Remember the time when there were only three other countries in the known World after Northern Rhodesia: Southern Rhodesia, Down South and Overseas? – Ron de Kock
This book is my tribute to Zambia’s 50 years of Independence, but in common with most anniversaries, no matter how joyful, there is a little sadness in the background, if only that of the passing of years…
2. Who were the Northern Rhodesians?
I don’t care where they will come from, Great Britain, Holland, Germany, South Africa, Australia, America – it doesn’t matter a damn… – Roy Welensky
Though we retain an image of David Livingstone catching sight of the Victoria Falls in 1855, there was no effective integration of Northern Rhodesia into the British Empire until the 20th century.
A journey that will stay with me for the rest of my life – Norman Baker
Northern Rhodesia’s European population grew largely through immigration and behind the bald statistics are real people making momentous decisions to leave one home to set up another.
4. What was it like?
I forgot to tell you what was probably the best thing that living there did for me. I felt like a PERSON, an individual. It was so nice to be able to walk down the street and be known as me! – Derek Dutton
Although people don’t usually want to listen to “Whenwes” reminiscing at any great length, they do often ask, “So what was it like living in Africa?” I think the answer they want is a Leopard in my Lap story about one’s home petting-zoo, but living there was normal at the time, whatever one makes of it now.
5. I feel sorry for the children of today
A wonderful place to grow up in, I always felt safe and happy there and spent many contented hours in the bush on my own – Julie Swenson
It is a cliché that in childhood the sun always shone, but for people who grew up in Central Africa, it really did.
6. A man’s country?
A single woman on the permanent and pensionable establishment may be required to resign her appointment in the event of her marriage – NRG General Orders
It was often said that Northern Rhodesia was a man’s country. Taken literally, one might well respond “Not all that much so” – the population imbalance was not great, but the structures and values of European society were loaded in favour of males
7. The political climate
This chapter is not an account of the politics of Northern Rhodesia approaching Zambian Independence, there are good histories that do this, it is an impression of the political climate as remembered by people today.
8. Why did you leave if you liked it so much?
I’m surprised in retrospect that saying goodbye to friends wasn’t harder – Noel Wright
Recently a young Zambian asked members of a nostalgic Facebook group why they had left if they liked the country so much. Few people replied to him and most of those who did said their parents made the decision but they had wanted to stay; generally that is futile wishing, rather than frustrated desire
9. Where did they all go?
So four continents later we are still surviving – Karen Horn
I knew one couple who, contemplating where to go when his job was about to be Zambianised, drew up a list in 1965 of the “last pink bits” worldwide. The list, of course, was short, most of the territories on it were very small and one would be hard put to find some of them on a map.
10. An afterlife
My life’s work really finished when I left Zambia – Roland Hill
People not only uprooted themselves they had to make new lives and this was easier if there was a financial cushion to depend on whilst they found a new home and new employment.
11. What remains?
There is a kind of cultural watershed; if you stay on past it you will always have a sense of exile – Colin Morris
When the time came to go, people made a final round of goodbyes and reappraised their possessions, selling or giving away some things, packing others, not really knowing what they would want later.
12. Towards the end
It was the final straw, there is always a final straw
Doris Lessing, a woman who understood the contradictions of Central Africa better than many wrote, An African once said to me that, beyond all the white man’s more obvious crimes in Africa, there was the unforgivable one that, ‘Even the best of you use Africa as a peg to hang your egos on.’ Guilty as charged!