Features

Uncle Ben: Passionate tree planter

NDANGWA MWITTAH, CHALI MULENGA
Livingstone
THE same way India has Jadav Payeng, known as the ‘Man of the Forest’ after he single-handedly planted an entire forest, and Kenya boasts of 2004 Nobel Prize winner Wangari Maathai, Zambia has Benjamin Mibenge of Livingstone.
Like the famous Jadav and Prof. Maathai, 74-year-old Mibenge, fondly known as Uncle Ben here in Livingstone, has planted quite a number of trees.
He is the one behind most of the trees planted in Livingstone, some of them dating as far back as 1985.
He may not have planted a forest like Jadav, or won a Nobel Prize like Prof. Maathai, but Uncle Ben can be credited for being behind most of the green vegetation in the tourist capital.
In fact, as Lusaka Mayor Miles Sampa would clearly confess, you may not cut down any trees in the tourist capital without facing the ‘wrath’ of Uncle Ben.
One morning, while Mr Sampa was Southern Province Minister, he decided to bring down what he called overgrown trees at his house – a ministerial residence.
That didn’t go well with Uncle Ben. CLICK TO READ MORE

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