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Sunday, 14 January 2018

Nice try...

I have to love this fellow for trying...

This is a copy of an actual letter received by my mother when she worked in car sales at Star Motors in Lusaka, in the 1970s.

13th April 1977
 Rabson C. Mukoko
Miseshi School
PO Box 2392
Kitwe, Zambia

Dear Sir please Mrs Wendy.

Please send me mercedes-Benz car?
I repeat again send me mercedes Benz
car home delivery scheme. I am
interesting  please trust me
you see    Don't forced (fooled? forget?)

yours faithfully
my name is
R. C. mukoko

Send fast agent please BY AIR 
mail  OK

We spent a long time laughing over this. Thank you Rabson, wherever you are. It seems like he doesn't have an internet presence now.

I wonder whether Rabson had an English lesson in which he decided to write this letter, and whether he discussed it with his classmates at Miseshi School. Perhaps he dreamed of the day that shiny new Mercedes Benz would arrive by airmail outside the school gates. "Rabson Mukoko? Special air mail delivery for you via the car home delivery scheme. Sign here please." Perhaps he waited by the gates for weeks afterwards, watching the Mercedes cars drive by...

Ah, bless.

Sunday, 3 September 2017

A first guide to the non-governmental archives in Zambia

I was lucky enough to be given a copy of this really useful little guide to the National Archives of Zambia by one of the authors, Marja Hinfelaar ten years ago. (Thank you Marja! Hard to believe it was that long ago.)  

I figure it's about time I shared some of the information in Marja's book, co-authored with Giacomo Macola, although I have to say to anyone reading this that I am not in Zambia and can't pop over to the archives to look up anything for you, sorry. Access to the archives is not free (you can see prices at the link above). I believe that the book, published by the National Archives, sponsored by the Finnish Embassy, is still available in some shops in Lusaka.

It looks to me like the archives have a new website, which is a good sign. However, the introduction to this book raises concerns about the state of the archives: 

"...underutilized, inaccessible and often in imminent danger of decay or destruction, owing to lack of resources and informed support."

I myself donated a copy of a Focus On Zambia documentary film to the archives, though I can't see a record of it -- I do know that it has been put to use at least once. I've wondered from time to time about donating other materials, but the comment above has been in the back of mind also. Anyway, if I were working there I'd be digitising as much as possible, as soon as possible. 

Bringing to the public's attention what is available is a key step in providing impetus to use of the materials and therefore their preservation, and yet the current website does not seem to list the materials I'll refer to here, ten years after the publication of this book. The archives website mainly seems to refer to governmental records.

The authors point out that there was a colonial bias to the collections of the Non-governmental archives, and that they began their project with creating a list of office-bearers in nationalist organisations and the first government, with a view to obtaining further archival materials. This met with some success, but the records remained sparse at the time of writing (2004). Further collections under the non-governmental umbrella are missionary and church archives, political organisations and NGOs dating from the colonial period. 

As far as I know a mooted follow up project 'A Guide to Zambiana Archives Abroad' has not come to pass, but interested readers would do well to look at records held by SOAS (School of Oriental and African Studies) in London. Apart from Sampson's book 'They came to Northern Rhodesia' (I have this, ask me for a lookup), the authors also recommend K.G. Mlenga's 'Who's Who in Zambia ' 1967-68 for biographical information. Another archive that should be worth exploring is the Collection Division of the Library of the University of Zambia.

What follows below is a brief summary of the archival materials listed in the book, without much regard to consistency. There is further detail on these in the book. Some collections remain in private hands, but are open to researchers. I've tried to indicate where this is so by mentioning their rough location.

Personal Papers

Colonial Administrators

Bissett, J.  b..1886. Natal postal service; postmaster at Abercorn - Mbala, later Chipata

Brelsford, W.V. b. 1907. One time curator of Livingstone Museum

Bruce-Miller, F.V.   Barotse Native Police, husband of Ada Marian Katolo (Fisher) of Kalene Hill.

Copeman, E.A.b. 1865. Kasempa, Chilanga, Feira, Luangwa,  d. 1958

Knight, N.S. b. 1914. Mumbwa, Barotseland, NRR. Secretary to Waddington.

Stuart, C.W.G. b.1884 (India). Boer war, Mazabuka, BSA Police, Congo, Solwezi, Lusaka d.1959


Arnot, F.S. and J. b. 1858 Glasgow. Barotseland, Bunkeya. Husband of H. Jane Fisher. Later Angola.

Fisher, W. and S.E.. Benguela, m. Susanna Darling. Kalene Hill. d. 1935


Kamanga, R.C. b. 1929 Chipata. d. 1996. Member of ZANC and UNIP

Kapulu, B.F. b. 1938. Hodgson Technical College, Ndola. DG Mpika. UNIP.

Makasa, R.S.K. b. 1922 Chinsali. Lubwa Mission, NRANC, UNIP.

Matoka, P.W. b. 1930, Mwinilunga. Minister. High commisioner, lecturer.

Mutemba, A.B. b.1929 Kasama. Munali Sec.School. NRANC. UNIP.

Nabulyato, R.M. b.1917. Teacher Kafue Training Institute. Namwala. Zambia National Assembly.

Nightingale, E.G. Revd. b1890, methodist missionary.

Nkumbula, H.M. b. 1916 Maala. Teacher. Makerere Univ. NRANC. d. 1983

Sardanis, A.S. Greek Cypriot businessman and associate of KK.

Shapi, A.K. b. 1932 Samfya. Northern News. NRANC. UNIP.

Sikalumbi, W.K. b. 1918 Mbala. NRANC. ZANC. Lecturer NIPA. AME Church.

Sokoni, J.M. b. 1922 Chinsali. Lubwa. NRANC. UNIP.  d. 2002

Zukas, S.B. b.1925 Lithuania. Copperbelt 1938.


Bruce-Miller, W.F. b. 1918, son of Katolo and Walter Fisher. NRR. Choma. Married E.M. Maclaren. Note on publication relating to Mackenzie, J.W.E. (NRR)

Bruce-Miller Maclaren, E.M. Choma farms. Wife of above. d. 1990s.

Cuninghame, B.A. and E. b. 1871 Scotland. Boer War. Angola. 'Makeni' ranch. NRR. Husband of Elsie Burrell. d. 1917 typhoid fever. Includes Makeni farm diary of Boyd Alexander.

Fisher, A.C. and M. Charles, son of Walter. Luanshya. m. Monica niece of Sir Gore-Brown.

Rangeley, H. b. 1874 Derbyshire. Matabeleland Constabulary. Magistrate Kalomo, Namwala. Wife Florence built Fort Jameson's hotel (formerly Rangeley Hotel).

Stephenson, J.E. b. 1876. See elsewhere on this blog... Letters, manuscripts and tape recordings.

Walker, H.F. Transport Contractor. "Walker's Drift" on Zambezi, now under L.Kariba. Fort Monze BSA. Choma. Muckleneuk. Diary, poorly preserved.

Other personal papers

Gore-Brown, S. Privately held at Shiwa Ng'andu.

Savory, T.W. Privately held at Monze.

Missionary and Church

AME records held by Sikalumbi (see above): correspondence, minutes, reports...

Church of Central Africa in Rhodesia correspondence and minutes.

General Missionary Conference of NR/Christian Council of NR. Correspondence and minutes.

Nyasa Industrial Mission - South African Baptist. Rev. Doke. Letters of Masters and Phillips, founders of Kafulafuta and Lwamala.

Zambia Anglican Council, including some registers of marriages and baptisms. Diaries of Bishop May.

Other Missionary (archives held elsewhere)

Brethren in Christ - records held at Choma.

Mindolo Ecumenical Foundation - Mindolo, Kitwe.

Reformed church in Zambia - Chamba Valley, Lusaka. Justo Mwale Thelogical College.

Roman Catholic Church (archives held elsewhere)

Diocesan and Catholic Secretariat Archives with permission from The Bishop of the diocese concerned.

Missionaries of Africa (White Fathers) - Woodlands, Lusaka.

Order of Friars Minor Conventual (Franciscan Fathers) - Ndola

Society of Jesuit Fathers - Archives off Airport Way, Lusaka.  Personal documents of many Jesuits.

Seventh Day Adventist Church - Lusaka

United Church of Zambia's Theological College - Mindolo, Kitew

Political Organisations   

Liberal Movements 

Capricorn Africa Society papers short-lived liberal group.

Northern Rhodesia African National Congress papers from some people mentioned above.

UNIP papers from people mentioned above. More papers at UNIP headquarters in Lusaka.

ZANC papers from people

Trade Unions

Northern Rhodesia European Civil Servants Association founded 1919 correspondence.

Railway African Workers' Union founded 1949


Associated Chambers of Commerce / Commercial and Industrial Association

Northern Rhodesia / Zambia Society on Alcoholism and Addiction founded 1960

Zambia Council for Social Development - Mumbwa Road

Zambia National Farmers' Union founded 1905, Lusaka. Also Abercorn Planters and Settlers' Association and Northern Province Settler's Association papers at NAZ.


Zambia Consolidated Mines - Ndola. Fees apply. Apparently the second largest archives in the country. Records of Roan, Anglo-American Corp. and others.