@50 Jubilee

Zambia’s landmark structures

THE Mongu-Kalabo road has potential to generate revenue for the country through trade.

CHIMWEMWE MWALE
LIFE is indeed a journey. A journey of 50 years is indubitably significant with conspicuous landmarks that mark and trail the voyage to the desired destination.
Zambia’s history in the past five decades is not complete without the mention of a number of significant infrastructure milestones as the country clocks a golden ‘mileage’.
Freedom Statue
One of the unique landmarks is the Freedom Statue. The Freedom Statue is an iconic structure which represents the freedom struggle from colonial powers of the 1960’s.
This is a moment captured in time of one Mpundu Mutembo who was arrested and handcuffed with chains, which broke in fiction style in the presence of 18 armed soldiers.
Mr Mutembo became actively involved in the political struggle against colonialists in his home village in Northern Province at the age of 18 in 1954 and rose to the position of national youth chairperson for the political struggle.
He is now a national symbol as evidenced by his statue which has been displayed as a Freedom Statue along Independence Avenue in Lusaka.
This is also a place where laying of wreaths takes place every Independence and Youth Days in memory of the fore-fathers and mothers who died during the liberation struggle.
Kariba Dam
The Kariba Dam is an iconic landmark infrastructure that Zambia shares with Zimbabwe. It is one of the largest man-made dams in the world standing at an imposing height of 128 meters tall and 579 meters long.
It serves to generate hydroelectricity power to Zambians and Zimbabweans alike.
The double curvature concrete arch dam was constructed between 1955 and 1959 by Impresit of Italy at a cost of US$135 million for the first stage with only the Kariba South power cavern.
Final construction and the addition of the Kariba North Power cavern by Mitchell Construction was not completed until 1977 due to largely political problems for a total cost of $480 million.
A total of 86 men are reported to have lost their lives during construction of the water body.
The Kariba Dam project was proposed and implemented by the Government of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland, or Central African Federation (CAF).
Northern Rhodesia had earlier decided in 1953 (before the Federation was founded) to build a dam within its territory, on the Kafue River, a major tributary of the Zambezi.
It would have been closer to Zambia’s Copperbelt which was in need of more power. This would have been a cheaper and less grandiose project, with a smaller environmental impact.
Southern Rhodesia, the richest of the three, however objected to the Kafue dam and insisted that the dam be sited instead at Kariba. The capacity of the Kafue dam was also much lower than at Kariba.
The Kariba Dam is now owned and operated by the Zambezi River Authority, which is jointly and equally owned by Zimbabwe and Zambia.
Since Zambia’s independence, two dams have been built on the Kafue River namely Kafue Gorge and Itezhi-Tezhi Dams.
University of Zambia
Education plays a crucial role in uplifting livelihoods and the development of society.
The University of Zambia (UNZA) was founded in1966 and is Zambia’s biggest higher learning institution, with about 10,000 students. Over the years it has produced graduates who are now ‘movers and shakers’ of the economy.
Its main campus referred to as the Great East Road Campus as the name suggests is located along the Great East Road, about seven kilometers from Lusaka city.
It also has the Ridgeway Campus within Lusaka city located at the University Teaching Hospital (UTH). This campus specifically houses students pursuing medical and pharmacological courses
Livingstone
Livingstone, the tourist capital can be seen as one of Zambia’s key ‘marker’ for some reasons. Prominent among the reasons is that it is home to one of the seven wonders of the world-Victoria Falls.
It also has a rich history of early Jewish settlers who were key to its establishment with historic buildings dating back to as far back as 1800s.
Livingstone was until 2012 the capital of Southern Province. It lays 10 kilometers to the north of the Zambezi River.
It is a tourism center for the Victoria Falls and a border town with road and rail connections to Zimbabwe on the other side of the Victoria Falls connected by a historical landmark infrastructure-Victoria Falls bridge.
The bridge was the brainchild of Cecil Rhodes, it was part of what is described as his grand and unfulfilled Cape to Cairo railway scheme.
He however never visited the falls and died before construction of the bridge began.
Mr Rhodes is recorded as instructing engineers to “build the bridge across the Zambezi where the trains, as they pass, will catch the spray of the Falls”.
The bridge was designed by George Anthony Hobson of consultants Sir Douglas Fox and Partners, not as is often stated, Sir Ralph Freeman, the same engineer who contributed to the design of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
At the time of the design of the Victoria Falls Bridge, Freeman was an assistant in the firm who, in those pre-computer days, was calculating stresses!
The bridge was constructed in England by the Cleveland Bridge and Engineering Company, before being shipped to the Mozambique port of Beira.
It was later transported on the newly constructed railway to the Victoria Falls. It took 14 months to construct and was finally completed in 1905.
The bridge was officially opened by Professor George Darwin, son of Charles Darwin and President of the British Association (now the Royal Society) on 12 September 1905.
And did you know that the American Society of Civil Engineers has listed the bridge as a historic civil engineering landmark? Well…now you know!
University Teaching Hospital (UTH)
The UTH formerly known as Lusaka Hospital, began in 1910.
The then 15 bed capacity hospital was at times meant for sick Africans who were cared for by male orderlies.
The new and upgraded UTH officially opened on August 24, 1979 becoming the largest hospital in Zambia, with 1655 beds.
It is a teaching hospital and, as such, is used to train medical students and nurses.
UTH offers both inpatient and outpatient care and is a center for specialist referrals from across the country.
National Assembly
The National Assembly represents the governance system of the country. The partly copper plated structure accommodates members of parliament.
Its foundation was built with stones from all parts of the country as a demonstration of countrywide representation of the 150 constituencies represented in the House.
At the time of Zambia’s Independence in 1964, Parliament was housed in inadequate and unsuitable premises behind Government’s central offices in Lusaka, commonly known as secretariat area.
It was, therefore, apparent at the time of independence that a more fitting Parliament building be constructed to meet future expansion and provide adequate space for MPs and office accommodation among other necessary amenities.
A site was chosen on the crown of a low hill (now Manda Hill) in Lusaka which dominates the surrounding landscape and was at one time site of the dwelling place of village headman Lusaaka, after whom the city of Lusaka is named.
The new National Assembly building was planned so that its external appearance expresses the decorum and power of Government, while its indoors were planned to function as a center of administration.
The focal point of the building is the chamber, which is rich in decoration and colour in contrast to the rest of the building.
Tazara
The Tanzania-Zambia Railway popularly known by the acronym TAZARA is a bi-national railway, jointly owned by the Tanzania and Zambian governments.
Construction of the 1,860 kilometers rail was completed in 1975 at a cost of around US$500 million.

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