This town is really...
This town is really confusing... The 2nd city in the world where I've managed to get lost (the 1st was New York). Go&visit the university!!! I found really great friends in Lusaka&in Zambia in general, they treated me like a member of their family.
And the food...
Bring a watch!
If you're like me, you tell time not by a wrist watch or the position of the sun, but by my mobile phone. Well I couldn't get a mobile phone signal in either Zambia or Botswana, so leaving my phone on caused the battery to die much quicker (usually my mobile phone battery lasts about a week -- but there is lasted about 8 hours because it was constantly searching for a signal!)
African Buses, African Bus Stations.
“They are voluptuous, sybaritic, of doubtful morality.” Yup. That's how, in 1933, JB Priestly described an English motor coach. I had to look up the meaning of 'sybaritic' in my big dictionary because I'm not that well versed in things Magna Graecia. Believe me... sybriatic is not the word to describe a never-ending, numb bummed, sub saharan African bus journey from Lilongwe through to Kariba via Zambia.
And if JB had issues with the state of industrial England in the Depression, he would have had had a fit doing an overnighter with the working classes in Lusaka bus station.
Christ. What a Spartan Marathon that one was.
"The City Centre"
The drive from Lusaka airport to the city centre was around 25 kms, but it was pleasant. Lusaka appears spacious with wide tree lined roads. The Zambian capital does not register as a must see city in Africa, but it is quite a comfortable stopover on the way to some safari adventure or to see the great Mosi-o-Tunya falls, also known as Victoria Falls. The city centre's main road is Cairo Road. Here, one can see mid-rise buildings including the tallest building in Zambia. The main architecture around Lusaka is decidedly post modern. Most are quite lacklustre, but there are some striking ones such as the Bank of Zambia. Cairo Road bustles during the day with office workers and street urchins plying the street. It is wide enough to have a mini park on the island with jacaranda trees offering shelter to the pedestrians.
At the city centre, one can see modern African city life. Upwardly mobile bank workers dressed in suits walk alongside women wearing traditional African clothes with babies wrapped and carried on their backs. Idle men looking bored sitting at the roadside while cars drive past them. Merchants talking on their mobile phones and women selling their wares to the weary pedestrians. Although there are no open air cafes in the city centre, Cairo Road is a great place to watch people doing their daily lives.
"Short History of Lusaka"
Lusaka began as a small British colonial post. What started as a one horse town has now grown into a thriving city. The site for Lusaka was chosen not because it was some old tribal town, but because of its location and climate. The area around Lusaka was taken over by the British South Africa Company from the local chiefs.
In the late 19th century, Zambia was then called Northern Rhodesia, named after an unscrupulous British merchant, Rhodes, who tricked tribal chiefs in Botswana (Bechuanaland) , Zambia (Northern Rhodesia) , Zimbabwe (Southern Rhodesia) and Malawi (Nyasaland) into signing an agreement with him, which the British recognised as treaties.
In 1905, a town was created near the falls, which was named after David Livingstone, the famous Scots explorer and missionary. Livingstone became the capital of British Protectorate of Northern Rhodesia. However, in 1924 when the British officially colonised the Northern Rhodesia, Lusaka was created and it was named after the chief of a village nearby. The British considered Lusaka as having a more central location with a better climate, that the colonisers replaced Livingstone with Lusaka as the capital of the British colony of Northern Rhodesia.
This became Lusaka's turning point in history. The city’s growth occurred after 1935, when many of the infrastructure seen today were laid. Wide roads planted with jacarandas and civic buildings and churches were constructed at a quick pace. During the 1950's when the North and South Rhodesia became a federation, stirrings of independence arose from Lusaka. Civil disobedience in the 1960's forced the British to grant independence to Northen Rhodesia and a new country was born which is now called Zambia. Lusaka remained the capital and it has now grown to about 1.5 million people. It is now an administrative, financial, and commercial manufacturing center. Lusaka is the gateway to Zambia and its largest city.
Lusaka has expanded out with new suburbs sprouting from its centre with modern shopping arcades and facilities. I visited Manda Hill and Arcades mall and noticed the ever growing presence of South African multinational companies sprouting around the city. Lusaka has a steadily growing middle class who are demanding the same services as most people in the West. But as in most of Africa, there are still a lot of socio economic problems in Lusaka especially poverty and AIDS. But in a country with the lowest population density and a city that still has manageable population, Lusaka appears to be on the right track. Its short and checkered history shows how far Lusaka has gone through. Visit Lusaka and witness the changing Africa!
I spent 3 weeks working in Lusaka and loved this city. While not very large, especially compared to many other overpopulated African capitols, Lusaka has a vibrancy that is hard to match. The people are very friendly and while most people will tell you that the city can be dangerous after dark I never felt unsafe taking taxis and even walking around at night.
For all of my Lusaka pictures, check out my Lusaka album online: http://mikepanizza.albumpost.com/LusakaZambia