From Northern Rhodesia to Zambia. Recollections of a DO/DC 1962-73

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The birth of a new nation is an exciting time. Mick Bond spent the years 1962-73 as a District Officer and a District Commissioner, actively participating in the demise of the colonial regime and then as a civil servant in independent Zambia. This detailed account of his life and work includes the daily routine of a colonial officer, his personal experiences of the 1964 Lumpa conflict and his involvement in the elections of 1962, 1964, and 1968.

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Published 20 October 2014
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EAN13 9789982240918
Language English
Document size 22 MB

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FROM NORTHERN RHODESIA TO ZAMBIA
Recollections of a DO/DC 1962-73
Mick Bond
Gadsden Publishers
Gadsden Publishers
P O Box 32581, Lusaka, Zambia
Copyright © Mick Bond, 2014
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted, in any form or by an means electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior permission of the publisher.
ISBN 978 9982240901
Printed by Lightning Source UK
CONTENTS Acknowledgements Foreword Abbreviations
Chapter 1 WHY AND HOW I WENT TO NORTHERN RHODESIA 2 MPOROKOSO, 1962-64: DOMESTIC AND SOCIAL LIFE 3 MPOROKOSO, 1962-64: THE WORK 4 MPOROKOSO, 1962-64: AROUND THE DISTRICT 5 CHINSALI, 1953-64: LUMPA CHURCH BACKGROUND 6 CHINSALI, 1964: THE LUMPA CONFLICT 7 CHINSALI: THE AFTERMATH, INDEPENDENCE AND FAMILYLIFE
8 9 10 11
BANCROFT AND CHINGOLA, 1965-66
MONGU, 1966-67
MY LUSAKA & KITWE EPISODES, 1967-73
CONTRASTS AND RETROSPECT, SEEN FROM 2012
APPENDIX 1 MPOROKOSO: MY FIRST VILLAGE-TO-VILLAGE TOUR REPORT
APPENDIX 2 RULES OF LUMPA CHURCH AND SOME OF LENSHINA’S HYMNS
APPENDIX 3 STRUCTURE OF GOVERNMENT ADMINISTRATION AT LOCAL LEVEL – 1995 RECOMMENDATIONS
i v v v i
1 13 29 49 71 85
111 135 147 163 179
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227
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Acknowledgements
I am most grateful for permission from John Hudson, MBE, of Lusaka and his publishers Bookworld to quote, in my Chapters 1, 5 and 6, from his bookA Time to Mourn. My ex-colleague Peter Moss has allowed me to quote his recent email messages in my chapter 6, and I thank him for this. I am also indebted to my late mother-in-law who had the affection and good sense to keepallmy wife’s letters written to England during our elevenyears in Northern Rhodesia/Zambia – only recently discovered (!), they have served excellently in correcting our memories of details and reminding us what we actually were thinking at the time.
iv
Foreword
My wife and I lived and worked from 1962 to 1973 in Northern Rhodesia and Zambia i.e. through its period of Independence. Apart from my two three-night stopovers in Lusaka on behalf of Newcastle University, neither of us returned to Zambia until 2012, when we had a delightful month revisiting many parts of the country. We then came across so many Zambians who, hearing that I had once been a District Commissioner at the time of Independence, kept saying “You are a living part of our history, a part we know nothing about! You must tell us what it was like.” This modest account of our work and life half a century ago is, then, primarily intended for Zambian readers who recognise a gap in their understanding of that significant period in their country’s history. By its nature this account can do no more than describe events from the perspectives of one expatriate couple, but a couple who immediately developed a great love for the country and its people.
Mick Bond, July 2014
v
Abbreviations used frequently
DC: District Commissioner D/M, S/D/M: District Messenger, Senior D/M DO: District Officer DS: District Secretary LDA: Learner District Assistant N/A: Native Authority PA: Provincial Administration PC: Provincial Commissioner P&DG: Provincial & District Government (PA’s successor) PMO: Provincial Medical Officer
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1. WHY AND HOW I WENT TO NORTHERN RHODESIA
Let me start with some answers to a few very basic background questions. Why had I gone to the then Northern Rhodesia in the first place, in 1962? And, in essence, how did the British Colonial Service operate in pre-independent colonies and protectorates? When I was fourteen, at home in southern England, we had a lodger staying with us for a month. He was studying at London University on a postgraduate course in Colonial Administration, preparatory to going out as a young District Officer to what was then Nyasaland. Talking with him often, I became fascinated by his descriptions of what he imagined the work would involve. Of course it was coloured by all the concepts of imperialism and British arrogant superiority of which we have long since come to be embarrassed or ashamed – but one cannot change history. Above all it seemed to be a job of immense variety and responsibility, playing one’s part in ensuring good (if at times paternal) government, maintaining law and order, and pushing local development on all fronts, for the benefit firstly of the local population – and only coincidentally to satisfy any British interests. I then decided, at that tender age, that this was a most attractive career for me to pursue. My education from 1947 to 1956 was at the City of London School, a day public school with a good reputation both for its academic achievements (e.g. for its tally of scholarships gained to Oxbridge) and for religious tolerance. About one third of the boys there were Jewish, and any sign or thought of anti-semitism amongst the majority of us was so exceptional as to lead to disgrace – more potent than punishment. Looking back, I suppose the sub-conscious acceptance of human equality regardless of religious beliefs, as practised at the school, was extended to the realms of racial equality, even though at that age I had no African acquaintances. After school (I was Head Boy in my final year) I did the obligatory two year period of National Service in the Army. I did my basic training in, and was soon commissioned into, the famous Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment) as a Second Lieutenant, and thoroughly enjoyed my time in pre-Wall Berlin and then in Edinburgh. It was often said that National Service turned boys into men; it certainly taught young officers the ethics
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From Northern Rhodesia to Zambia
of responsibility and basic administrative concepts. Then I went up to Jesus College, Cambridge, to read Classics for three years. Although I must have forgotten a lot of the Greek and Latin of my schooldays, I am sure my approach to both my studies and the inimitable social life there was that much more mature for the two years spent in the Army. Throughout my time in the Army and at Cambridge my aspirations to join the Colonial Service did not change. In this period we experienced, of course, Harold Macmillan’s famous speech on the “Winds of change sweeping across Africa,” the nationalist calls for independence, and Britain’s acceptance of the need to move from an Empire to a Commonwealth. While I still felt mentally committed to a career in what would be left of the Colonial Service, there was now an increasing desire to pursue it with the aim of helping to achieve as smoothly as possible the morally unchallengeable and inevitable transition to independence; in other words, to accept it as a ‘suicide career’ from the start, from which who knows where the experiences would lead. It was more a matter of fact, than just a joke, that a classical education had been regarded as the natural academic background for administrators in the Foreign and Colonial Services, although that was not the only reason I chose to read Classics at Cambridge. Wendy, who read English at Girton College, knew my clear career intentions when in 1961 she agreed to marry me, and equally I knew she would be the right partner for the kind of life ahead (had I married somebody else, I might well have changed tack and tried the Foreign Office – and had a very different life and family!). By the time I was actually interviewed at the Colonial Office in 1960 the number of dependencies was dwindling further. Nigeria, Kenya, Nyasaland and Tanganyika were no longer options, and there remained Northern Rhodesia and various Pacific islands. I remember being much impressed by the 1961 Reith Lectures of Dame Margery Perham, the historian and Director of the Oxford Institute of Colonial Studies, entitled “The Colonial Reckoning”. They were reassuring at the time, and still retain their reputation, in weighing dispassionately both the positive and the less worthy aspects of Britain’s record as a colonial power. Even though now fully in support of moves to independence for all the dependencies, I did not feel on balance that we had that much to be ashamed of in our recent colonial history –
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Why and How I Went to Northern Rhodesia
certainly not when compared with the Belgians, Portuguese, French or Germans. I was accepted onto the postgraduate course in Colonial Administration at Cambridge in 1961-62, continuing to be a member of Jesus College. This was the last course of its kind, as it was clear to all except an ostrich that the days of the Colonial Service as such were severely numbered. We did come across one such ostrich: an elderly white-haired old hand visited us from the Colonial Office and, in order to encourage us perhaps, talked about the “magnificent career ahead of you all, young men!” We were sure we knew better. The twenty three of us on the course were all, except one, destined for Northern Rhodesia, if we passed. The exception was Prince Stephen of Toro, brother of Princess Bagaya who was at Girton College with Wendy, reading Law, and who later became first an international fashion model and later still Foreign Secretary of Uganda under Idi Amin. Stephen would have entered the Ugandan Civil Service, but we all lost touch with him. There were some ten others who were doing a parallel course in Tropical Agriculture before going out as Colonial Agricultural Officers to various other dependencies (mostly in the Caribbean); we did not socialise much with them. The course Director, Mr Hugh McCleery, a former Provincial Commissioner (PC) of Tanganyika, was full of reminiscences from the past but not so strong on advising us on what the future would be like in the rapidly changing pre-independence scene. There was also a parallel ‘senior’ or refresher course; Jack Fairhurst, District Commissioner (DC) in Lusaka, was on this course and was very helpful to us. So far as I can now recall, the contents of the course were: Language, Law (we would become junior Magistrates ex-officio), Colonial History, some Anthropology, basic Tropical Agriculture and Agricultural Economics, Land Surveying and the elements of construction. The Rev. Quick, an ex-missionary, came every week from South Wales to teach us ciBemba: this was regarded as the most difficult and structured of the eight main languages of Northern Rhodesia, and if we could master that we could more easily pick up one of the others, depending on where we were posted. I certainly concentrated more on the language than on the other subjects and came top of the class
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