Showing posts from 2017

Why aren’t tourists following the wind?

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

We’re FBI and happy about it
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

Kafue Flats: A threatened wetland
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

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

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…

Gabriel Ellison: the woman who kept us posted


 GABRIEL Ellison, who died last Tuesday, aged 87, was one of Zambia’s pioneering artists with some of the most famous designs associated with every-day life.
And yet Mrs Ellison, herself, remained a little-known figure, and perhaps not appreciated as much.

This may be largely because Gabriel Ellison was not one to blow her own trumpet or to walk in the limelight.
“She was a very private person,” says Cynthia Zukas, who was a friend of Mrs Ellison’s.
A private person, yet her works scream from the walls of many public as well as private buildings; from the hallways of State House and the sacred walls of the Cathedral of the Child Jesus.
One of her biggest mosaics can be found on the front wall of Protea Hotel on Cairo Road.
But without doubt, her most common art pieces are the national flag and the Coat of Arms.
When Northern Rhodesia was granted independence in 1964, the administration asked Mrs Ellison to design the national flag to replace the Union Jack. She also desig…

Local potato farmers in turf war

ZAMBIA and South Africa may be perfectly at peace, but farmers on either side of the Limpopo River may be engaged in a trade war.
Around a table in the boardroom at the Zambia National Farmers Union (ZNFU) offices in Lusaka, there is some tough talking from some local commercial and small-scale farmers. Top on their discussion menu is potatoes, and a bit of onions and tomatoes.
This is a fruits and vegetable working group, formulated to lobby Government to protect the interests of local farmers from cheaper vegetable imports.
What is currently worrying the farmers is cheaper imports of potatoes from South Africa that have flooded the local market.
According to the farmers, South African potato markets are currently over supplied due to a bumper harvest in the Eastern Freestate on the back of good rains.
“I have investigated the issues as these potatoes are spilling over into our markets and the market information is that this will continue until the end of August. T…

Beggar moms using babies as bait

ON A cold June morning, Namukale Chella stands on the pavement at a busy junction in Lusaka, her 19-months-old son strapped to her back. She waits until the traffic light turns red, and then goes from car to car, asking for money. The 24-year-old mother-of-two has memorised one line which she uses to beg for money or food: “Baby hungry, no food to eat,” she says gesturing to the baby on her back.
When she is tired of standing on the pavement, Namukale sits under a Jacaranda tree and breastfeeds her son. Her first-born son called Joshua, who is four years old, playfully tags at her mother, oblivious of the harshness of life the family faces.
Namukale is one of six young nursing mothers begging daily at this junction. Each of the young women has a sad tale to tell about the misfortune that brought them to the streets.
For Namukale, she started begging on the streets after the death of her parents. She has been begging now for six months.
She dropped out of school when…

My Dad, Kenneth Kaunda

My Dad, Kenneth Kaunda

KAWECHE Kaunda is one of Dr Kenneth Kaunda’s nine children. Born in June 1959, he was five years old when his father became the first President of Zambia in 1964. In a special interview with JACK ZIMBA, to mark Dr Kaunda’s 93rd birthday, Kaweche gives his own perspective of the man who was Zambia’s President for 27 years, but whom he calls dad, or cheekily, the old man. BEING A KAUNDA BEING part of the first family must surely come with many privileges – money, private schools, cars and personal helps and bodyguards. Not really so in the Kaunda household. According to Kaweche, if there was one great lesson that Dr Kaunda instilled in his children early enough during his presidency, it was that “State House was just a temporary home, and we were made never to forget that.” He says his dad tried hard to give his children a normal life even within the confines of Plot One. “He kept telling us: ‘Zambia has one President at a time, and right now, the President is myself, K…