience against the Northern Rhodesian government.  It was only in April 1963 that Northern Rhodesia was given the right to secede, after Nyasaland, and by December 1963 the Central African Federation was finished.[9] At midnight on the 24th October 1964 the Union Jack flag was lowered for the last time as Zambia had gained full independence.  But Zambia was born into a difficult situation, to say the least.  It was a landlocked country surrounded by minority white regimes in Angola, Mozambique and Rhodesia; it had a troublesome Congo to the north and Apartheid South Africa in the south, which regional power had a long stretch.  It inherited an economy that was completely dependent on copper and thus at the mercy of global copper prices, and was almost entirely run by whites and foreign businesses.[10] Zambia was also at this time dependent on the Benguela Railway, which ran from the Copperbelt region of central Zambia westwards through Angola to the port of Lobito on the Atlantic Ocean.  There are many instances when the Angolan government would manipulate Zambia’s reliance on the Benguela Railway to punish it for supporting Angolan liberation movements.[11] Zambia’s only ally in the region was Tanzania and its president Julias Nyerere; he too was committed to supporting liberation movements, but had the luxury of a long coastline and a more robust and varied economy than Zambia.

To the west of Zambia was the Portuguese colony of Angola, which had three nationalist movements fighting Portuguese forces for independence; Jose Eduardo dos Santos’ Movimento Popular de Libertação de Angola (MPLA); Jonas Savimbi’s União Nacional para a Independência Total de Angola (UNITA); and Holden Roberto’s Frente Nacional de Libertação de Angola (FNLA).  All three of these movements conducted their early operations from outside Angola, leading Portuguese forces to conduct devastating cross-border raids into Zambia.  To the south-east was Mozambique, another Portuguese colony experiencing an anti-colonial guerrilla insurgency, most notably from Eduardo Mondlane’s Frente de Libertação de Moçambique (FRELIMO).  Malawi and Tanzania were not sympathetic towards FRELIMO, leaving Zambia as their only option to set up bases in.[12] Portugal as a colonial power in Angola and Mozambique was quite different to that of Britain; they preferred the term ‘overseas territory’ and showed no signs of compromise let alone granting independence to its territories.[13] To the south was Ian Smith’s Rhodesia, with Joshua Nkomo’s Zimbabwean African People’s Union (ZAPU) and Ndabaningi Sithole’s and Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU) the two main liberation movements.[14] Zambia had been playing host to these two movements since 1963, but even this early their presence in Lusaka proved unpopular, with Zambian youths wrecking ZANU’s offices in response to ZANU’s accusations that ZAPU was receiving preferential treatment from the Zambian government.[15] Zambia also gave support to the South West Africa People’s Organization (SWAPO) of what is Namibia today, and the African National Congress (ANC) of South Africa, although the latter of these two would be more active in Zambia in the 1980s.

The nature of the support given to liberation movements

After independence in 1964, Kaunda swiftly threw his weight behind the Organization of African Unity (OAU) which had been formed in 1963.  It was based on the principles of pan-Africanism and anti-colonialism, and its charter was similar to that of the United Nations but without the Security Council.  A special wing was established to assist those states who had not yet achieved liberation, which would be run by a Liberation Committee based in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.[16] Kaunda allowed a Liberation Centre to be set up in Lusaka, which was to provide offices to those liberation movements who had received official recognition from the OAU.  This would allow them to conduct the business of processing refugees, organising transit through Zambia, access to propaganda and other various benefits.[17] From early on it is clear that the OAU was pressuring Zambia into providing more support than it was initially comfortable with; one official said that he was under pressure to allow the transit of arms and ammunition through Zambia, but could not do so owing to ‘Zambia’s difficulties at the present moment’.[18] Tanzania was geo-politically much better suited to provide extensive help to the liberation movements, especially when it came to training camps and the acquirement of arms and ammunition.  Kaunda made no secret of his wish to assist the liberation movements, but in these early days he was still unsure of the exact nature of support to give, as he had to consider the reactions of his neighbours who would be the targets of the liberation movements’ struggle.

It was not long after formation that the Liberation Committee ran into financial trouble.  Member states of the OAU had been willing to talk the talk when it came to the liberation of Africa, but the trouble came when it was time for them to put their hands in their pockets.  By August 1965, nearly half the member states had not contributed their assessed contribution of £14,000.[19] The OAU Liberation Committee would shrink in its influence in Zambia as Kaunda gradually formed his own policy towards the liberation movements, although Zambia and Tanzania would be the only two states which remained up to date with its payments to the Liberation Committee.[20] Zambia also received support for his policy from outside Africa.  Relations with the Commonwealth were good at independence; the Secretariat in London was only formed in1965 but Kaunda enjoyed a good relationship with Secretary General Arnold Smith in those early days.  He publicly supported the Commonwealth, describing it as a tool that ‘can help spread independence’ in Africa.[21] But the issue of Rhodesia would prove to be a strain on their relationship, with Kaunda constantly pressuring the Commonwealth into taking more action against Ian Smith and even threatening to back the UN in decisions on Rhodesia.[22] Scandinavian countries had an exemplary record in assisting Zambia with its policy; Sweden in particular provided much humanitarian assistance to the liberation movements present in Zamia, and always did so after thorough consultation with the Zambian government – particularly when it came to issues of funding.[23]

Perhaps the most consistent aspect of Kaunda’s policy towards the liberation movements was his denial of their presence in Zambia.  He made no secret of his ideological support towards them, such as though pan-Africanism and Non-Alignment, and it was well known that he set up the Liberation Centre in Lusaka for administrative purposes.  One of the consequences of the regional conflict that was taking place was the influx of refugees over Zambia’s porous borders.  Refugee camps were set up to cope with the increasing numbers over time, but it will be shown that there was an increasing amount of camps set up by freedom fighters from neighbouring countries.  Kaunda consistently denied the presence of soldiers, bases, camps, or anything else involving military goods from early on, when it is plausible that he genuinely did not know, until there were virtually tens of thousands of soldiers all over Zambia.  His early denials were confident, stating that there was

‘no truth in the allegation that Zambia is helping freedom fighters with arms or that the Zambian government is providing and other facilities which could be described as encouraging or assisting them in the armed confrontation reported.  In fact, the Government has confiscated illegal arms from freedom fighters’.[24]

But this assertion would become more difficult to defend as events unfolded, and it became more obvious that there had to be some Government knowledge of at least some of the training camps.  In a meeting between Kaunda and Commonwealth Secretary General Arnold Smith, Kaunda stated that he only allowed the freedom fighters to maintain offices in Lusaka, but also pointed out that it was impossible to patrol the entire border ‘as Smith wanted’.[25] Unfortunately due to the secrecy of this information and a reluctance of Government ministers to divulge in their prior knowledge, it is difficult to ascertain exactly how much was known of these camps and how much assistance was given to them.

After UDI

Zambia’s post-independence honeymoon ended abruptly on the 11th November 1965 with Rhodesia’s Unilateral Declaration of Independence (UDI), when Ian Smith cut all ties with Britain and went it alone, coining the phrase ‘rebel regime’.  Kaunda appeared to have miscalculated this event, stating weeks before that he doubted they would ever do it, and as late as 1968 he still referred to UDI as a ‘passing phase’.[26] But he immediately took his anger out on the Zimbabwean liberation movements in Lusaka, launching scathing attacks on them through the media, calling them ‘stupid idiots’ and ‘chicken in a basket’.[27] By this point Kaunda felt that the Zimbabweans had been provided with enough assistance for a UDI to be averted, but instead ZAPU and ZANU appeared to be living in laps of luxury and bickering with each other, often quite violently.  He came under renewed pressure from within his own government and the OAU to allow troops from member states and even China and the Soviet Union into Zambia, in case of an attack by the Rhodesian Air Force. Kaunda appealed directly to British Prime Minster Harold Wilson for assistance, to which Britain responded by sending out a squadron of Javelin fighter jets, to take up a temporary defensive position on Zambia’s border with Rhodesia.[28] But Kaunda had little option but to continue assisting the Zimbabwean nationalists, and increased his efforts to unite the two parties.

By 1966 a further eight liberation movements, in addition to ZAPU and ZANU, were present at the Liberation Centre in Lusaka, ranging from sub-offices to headquarters.[29] This coincided with an increased amount of cross border raids being committed by Portuguese forces, as Angolan and Mozambican refugees and freedom fighter numbers increased in Zambia.  Not only did Zambia disapprove of this early presence of freedom fighters in the border region, it was soon shown that Zambia was entirely unable to regulate it.  The Zambian Police Force had suffered a constant loss of personnel in the years proceeding independence, combined with a vital oil pipeline to protect and a vast border to patrol, it would prove an impossible task to stem the flow of people across its borders.[30] In the coming years, border incursions would increase as would the number of Zambian civilians killed in the crossfire, as in 1968 when entire villages were being destroyed by helicopter gun fire.[31] In a marked escalation by 1972, villages on the border with Angola were being raided by freedom fighters for supplies, a Zambian para-military camp in Kanongesha was raided by Angolan freedom fighters for arms and ammunition, and border patrols recorded daily ‘provocative incidents, airspace violations and cross-border shooting’.[32] From this it can be seen that Zambia was already struggling to cope with the liberation movements it was supposed to be assisting.  Kaunda constantly reiterated that the Zambian people were willing to fight back against this aggression, but in 1970 the Zambian army had only 4,000 personnel and had no combat aircraft.[33] Zambian forces would prove no match for the highly trained Portuguese, Rhodesian and South African troops; as one British Conservative MP noted, Lusaka would be ‘flattened’ if any of the neighbouring states were to use direct force.[34]

The Lusaka Manifesto on Southern Africa was Kaunda’s first major foreign policy statement.  After five years in power, it was still difficult to pinpoint where Kaunda stood in particular to his regional foreign policy.  Signed in Lusaka in 1969, it stated that Zambia would always promote negotiation over violence, but it did state that violence could be used as a last resort if all else failed.   This document would be responsible for Kaunda’s promotion into the Non-Aligned movement, his charismatic personality and pan-Africanist influences made him a popular figure among African presidents.[35] But the Lusaka Manifesto was ambiguous when referring to its support of liberation movements; it did not rule out the use of force to attain its goals of independence and equality, but also encouraged negotiation which can be seen as a subtle South African influence on the document.  Despite this uneasy relationship between South Africa and Zambia, South African forces still conducted raids into Zambia in retaliation for their support of liberation movements, but more as a show of support for Rhodesia than the presence of South African freedom fighters there.  Kaunda would refer to this document in the coming years when talking about his foreign policy, but he would not always abide by its non-violent decree.

Problems arise

Zambia’s relations with Britain and the Commonwealth had severely deteriorated in the years after UDI, as Kaunda felt that Rhodesia was an entirely British problem that should be dealt with by Britain alone.  His feelings gained support in many Commonwealth states, and this nearly brought an end to the Commonwealth in the late 1960s.  Kaunda publicly blasted Britain for its ‘shameful’ policy towards Rhodesia, and claimed that Zambia had ‘no more relations’ with the Commonwealth.[36] But once again Kaunda was in talks with Britain at this time, asking for military assistance against border raids by Rhodesian forces.  When Kaunda complained to Britain about the arrival in Rhodesia of South African police, Britain responded by expressing its concern of the presence of foreign freedom fighters in Zambia.[37] Relations slipped further when it was revealed that Britain was planning to sell arms to South Africa, and at the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in Singapore in 1971 many states supported Kaunda’s stance against Britain.[38]

Kaunda had bigger problems at home, with the gulf between the ZAPU and ZANU not only growing but turning violent, with gun fights on the streets of Lusaka becoming more frequent.[39] Kaunda’s consistent efforts to unite the two parties had yet to bear fruit; even threats to cut off funding and offers to double funding had not brought the two movements any closer together.[40] When Kaunda finally managed to bring the two parties to the table and sign a pact, as he did in January 1971, it was only a matter of days before fighting between the two ensued.[41] ZANU proved to be the more difficult of the two movements to reconcile, as they constantly accused Kaunda and his government of favouring ZAPU.  There is no doubt some truth to this, as Nkomo and ZAPU were not only seen as less warmongering than Mugabe and other ZANU figures, but Zambian Minister of Foreign Affairs Aaron Milner shared the same heritage of ZAPU, as he too was an Ndebele.[42] But this did not stop Kaunda from trying to reconcile the two movements, such as his controversial meeting with South African Prime Minister John Vorster to allow Nkomo, Sithole and Mugabe to be released from Rhodesian prison and engage in talks with Ian Smith.

The Angolan liberation movements also presented further problems to Kaunda, albeit of a different nature.  Zambia had given its support to the MPLA early on as it was the primary liberation movement in Angola, and in 1965 it had already opened a regional office and later headquarters in the Liberation Centre.[43] Jonas Savimbi had spent many years trying to gain official support for UNITA by Zambia and the OAU, despite being unsuccessful UNITA still had bases in western Zambia as early as 1966.[44] Zambia was consistent in its calls for unity within the liberation movements, which is one reason it refused recognition to UNITA, preferring MPLA over the three movements.  But Kaunda came under increasing pressure from certain members within his government to grant recognition and give support to Savimbi and UNITA. The then Ambassador to Egypt (and current president of Zambia) Rupiah Banda and Prime Minister Mainza Chona were instrumental in convincing Kaunda of Savimbi’s credentials and seriousness, when in October 1966 Kaunda raised the restrictions on UNITA and allowed them access to Zambia.[45] However, after less than a year, UNITA soldiers were responsible for attacks on the Benguela Railway in Angola which earned Zambia a harsh rebuke by the Angolan government, threatening to cut off Zambia’s access to the line completely.  Support of UNITA was immediately withdrawn and Savimbi arrested and sent to Cairo.[46] Kaunda went against his own policy of unity between the liberation movements, thus doing nothing to alleviate the situation in western Zambia and worsening relations with the Angolan government. One of his own ministers called on Kaunda to avoid giving Savimbi support, calling him a ‘deadly subversive and destructive foreign element’, advice Kaunda probably wished he took.[47] Kaunda’s short lived support of UNITA proved another miscalculation, a mistake he was unfortunate to repeat in the future.

Despite much of the secrecy involved in Zambia’s support for liberation movements, the difficulty that Zambia was by now experiencing had not gone unnoticed.  The British High Commission in Lusaka issued an investigation into this policy in 1973, which was to be sent back to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London.  It refers to the ‘imprecise and somewhat uncomfortable relationship between the movements and the Zambian Government’, to which Zambia was beginning to have less control over.  Kaunda is still seen as the main decider in this policy, although it has become evident that there is a growing influence from the governing party’s Central Committee and particular members of it, such as Mainza Chona.  The OAU Liberation Committee is seen to have less influence on Kaunda, as Julias Nyerere is more often consulted on issues pertaining to the liberation movements.  It is noted that the Zambian population warily recognizes the need to support the liberation movements, but also recognizes that ‘they could not abandon the movements even if they wanted to’.[48] It is at this point Zambia can be seen to be losing control of the liberation movements it first set out to assist.

The Lisbon Coup

By 1974 Zambia’s support for the liberation movements was taking its toll, made tougher by falling copper prices, tough trade sanctions on Rhodesia, further increasing attacks on Zambian soil and a refugee crisis in both the east and west of the country.  Rhodesia had shut the border with Zambia in 1973 in retaliation to the presence of guerrilla bases in the Zambezi border region, but Zambia had defiantly refused to reopen its border when Rhodesia ended its border closure.  This was possible due to the construction of the TANZAM Railway, a Chinese funded railway line linking the Copperbelt with Tanzania, a trade route that would not have to pass through hostile territory.[49] There was also a food shortage, forcing Zambia to accept food aid from UNITA in what must have been a humiliating gesture from Savimbi.[50] Despite Kaunda giving much support to the MPLA and stressing the notion of presenting a united front in their fight, the MPLA split into three and fighting between all parts ensued.  The Portuguese were no closer to granting independence than they ever were, remaining true to their colonial policy.  Even Mainza Chona told the British High Commission that he did not expect to see any progress on Angolan and Mozambican independence any time before 1978.[51]

Despite the precarious situation Zambia was in, its revelation came not from Lusaka or even Africa, but in Lisbon, Portugal on the 25th April 1974. Largely in response to the devastating colonial wars Portugal was engaged in, the government of Marcelo Caetano was overthrown in a military coup by a deputy chief in the general staff António de Spínola.  Spínola had made clear the unwinnable nature of the colonial wars Portugal was engaged in, and only days after the coup the entire Portuguese colonial administration fell apart.[52] Kaunda was quick to seize the opportunity, and immediately brought the liberation movements from Angola and Mozambique and representatives of the new Portuguese government together in Lusaka for independence talks.  FRELIMO were by default the largest liberation movement in Mozambique, and were the only movement given official recognition by both Zambia and the OAU, together with a regional office in Lusaka.[53] But they had struggled in their fight against Portuguese forces, not helped by Malawi’s refusal to allow freedom fighters to pass through or set up bases.[54] But there was a second liberation movement in Mozambique, Comité Revolucionário de Moçambique (COREMO), although they were never given official recognition they were still allowed to locate their headquarters in Lusaka.  When independence talks for Mozambique began, FRELIMO were not happy with the options presented to them with regards to COREMO.  Kaunda swiftly withdrew all support for COREMO, barred them from the talks, closed their offices and rounded up all their soldiers operating in the border region and sent them to Tanzania.[55] This rare but effective show of force allowed for an agreement to be reached relatively quickly on Mozambican independence, although perhaps Kaunda could have done more to discourage the series of retribution attacks that took place in the coming months, leading to a mass departure of skilled workers that would severely hamper Mozambique over the coming years.

Angola was to prove a far more difficult challenge to the negotiating skills of Kaunda, not helped by the recently discovered natural wealth that Angola possessed and the interest expressed in the region by the major actors in the Cold War.  The FNLA had overtaken the MPLA in terms of military power, the latter having suffered from its factional fighting.  UNITA was also on the scene; it was the weakest of the three movements by 1974 but had backing from China and significant influence in Angola’s largest tribe.[56] Despite these differences, the Alvor Agreement was signed in Lusaka on the 31st January 1975 which would lead to a coalition government in Angola, albeit a short-lived one.  It was only a matter of weeks before fighting between the three movements intensified, only to be made worse by the involvement of Cuban, Russian, Chinese, American and South African forces, to mention a few.

After the agreement was signed, Zambia once again gave official recognition to UNITA although it still recognized the MPLA as the legitimate government of Angola.  The reasons for this were that Kaunda had grown increasingly wary of the MPLA, concerned not only about amount of arms flowing into Angola from the Soviet Union, but of events he learned of after the signing of the Alvor Agreement.  Kaunda was told of the execution of fifteen Angolans, part of the Chipenda faction of the MPLA, that took place in a camp on Zambia soil in 1974, this incensed Kaunda and he immediately withdrew his support for the MPLA and threw his lot in with UNITA, with some convincing by Chona and Banda.[57] What made this move significant is that South Africa was one of the major backers of UNITA, which was seen as the aligning of Zambian and Apartheid foreign policy.  This turned out to be a major miscalculation by Kaunda, which came at a time when Kaunda and Chona were seen to be spending much time travelling between Pretoria and Lusaka trying to find an agreement on the situation in Angola.  This perceived alignment with South Africa split opinion in Zambia, some saw it as a genuine stance of anti-imperialism and non-intervention against Russian involvement in the region, others saw it as an appeasement to South Africa and its racial government policies.[58] Student riots broke out at UNZA in January 1976, leading to several students and lecturers being arrested.  A mutiny broke out at Lusaka Airport, when pilots refused to bomb MPLA targets in Angola and a full scale gunfight broke out, leading to a state of emergency being declared.[59] In April 1976 Kaunda was forced to retreat on his policy, and once again withdrew his support of UNITA and officially recognized the MPLA as the government of Angola.  His support of UNITA may have had little consequence in the civil war that would engulf Angola, but it pushed the patience of the Zambian people to its limit and showed that Kaunda was susceptible to influences from within his own government yet again.

The assassination of Herbert Chitepo

Southern Africa had changed drastically after the events in April 1974.  ZANU had now moved a major part of its operations out of Zambia and into the independent Mozambique, allowing it to open up a second front on Rhodesia.  South Africa no longer gave its unconditional support to Ian Smith’s Rhodesia, now that it shared a border with an independent Mozambique.  There was an event in 1975 would drastically alter the landscape of Zambia’s increasingly strained support for the Zimbabwean liberation movements.  On the 18th March 1975, Herbert Chitepo, head of ZANU’s War Council, was killed in a car blast outside his home in Lusaka.[60] To understand the significance of this event, it must be seen in context, as it marks the end of Kaunda’s patient negotiating between the Zimbabwean movements and the end of his pacifist tones of the Lusaka Declaration on Southern Africa.  The events in Mozambique and Angola had changed the dynamics of the region considerably, and Smith was brought under increasing pressure to release Nkomo, Sithole and Mugabe – who had been arrested and imprisoned in Salisbury, Rhodesia – and to engage in talks with them.  Kaunda was instrumental in uniting ZANU, ZAPU and a third liberation movement called Frozili under the new African National Council (ANC) under Bishop Abel Muzorewa.[61] The Unity Accord of the OAU was signed in Lusaka on the 3rd December 1974, although this too would have a similar ending to the previous treaties signed between the two parties.[62] ZANU was not in a good position to negotiate, it had suffered with the detention of its leaders, and there was factional fighting between those loyal to Sithole, Mugabe and military commander Josiah Tongogara.[63] A small faction of ZANU soldiers objected to the signing of the unity accord, not only because of the fractured state of the party but because of the prospect of serving alongside ZAPU.  Under the leadership of a young soldier called Thomas Nhari, a group of rebels marched from their Chifombo base in eastern Zambia and other bases in Mozambique to disrupt events in Lusaka, it what was to become the Nhari Rebellion.  The rebels were eventually rounded up by Zambian police and handed over to Chitepo, as the most senior figure of ZANU in Zambia.  What happened next is still shrouded in mystery and debated in Zimbabwe to this day.  The rebels were handed over to Chitepo, on the condition that they received a trial and were not executed.  It is estimated that over 250 ZANU men were killed in the reprisals of the Nhari Rebellion, not only were the rebels in Lusaka killed but the Chifombo base too was raided.[64] It is still debated as to who was responsible for the executions; a recent book by Louis White claims that Chitepo gave the orders for their death, but Fay Chung – an academic and former ZANU guerrilla, claims that Tongagara was responsible.[65] Kaunda was understandably angry that his continued efforts to unite the Zimbabwean liberation movements had ended in the deaths of hundreds of soldiers on Zambian soil, and relations with ZANU rapidly deteriorated.  Zambian officials became even more open in their hostility towards ZANU officials, with Foreign Minister Vernon Mwaanga in particular calling for Chitepo’s arrest and trial.[66] Chitepo is said to have feared for his life in his last few days.

On the morning of the 18th March 1975, when the bomb blast killed Chitepo and two of his bodyguards, there were many people who could have benefited from his death, in what has been called the JFK mystery of Zimbabwe.  The Rhodesians no doubt would have benefited from the removal of this high level ZANU figure, and after the war claimed that they were responsible for placing a landmine under his vehicle.[67] ZAPU would have benefited from his removal, as they would have been left as the sole Zimbabwean liberation movement in Zambia, as by then ZANU were already moving operations into Mozambique.  ZANU was split into several factions, and even Chitepo’s wife maintains that it was an internal assassination by ZANU.

But what concerns us here is the alleged role of the Zambian government.  Zambian police rounded up over 70 ZANU members in the days immediately after the assassination, and barred all Zimbabwean liberation movements from Zambia with the exception of the ANC.[68] Many ZANU members fled back over the border into Rhodesia, which is said to have aroused suspicion in Kaunda, and Mugabe immediately launched a verbal offensive at Kaunda for the detention of so many ZANU men.[69] In response to criticism of his handling of the assassination, Kaunda announced the opening of a Commission of Inquiry into Chitepo’s death; at the opening he complained that ‘Zambia had spent millions of Kwacha and lost more lives and property to assist the Zimbabweans in their liberation struggle than that [had been] lost in the armed struggle to free Mozambique and Angola’.[70] The commission was filled with Zambian officials and its impartiality questioned.  A document published by the owner of the Times of Zambia, Tiny Rowland, on the day of the conclusion of the Commission claims to show that Kaunda and South African Prime Minister John Vorster had planned Chitepo’s assassination, due to his continued opposition to unity and to amalgamation into the ANC.[71] Although the nature of this document is of questionable quality, it raises questions over Kaunda’s role in the whole Chitepo incident, as his frustration and growing animosity towards ZANU was no secret.  The Commission published its findings a year later, in an unsurprising result it blamed virtually every member of ZANU’s High Command and dismissed at Rhodesian or South African involvement.[72] After expelling all ZANU men from Zambia, Kaunda threw his weight behind ZAPU.  In a noted departure from the relative pacifism of the Lusaka Declaration, Kaunda became more warmongering in his speech, declaring that ‘only war can free Zimbabwe’.[73]

This period marked a change in Zambia’s policy towards liberation movements.  By now the Angolan and Mozambican movements were virtually out of the picture, and only ZAPU and SWAPO were operating out of Lusaka by the end of 1976.  His chasing out of Zambia all ZANU members had sent many of them to their deaths when crossing back into Rhodesia.[74] But Kaunda was forced to appeal fellow Commonwealth countries at the 1975 Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting for assistance, especially with the refugee crisis that had was unfolding in Zambia.  By December 1975 it is estimated that 35,000 Angolan refugees were present in western Zambia to escape the civil war in Angola, as well as a further 5,000 Namibians.[75] The talks in Kingston ended with the Commonwealth pledging its support for Zambia, especially in its struggle to adhere to the sanctions in place against Rhodesia.[76]

Escalation

The coming years would be marked by a large-scale escalation in conflict on Zambia soil.  Rhodesia was now experiencing a war on two fronts, with guerrilla infiltration coming from both Zambia and Mozambique.  With the expulsion of ZANU from Zambia, Kaunda hand handed their bases over to Nkomo and ZAPU, increasing their capability to train soldiers on a larger scale, and was a departure from his constant policy of denying their presence in Zambia.[77] This led to a subsequent increase in Rhodesian attacks on targets in Zambia.  There was a clear distinction in the Zambian targets chosen by Rhodesian forces; with bases and camps forming one type of target, and the other being strategic targets like railways, bridges and roads which they hoped would force Zambia to resume – or increase as some suspected – trading with and through Rhodesia.[78] Furthermore, a rebellion at a SWAPO camp in western Zambia had led to dozens of arrests both at the Mboroma camp and in Lusaka.  Estimates at the time say there were over 1,000 soldiers at the camp, which had been attracting attacks by South African forces.[79] Curfews and blackouts were rolled out in major cities as incursions into Zambia for Rhodesian forces penetrated deeper.  Zambian forces on the border were in frequent gun battles with Rhodesian forces, but successes were limited despite Kaunda’s assertions that Zambia would not tolerate external aggression and would ‘continue to render every support for … the liberation movements of southern Africa’.[80] In one horrific attack, three Zambian soldiers and three civilians were killed when napalm was used in a border gunfight.[81]

After several high profile attacks on ZAPU bases in Zambia, the sheer size and scale of the training camp network now in existence in Zambia was coming apparent.  In 1978 the Rhodesians launched Operation Gatling, a coordinated attack on the largest bases in Zambia, such as Freedom Camp just north of Lusaka and Mkushi Camp an hour north-east of Lusaka.[82] Over 400 people are believed to have been killed in the combined attacks which saw Rhodesian forces brought in by helicopter and razing both camps to the ground.[83] Zambia complained that both camps consisted of refugees, but photographic evidence shows a large military presence and arms dumps at both camps.[84] Nkomo had been having some success in shooting down Rhodesian aircraft in the border regions, and some Zambians were beginning to question why Kaunda did not offer the same form of defence against these attacks.[85] Kaunda reiterated that any form of retaliation to these attacks would be ‘suicide’ and bring chaos to Zambia, but that point appears to have already been reached by then.[86]

Kaunda was in frequent contact with the British government, and was also rumoured to be in talks with Smith over a solution to the escalation in violence.[87] Despite Kaunda’s constant public declarations that the situation in Zambia was under control, his secret meeting with British Prime Minister James Callaghan in Nigeria in September 1978 tells a different story.  After stressing the need for the meeting to be kept secret due to the sensitive nature of his visit, he stressed his worry of the strength that Nkomo’s army had reached in Zambia, and that they looked ready to launch a full scale invasion of Rhodesia in the coming months.  Kaunda said that he was under increasing pressure from within his own government to accept generous assistance from Cuba and the Soviet Union, but it was only the continued help from fellow Commonwealth countries that had allowed him to refrain from ‘turning east’ thus far.  Britain offered military assistance such as a defence system for Lusaka and a small number of RAF Phantom jets, but Kaunda stressed that this would be a ‘moral issue’ he would have to consider.[88] The meeting concluded with Britain agreeing to purchase Zambian copper to assist the Zambian economy and to send out military advisors to assess Zambia’s defence, but the most significant point from the meeting was the agreement on the necessity of bringing Nkomo and Smith to the negotiating table.[89]

The beginning of the end

1979 began the way that 1978 had ended; with further attacks on ZAPU camps around Zambia and continual bombing of Lusaka, Livingstone and other cities.[90] Some questioned Lusaka’s ability to host the Commonwealth Head of Governments meeting in August, due to the increase in violence it was experiencing.[91] This was none more prevalent than on the 13th April 1979, when the Rhodesians made their most daring raid yet.  ‘Operation Bastille’ consisted of several dozen Rhodesian soldiers driving up to Lusaka on the main road and launching coordinated attacks on a ZAPU armoury west of the city, the Liberation Centre and Joshua Nkomo’s house.[92] Nkomo had managed to escape the attack by climbing out the window of his toilet, no mean feat considering the size of the man.  But his house was destroyed and the Liberation Centre sacked, as well as several Zambian guards killed.  The Rhodesians managed to escape, and a curfew on Lusaka was swiftly enforced.  There is no greater example of the vulnerability of Zambia and its inability to defend itself than this event, as foreign forces drove into the capital and launched an attack only a short distance down the road from State House.  But Commonwealth Secretary General Sonny Ramphal insisted that the Commonwealth meeting proceed, saying that it was probably the most important meeting of the organization yet.[93]

The 1979 Head of Government Meeting in August was Kaunda’s crowning moment.  It was a tense and delicate meeting, not helped by the arrival of the new Conservative Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher who had already expressed her desire for the current Muzorewa government in Zimbabwe–Rhodesia, a situation that Kaunda was not happy with.  Kaunda was instrumental in bringing all parties to the table, with Mugabe and Nkomo proved difficult men to please.  Kaunda’s record showed that he was more comfortable on the big scene at Commonwealth conferences than negotiating settlements between liberation movements, and together with his new found allies in Ramphal and British Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary Lord Carrington, all making sure the conference ran smoothly.  Veteran Commonwealth journalist Derek Ingram covered the meeting, noting how Kaunda was ‘instrumental’ in getting Mugabe, Nkomo and Smith to agree to further talks at Lancaster House, which would eventually lead to full independence for Zimbabwe.  Kaunda was also responsible for chairing an emergency meeting in his study between Thatcher, Ramphal and Australia’s Malcolm Fraser, after Fraser had leaked news of the agreement to the Australian press, jeopardizing the agreement.[94] The talks would end with the Lusaka Declaration of 7th August 1979 on Racism and Racial Prejudice, and with Kaunda gracefully dancing with Thatcher at a ball held after the meeting, two significant and poignant moments signaling the victory of Kaunda’s policy and principles, and the repairing of British and Zambian relations fourteen years after UDI.

Attacks on Zambia continued after the Commonwealth meeting, and even after the Lancaster House meeting, as Rhodesians tried to stop ZAPU soldiers from returning back to Zimbabwe to vote in the first elections.  Estimates put the number of ZAPU fighters present in Zambia at the time of the conference at 18,000 – 25,000, lending weight to the idea that a full scale invasion was not far away.[95] The last months of 1979 saw dozens of roads and bridges blown up, costing the Zambian economy a great deal in lost trade.  In a sign of solidarity with their president, 50,000 Zambians took to the streets of Lusaka in November 1979 to show their support for Kaunda, something not many Zambians had felt the desire to do for many years.[96] The Times of Zambia newspaper started a ‘Bridges Fund’, to help the repairing of bridges around the country, of which Germany, America and Sweden all contributed to.

It would take some time for events in Zambia to settle down, and it was not until 1981 that Kaunda could even ‘pretend to be the master of his own house’.[97] Considering the support that Kaunda had given Nkomo and ZAPU over the years, he was understandably disappointed that Mugabe had been voted in ahead of Nkomo, it would in fact be two years before Kaunda paid his first state visit to Zimbabwe.  The 1980s would see Zambia’s policy take on new directions, as the world’s attention turned to South-West Africa and South Africa.  Kaunda would be instrumental in supporting SWAPO and the ANC of South Africa in their fight for independence, as would his role in the Commonwealth.

Conclusion

There can little doubt of the volatile situation that Zambia was born into.  Blessed with natural wealth, Kaunda acknowledged that ‘the Copperbelt is a white supremacy oasis in a black republic’.[98] Zambia was surrounded by hostile states, but they were hostile because Kaunda had made clear very early on his desire to support the liberation movements from within those countries.  Zambia did have other options than the policy it chose; countries like Malawi and Botswana chose accommodation, which is an acknowledgement of their submissive position (with regards to South African in particular) in return for beneficial policies such as trade; another option is dissociation, whereby a country rejects aligning itself with the larger state, but does not confront it head on either; lastly a county can choose confrontation, whereby it commits itself to the liberation of the minority in the larger state.[99] It is difficult to pinpoint exactly where on this level of analysis Zambia would fit, perhaps somewhere in between dissociation and confrontation, depending on which suited it the most at the time.  There can be no doubting Kaunda’s pan-African credentials during this period, he remained committed to the eradication of all forms of colonialism and racism, and his Lusaka Manifesto would serve as a blueprint for the OAU and Non-Aligned Movement.[100] But behind the persona he presented to his people he was aware of the limitations of his own policy of supporting liberation movements, particularly with regards to South Africa with whom his relationship remained ambiguous right into the 1980s.[101] There is still much to be discovered of this period, such as the extent to which trading continued with Rhodesia even when the border closed, and the allegations that Kaunda was complicit with Rhodesia in some of its attacks in Zambia, such was Kaunda’s fear of Nkomo’s presence there.[102] Just ascertaining exact figures of the numbers of camps that existed and the amount of refugees and fighters that attended these camps would shed much needed light onto the topic, and would allow further investigation into Kaunda’s persistent denial of any knowledge of the existence of these camps.

One of the more remarkable features of this period is the legacy that it enjoys in Zambian history.  The National Museum in Lusaka proudly displays newspaper clippings detailing some of the horrendous attacks that took place on Lusaka and propaganda pamphlets dropped by Rhodesians, situated in the same section as the anti-colonial struggle.  When asked, many Zambians have a pragmatic view of this part of their history, acknowledging the devastation that occurred with the view that it was a policy that Kaunda and Zambia had to pursue, for the sake of southern Africa.  Kaunda, too, enjoys a legacy that not many retired African presidents do; he is still an immensely popular figure not only in Zambia but in the Commonwealth.  Despite the questions that this paper has raised over the efficacy of Kaunda’s policy, it must be acknowledged that he was responsible for keeping Zambia relatively peaceful and stable in a time of great conflict, and stepped handed power to his predecessor when democratic elections were (eventually) held in 1992.  Although it is mildly ironic that over after nearly 30 years of independence in Zimbabwe, Zambia is experiencing an influx of refugees from Zimbabwe and Kaunda is calling for unity within the Zimbabwean government.

It has been shown that Kaunda’s record with regards to his policy of supporting liberation movements is somewhat questionable.  Despite being considered as the sole decider of Zambian foreign policy, Kaunda has been shown to under increasing pressure firstly from the OAU to increase assistance given to liberation movements, then from members of his own government to give official recognition to UNITA, when Kaunda had been a long supporter of the MPLA.  The two occasions that he did give support to UNITA turned out to be disastrous, such as the rebuke from the Angolan government over the Benguela Railway and the events at UNZA and Lusaka Airport.  But Kaunda did resist pressure from within to allow the Soviet Union and Cuba to become involved in Zambia, which may have in the end led to an escalation of the conflict in Angola.  He too showed his ability to ‘knuckle down’, such as the negotiations with FRELIMO during Mozambican independence talks.

It has also been shown the extent to which Zambia lost control of the liberation movements.  From first offering them office space in the Liberation Centre in Lusaka, large amounts of fighters and refugees began using Zambia’s border region as forward bases.  Kaunda’s preference of ZAPU over ZANU was clear from the start, which led to an early breakdown in relations between the Kaunda and Sithole and Mugabe.  After the suspicious events surrounding the assassination of Herbert Chitepo, ZANU was expelled and Joshua Nkomo effectively given the keys to Zambia.  Kaunda was aware that ZAPU were being armed and trained by the Soviet Union, but by 1977 they had grown out of Kaunda’s control and had bases all over the country.  Kaunda’s meeting in Nigeria and the intensity of attacks on Lusaka showed that Kaunda had virtually lost control of his country, and were it not for this efforts at the Commonwealth meeting in Lusaka in August 1979 events could have escalated much further.

Kaunda really found himself in the Commonwealth, where he had a captive and sympathetic audience who were ready to offer assistance.  The near breakup of ‘The Club’, as he affectionately called the Commonwealth, over UDI in Rhodesia was followed by a continued growth in relations, which Kaunda used as leverage to gain assistance from the British government.  Kaunda and the Commonwealth shared policies with regards to the ending of minority rule in Rhodesia and South Africa, although they never always agreed on what course of action was to be taken.[103] During the 1970s Zambia policy of supporting liberation movements received much help from Commonwealth countries like Australia, New Zealand, India, Uganda and Nigeria, relationships with remain strong to this day.

As stated before, this is not an exhaustive study.  It is a brief and general look at the complex, important and misunderstood policy of a country and of a man.  By understanding the events that took place during this period, it allows one a greater understanding of the history of Zambia and of the entire region.  Perhaps this has left more questions unanswered than answered, but there is plenty of room in this field of study and further research is certainly needed.  Africa is a continent where the struggle for liberation is not just a matter of history, as many of the liberation movements still form the ruling party today; a greater understanding of the history of these movements helps create a greater understanding of southern Africa today.


[1] Douglas Anglin, ‘Zambia and Southern African Liberation Movements: 1964-1974’, in Timothy Shaw and Kenneth Heard (Eds.) The Politics of Africa: Dependence and Development (New York, Africana Publishing Company, 1979), p. 183.

[2] Ibid, pp. 183-213.

[3] Douglas Anglin, ‘Southern Africa Under Siege: Options for the Frontline States’, The Journal of Modern African Studies, 26 (1998), 549-565; Joseph Hanlon, Beggar Your Neighbours: Apartheid Power in Southern Africa (London, James Currey Ltd., 1986); Stephen Chan, Kaunda and Southern Africa: Image and Reality in Foreign Policy (London, British Academic Press, 1992); Martin Meredith, The First Dance of Freedom; Black Africa in the Postwar Era (London, Hamish Hamilton Ltd., 1984).  This list is not exhaustive, but covers the major literature that explains Zambia’s role in southern Africa during this period.

[4] Hanlon, Beggar Your Neighbours, p. 244.

[5] Chan, Kaunda and Southern Africa, p. 63, 76.

[6] Vincent Khapoya, ‘Determinants of African Support for African Liberation Movements’, Journal of African Studies 3:4 (Winter 1976/), p. 473.

[7] The National Archives of Zambia is currently digitizing certain sections of its collection, including an interesting collection of photographs from the period, http://www.zambianarchives.org.

[8] Chan, Kaunda on Southern Africa, p. 3.

[9] Meredith, First Dance of Freedom, pp. 126-127.

[10] Andrew Roberts, A History of Zambia (London, Heinemann Educational Books, 1976), p. 224.

[11] Paul Moorcraft, African Nemesis: War and Revolution in Southern Africa (London, Brassey’s, 1990), p. 70.

[12] João Cabrita, Mozambique: The Torturous Road to Democracy (Basingstoke, Palgrave MacMillan, 2000), p. 34.

[13] Martin Meredith, The State of Africa: A History of Fifty Years of Independence (London, The Free Press, 2005), p. 310.

[14] The military wing of ZANU was known as the Zimbabwean African National Liberation Army (ZANLA), and that of ZAPU was known as the Zimbabwe People’s Revolutionary Army (ZIPRA), but for the case of simplicity their main organizational names will be used in this paper.

[15] The Northern News, 18th June 1964, p. 1.

[16] Guy Arnold, Africa: A Modern History (London, Atlantic Books, 2005), pp. 95-111.

[17] Anglin, Zambia and Southern African Liberation Movements, pp. 190-194.

[18] FA 1/42 (OAU Coordinating Committee on the Liberation of Africa) 90. Letter from A.M. Simbule, High Commissioner for Zambia in Dar es Salaam to the Permanent Secretary, Ministory of Foreign Affairs, 10th May 1965.

[19] Ibid, POL10/1, Draft Resolution on the financial situation of the African Liberation Committee, August 1965.

[20] Khapoya, Determinants of African Support for African Liberation Movements, p. 475.

[21] The Northern News, 26th October 1964, p. 1.

[22] Ibid, 29th may 1965, p. 1.

[23] Tor Stellstrom, Sweden and National Liberation in Southern Africa: Volume 1 (Stockholm, Elanders Gotab, 1999), pp. 292-363.

[24] Zambia Information Service, Press Release 1724/67, 27th August 1967.

[25] SG/172/ZAM ‘Notes of a meeting between the Commonwealth Secretary General and President Kaunda of Zambia; Lusaka, 28th January 1973.

[26] The Northern News, 7th May 1965, p. 1.

[27] Times of Zambia, 15th November 1965, p.2.

[28] CAB/128/39, Conclusions of a Meeting of the Cabinet held at 10 Downing Street, SW1, on Monday 29th November 1965, p. 3.

[29] Anglin, Zambia and Southern African Liberation Movements, table 8.2, p. 189.

[30] Republic of Zambia Police Report (henceforth known as ZPR) for the year 1967.

[31] ZPR, 1968.

[32] ZPR, 1972.

[33] CAB/129/54 Defence Forces of countries with interests in the Indian Ocean, 31st December 1970, p. B6.

[34] Times of Zambia, 28th October 1967, comments by Nigel Fisher MP.

[35] Timothy Shaw, ‘The Foreign Policy of Zambia: Ideology and Interests’, The Journal of Modern African Studies 14:1 (1976), pp. 82-84.

[36] Times of Zambia, 6th and 12th of October 1967.

[37] Jan Pettman, Zambia: Security and Conflict (Lewes, Julian Friedman Publishers Ltd., 1974), pp. 168-173.

[38] Ibid, p. 176-177.

[39] Times of Zambia, 24th April 1970, p.1; 11th May 1970, p.1.

[40] FA/1/310 (Rhodesia Political), Summary minutes of meeting held on 3rd November 1969.

[41] Times of Zambia, 26th January 1972, p.1.

[42] Chan, Kaunda and Southern Africa, p. 82; Luise White, The Assassination of Herbert Chitepo: Texts and Politics in Zimbabwe (Cape Town, Double Storey Books, 2003), p. 50.

[43] Douglas Anglin, Zambia and Southern African Liberation Movements, p. 189.

[44] FA1/1 22 ‘Operations of Angolan Nationalist Parties’, 344/163/01 SEC, 174.

[45] Fred Bridgland, Jonas Savimbi: A Key to Africa (Johannesburg, Macmillan, 1986), pp. 69-70.

[46] Ibid, p. 75.

[47] FA 1/1 22, ‘Letter from Nkoloso to Kaunda’, 7th December 1965, 344/163/D1.

[48] FCO/45/1322 ‘Liberation Movements in Zambia’, letter from J.A. Robson of the British High Commission, Lusaka, to A.B. Moore of the Central and Southern African Department of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, London, dated 5th December 1973.

[49] Klass Woldring, ‘Aspects of Zambia’s Foreign Policy in the Context of Southern Africa’ in (Klass Woldring Ed.) Beyond Political Independence: Zambia’s Development Predicament in the 1980s (Berlin, Mouton Publishers, 1984), p. 235.  Although the TANZAM railway would prove to be a lengthy and costly route, not helped by frequent sabotage and disrepair.

[50] Bridgland, Jonas Savimbi, p. 95.

[51] FCO/45/1322, letter from J.S.R. Duncan of the British High Commission in Lusaka to P.M. Foster of the CSAD, FCO in London, dated 18th May 1973.

[52] Meredith, The State of Africa, p. 310-311.

[53] Anglin, Zambia and Southern African Liberation Movements, p. 189.

[54] Cabrita, Mozambique: The Torturous Road to Democracy, p. 30.

[55] Ibid, p. 71-72.

[56] Meredith, The State of Africa, pp. 313-314.

[57] Bridgland, Jonas Savimbi, p. 110.

[58] Zambia Daily Mail, 8th January 1976, p.1.

[59] Bridgland, Jonas Savimbi, pp. 187-188.

[60] Times of Zambia, 19th March 1975, p. 1.

[61] Frozili (Front for the Liberation of Zimbabwe) was a small movement formed by disaffected members of ZANU and ZAPU.

[62] White, The Assassination of Herbert Chitepo, p. 19.

[63] Geoff Hill, The Battle for Zimbabwe: The Final Countdown (Cape Town, Zebra Press, 2003), pp. 65-66.

[64] White, The Assassination of Herbert Chitepo, p. 19-27.

[65] Fay Chung, Re-Living the Second Chimurenga: Memories from Zimbabwe’s Liberation Struggle (Uppsala, Nordic Africa Institute, 2006).

[66] White, The Assassination of Herbert Chitepo, p. 45.

[67] Barbara Cole, The Elite: The Story of the  Rhodesian SAS (Amanzimtoti, Three Knights Publishing, 1984), p. 61; Peter Stiff, See You In November: The Story of an SAS Assassin (Alberton, Galago Publishing, 1999), pp.109-124.

[68] Times of Zambia, 29th March 1975, p.1. ZAPU would subsequently be allowed to stay.

[69] Ibid, p. 3.

[70] Times of Zambia, 1st April 1975, p. 2.

[71] ZANU, The Price of Détente: Kaunda Prepares to Execute More ZANU Freedom Fighters for Smith (London, 1976).

[72] Times of Zambia, 10th April 1976, p. 1.

[73] Times of Zambia, 28th April 1976, p. 1.

[74] Moorcraft, African Nemesis, p. 130.

[75] FCO/45/1759 ‘Political relations between Zambia and other southern African countries’, Letter from M.J. McLoughlin (British High Commission, Zambia) to P.M.H. Young Esq.  (CSAD, FCO) dated 4th December 1975.

[76] Times of Zambia, 6th May 1975, p. 1.

[77] Moorcraft, African Nemesis, p. 130.

[78] Howard Simson, Zambia: A Country Study (Stockholm, The Scandinavian Institute of African Studies, 1985), p. 18.

[79] Peter Katjavivi, A History of Resistance in Namibia (Paris, UNESCO, 1988), p. 107.

[80] Times of Zambia, 3rd September 1977, p. 1.

[81] Times of Zambia, 12th September 1977, p. 1.

[82] Cole, The Elite, p. 225.

[83] Times of Zambia, 23rd October 1978, p. 1.

[84] Stiff, See You In November, pp. 208-216.

[85] Times of Zambia, 20th October 1978, p. 2.

[86] Times of Zambia, 24th October 1978, p. 1.

[87] Colin Legum, The Battlefronts of Southern Africa (New York, Africana Publishing Company, 1988), p. 46.

[88] He would later decline their offer, not feeling comfortable with a British military presence in Zambia.

[89] CAB/128/64/13 ‘Conclusions of a Meeting of the Cabinet held at 10 Downing Street on Thursday 28th September 1978’, Zambia, p. 6.

[90] Times of Zambia, 1st March 1979, p. 1.

[91] Times of Zambia, 14th June 1979, p. 1, these claims were made by the British press, in particular the Telegraph.

[92] Cole, The Elite, pp. 277.

[93] Times of Zambia, 1st June 1979, p. 3.

[94] Interview with Derek Ingram in London, 18th December 2009.

[95] Cole, The Elite, p. 395.

[96] Times of Zambia, 21st November 1979, p. 1.

[97] Moorcraft, African Nemesis, p. 165.

[98] Colin Legum (Ed.), The Speeches of Kenneth Kaunda (London, Thomas Nelson & Sons Ltd., 1966), p. viii.

[99] Anglin, Southern Africa Under Siege, pp. 555-556.

[100] Although it would later be altered by then, removing the non-violent aspect of the manifesto.

[101] Jotham Momba, ‘Change and Continuity in Zambia’s Southern African Policy: From Kaunda to Chiluba’, in African Insight 31:2 (Africa Institute of South Africa, 2001).

[102] Legum, The Battlefronts of Southern Africa, p. 27.

[103] Chan, Kaunda and Southern Africa, p. 94.

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Published in: on May 14, 2010 at 10:08 am  Leave a Comment  

Zambia research trip – day 20

Tuesday 25th August 2009 – Day 20 (and afterwards)

My last day in Zambia.  I was so excited that on my final day of research, I would get to interview the First Republic President, His Excellency Dr. Kenneth Kaunda, what a way to finish off.  I had initially planned to head to the University in the morning to speak to Prof. Phiri, but I made the decision to leave it.  I really didn’t want to risk being on the opposite side of Lusaka in case I get a phone call telling me to come in immediately.  From my experience, the Office of the First President is a busy one and would not want to mess them around, such as when I didn’t phone Sunday when instructed to.  I was disappointed not to have been able to go there, but in hindsight I doubt they would have agreed to anything at the last-minute.  Despite the e-mails from John Tarrant of the Commonwealth Association of Universities, I had not been expected when I introduced myself and felt that I had to force information out of him.  Anyway, I get the sense that they would prefer answering questions by e-mail.

I popped downstairs for breakfast, during which time I must have checked my phone 20 times.  After that I went back to my room and started packing anything I wouldn’t need over the next couple of days, with CNN in the background and my phone ringtone on loud.  Like the day before, I had my bag packed by the door with my suit ready to go.  By lunchtime I had heard nothing, and only a phone call from Kennedy inquiring where I was to test my nerves.  I decided that if I heard nothing back by 2 o’clock I would phone to check on the situation.  When nothing happened bythen, I picked up the phone and phoned the office of the First President, very worried that I might offend them being a nuisance.  There was no answer to that call of the two afterwards.  I began to give up hope, and regretted not going into UNZA to conduct some interviews there instead.  The more I thought about it there more upset I became, had it not been for the beaurocracy surrounding Kaunda I could have wrapped things up much sooner than the last day. 

But after speaking to my fiance afterwards, I decided that I could not let it get me down, it had been the most incredible trip of my life and I would not let one let down ruin it for me.  When I considered the possible reasons for not being contacted, I wondered if the questions I proposed to ask were too sensitive, even after all these years.  In which case, if Kaunda preferred not to answer these then the interview would have been of less use to me than hoped.  As I carried on packing, I started to think of everything I had accomplished over the past 20 days; the research, the people I met, the rugby (my knees still hurt!), Livingstone and Victoria Falls.  From thinking how long 3 weeks was halfway though, it suddenly seemed like if flew by in an hour.  I suddenly wished I had just arrived again.

I decided to pop outside and see if I could find a curio shop to buy some goodies for friends and family back home, but was told there was nothing nearby and would be better off getting a taxi to a local centre.  I felt guilty not using Kennedy, but it was only around the corner.  Just off Independence Avenue, I found a traditional ‘village’ with all the tourist curios I could ask for.  There I bought some nyami-nyamis, bed covers, pictures and other bits at a really good price, much cheaper than Livingstone.  It was the most beautiful time of the day when we drove back, dusk brought with it a stunning orange-brown tinge to everything as the Lusaka rush hour was in full swing.

That night in the restaurant I had fish and nshima for dinner, it was very tasty and wish I had tried it earlier.  I had a couple of Mosi to wash it down and finished my packing.  I would have to have an early night as Kennedy was picking me up at 6:00 am, and I knew that meant 5:30 am.

The next morning Kennedy was as early as I expected, and I bid farewell to the staff at the Lusaka Hotel.  The roads were dead and the sun was starting to come up as we headed out on the long road to the airport.  Kennedy and I chatted, and I promised that when I returned to Zambia in the near future I would give him a call.  His price was as reasonable as usual, but this time a gave him double as a thank you.  I checked in quickly and made my way around the maze that is Lusaka Airport.  I didn’t have long before I was on the plane to Johannesburg, and even as the plane made its way to the take-off strip, all the stories I had read about dignitaries coming and going from the airport, guerrilla attacks and bombing campaigns came flooding back.  I felt I had arrived knowing so little and was leaving a much wiser man about Zambia.  I had fallen in love with the country and was already looking forward to returning.

Published in: on December 22, 2009 at 9:26 pm  Leave a Comment  

Zambia research trip – Day 19

Monday 24th August 2009 – Day 19

 

The bus arrived at the inter-city bus station at about 3:00am, just as I woke up.  I couldn’t believe that I had slept most of the way, it felt like I was constantly waking up to adjust my jersey which was doubling up as my pillow.  I sat on the bus expecting everyone to get off, but it seemed it was going somewhere else, and by the time I gathered my gear and got to the front the bus was moving, but they let me off.  Thank goodness the lady next to me woke me up otherwise I have no idea where I would have ended up.  I jumped into the first taxi that was offer to me, and in a few minutes I was up in my room and getting ready for a well earned sleep.

 

I set my alarm to wake up at 9:30, to give me time to prepare for my 10:00 am phone call to Sunday.  But the usual early morning noises woke me up at about 7:30, I was so exhausted but I was starting to get used to the feeling.  I popped down for breakfast and got some airtime, ready to phone at the stroke of 10.  When I phoned, Sunday told me to come to his office for 11am in Kabulonga.  I didn’t expect that, so I quickly jotted down some of the main questions I had for Dr. Kaunda and got into my suit, Kennedy was waiting downstairs to whisk me off.

 

I got there at 11 on the dot, and was led up the path by the guard into a beautifully maintained colonial house complete with a plant filled centre court.  I was led through a meeting room and into Sunday’s office, all immaculately kept with huge leather sofas everywhere.  He was friendly in greeting me and told me that he was waiting on his Chief of Staff, and asked me if I was alright with waiting.  I said fine and took a seat, and was handed the Post to read.  There was much coming and going for the next two hours until at just gone 1pm the Chief of Staff, Mr Mfuma made an appearance.  He was quite an elderly gentleman, with a big smile, booming voice and infectious laugh.  He led me into Sunday’s office and sat me down, and I explained who I was, where I was from and what I was hoping to do.  He jotted down the details in a notepad and said that he was meeting Dr. Kaunda later and would run all this by him.  I showed him my poorly written questions in my journal, I would have made more of an effort if I knew people were going to look at them.  He said I should give my questions to the secretary who would type them up and then presented to Dr. Kaunda, I did this but she decided to go photocopy them instead.  She also suggested that I ask him a couple of questions about the Kenneth Kaunda Foundation and One Africa, I wasn’t too keen on this but out of respect I jotted them down.  After another long wait, she returned with my journal and explained that the Chief of Staff, who had my number, would phone me imminently to let me know.  Quite pleased, I returned to the taxi where Kennedy had spent over 2 hours waiting, and went back to the hotel.  I was left with the impression that the call could come at any minute and I was expected to be there right away, so everything was prepped and left by the door.

 

I had intended to pop into the university to interview either Prof. Phiri or other staff at the history department, but knowing that the phone call could come at any minute, I decided to wait at the hotel so that I could leave straight away.  That phone call would not come today, but the rest of the afternoon gave me the opportunity to catch up on some work.  It was starting to dawn on me that the next day was my last day in Zambia, and had wished I had arranged some of the interview sooner.  But saying that, I had sensed an uneasiness and unwillingness to discuss my topic on a professional level, and clearly the beaurocracy involved with trying to arrange an interview would exceed my stay in Zambia of 3 weeks.

 

I had some spare ribs for supper, and told the waiter that as the next night would be my last, I would have nshima with my supper, the local delicacy.

Published in: on November 16, 2009 at 5:36 pm  Leave a Comment  

Zambia research trip – Day 18

Sunday 23rd August 2009 – Day 18

 

I woke up at 8am, not feeling particularly well but excited about getting to see Victoria Falls.  I had a shower and caught up with Josh, who told me that their night carried on when I left, and involved them ‘unknowingly’ bringing back two prostitutes and then getting into a fight with two men that the girls owed money to. They had also missed their bus to Lusaka that morning, but they saw the funny side of it.  I wasn’t going to wait for the free 10am bus to the Falls as it looked completely overbooked, so went down and bought my ticket for Lusaka for that night.  I was going to get the 1:30pm bus, but realised I would have to rush my way through the Falls which wasn’t a good idea.  I thought if I got the 8pm bus I could sleep on the way back and get back to the hotel at just gone 3am.  All I had to worry about when I got back was being awake at 10am to phone Mr. Musonda.

 

The cab down to the Falls was only K30 000 and entrance was K47 000, surprisingly cheap considering how much more they charge on the Zimbabwean side.  The first thing I saw was the memorial to the soldiers of Northern Rhodesia who fell in the two world wars.  I carried on walking down the path to the viewing spots and got chatting to an American guy, who I would end up spending most of the day with.  He was telling me that he works for Peace Corps in Tanzania when our conversation was interrupted by a huge baboon running down the path towards us.  I didn’t worry too  much as I didn’t have any food on me, but when I turned around I noticed that Steve was hiding behind me – with a packet of food.  He asked me what we should do, so I said perhaps give the baboon – who was now sitting on front of me peeing – something from the packet.  Steve proceeded to drop the packet of chips and we shuffled over to let the baboon take it.  As he started getting tucked into his lunch Steve and I walked past and he didn’t even take notice of us. 

 

We carried on down the path and got some great photos of the bridge and devil’s bowl.  There were a couple of young guys at the end of the path who looked quite dodgy, but were only trying to sell some Zimbabwean dollar notes as souvenirs.  Their initial asking price was K150 000 for a couple of notes but were reduced to K2 000, all in return for a ten billion, twenty billion and fifty billion dollar note.  Quite remarkable really.  On our way back Steve was mugged again as a female baboon came from behind and snatched some fruit from his bag, but at least he got away with his water and money.

 

From there we walked down some steps down towards the devils bowl, not realising what a trek it would become.  On our way down we passed some of the guys who run the river rafting walking back up with all their gear – they must have legs of steel to do that every day.  Once near the bottom a Rasta looking fellow guided us through some of the shallow pools and rocky areas, I knew he’d want a tip but he did actually prove quite useful.  He took us right down to the edge which gave us a breathtaking view from the bottom up of the falls, bridge and rapids, making the tough journey worth it.   The walk up was an absolute killer, well over 100m vertically over some steep steps.  It didn’t help that my sunblock was making me sweat profusely, giving the impression that I’m even more unfit than I appeared. 

 

Once at the top we followed the path around to the normal viewing platform of the falls.  Aware that most Zimbabweans say the Zambian side isn’t half as good, I was completely blown away at the magnificence of the Victoria Falls.  Even though it was the height of the dry season, the sight of the water crashing down at the bottom and the spray rushing up to soak everyone was incredible.  As we walked along closer the view got even better, until we were right at the corner and within sight of all the tourists on the Zimbabwean side.  I remembered how in 1998 I travelled up to Victoria Falls with Allen Glen High School, and again in 2000 with a friend of mine, it all seemed so long ago.  I savoured the moment, knowing that for many many years to come I will remember this, one of the most breathtaking scenes on this earth.

 

Having heard the legend of Livingstone’s Island and in the knowledge it was the dry season, I suggested we went around to the falls side and see if we could get across.  Once there we noticed a few people in the distance so clearly it was possible to walk across.  A young guy came up to us and said it was $50 to get across, at which I laughed out loud.  By now we were well aware of the illegal guides that operate here, so decided to take our chances.  The only route across was walking over a tiny wall that stretches about 60m to the first island, and when walking you’re up to your ankles in a fast running current, quite nerve wrecking.  We headed over, aware of a few more guys wandering if we were going to pay.  Once on the first island we had a wonder around, noticing plenty of elephant droppings everywhere.  But when I showed Steve the slipway used by hippos and crocs to get on land he looked worried and we headed back.  We didn’t head all the way over to the famous pool right on the edge of the falls, only because there were a few guides around and didn’t look too impressed when a German tourist tried to pass.  I had words with once fellow, but once I told him where I was from he seemed to gather that I knew what I was doing.

 

From there we decided to talk a walk around to the bridge and check out the bungee jumping.  On our way over we met Banda, an army official on guard at the gate complete with AK47, ray ban sunglasses and menacing smile.  Most alarming of all was his ringtone – the sound of an AK47 firing rapidly!  Oh the negative stereotypes.  Once on the bridge I relished the opportunity to walk across the halfway line and claim to be in Zimbabwe, something I haven’t done for 8 years and it felt great, although I would have preferred to have gone all the way.  We watched a couple of people jumping off the bridge and confirmed all my suspicions that I would never ever do that.  There was a conveniently located bar overlooking the bridge where Steve and I had a refreshment and chatted with some tourists from America.  By now it was about 2pm and I was knackered.  On our way back we said hello to Banda, who gave us an armed escort to the taxi, much to the bemusement of the tourists we walked past. 

 

Back in Livingstone we grabbed some Hungry Lion chicken which filled a huge gap in my stomach.  From there we headed over to the Livingstone Museum, one of the main reasons I came down.  It was very impressive, much more so than the museum in Lusaka.  There was a large section on animals, fish, birds, pre-historic man, even a room dedicated to the Atomic Bomb for some strange reason.  There was a section on post-independence which obviously caught my attention, although it comprised mostly of newspaper clipping from the Times of Zambia of which most I had read.  I wasn’t supposed to take photos, but I took a couple of sneaky ones so I could get the accurate wording of the exhibition.  Of more interest was the section dedicated to David Livingstone.  I find it amazing that he is held in high regard in Zambia, clearly a proud section of their history.  This is in contrast to the treatment I remember him getting in Zimbabwe, showing how two different countries can interpret the same man.

 

Back at the hostel I was shattered, so I grabbed a shower and sat in the chill-out zone for a while.  I heard some yelling coming from the bar and went to watch England win the Ashes, there were some happy Poms there.  Steve came down and we chatted some more, I was glad I met him as he was a lovely guy and has a fascinating life living in a village in Tanzania.  We were joined by Eric too, another American from Chicago who was at the falls with us.  They Sydney joined us, and for a couple of hours the four of us exchanged stories from around the world.  By the time 8pm came, I was really sad to leave, I had such a great time and met some great people, I vowed to stay in contact with them on Facebook.  Sydney walked me down to the bus stop, I had really grown to like him and we had chatted for so long the previous two days, I was going to miss him.

 

The bus was very busy as expected, but I was hoping that being the late one there would be less stops.  I was sitting next to a lovely old Zimbabwean woman, her family had walked her right to her seat and even shook my hand, as if to tell me to look after her.  I was dreading the trip back on the dirt roads, but once we were going I had a magnificent view of the sky and all its stars, it gave me a great opportunity to think back on all that had happened over the past two days.  Once on the tar road I fell straight asleep and woke up in Lusaka.

 

The baboon that mugged us, with its bounty

The mighty Victoria Falls

Me back in Zimbabwe!

Published in: on November 9, 2009 at 8:24 pm  Leave a Comment  

Zambia research trip – Day 17

Saturday 22nd August 2009 – Day 17

 

I should have known that when I asked Kennedy to pick me up at 6am he’d be early, but I didn’t expect the phone call at 5:15am.  I had only got to sleep after midnight, so felt absolutely awful but really looking forward to getting out of town for a couple of days.  I hoped in the shower and was downstairs quite quickly.  Kennedy told me that he normally started work at 8am, and considering he was only getting K15 000 for this trip I felt quite bad.  He dropped me off right in front of the coach and I walked straight on.  I couldn’t have asked for a worse seat, in the front row on the edge of the 3 seat row, which meant every bag and bottom that went past me would rub my shoulder and sometimes even face.  I was amazed that the bus was completely full by 6:15am and we hit the road.

 

Once things had calmed down I quite enjoyed my seat, as I had the great view of the road in front of me.  The scenery was a bit mundane early on but once we crossed the Kafue River I knew we were in bush country.  I was so refreshing to see kopjies, baobab trees and rivers again, reminding me of the scenery in Zimbabwe I was brought up in.  Once things settled down they put on a dvd, and we watched two consecutive Leon Schuster movies.  At first I wondered if the passengers on the bus would get his strange Afrikaans humour, but once his slapstick stuff started the bus was in hysterics, myself included.  We had our first break a couple of hours outside of Lusaka, where I had a Fanta and Lunch Bar, not the most nutritious breakfast I’d ever had.

 

Our next stop was Choma, where a procession of passengers got on and off.  It was interesting to see the little industries that had developed around the bus stop, with vendors all around selling airtime, ice cream, fruit, hats, dvds.  As we were about to leave a noise appeared to be getting louder and louder.  Then on the main road in front of us a small band of about 16 trumpeters and drummers walked passed in perfect formation, followed by a couple of dozen women in bright orange t-shirts carrying a banner that said “The Lord is in Choma”.  Traffic passively chugged behind it and overtook when safe, clearly having no objection to what appeared to be an unprompted religious march.  We took off after them and slowly overtook them, and it was heartlifting to see the young boys in their smart uniforms and blue hats proudly marching down the street banging away at their drum.

 

When I saw a sign saying 100km to Livingstone I was quite relieved, as after 5 hours it was starting to take its toll.  But was I prepared myself for the last bit of the trip, the bus slowed down and turned onto a dirt road, a detour that would take about 90 minutes to complete.  We got into Livingstone at about 2pm, it was so small that I didn’t even notice we had arrived until the bus stopped. 

 

I was hoping to catch the Sharks Griquas match at 3pm, so decided as soon as I got off I had to sort my ticket out for the next day and find somewhere to stay.  I had no problem finding the Mazhando Family ticket ‘office’, but they said it was better to get my ticket on the next day. They gave me directions to Jollyboys Backpackers, I had heard one of the taxi drivers yelling it when I got off the bus and remembered reading that it was a good place to stay.  It was about 2 minutes around the corner , during which I had to vigerously shake off the first of many vendors trying to sell me something. 

 

Inside the main gate the place was totally hippie. There was a pool in the middle, a outside bar with pool table and table tennis, benches, sunbeds and exotic looking tourists everywhere.  The main building looked like a converted colonial style house (which were everywhere in Livingstone), with a dipped “chillout zine” with loads of cushions underneath a thatched pyramid.  Next to the office were notices of travellers looking for partners to go to other countries with, like one French woman looking for a buddy to go to the Congo with.  They even had the dates of full moon for the hippies.  I asked for the cheapest bed, which was K50 000 for a bed in a 8 bed dorm, I dumped my stuff and headed out.

 

I was given directions to Fez Bar which I was told would show the rugby, and after some wandering around I gave up and hailed a taxi.  He drove on to the main road, and turned into a petrol station.  From there he headed back the way he came and dropped me off about 10m from where he picked me up.  I saw the funny side of it, knowing that he had to make a living, so paid my K10 000 and headed off.  The bar was huge inside, but empty.  I watched the first half of the game and started to ask myself what I am doing indoors when the Zambezi River is only down the road.  I remembered reading about a spot that does sunset cruises and thought it was a must, so hopped in a taxi and asked him to take me to the Zambezi Waterfront.

 

In a few minutes we pulled up outside a stunning riverside hotel, complete with thatched roofing, lush grass and tropical trees everywhere.  I went upstairs and inquired about the cruise, getting the impression that I didn’t have much time.  I paid the K250 000, knowing that it was a lot but I would never forgive myself if I didn’t go.  Plus it included drink and dinner.  I wandered around for a while and took some snaps, all whilst the monkeys above me swung from tree to tree making an absolute racket. 

 

I got on the M.V.Makumbi and got a spot on top, not that there was going to be anywhere with a bad view.  There were lots of Australians and New Zealanders on board, many of whom had been on the beers all day but I wasn’t going to let them ruin it.  I was clearly the only one by myself, but laughed thinking what if I thought it was a singles cruise.

 

The boat chugged away from the jetty and over towards the other side, which was a large island rather than the Zimbabwean side of the river.    As the conductor (?) explained some of the wildlife we could expect to see, behind the boat a crocodile floated in our wake, apparently a regular occurrence.  Maybe the bubbles feel nice on its tummy.  It wasn’t long before we were seeing hippos popping up all over near the shore.  But nothing would beat what happened next; as we neared the end of the island a large male elephant came storming through the bushes and ran straight into the water.  It then proceeded to swim over to the other side, occasionally submerging itself except its trunk.  There were a few boats around us to witness it, I think even the staff were taken back by how close it was to us.  Not long after this we were perfectly positioned to witness one of the most breathtaking scenes in Africa: the sun setting over the Zambezi River.  No words can do justice its beauty, but hopefully my photos do some of the explaining.  On our way back to the jetty it had turned quite dark, and we could just make about what appeared to me more than 10 hippos slowly coming shore for the evening.

 

I got a cab back to the hostel, thinking that I’d have a drink at the bar and then hit the hay so I could get up early the next day.  At the bar I ended up chatting to a lovely guy called Syndey, he works at the hostel sometimes promoting a show that happens in the evening in Livingstone.  We ended up chatting for ages until we were joined by a young English guy from Oxford and his friend Josh.  They were both coming to the end of a 6 month trip from New Zealand, Australia and most of southern Africa, which clearly mummy and daddy were funding.  They were quite a good laugh, and when they suggested we go out I agreed.

 

All four of us crammed into a cab that took us up the road, where we went into the club to see it if was good (apparently common practice in Zambia). When we decided it was nice we all walked back to get changed and headed to the local outdoor bar for a drink first.  It was an amazing place, mostly outdoors with fires everywhere to keep people warm, a braai and pool tables.  Sydney told me that it was a Congolese bar, which is why some of the French tourists were enjoying the music.  From there our crowd had grown and we walked up to the Fairmount Hotel and queued to get in.  Sydney spent a few minutes bargaining with the doorman and most of us got in for free.  Inside the atmosphere was electric, playing a mixture of local Zambian music, some South African kwaito and American R&B.  I chatted to some of the local lads who were a good laugh, some of them saying they love Livingstone because of the mixture of European girls that pass through every night.  But with the day’s activities catching up on me, Sydney and I shared a cab where he dropped me off at the backpackers place.  I crept quietly into my bottom bunk (I say quietly but it was probably far from it) and fell fast asleep.

 

The Zambezi Waterfront

Elephant on the Zambezi

Published in: on October 30, 2009 at 12:20 pm  Leave a Comment  

Zambia research trip – Day 16

Friday 21st August 2009 – Day 16

 

I only left the hotel at 10am today, it was apparently national ‘slam your door at 5am’ day.  Before I left I popped up to the internet cafe to print off my information and consent forms.  I was horrified to see that Sunday Musonda, Kenneth Kaunda’s personal assistant, had sent me an e-mail on Wednesday afternoon asking me to phone him on Thursday at 2pm.  The internet connection at the hotel had been down on the previous day, and I didn’t bother to go to the cafe to check.  So I double checked my numbers and thought that I’d phone him at 2pm today, in case that is the time he finished his meetings or something.

 

I went down to the Special Collections and started to comb over the books and documents I had already done, and it turned out to be a good idea.  Someone had cleaned up the library in the previous days and there appeared to be a few more books related to my research.  I even found some more documents from the Ministry of Information, which would prove to be useful too.  During this time I kept checking my watch to see how close I was to 2pm.  I eventually left to go phone, and after getting my sound-bite ready there was no answer.  What an anti-climax!    I thought I’d give him an hour, in which case I would wander down to the Commonwealth Youth Programme Centre and ask about an interview.

 

It was quite a walk down there, and it was a hot day too.  I eventually found the building, and it looked like a small fortress with high walls, and a huge uninviting gate.  There was no reception or guard on the outside, so I forced open the door to be confronted by a scary looking guard.  He pointed me in the general direction as he looked me up and down.  I wandered into the reception and explained who I was, where I was from and what I wanted.  They man behind the desk seemed to know who I needed to speak to, but low and behold he wasn’t in.  So he sent me up to another girl in an office on the other end of the quad.  I explained who I was, where I was from and what I wanted, and she went and spoke to someone else.  She came back and said that I needed to write a letter and they will write back with a reply.  I said that I leave in a few days and could I send an e-mail instead, so she gave me a brochure with a look of complete disinterest on her face.  I thanked her and left, quite annoyed.  I was quite clear in explaining that I was here on behalf of the Commonwealth, and was hoping to have a chat to someone about the role the Commonwealth Secretariat plays in Zambia, but I was fobbed off like any student they couldn’t be bothered to deal with.  I wondered if that was the reason why I got the impression in Zambia that the Commonwealth was somewhat irrelevant.

 

I was quite disheartened walking back, as I felt I had been positive and friendly, and blown back in response.  To make matters worse, Prof. Phiri’s office was empty, as was most of the university, a sign that they had knocked off early for the weekend.  Nonetheless, I put in a couple more hours work in the library until we were kicked out by the jingling of the librarian’s keys.

 

I walked down from the university to Arcades shopping centre, and enjoyed the Friday evening vibe that was present everywhere.  I got a couple of papers from the Spar and had a beautiful supper at Rhapsody’s, a 300g sirloin steak with a garlic sauce.  After watching the Hangover and killing myself laughing I felt much better and headed home for a few hours sleep.

Published in: on October 30, 2009 at 11:44 am  Leave a Comment  

Zambia research trip – Day 15

Thursday 20th August 2009 – Day 15

It was more of the same today; it was going to be my last day at the archives so was planning to go through the remainder of the Times of Zambia and some other related documents.  I was becoming a regular feature at the archives by now and the girls who worked there were very friendly.  Although one of them did warn me that Winnie was ‘sick’ and if she annoyed me I should just ignore her.  I just shrugged it off, I enjoyed my fish breakfast the previous day and that was that!

 

I spent a few hours going through the records of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and was amazed at how disappointing it was.  Despite this ministry obviously dealing with the neighbouring governments during this time, there was scant paperwork to show for it.  I even went through the ‘top secret’ and ‘confidential’ documents relating to OAU and Commonwealth summits, but there seems more attention paid to how many hotel rooms are required than the details of the summit themselves. 

 

The Times of Zambia was useful, going through the years 1978 and 1979 showed just how much the war escalated.  The raids on Zambia were frequent and ferocious, and wonder how on earth you calculate the human and economical cost of all this.  Although I was also aware that what is presented in the paper is sometimes far from fact.  Every raid is claimed to be on refugee camps, although they would go on to contradict themselves by stating that the refugees fought back with anti-aircraft weaponry, or that the refugees just happened to be wearing combat fatigues.  The denial of the training camps is something I will certainly be pursuing later on.

 

I finished up by 3:30pm and went outside to wait for Kennedy, finding a lovely spot in the sun.  It was actually nice to just relax and reflect on what I had read that day.  I wondered how on earth I could ever complete this project without coming to Zambia, and how much my understanding of Zambia has developed.

 

I went back to the hotel and tried to do some further work, although the continuous nights of bad sleep were catching up with me and I found it difficult to think straight.  I was really looking forward to the weekend though, and was hoping that the museum in Livingstone could be more fruitful than the museum in Lusaka.

Published in: on October 30, 2009 at 11:38 am  Leave a Comment  

Zambia research trip – Day 14

Wednesday 19th August – Day 14

 

It was warmer today than it has been in a while, still crisp in the morning but I could feel the heat in the taxi on the way to the archives.  Before that I had run up Cairo Road to try and find an internet cafe to print off my ethical approval documents, I did find one but not only had I stupidly deleted the documents from my flash drive and the internet connection was so slow I couldn’t even open my e-mail.

 

I wasn’t quite sure what I was going to do today, knowing that due to the fumigation was taking place.  But surprisingly when I got there I was told that it had been postponed until the weekend, clearly common sense prevailing.  It was also to my surprise that Winne had kept her promise from the day before, and handed me a little black pot complete with fish and chips.  I wasn’t particularly looking forward to eating cold fish and chips, but she was very sincere and I knew that declining her offer would have offended her.  I duly sat down and got stuck in, whilst watching the one year memorial service of former president Levy Mwanamasa.  The fish was actually quite nice, I think it was a bream and the flesh was thick and tasty.  I didn’t eat the  chips though, they looked like they didn’t survive the night well.

 

I carried on from where I left off the day before, and the going was slow and unproductive again.  I thought that documents relating to the Commonwealth Conference in Singapore and the Non-Aligned Conference in Lusaka would be productive, but there was little value.  Even the documents pertaining to the OAU Africa Liberation Committee had little value.  The Times of Zambia did produce some interesting stuff, but not as much as I was hoping.

 

I had a break at 2pm and Ranka, who was at the archives today, and I went outside for a while.  I told her that my research was rather frustrating at times, and how little I feel I’m getting done in my 3 weeks.  But she reassured me that this is the nature of researching, in 3 weeks you’ll be lucky to get 1 week done.  Although we both agreed that the experience of coming out here and doing the research is absolutely priceless and worth the trip alone.  Even though it wasn’t the most productive day, I did feel better.

 

My attempt to meet up with Marcio, a lecturer in African history at the University of Kent provide fruitless, as he only had a couple of days to spare and was running out of time, something I could appreciate.  I e-mailed Sunday again asking him about my proposed interview with KK, I hope he gets back to me soon.

 

I had a pizza for dinner and started to contemplate my final week in Zambia.  I needed to get some interviews sorted out, but now that I had done a reasonable amount of reading I feel like I can finally engage with people in an interview.  Saying that though, again I was already looking forward to getting home and getting into my own bed.

Published in: on October 20, 2009 at 8:48 am  Leave a Comment  

Zambia research trip – Day 13

Tuesday 18th August 2009 – Day 13

 

I finally had a cracking sleep and was looking forward to the day.  Kennedy was waiting for me outside as per usual by now, and took me to the archives.  As I requested my Times of Zambia for 1971-1975 I also asked the lady there if she had anything other documents pertaining to the support for the liberation struggle.  She pulled out a couple of catalogues and we both started going through them, and found some stuff related to UNIP in the 1970s, and decided it was a good start.

 

My work in the newspapers proved very productive, as the Lisbon coup of 1974 and the assassination of Herbert Chitepo in 1975 prove to be incredibly significant dates.  Having made some good notes, I went through the other documents which proved to be interesting as well.  Having gone through them and with a couple of hours to spare, I thought I’d chance my luck and inquire about anything to do with Vernon Mwaanga and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.  I was given another catalogue that could prove to be my bible.  By the time they arrived I only had about an hour and a half left, but the personal notes, correspondence and meeting minutes were the real deal, exactly what I had come over for.

 

I left out some of the folders to complete the next day, which turned out to be a good move.  As I was collecting my bag I was told that the storage room had just been fumigated and was not accessible for the next 5 days.  I was gutted, as that only left me with Monday and Tuesday the following week to gather as much vital information as possible.  But I wasn’t too annoyed, I had a second wind behind me and thought I could use the rest of the week to speak to people.  As it turned out, I was granted my ethical approval from King’s today, which meant I could conduct my interviews without fear of being suspended, which is a positive.

 

As I was waiting for Kennedy one of the lades who works there, Winnie, called me over.  She asked me so nicely to pay for some fresh milk as she didn’t have any money on her.  I laughed and gave her the K15 000, knowing that she had been very helpful to me today.  She then declared that she was my girlfriend and I must move to Zambia.  When I told Kennedy about my new found love he couldn’t stop giggling.

 

I had a chat in the bar with Gilbert, mostly about the acquittal of Frederick Chiluba on all counts of corruption, which is seen widely as a farce.  Whilst chatting I asked him what he thought about the Commonwealth as an organization, to which he told me how he learnt about it in school and everyone followed with Kaunda was in power, but has fallen off the radar in the past 10 years or so.  I wasn’t completely surprised with his answer, and wondered if it would ring true the more people I ask in the next few days.

Published in: on October 20, 2009 at 8:44 am  Leave a Comment  

Zambia research trip – Day 12

Monday 17th August 2009 – Day 12

 

I had a much better night’s sleep last night, probably something to do with the copious amounts of painkillers I took on Sunday.  I had drawn up a streamlined version of dates I needed from the Times of Zambia, so I was looking forward to a good day at the archives. 

 

I got there as they opened and didn’t have to wait long for the huge books to arrive.  I started going through them at once, from 9:30am until 12:30pm when I had a quick break.  By 4pm I had covered everything from 1966 until 1970, but it had dawned on me that I hadn’t really come up with anything of great use to me.  When I left I felt quite down, also considering that it was still early in the day but I had nothing else to do.  I’m sure most researchers have days like this, when you feel like you’ve put in a huge effort but looks like you’ve done nothing, but I was in my room by 4:30pm and really annoyed.

 

I decided I had to get out of the hotel, so decided to go see a movie.  I ran across Cairo Road to get a taxi, which took 45 minutes to get to the Arcades Centre.  The drive there was quite worrying, the driver drove incredibly slow and took a ‘back road’ to the centre down a dirt road and dodgy neighbourhood.  I got there in the end, and found a restaurant where I had a scrumptious 300g rump steak with mushroom and bacon sauce, whilst I read the latest Mail & Guardian.  I saw Knowing, starring Nicolas Cage, about a discovered prophecy of the end of the world.  Not exactly cheer-me-up material, but it was nice to get lost in thought for a couple of hours, even if I looked like the geek who always goes to movies alone.  Godfrey drove me back to the hotel, a chatty little guy who didn’t hesitate to tell me to move to Zambia to live!

 

When I got back I decided to put the day behind me and make sure the next day I make up for lost time and efforts.  Part of me was already looking forward to getting back, but I knew that I had a week left to really get my act together and produce some fine work.

Published in: on October 20, 2009 at 8:40 am  Leave a Comment