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Could this be the oldest man alive?

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Could this be the oldest man alive? JACK ZIMBA

 WHEN White Nyamfukudza Tembo comes out of the small house, he is borne like a toddler in the arms of his teenage grandson, and then his fragile frame is carefully placed in a chair.
His grandchildren and great grandchildren gather around and gaze at him like a relic in a museum. Well, at 114 years old, he is a living relic.
“Get me something warm, it’s cold out here,” demands the old man.
His voice is still strong, but he is hard of hearing and one has to shout when speaking to him.
He can hardly see, but he was able to detect the flashlight from my camera.
“Are they taking pictures of me?” he asks his son, Brian.
Sitting beside the old man is his third child, Justina. At 82, she is the oldest living child of the old man.
And next to her is Materesi Phiri, the old man’s sister-in-law. She is believed to be close to a hundred years old.
They are all here because a few weeks ago, the old man lost his wife, Juliana. She was believed to be 108…

Gifted hands too

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Gifted hands too

JACK ZIMBA,
Lusaka

WHEN Bruce Bvulani was a little boy he had a fascination with frogs.
He kept some in the backyard of his parents’ house and, later, when he learned how to stitch cloth at school, he would cut open the frogs and stitch them up again.
Of course, the poor creatures never lived through the gory procedure.
Today, Dr Bvulani’s subjects are not little frogs, but little humans. He is one of only four paediatric surgeons in the country.
With Zambia’s population of children estimated at eight million, it makes him responsible for two million children, theoretically.
And as head of unit neonatal and paediatric surgery at the country’s biggest health facility, the University Teaching Hospital (UTH), Dr Bvulani was the lead surgeon in the operation that separated conjoined twins Mapalo and Bupe on February 2 this year.
When the Siamese twins arrived at UTH in June last year, Dr Bvulani was on leave, but he knew that was his call.
Following the successful operation…

Why aren’t tourists following the wind?

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Why aren’t tourists following the wind?

JACK ZIMBA, Itezhi Tezhi
WHEN Andrea Porro got bored running a business as a wildlife photographer and graphic designer in his hometown Milan, Italy, he sold his shares in the company and bought a piece of heaven on the edge of Lake Itezhi Tezhi in the South Kafue National Park called Konkamoya, which literally translates “follow the wind”. Mr Porro is a zoologist specialised in evolutionary biology, but he says he could not find employment in Italy, so he set up a photography and graphic design business which he ran for 20 years with his partner, and then decided to follow the wind.
“When I reached 46, I decided I can’t spend my life 14 hours before the computer, and when I came here, the owner offered me 50 percent in the lodge, and in one night I decided to sell my shares in my business in Italy and bought shares in Konkamoya,” he says in heavily accented English.
He now has full ownership of the lodge.
It is not hard to see why Mr Porro fell …

We’re FBI and happy about it

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We’re FBI and happy about it
JACK ZIMBA, Lusaka
MIRRIAM Kaziya and Lilian Kalunga sit bubbly at a restaurant in Lusaka. The two sisters are both wearing heavy make-up and above-the-knee dresses. For Mirriam, her dress is short enough to reveal an elaborate tattoo covering her right thigh. Both women are light complexioned. But they both have not been light-skinned from birth. Their new complexion is a result of bleaching.
Though still considered controversial by society, Mirriam and Lillian do not flinch talking about their own transformation through skin bleaching.
They both laugh and giggle as they compare their before-and-after pictures on their phones. Mirriam refers to herself as a FBI (former black individual).
“I used to be really dark. I used to look like that man,” says Mirriam, pointing to a man sitting a few tables away.
Mirriam says she decided to bleach her skin because she usually felt bad whenever she was with her friend who had bleached her skin.
“I looked like her mai…

Kafue Flats: A threatened wetland

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Kafue Flats: A threatened wetland
JACK ZIMBA, Monze
BACK in April, while flying from Mongu, I beheld its breathtaking beauty – like a huge canvas painting spread for miles on end.
Even from a thousand metres above, the eyes could only frame in so much of the shades of green broken by shimmering patches of silver, turning to gold as the afternoon sun waned. Such is the beauty of the Kafue Flats.
After coursing for several hundred kilometres from its source at Kipushi on the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Kafue River seems to just dissipate, breaking up into oxbows, lagoons, tributaries and ponds. The result is this expanse of grassy plains covering an area of 6,500sq km.
Six months later, here I was again crossing the flats, except this time I was not flying over it, but driving through it.
And sadly, the picture-perfect image of the Kafue Flats that I had seen from the skies is not as perfect from the ground.
This grassy wilderness, which is home to the Kafue Red Lec…

Lochinvar: A lost paradise

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Lochinvar: A lost paradise JACK ZIMBA, Monze
THE vehicle did not seem to go any faster than I wanted it to, it was slowed down mostly by the bumpy gravel road we were travelling on. My eagerness was to reach Lochinvar National Park in Monze, Southern Province.
Back in the colonial days, Lochinvar was a private ranch belonging to a Scottish man, but after he left, the land was converted into State land. And in 1972, it was gazetted as a national park. Home to about 400 bird species and the Kafue Red Lechwe, Lochinvar ought to be a paradise – a top destination for birdwatchers and other tourists.
But arriving at the park gate, something did seem amiss – defaced walls, a dilapidated guard’s house and a non-functional information centre were what greeted us.
Still, park warden Wilfred Moonga, who was leading our small party in his Land Rover, was eager to show me and other visitors what the park had to offer.
After driving through bush, we made our first stop at a hill called Sebanzi,…

Kipushi: Hard-to-reach place

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JACK ZIMBA, Kipushi
RECENTLY, photojournalist Brian Malama and I undertook an expedition to Kipushi which lies at the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Our principle objective was to get to the source of the Kafue River.
Kipushi lies north of Solwezi in the newly-created Mushindamo district in North-Western Province.
The place derives its name from the mining town across the border, which bears the same name, but does not mirror its civilisation.
The road to Kipushi is treacherous gravel and although it is only 120 kilometres from Solwezi, it takes about four hours to cover that distance with a four-wheel drive vehicle.
The route is far less enchanting, lined with forests, broken only by small unremarkable settlements.
In many parts of the road, the soil has been pounded into a fine powder by the many heavy trucks that traverse this route, to the extent that even a motor bike will leave behind a cloud of dust.
During the rainy season, however, much of the road becomes…