Columnists Features

Recounting malaria menace in colonial Zamiba

DOWN MEMORY LANE with AUSTIN KALUBA
THIS week, I will take you Down Memory Lane without confining myself to any specific period or subject.
1. Pop’ Counsell, the proprietor of Counsell Hotel (now Lusaka hotel) was a prominent early settler who had a big farm at Foxdale.
2. Early white settlers were always scared of malaria and took great precaution to prevent it. The fear was aggravated by the death of David Livingstone. A white settler Gore Browne believed Livingstone’s medicine chest was stolen by Africans who thought it contained valuables. Browne engaged in a desultory search for it over years.
3. Malaria delayed colonisation of Africa. The cinchona tree was developed as a plantation crop in India in 1861. Quinine, a treatment for malaria was extracted from the plant and helped to address the numerous cases of malaria in Central Africa. However, it was until 1897-8 when Sir Ronald Ross discovered the transmission of malarial parasites by mosquitoes that all along had hampered commercial activities. Later better drugs than quinine were developed.
4. The Litunga Sekeletu complained to Dr David Livingstone when he visited his palace of malaria that was killing his subjects in large numbers.
5. Lusaka was gazetted as a township in August 1930 with a BOMA established along Cairo Road.
6. Leopold Moore, an early pioneer who started the Livingstone Mail objected to Lusaka being turned into a capital city. He wrote in his newspaper; Lusaka is a God-forsaken spot. I have sat on the step of Counsell Hotel and contemplated the vista and shivered at the most arid, desolate, windswept, cold and miserable spot in Northern Rhodesia.
7. The Susman brothers –Harry and Ellie-from Lithuania were important pioneering settlers in Zambia. They became very wealthy from trading and dealing in cattle.
8. A typical Boma office was sparsely furnished with a green felt cloth covering a table and a mounted basin of water with a bar of soap and towel with GRZ embroidered on it.
9. Road side hawkers would sell Munkoyo or maheu and would give you some dyonko.
10. In the late 80’s, coupons were issued to workers earning a salary below K20,000.
11. Bread cost 13 Ngwee for some years.
12. Traditional doctors like Professor Shehu Yahya and ‘Dr’ Nawa advertised their services in the newspaper on diseases they could cure.
13. Wearing military fatigues would attract a beating from security men.
14. Kaunda strumming a guitar with his wife was a common picture whenever he celebrated his birthdays.

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