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Monday, 27 October 2008

Old drift - National Monuments of Zambia

From National Monuments of Zambia - an illustrated guide by D.W.Phillipson, 1983, Mission Press, Ndola

This cemetery is now almost the only surviving trace of the first European settlement of Livingstone. It is ... about one and a half kilometres upstream of the entrance to the Mosi-Oa-Tunya Zoological Park.

The presence of an urban settlement in this area owed to two major factors: the line of the main entry-route from the south into the then North-Western Rhodesia, and the proximity of the Victoria Falls. Prior to the construction of the railway all goods imported into Northwestern Rhodesia were carried by ox - or mule-drawn wagons and ferries across the Zambezi at the point, some nine kilometres upstream of the Victoria Falls, where the river is at its narrowest for some distance. The northern end of this crossing, known as the Old Drift or Sekuti's Drift, (after the Toka chief whose village was then nearby), soon became the first European settlers' town...

The first settler, F.J.Clarke, arrived in 1898 and set himself up as a trader, hotel-keeper and forwarding agent. By 1903 the European population had grown to sixty-eight, including seventeen women and six children. The British South Africa company established an administrative post nearby.

In most years some twenty percent of the settlers died and in 1903 the figure was considerably higher. Many of these early settlers were buried [here]

The railway from Bulawayo reached the south bank of the Zambezi at the Victoria Falls in April, 1904 and ... the bridge was officially opened in September 1903.

As soon as work began on the bridge it was apparent that, with the completion of the railway, the Old Drift would fall into disuse and that the only argument for retaining the Livingstone settlement in that unhealthy spot would fall away.

A detailed account ... is given in the book Mosi-Oa-Tunya: a handbook to the Victoria Falls Region, edited by D.W.Phillipson, published in 1975.

In addition to many waterfalls and other geographical features, two other sites mentioned in this book are:

Niamkolo Church, which was founded on the shore of Lake Tanganyika near Mpulungu by the LMS, the oldest survivmg church in Zambia (built 1893-96). A mission was founded here in 1880, abandoned after five years due to the disturbances caused by Arab slave raiders, but reopened in 1887. The church was founded by Alfred J. Swann and the building was undertaken by Adam Purves. The church fell into disrepair around about 1910.

Fort Monze was one of the earliest colonial police posts, founded in about 1898 near the village of Chief Monze, apparently to control activities of Europeans buying cattle after the Matabele rebelion.  It was founded by Major Harding, and demolished by F.W. Moseley in 1903. As the photo shows, only a monument remains.

 The cross (below) commemorates William Harding, but I can't make out the text altogether, which presumably mentions other officers of the BSA buried in the cemetery here.

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