From the Editor

Written By: The Lowdown - Oct• 30•00

As this edition of the Lowdown comes off the printing press, Lusaka residents will be bracing themselves for a very busy and, no doubt, hot October – Zambia’s 36th Independence celebrations, the launching of the COMESA Free Trade Area and all the exhibitions and seminars that go with it, as well as the SADC Mines 2000 Forum.  On the entertainment front, one only has to look at the Wot’s Happening section to see that whilst Lusaka’s residents  may be dying from the heat, they’re not dying of boredom.

We welcome to Lusaka all the visitors who will be attending the myriad of forums going on and hope that you will be able to take some time off from your work to sample what Lusaka, its surrounds and Zambia has to offer.  In this edition are details of places to go and sites to see, which we hope you will find useful.  For regular readers, we have omitted the Directory this month because of space constraints, but will be back in an improved format next month.

In the August issue, we published an article on Tooter’s Restaurant in Monze.  In response to this, we received a number of telephone calls from their patrons saying that they did not agree with us, so we called on them again, and are pleased to be able to report that the previous complaint no longer existed and the food was delicious.  When doing reviews of restaurants and hotels, we always arrive unannounced, pay for the meal in full, and only sometimes make our presence known to the management, after we have completed the meal.

I also owe an apology to Jaylin Restaurant.  In the September issue, I said that we had selected sweet and sour pork from the menu.  This should have been sweet and sour prawns.

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and we are indeed flattered by Lusaka’s newest publication, Messenger.  They have copied the content of our Restaurant page, content, complete with errors, and format or rather the format more or less as it was before we changed it in the July issue.  Messenger is a monthly publication and they say ‘This first edition is free of charge’.  No indication is given whether subsequent publications will be charged for.

The publishing industry in Zambia is undergoing a difficult time.  Profit Magazine and The Farmer have both been off the streets for some time.  Communications and Transport, produced by the Chartered Institute of Transport, is a quarterly publication which has managed to keep going.  But all of these were, or are, printed outside of Zambia. This is due, mainly, to the high cost of printing in Zambia, especially for full colour printing.

The question of whether to have the Lowdown printed outside of Zambia is something that we have considered on a number of occasions, but each time, we stay right where we are. Logistically, it makes sense – if there is a problem, we are right on the spot to solve it; the lead time is much less meaning that deadlines can be set closer to the publication date; we don’t have to bite our nails every month wondering whether there is going to be a delay in its arrival in Lusaka; we don’t have to worry about clearance formalities and we are able to build up a good rapport with our printers. When a cost/benefit analysis is done, there are more benefits to printing locally.  There is another reason – we are a Zambian publication and since Zambian industry supports us, so we too must support Zambian industry.

Competition in business is healthy, especially for the consumer, and in this case, for you, the readers.  For this reason, we welcome Messenger to a growing family of publishers.

For those readers outside of Lusaka, we have been working hard this month to try to sort out our distribution in the major centres.  The Southern Province has been taken care of, and the Lowdown will now also be available from the FedEx offices in Mazabuka, Monze, Choma and Livingstone, as well as the other outlets where it was previously available.  Although not yet finalised, discussions are going on to ensure that the Lowdown gets to the all Copperbelt towns, Kasama, Mpika and Mongu within the first few days of the month.  After that, we will tackle Chipata and Siavonga.  The Lowdown will still be available from Shoprite if you are lucky enough to live in a town where they have a branch.

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