Star Gazer – Pegasus

Written By: The Lowdown - Aug• 01•13

Cover - 2013-08logo Star Gazer




In the Northern section of the sky next to Pisces and Aquarius is the Constellation is Pegasus. Pegasus is named after the mythical winged horse of the Ancient Greeksand named by the astronomer Ptolemy. The asterism The Great Square of Pegasus is made up of four stars Markab, Scheat, Algenib and Alpharatz. There are 8 named stars:

Name: Markab | Bayer Designation: α | Origin: Arabic | Meaning: the saddle of the horse

Name: Scheat | Bayer Designation: β | Origin: Arabic | Meaning: the leg

Name: Algenib | Bayer Designation: Γ | Origin: Arabic | Meaning: the flank

Name: Enif | Bayer Designation: ε | Origin: Arabic | Meaning: nose

Name: Homam | Bayer Designation: ζ | Origin: Arabic | Meaning: man of high spirit

Name: Matar | Bayer Designation: η | Origin: Arabic | Meaning: lucky rain of shooting stars

Name: Biham | Bayer Designation: Θ | Origin: Arabic | Meaning: the livestocks

Name: Sadalbari | Bayer Designation: μ | Origin: Arabic | Meaning: luck star of the splendid one

Markab – Alpha Pegasi (α Peg, α Pegasi) is the third brightest star and is located about 133 light years from Earth and is one of the four stars in the asterism known as the Great Square of Pegasus. The apparent visual magnitude of this star averages 2.48

Scheat – Beta Pegasi (β Peg, β Pegasi) with apparent visual magnitude averaging 2.42, making it the second brightest star in the constellation after Epsilon Pegasi. It is located about 196 light years from Earth and forms the upper right corner of the Great Square.

Algenib – Gamma Pegasi (γ Peg) is located at the lower left-hand corner of the asterism known as the Great Square. The average apparent visual magnitude of +2.84 puts this at fourth place among the brightest stars in the constellation. It is located roughly 390 light-years from Earth.

Enif – Epsilon Pegasi (ε Peg, ε Pegasi) is the brightest star. With an apparent visual magnitude of 2.4,this is a second-magnitude star that is readily visible to the naked eye. It is located roughly 690 light-years from Earth.

Homam – Zeta Pegasi (ζ Peg) a single star with an apparent visual magnitude of +3.4, and is one of the brighter members of Pegasus. Parallax measurements place it at a distance of around 204 light-years (63 parsecs) from Earth. The radius of this star is about four times that of the Sun

Matar – Eta Pegasi (η Peg) is a binary star with the apparent visual magnitude of this star is +2.95, making this the fifth brightest member of Pegasus. Based upon parallax measurements, the distance to this star is about 167 light-years (51 parsecs). This system consists of a pair of stars in a binary orbit with a period of 813 days and an eccentricity of 0.183.

Biham – Theta Pegasi (θ Peg) is a star of spectral class A2 and has apparent magnitude +3.53. It is approximately 67 light years from Earth. This star has 2.6 times the Sun’s radius and it is radiating 25 times the luminosity of the Sun from its outer envelope at an effective temperature of 7,951 K.

Sadalbari – Mu Pegasi (μ Peg, μ Pegasi) is a star with the apparent visual magnitude of 3.5, which is bright enough to be seen with the naked eye even on a moonlit night. The distance to this star can be determined with parallax measurements, which yields a value of 106.1 light-years (32.5 parsecs).



photometry – The measurement of the intensity of light from an astronomical object.

planet – A planet is a celestial body that (a) is in orbit around the Sun, (b) has sufficient mass for its self-gravity to overcome rigid body forces so that it assumes a hydrostatic equilibrium (nearly round) shape, and (c) has cleared the neighbourhood around its orbit. A dwarf planet is a celestial body that (a) is in orbit around the Sun, (b) has sufficient mass for its self-gravity to overcome rigid body forces so that it assumes a hydrostatic equilibrium (nearly round) shape, (c) has not cleared the neighbourhood around its orbit, and (d) is not a satellite. All other objects, except satellites, orbiting the Sun shall be referred to collectively as “small solar system bodies”.

In The Garden

Written By: The Lowdown - Aug• 01•13

Cover - 2013-08logo In The Garden 1Have you noticed it yet? I saw a jacaranda in full bloom last week. The September lilies are over. The amaryllis that normally flower in October are already in bud. Avocados need the rainy season to swell and ripen their fruit so that they are harvested in March, April and May. But my avocado tree is laden with small shiny green fruit much too soon and I doubt whether they will survive the long hot dry weeks to come. Other avocados have mature fruit on some branches and immature fruit on others. Plants are very sensitively programmed to respond to specific triggers in the weather, especially to temperature changes and the length of daylight. That is why many plants flower in the dry weeks before the rains arrive, especially plants like the jacaranda that flower before new leaves appear. The timing of the seasons in the plant world has gone haywire – and we gardeners can do nothing about it, I fear.

Winter is a sensible time to check all your garden tools and equipment and generally sort out the tool shed. Throw out old seeds. Replace ancient secateurs with sharp new ones. Get rid of fertilisers, insecticides and herbicides (if you use them) that are past their sell-by date. Check the blades on the lawn mower. Get the petrol lawn mower serviced. Look at the compost heap. Is it neatly contained and deep enough (at least 1 metre) to decompose? Are you making the compost your garden deserves? Check that the centre of the heap is damp and WARM. The warmth shows that it is decomposing happily. If it is cold it has to be turned over in order to shake out any clumps and aerate the material. The micro-organisms that busily change your kitchen and garden waste into beautiful crumbly dark brown compost need oxygen. The process is slower in the colder weather so allow two to three months at this time of year. Organise a sieve made of 2 – 3 cm metal mesh on legs like a table. Sieve compost for use in seedbeds or pots. The coarser pieces can be used as mulch. Last but not least, inspect your hosepipes for leaks and see if your sprinklers are still in good working order.

Pots are another story. Line up all your unused pots with their saucers and decide what to do with them. Do you really need all of them? Wash them and rinse with diluted Jeyes Fluid to ensure they are really clean and fit to use again. Use your sieved compost and plant something in the pots, stack a few in the tool shed, and give the rest away. This would be a good time to prepare some painted pots with plants to give at Christmas as a special gift. Here is a quick list of possible choices: begonia, maidenhair fern, ficus benjaminii (variegated if possible), epidendrum orchids (easy to care for), maranta, and any herbs such as thyme or fennel.

While you are at it, you might as well check the garden furniture. Wooden benches need treating once a year with linseed or teak oil to preserve the wood. Any thatched roofs can be renovated or re-thatched. I can recommend John Phiri 0977 175-201.

In The Garden

Eating Out

Written By: The Lowdown - Aug• 01•13

Cover - 2013-08Eating Out







For a relatively small place, Ndola abounds in Indian restaurants. Both Starscape and Danny’s have recently been refurbished and welcome new and old customers to experience a taste of India.

Once rather shabby and old-fashioned in terms of decor, Danny’s recently reopened after having a complete face-lift. I didn’t even recognise the restaurant, although this was partly because one no longer enters through the premises of the Ndola Club. Danny’s is definitely more modern than it used to be, although it would be nice to have more of an Indian feel. The waitresses can be painstakingly slow at taking orders and not very bright. However, the food came promptly and was exceptionally delicious. Moreover, the dishes were reasonably priced, as were the drinks. There is often a tendency to over order at Indian restaurants and be left with bowls of rice and numerous naan breads that you can’t possibly finish as you are so full. However, the food here seemed just right with not a lot left over.

The owner of Danny’s presides over each evening and is keen to make sure you enjoy yourself. The car park is secure, but very small and I wouldn’t like to be there on an evening when the restaurant is very full. Danny’s are planning on introducing a home delivery service soon, but for the moment it is possible to order take aways to be collected. They are open for lunch and dinner and they do outside catering.

Starscape has been in its new premises for over a year now, but work continues on developing the restaurant into something bigger. The interior is adequate in terms of decor, although again a more Indian feel may add to the atmosphere. Although they obviously want it to be a large restaurant, you get the feeling they have run out of furniture and brought in what they could find from the garden. Wrought iron chairs and tables with glass tops are not the most welcoming of furniture for an evening meal. I also find it frustrating that so many restaurants nowadays have to hang television screens at all points of the room, just in case you wanted to watch the Cup Final while out for a romantic dinner with your partner. Unfortunately, this gives the atmosphere a very informal cafe-like feel. Waiters who leave the room to answer cell phones are another no-no in my book, but the management here are obviously OK with it.

Starscape offers South Indian food and its menu is amazingly vast. They also offer Chinese and some western food as well. The food is particularly tasty, but two of the meals we ordered were stone cold and had to be returned to be reheated, which meant that we were all eating at different times. However, the food is moderately priced and worth the wait if your food does have to be returned!

Starscape also offer a take away service.

Eating Out


Fool On The Hill

Written By: The Lowdown - Aug• 01•13

Cover - 2013-08FOTH










It’s Ramadan. I’m in Jambiani, a village on the East Coast of Zanzibar trying to feed three families of friends. I don’t speak Swahili; my bad. I am aware that as in most tropical island cultures there is probably an equivalent expression to the laissez faire and well loved manãna of the Hispanic countries … but it won’t carry the same pressing sense of urgency. I suppose this environment is a poor breeding ground for work ethic. The climate is ameliorating all year round with no need for any more wardrobe than a pair of swimming shorts, a tee shirt and a kikoy which can function rather like Ford Prefect’s towel as a manly kilt, a hat, bed sheet or scarf if temperatures plummet below 25º centigrade. There is fresh water in shallow wells and hidden indigo subterranean coral caverns a kilometre inland. Every other tree is laden with coconuts, and mango, passion fruit and paw-paw grow accommodatingly from each cow pat dropped by the skinny, but milk and meat bearing, island cattle. Goats flourish, recycling the mountains of disposable diapers behind every village into fine protein. And then there is the sea; which despite the best efforts of commercial fishermen still offers up a smorgasbord of faire. From tassi the staple shallow water fish, through grouper, snapper and parrotfish to the sleeker and meatier pelagic kingfish, Spanish, king and queen mackerel to tuna and sailfish, all found in reach of the small outrigger dhows used by the local fishermen. Lobster, octopus, mangrove crab and squid are there for the taking if you have the know how, and they do, these Swahili sailors who are as at home on the beaches of the Indian Ocean now as they have been for a thousand years

Yesterday an embittered crone looked up from casually scraping spoonfuls of delicate (albeit fiddly to prepare) baby clams from the sand, where they are as common as daisies in a summer meadow, and squawked “See!? See what we are forced to eat because you wazungu have taken all the fish!” Later the same day tucking into a bowl of pasta vongole at the local bistro for $12 a portion I found it hard to be sympathetic.

But now, as I mentioned, it is Ramadan and our neighbours in the village are fasting. A group of young men pass by each morning at 3 am and wake everyone up with drums and shouting so that they can partake of suhoor, the last chance to eat before the day’s fast begins. Until the evening meal called iftar, they will take no solids or liquids and the devout will even refrain from swallowing their own saliva (or anyone else’s for that matter). The purpose of this month-long, self-imposed restraint is to focus the mind and body on matters of the spirit, and during the same period much emphasis is placed on acts of charity. Something that Kessi my askari has obviously forgotten.

“Is it possible?” I ask him “That you can find someone making chapatti and doughnuts in the village either in the evening or early in the morning and buy us some each day.” He shakes his head as if I have asked him to locate and retrieve the Ark of the Covenant and says. “Is very difficult in Ramadan time.” “But you eat these foods every day in Ramadan too?” I probe. “Yes every day” he confirms. “So can you buy them for me?” I ask again. “Maybe my wife can make?” he suggests and I agree happily. Sure enough at 7 am the next morning he has brought six delicious, flaky, warm chapatti, glossy with oil and crying out for some peanut butter and chilli, accompanied by a dozen plump, oven-fresh and cinnamon sugared doughnuts. Now we’re talking; this will keep my coronary health regime on track. When it comes to payment Kessi suggests that $7.50 would be a fair price for my carbo-fix which has a street value of $2.50. “Why?” I query and he replies quite unabashed “Because you are a white”. An interesting pricing structure but I fear it would be unpopular in my own restaurant.

Jaribu, one of our friends in the village has gone with Gillie to Abdulla’s plant nursery. Abdulla is a lovely bloke, crippled by a childhood fall from a coconut palm and an excellent botanist, scientific names garnishing his every sentence. Jaribu, despite his fast, works solidly for two days to dig holes, fill them with topsoil and plant out the garden beds in the barren, sugary sand. He is indefatigable and as he toils away cheerfully Kessi leans scowling against the wall. “Who is the other guy doing nothing?” asks my friend from Nairobi. “He’s the watchman” I tell him. “What does he do?” asks Anthony. “Watch.” I say, knowing that Kessi is punishing me for not agreeing to his racist chapatti valuation.

I suppose Kessi feels justified in bearing historical enmity, imagining that my people (the Portuguese and English) had behaved rudely enough in Zanzibar for the past half a century to warrant being overcharged for pastries and that although also a foreign import, his Islamic customs have a further half a century of precedence over my European demands for fair play and egalitarian pricing. The Portuguese held Zanzibar for almost two centuries soon after Vasco da Gama’s visit in 1499, using the port as a staging post to export primarily ivory and gold from the interior. The Omani Arabs ruled Zanzibar as a Sultanate (1698-1890) plundering their mainland territory known as Zanj (which extended as far as the Congo) for the same, and for slaves in addition, although historically they had concentrated their slave trade further north in the Horn of Africa.

But it’s glossed over that there should really be closer fellowship between the Swahili and European, given that the former had actively pioneered the same sorry trade in human life for hundreds of years before the Portuguese and British arrived. The Swahili controlled slavery from as far south as Madagascar and the Comores Islands all the way to Paje in the Lamu Archipelago, just shy of the current Somali border, sending thousands of captives every year north and on to Arabia long before the dreaded colonials arrived. But arrive they did and eclipsed all the savagery and ungentlemanly behaviour that had gone before. The British and Germans made their dodgy deals, dividing the Arab’s Zanj Empire, amongst themselves and declared Zanzibar a British Protectorate around 1890. In 1896 the British Empire and Zanzibar, under Sultan Khalid bin Barghash, waged a short and bitter war. The shortest in history in fact; clocking in at 38 minutes from declaration to victory, tea and medals. At 0900 hours on the 27th August having failed to vacate the Sultan’s palace in favour of the British Empire’s chosen puppet Sultan, bin Barghash was fired upon by the British Navy and ground forces and after 500 casualties were inflicted on his side and much of the Palace and the Sultan’s Royal Yacht destroyed by British artillery, his flag was shot down and hostilities ceased before 0940 hours, with no injury time being played.

British rule continued until Zanzibar’s independence in 1963 which was followed only a month later by the Zanzibar Revolution (led by a Ugandan) which resulted in some 10,000 Zanzibaris of Arab and Indian decent being murdered and, or driven into the sea and many thousands more detained, deported and stripped of their assets. A few months later, once the blood had all been hosed away and the sharks had disposed of the rest, the United Republic of Zanzibar and Pemba joined with Tanganyika to form the United Republic of Tanganyika and Zanzibar, which became after only a few more months, The United Republic of Tanzania … phew!

So all in all, I feel that everyone without exception has behaved pretty poorly over the last millennium and nobody has any right to point fingers at anyone else as far as Zanzibar is concerned. And there is certainly no call to be artificially raising the price of a chapatti based on the colour of a person’s skin.
I rest my case.

Mole In The Hole

Written By: The Lowdown - Aug• 01•13

Cover - 2013-08logo MITH









Well, You Have to Laugh

There I am, in the middle of the usual grid lock going round the Kabulonga Roundabout at 7.45 in the morning; thank goodness I was going out of town and not into it; and wondering what we were going to do about it. The latest plan is for an underground railway. Now I know a bit about underground railways (I may bore you with it one day) and I also know a bit about the hallucinatory effect of the inhalation of fumes from burning certain garden weeds so I had a little chuckle as I weaved in and out of the oncoming traffic using both sides of the road to get into the morning log jam. Then the sobering thought hit me, it is all my fault, just like my Madam tells me, and I am sure that there are many other fellows who have that accusation aimed at them but this time with quite a bit of justification.

So the In laws are coming to visit and it seemed like a good idea to take them to Lake Malawi. I had a huge Ford Zephyr, you know, the one with a bonnet that looked like the top of a billiard table, so there was room for them, the Madam and the three kids. Off we went from the Copperbelt to overnight in Lusaka. We had left the house in charge of a family about to leave for the UK. The first puncture hit us half way down the Fisenge turn off, the second half way down to Kapiri Mposhi. Leaving extended family by the side of the road I hitch hiked in, with a very kind Zambian, who put me and the two tyres in the back of his vanette along with 3 million chickens, to Ndola. There, tyres repaired, I managed to get another lift back down the road to a weary, tired and somewhat disenchanted family. A retreat to base was called to re-equip and rest before trying again. To the house where we found the lodgers well installed with a pig in the bath ready for the pig roast that they had planned as a leaving do on the morrow.

Whilst the chaos was being sorted out I drove round to see my mate, Terry Dodson, who was in charge of the mine garage. His wife, Dora, was a Ugandan Princess, or so Terry claimed, and I had no reason whatsoever to doubt him. Without doubt she made the best cup of tea in Kalulushi and I was certainly in need of that calming beverage to say nothing of the motherly sympathy that came with it. Terry had the same Ford, his had brand new tyres and, bless him, he lent them to me so that in the morning I could face the journey with equanimity. We said farewell to the pig at Sparrowfart the next day and drove for Malawi, some 700 miles away. The tar lasted to the border and, as daylight fell so did the rain and we found ourselves on a track with pot holes so bad that, at times, the Mother in Law had to be made to walk and then there was a snake and I was accused of trying to get rid of her. Actually, as Mother in Law’s go, she was not too bad. A Mother in Law who takes a hip flask full of Brandy and Benedictine round a golf course for the bad holes has got to be better than most. I do not know how we eventually managed to get to the Capitol Hotel in Lilongwe but we did. I staggered into this very posh hotel, begrimed with mud up to my waist, told the receptionist that there was a shell shocked family in the jam jar outside and could they sort it out. No problem at all, anything else? You Betcha; a large MGT! I was guided to a chair, sat there, bemused, with my drink as my family was carried to their rooms and only stirred when I was informed that my bath was ready!

The holiday was not without incident but the return journey was much easier once you got used to dodging the pigs of Petauke who had no road sense and less manners. I went round to Terry to give him his wheels back and told him that the car had done its job but it really needed replacement. He concurred and told me about some cars that were to be found in Tanzania, second hand, imported from Japan. An address was found and I wrote off to Japan to a company called AutoRec. A month later (no, the internet had yet to be invented!) a letter from Mr. T. Mizumo, President of Autorec, arrived. “Happy Good Day” was the opening gambit, a leaflet was enclosed with price list and it all looked very tempting.

I discussed the idea around the mine. It all seemed like a good idea but nobody had ever heard of the idea or the company. What to do? Well, you have to laugh, have a go, so I sent off the $2000 required to get a Datsun Sunny Estate delivered to Durban. I contacted the AA in South Africa, a Mrs. Barbara Rennison of the Durban office in Smith Street would get the car off the boat, organise temporary number plates and a Triptyque/Carnet de passage;”just so long as” I provided the AA with a huge deposit equal to the value of duties payable as if the car was being imported into South Africa. Now, as chance would have it, I had just been to the Channel Islands and taken my bank manager out to a good lunch. In those days banking in the Channel Islands meant that you talked to people, not computers. The bank guarantee was organised. But what of the car? The silence from Japan was deafening, had I kissed $2000 goodbye? Out of the blue a letter arrived, Happy Good Day, the car was on a boat! The documents had to be sent to Mrs. Rennison and the next thing I knew I was told to come and get my new motor car!

A mining exhibition was on in Jo’burg so it was planned to do that and travel on down by train to Durban. The night before we had been royally entertained at the Top of the Carlton where the performing singer was known to us which resulted in far more booze being consumed than was good for us. So, the following day, far worse for wear, the Madam and I boarded The Drakensburg Express for the overnight trip down to Durban. It was bitterly cold and the train went just a few miles and stopped in Germiston. On the other side of the window, on the platform across the tracks, stood what seemed like a million balaclavaered chaps all staring at the Madam and I, cocooned in warmth and luxury in our compartment. After ten minutes we moved on, somewhat relieved. Dinner was to be served in the dining car. We went in and discovered what could only be described as the Friday night party well in gear. It would appear that quite a few people used to commute down to Durban for the weekend at home and Friday night in the dining car was a regular scene. We were still suffering from the effects of last night so kept well out of the performance. For that is what it was, a gastronomic endurance test. All were working through every item on the extensive menu. Each course served was accompanied by another bottle of wine. We were staggered by their abilities, were shamed into leaving early and were woken from our slumbers by the carousers stumbling back to their compartments much later in the night.

The dawn saw the train descending through the Valley of a Thousand Hills. A sumptuous breakfast was served to a company of passengers that seemed far more subdued than the previous night. By ten we were in Durban, to the hotel, thence to Mrs. Rennison who gave me the keys to my new car that sat in a multi storey car park off Marine Parade. And there it was, a beautiful little estate car. New tyres, little blobs of yellow paint on all the bits and pieces that had been checked or replaced; all was in beautiful condition. It drove like a dream, was very economical, smelt like a new car; I was really happy with my purchase. The drive back to Kalulushi was uneventful, clearing customs was a pleasure, they believed the paper work and the declared value; in those days they still trusted Bwanas; the betrayal of that trust by some unscrupulous persons still rankles; we have all become tarred with the same brush because of that betrayal.

That then was the first Japanese second hand motor car to arrive in Zambia. I had not been driving around in it for a month before Eric Bishop thrust money at me and took it away. There then followed a period of time that I seemed to spend quite a bit of leave going and getting more. I put the idea into the company suggestion scheme. Why do we buy new vehicles so that our chaps can wreck them within two years? Let us buy them second hand ones at huge savings in costs. Back comes the response “We are not a second hand Company!!”, but, you have to laugh, a note from the Big Cheese, John Harper, requesting the address of the Japanese company so that he could get a car for his wife! Fellow employees had to have a go, this time avoiding the problems of South Africa. Off up the Tazara Railway went Cliff Richards to bring a car back from Dar es Salaam, all went well, he filled the car with prawns but a bit of a hiccup delayed him at the Nakonde border and the car stank so badly and for so long of prawns past their sell by date that he could not get rid of it.

It was all a wonderful wheeze. Import a motor car, drive up via Swaziland so that the kids could be taken out of school and fed and then home where people would buy it on the turn. Of course, there was room for lots of those 5 litre casks of delicious beverages. The money so gained could then be spent on a pretty good lifestyle, some memorable bush trips and parties were funded that way. As we were largely paid overseas at that time there was no need to indulge in the black market, all was above board. Of course, someone would always spoil the show, a poison pen letter was sent to SITET and all of a sudden I was under suspicion for money laundering! It took some time for people to realise that all monies earned were spent on a splendid lifestyle here rather than selling Kwacha for foreign exchange but it soured the whole thing. In addition, others were starting to get heavily involved and were cheating the customs so all became unpleasant. I must say, though, if I had abandoned my mining career and gone into the affair commercially I would possibly be a billionaire rather than the happy chappy that I have remained. Now I look at the trade today, the restrictions put on it, the wheeling and dealing involved and the rubbish that is being brought in these days and I am glad that I am out of it. I also feel dreadful that I started the trend that has led to the grid locks found at sundry roundabouts in the mornings. Well, not too dreadful, I mean; you really do have to laugh, don’t you?

Beauty Naturally – Moisturisers

Written By: The Lowdown - Aug• 01•13

Cover - 2013-08Beauty Naturally





Do you know what the best, most effective moisturiser for your skin is?


Before those of you with oily skin run away, let me tell you this: oil is your friend! ESPECIALLY if you wash your face with something that strips away your natural oils. Replacing those oils with something nourishing should make your face very, very happy (and potentially less oily).

Before we start: never, ever use facial oil or moisturiser on a dirty face otherwise you’ll just help seal in all that dirt and grime which will make your face unhappy. ALWAYS cleanse first.

All you need is 3 ingredients.

Ingredient One: Base Oil

Choose your base oil. Test it first on its own, to see if your skin likes it. You might find that your skin not only loves it, but it might be all you need!

Here are some of the base oils you could choose from (this is by no means an exhaustive list!):
Jojoba Oil: for dry, ageing, oily, normal, or acne-prone skin
Sweet Almond Oil: an all-around great facial oil, but it takes a bit longer to “sink in” than most
Grapeseed Oil: for normal, oily, or acne-prone skin
Avocado Oil: for dry and ageing skin
Hemp Seed Oil: for any skin type, also very light
From the Kitchen Cupboard:
Olive Oil: This is a great oil if you have really dry skin
Sunflower Oil: Just as good as olive oil, but a little less expensive.

Ingredient Two: Nourishing Oil

These oils are a little more pricey. If you want to skip them, that’s fine, but I feel that it adds a little extra treat to your skin.

Some ideas:
Rosehip Seed Oil: incredibly regenerating, known for its firming and anti-ageing properties – good for dry, ageing, and normal skin
Borage Oil: great for most skin types, but especially oily and problem skin
But my favourites are the African ones (I love them equally):
Baobab Oil: great moisturiser, helps with sun spots and skin softening.
Marula Oil: ideal for dull, ageing skin and under-nourished skin. Great for softening and revitalising the skin.
Mongongo Oil: very nourishing, has hydrating, regenerating and restructuring properties

Ingredient Three: Essential Oil

Add your favourite essential oil (or a mixture of them). This is good not only for scenting but also for aromatherapy and don’t forget that every essential oil has its own special properties but remember, you only need a couple of tiny drops of essential oil to get an amazing benefit for your skin. Essential oils are potent (and they last forever when you use them this way)!

There are FAR too many essential oils which benefit skin to list them all here, but here are a few of the more widely available or commonly known ones (for the rest… Google is the best!).
Lavender: acne, oily, or even dry skin – a little tiny bit goes a long way
Jasmine: any skin type, hydrating
Peppermint: great for oily and acneic skin, like lavender don’t use much
Chamomile: either German or Roman – great for ALL skin types, but also very expensive
Rose: wonderful for ageing, dry and normal skin, it’s also pretty expensive
Rosemary: for acne and oily skin

Now that you have your ingredients, let the fun start. Use a 30ml bottle. Fill your bottle just under 2/3 of the way with your base oil. Add your “bonus nourishing” oil until the bottle is just about full.

Add ONLY 4-5 drops of essential oil. Less if you’re using peppermint. Cap and shake well after each drop. You should be able to smell it, but it should not be overpowering.

And that’s it!

Gently apply as needed (you’ll see you’ll need just one or two drops) giving your beautiful face a relaxing and at the same time stimulating massage.

Keep your facial oil away from sunlight, and it should be good for 8 – 12 months.

It works!

Beauty Naturally

Susi and Chuma’s Wild Ride

Written By: The Lowdown - Aug• 01•13

Cover - 2013-08David Livingstone spent his final days wandering the Bangweulu ecosystem before succumbing to black water fever just north of Chief Chitambo’s village. His faithful servants, Susi and Chuma, removed his organs and buried them under a Mpundu tree near where he died. They then transported the embalmed body all the way to the Tanzanian coast on a ship bound for his homeland, England.

2013 is the bicentenary of David Livingstone’s birth and it is fitting that this year will see the birth of the Susi and Chuma Mountain Bike Challenge, “In the Footsteps of Livingstone”. The event is jointly hosted by Bangweulu Wetlands and Kasanka Trust and will take place from 1 to 7 September.

This challenge is designed for the adventure seeking MTB enthusiast. Say good bye to well-manicured cycle paths and hello to some of the most spectacular single track you will encounter in all of northern Zambia. The route is a combination of rural bicycle tracks and game paths which takes you from Kasanka National Park and into the Bangweulu Wetlands. Nkondo tented camp will be your home for two days exploring the wonders of Lavushi Manda National Park and the surrounding woodlands. Following this you will transition from the woodland ecosystem through seasonally flooded grasslands before reaching the permanent swamp where Shoebill Camp is located. Another two nights will be spent here where you will have the opportunity to relax and unwind, either cycling the plains with vast herds of Black Lechwe or avid birders could choose to rest their legs and embark on an adventure to locate the enigmatic Shoebill. The last grueling day takes you from Shoebill camp back towards Kasanka National Park, Wasa Camp. Along the way you will pass the memorial site of David Livingstone’s death.

The cost of this adventure is K4,750 and includes all ride fees, accommodation, park fees and catering from dinner on the first day to breakfast on the last day. Also included are all the refreshment stops during the course of the challenge. Drinks are billed separately. Transfers to and from Kasanka are also separate and for riders own arrangement.

This year’s challenge, being the first year, is being limited to ten places only so please enter early to avoid disappointment. If you would like to enter or want more information regarding the challenge please email Andrea Reid at

For more information on Bangweulu Wetlands visit and for frequent updates on the event find them on Facebook (search for Bangweulu Wetlands Zambia)

For more information on Kasanka Trust please visit or find them on Facebook (search for Kasanka Trust Zambia)

Wild Ride

Buy A Plate For Cancer

Written By: The Lowdown - Aug• 01•13

Cover - 2013-08Our Lady’s Hospice is a palliative care institution in Lusaka that was set up to support hospice care, respite care and pain management but has evolved to provide palliative care for patients with HIV/AIDS, Cancer and related opportunistic infections. Situated in the heart of Kalingalinga, one of the poorest high-density areas in Lusaka, it soon became the medical hub for the residents and surrounding areas, catering exclusively and primarily to the HIV/AIDS.

The Hospice is kept alive through generous donor funding and offers several services including. inpatient palliative care, outpatient ART care, physiotherapy and an exclusive clinic and support group for children. However as worldwide economies began to fail, the domino effect has affected charitable organisations internationally and the funding to the Hospice has also dwindled, forcing the hospice to close several of its key services, namely adult inpatient wards and physiotherapy while it focuses its limited resources on its Outpatient Clinic and Children’s ward, Maluba House.

As the HIV/AIDS management evolved and HIV was no longer a ‘terminal’ illness, the Board focused on expanding the scope of palliative care to Cancer and HIV/ AIDS. The Board also made the decision to move away from the Hospice being a fully donor funded organisation to become a self-sustaining efficient institution. It is widely known that there are very limited facilities for treating cancer in Zambia, let alone palliative care for these patients. As part of offering the expanded scope of services for cancer patients, there is a need to improve the infrastructure. This requires capital investment and the Hospice are organising fundraisers where they hope to raise sufficient funds to support infrastructural changes and commence offering adult inpatient services for Cancer and HIV patients.

Plate For Cancer

Their first event, Buy A Plate For Cancer, will take place on Saturday 31 August at Hotel Inter Continental in Lusaka. This sumptuous luncheon will be served al fresco in the hotel’s lush gardens and what better times to do it as we wave goodbye to winter and welcome spring once again.

For tickets or further information, contact Soraya 0979 799-901; Hari 0979 029-108 or Ren 0971 254-449


What The Left Doesn’t Know

Written By: The Lowdown - Aug• 01•13

Cover - 2013-08Being left-handed in a right handed world is the burden that I, together with my fellow left-handers have to bear. With International Left-Handers Day on 13 August, what better time than to highlight some of the facts and to debunk some of the fallacies about Left Handers.

Globally, roughly 12% of men and 10% of women are left-handed. Handedness, or the dominance of one hand over the other, is a clear indication that our brains are wired slightly differently to the other 90% of the population.

What causes left-handedness is not clearly understood although researchers believe it is partly to do with genetics and partly to do with environmental factors, especially stress, in the womb. Mothers experiencing high levels of stress whilst pregnant are more likely to produce a left-handed child.

Generally speaking, researchers have found that there is no significant difference in IQ between righties and lefties, although there is some evidence that lefties are better at divergent thinking, a method of idea generation that explores many possible solutions, or starting from existing knowledge to develop new concepts; in other words, creativity. Yet research conducted by Harvard University found that in USA, left-handed people have salaries that on average are about 10% lower than their right handed colleagues. Is this not a case of discrimination against a minority?

People who are using their left hands when listening may more easily hear rapidly changing sounds than those who are using their right hands. Researchers have found that the left and right hemispheres of the brain specialise in different kinds of sounds with the left hemisphere preferring rapidly changing sounds like consonants, while the right hemisphere likes slowly changing sounds, like syllables or intonation.

About 20 percent of people with schizophrenia dominantly use their left hands. Research shows that left handers have an increased risk for dyslexia, ADHD, and certain mood disorders. So it’s not my fault that I wake up grumpy every morning! However, left handers seem to have lower rates of arthritis and ulcers.

People who use their left hands tend to be more affected by fear than people who use their right hands. Research seems to indicate that the right hemisphere of the brain appears to be involved in fear and after watching a frightening movie, left handers were more likely to show signs of post-traumatic stress disorder.

Left handers get angrier too and research shows they have a more difficult time processing their feelings, especially after an argument. Left handed people, whilst not more prone to alcoholism, do drink more often. What, is the entire Zambian population left handed?

Over the last century, much time and effort has been spent on alleviating the plight of minorities. Yet left handers have remained ignored and disadvantaged with all manner of goods being manufactured for the right handed of this world including pens, pencil sharpeners, spiral bound notebooks, tin openers, computer keyboards with the number pad on the right side and cheque books with counterfoils that are impossible to complete – why can’t the banks print them sideways? Even the safety switches on most machines in wood and metal shops are positioned to be quickly accessible to right-handed people.

It is time left handers stood up for their rights!


Did We Deserve Greatness?

Written By: The Lowdown - Aug• 01•13

Cover - 2013-08Coat_of_arms_of_the_Central_African_Federation.svg











Magni Esse Mereamur, ‘Let us deserve Greatness’, was the motto of the ill-fated Central African Federation, a federation of the two Rhodesia’s (Zambia and Zimbabwe) and Nyasaland (Malawi) which came into being sixty years ago on 1 August 1953. The Federation lasted a mere ten years and was formally dissolved on 31 December 1963.

The aim of the Federation was to forge a compromise between a fully independent majority-ruled state and the white-dominated territory of South Africa. It was intended that it be a enduring arrangement, but eventually collapsed because black African nationalists wanted a greater share of power than the dominant minority white population was willing to grant.

From the outset, it was clear that Southern Rhodesia, rightly or wrongly, would be the dominant territory; economically, electorally, and militarily. The difference between the number of blacks and whites in the Federation and the difference between the number of whites in Southern Rhodesia compared with the number in Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland was a decisive factor in the formation and the disbanding of the Federation.

Godfrey Huggins, the first prime minister of the Federation, and prior to that, prime minister of Southern Rhodesia for over 20 years, was in favour of amalgamation, but this was rejected by Britain as they wished to avoid a situation where Southern Rhodesia dominated the property and income franchise because of their much larger European population. The property and income franchise excluded the vast majority of black Africans.

For Southern Rhodesia, the central motive for Federation was the copper deposits of Northern Rhodesia. It was this that gave rise to Southern Rhodesia being referred to, unofficially, as ‘Bamba Zonke’ (take everything.) Nyasaland, the poor brother of the three, was more a symbolic gesture and a matter of convenience to have the three neighbouring territories under one constitution. It was however ironical that it was largely unrest in Nyasaland that was the catalyst for the dissolution of the Federation.

The constitution of the Federation allowed for five branches of Government – Federal, three Territorial and the British government, making it “one of the most elaborately governed countries in the world.” This could only have been a recipe for disaster with confusion and rivalry amongst the different governments. Yet despite its complex government structure, the economy of the Federation was highly successful, with a GDP of £350 million in the first year, increasing to £450 million two years later. The building of the dam and hydro-electric power station at Kariba, which commenced in 1955, was to add to the impressive performance of the economy as well as being a feat of engineering. Yet the decision to build the dam at Kariba rather than the one at Kafue Gorge was seen as ‘bullying’ by a dominant Southern Rhodesia. During the Federal period, the property and income franchise was much more liberal than previously and black Africans were given more rights than previously. More blacks were also qualified to vote and a number served as junior ministers in Southern Rhodesia. But this was still unsatisfactory for African nationalists and they began to demand majority rule. During 1956, Roy Welensky, a train driver from Broken Hill (Kabwe) was elected Prime Minister of the Federation, a position which he held until its dissolution in 1963.

Back home in Britain, a Royal Commission under Walter Monckton was formed to advise on the future of the Federation, visiting the three territories in 1960. Their recommendation was that the Federation continue albeit with some changes. A new Constitution was negotiated in 1961 which greatly reduced the powers of the British. But by 1962, it had been agreed that Nyasaland should be permitted to secede. This was followed shortly by the same agreement for Northern Rhodesia.

In 1963, a conference was held at Victoria Falls, partly as a last attempt at saving the Federation. The conference nearly collapsed a number of times and by the time it ended in July 1953, the Federation had for all intents and purposes been dissolved. All that remained was the distribution of the Federation’s assets amongst the territorial governments. This was achieved by 31 December 1963, with the vast majority of the assets going to Southern Rhodesia. They didn’t call them Bamba Zonke for nothing!



Written By: The Lowdown - Jul• 01•13

Lusaka Gets Going

Written By: The Lowdown - Jul• 01•13

At last, after many months of anticipation, it has finally arrived. July. Centenary month. The month in which we celebrate one hundred years of Lusaka being formally established as a local authority.

Yet, as I write this a few days before the start of ‘the month’, I feel a little disappointed.  With just a few days to go before the gears are supposed to start spinning, trying to get information on events, venues, times, is worse than the proverbial pulling of hen’s teeth. But rather than being pessimistic about this, we are going to look at it in the positive and agree that this is because the organisers are all working at full speed making the arrangements and putting in place the logistics for what is going to prove to be a celebration such as has never been seen before in this part of the world and will not, for many years, be seen again.

The private-sector driven Lusaka 100 Society and the Lusaka City Council (LCC) are collaborating on the events which are planned for the entertainment and amusement of Lusaka’s residents and for visitors to the city during July. This can only be a good thing and brings to mind the much over-used word of synergy. Let us hope that this is being achieved.

Towards the back of this edition, we have listed the information that is to hand as we go to press on the events and exhibitions which will be taking place.  Please note that this is subject to change although we have been advised that the Lusaka 100 web page ( will be updated regularly on events.  Thus, if you are planning to attend an event or, perhaps, if you are planning to avoid an event and the traffic congestion that is going to accompany it, we strongly recommend that you check this web page for final, and finer, information.

Appropriately, the Centenary Month starts off with the official launch of the celebrations on the first day of the month.  We say ‘appropriately’ because how many times have we read about X-week which is not a week at all but four days instead or Y-month which starts nine days into the month? It seems that this time we might have got it right and Centenary Month is going to run for a month. Also appropriately, the first day’s events are being organised by the Lusaka City Council. The official start of events will be presided over by Lusaka Mayor, Daniel Chisenga who will start the wheel turning with the inevitable march past by the various defence forces and other stakeholders. This will be followed by traditional dances and performances by various bands and music groups. All this will take place in the grounds of Nakatindi Hall at the Civic Centre with spill over into Independence Avenue. In the afternoon, will be a football match between the Lusaka City Council and the Chongwe District Council, although the venue for this match has not yet been confirmed. That will bring to an end the first day of the Centenary Month and will also take care of the first day of our two July public holidays, Heroes Day.

After day one and until 17 July, the LCC will be ‘cleaning up the city’ – sweeping, painting, gardening, provisioning bins and beautifying in general. And this will be in all the townships, compounds and at various institutions.  This will be a very welcome development for our city, but one does have to ask why the LCC have decided to include this in the centenary celebrations; is it not what they are supposed to do in the normal course of events; one of their day to day functions?

13 July will see numerous Music Festivals taking place in community halls around the city; in places such as Matero, Bauleni etc.  Entertainment being taken to the people rather than the people coming to the entertainment.  We imagine that these mini-festivals will be well attended and greatly enjoyed. In the afternoon will be a Fashion Show of traditional wear followed by entertainment by the likes of Oliya Band and Mulemena Boys.  This will be at the Nakatindi grounds.

In the last two weeks of July is when Lusaka will really get going with, amongst other things, art and photographic exhibitions, a Food and Wine Festival and a Heritage Hash. The Heritage Hash, which starts off from Levy Junction, takes a route around some of Lusaka’s Heritage sites such as the original school and Marrapodi’s house.  There is a short route for those who only want to take a leisurely walk and a longer route for the serious hashers. Fancy Dressed Hashers are welcome. And once you are back at Levy Junction, you can pop into the Food and Wine Festival being held at the same venue, and refresh yourself. Alternatively, start off at the Food and Wine Festival and walk/run off all that delicious food and drink.

On the programme for music lovers is the Lusaka City Music Festival, starting at 5 pm on Friday 19 July and continuing until midday on Saturday 20 July at the Barclays Sports Complex.  Various Zambian performers will be on stage as will be South African Afro-fusion band, Freshlyground.  Freshlyground’s musical style blends elements of traditional South African music (such as kwela and African folk music), blues, jazz, and features of indie rock.

Weekdays will be taken up with a number of formal events. Lusaka 100 have been working with the National Heritage Conservation Commission (NHCC) and, with various sponsors, have refurbished Kenneth Kaunda’s house in Chilenje.  The official handover will take place on 19 July.  Another Lusaka 100 project, in collaboration with NHCC and some sponsors, has been the burial site of Chief Mwalusaka, the headman after whom the city was named. This burial spot will be consecrated on 23 July.

The third Lusaka 100 heritage project is the cleaning up of the area around Lusaka Post Office.  Through various sponsorships and in conjunction with the LCC, the road around the Post Office is being resurfaced as are the pavements. The gardens are also being redone. This work will be handed over on 25 July.  On Friday 26 July will be an inter-denoninational church service at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross.

Saturday 27 July will be an eventful day, starting off with a mini-marathon in the morning which ends at Cairo Road. Almost immediately after the end of the marathon will be what promises excellent spectator value – the Malasha Bike Race, where fifty charcoal burners are going to race down Cairo Road with three bags of malasha on the back of their bikes.  This will undoubtedly be the cause of a great deal of fun, mirth and hilarity for viewers and racers alike. The race will be followed immediately by a float procession accompanied by various marching bands. It is hoped that all sectors of Lusaka – businesses, sports clubs, associations – will participate in this event by arranging a float which advertises their product or service or the interest area of their club or association and contributing to what is hoped will be a carnival atmosphere. If you would like to participate in this event, please urgently contact

Saturday evening will be another Music Festival, this time at UNZA. As we go to press, we do not have the final line up of performers, but we are assured there will be some excellent entertainment.

The grand finale on Wednesday 31 July will be a Fireworks Display although we are disappointed to see that this is planned to take place at Nakatindi grounds, which is immediately adjacent to a residential area.  Fireworks are highly stressful for dogs. Could a better venue not have been found? Perhaps somewhere in the CBD; the area in front of the railway station perhaps?

We reiterate that those wishing to participate in or attend any of the events, should check for the latest information. If you require specific information on an event, email

Lusaka 100 Centenary Celebration Events

Written By: The Lowdown - Jul• 01•13

Date: Monday 1 July:

Official Launch.
• Flag off by Mayor Daniel Chisenga with March Past with Zambia Defence Forces
• Traditional Dancers, Live music and a display of cultural crafts.
Time: 7.30 am
Venue: Nakatindi Grounds, Independence Avenue.
• Football Match : Lusaka City Council vs Chongwe District Council
Time: 14:45 pm
Venue: TBA

Date: Wednesday 3 – Wednesday 17:
• Cleanup of the City
Venue: All Townships, Compounds and Institutions

Date: Saturday 13:
• Musical Festival
Time: 9 am
Venue: Community Halls. Matero, Bauleni etc
• Fashion Show: Competition in traditional wear.
• Entertainment by Oliya Band, Kalambo Hi Parade and Mulemena Boys
Time: 2 pm
Venue: Nakatindi Hall and Grounds.

Date: Thursday 18 – Sunday 28
• Primary School Art Exhibition
Time: 4 pm
Venue: Levy Junction

Date: Friday 19
• Historical Exhibition, Photos of Lusaka
Venue: Lusaka Museum

Date: Saturday 20
• Heritage Hash
Venue: Levy Junction, Back Parking lot

Date: Saturday 20 – Sunday 21
• Food & Wine Festival
Venue: Levy Junction, Back Parking Lot over looking the Cooling tower

Date: Friday 19 – Saturday 20
• Lusaka City Music Festival with Freshlyground
Time: 5 pm Friday – 12 pm Saturday
Venue: Barclays Sports Complex

Date: Friday 19
• Opening of old Kenneth Kaunda House
Time: 9 am
Venue: Old Kenneth Kaunda House Chilenge, off Burma Road

Date: Monday 22
• Tree planting
Time: 8 am
Venue: Nakatindi Hall

Date: Tuesday 23
• Consecration of Headman Mwalusaka’s Burial ground
Time: 10 am
Venue: Olympia Park, behind Manda Hill

• A day with the blind
Time: 10 am
Venue: Lusaka Playhouse

Date: Thursday 25
• Cleaning of Post Office
Time: 10 am
Venue: Lusaka Post Office Cairo Road

Date: Thursday 25 – Tuesday 30
• Basket & Wood Exhibition ‘OUR LIFE’.
Time: 6 pm
Venue: Lusaka Playhouse

• Documentary of Lusaka over 100 years
Time: 8 pm
Venue: Lusaka Playhouse
Entrance fee: KR 100

Date: Friday 26
• Inter-denominational Church Service
Time: 10 am
Venue: The Cathedral of the Holy Cross

• Panel of discussions Title: The Problems facing the expansion of Lusaka
Time: 10 am – 12:30 pm
Venue: Lusaka Playhouse

• Film Festival
Time: 7:30 pm
Venue: Lusaka Playhouse

Date: Friday 26 – Saturday 27
• In house production- The wisdom of the African drum
Time: 7 pm
Venue: Lusaka Playhouse

Date: Saturday 27
• The Revival of City Hall & recreational facilities all over Lusaka
Time: 10 am- 12:30 pm
Venue: City Halls and recreational facilities
• In house production: Come Away with me by Benny Banda
Time: 7 pm
Venue: Lusaka Playhouse
• Marathon
• Float Procession
• Malasha bicycle race
Time: 9 am
Venue: Cairo Road
• Grand Music Festival
Time: 5 pm
Venue: University of Zambia

Date: Sunday 28
• Panel of discussions – The Film Industry in Zambia
• Panel of discussions – Fashion Industry and its Challenges
Time: 10 am – 12:30 pm
Venue: Lusaka Playhouse

Date: Wednesday 31
• Super Grand Finale – Fireworks Display
Time: 7 pm
Venue: Nakatindi Grounds

For up-to-date information on venues and times, check

Livingstone’s Elephant

Written By: The Lowdown - Jul• 01•13

Almost a year since it started to take shape, the Kachere Art Studios’ Rhino at Longacres Shopping Centre, stands solid and strong.


The Rhino, moulded from plastic bags and bottles picked up on the streets of Lusaka, carries many lessons. What started off as a message on the need to protect our wildlife heritage for future generations of Zambians quickly became an opportunity to educate any and all passers-by on the need to reduce our carbon footprint.


Yet the passion and determination of the Kachere Art Studio has not dimmed in the last year. If anything it has increased and they have been quietly going about their business as they have done for the last seven or eight years, taking every opportunity to educate Zambia’s citizens on climate change.


During December last year, they took themselves down to the shanty market at Kamwala. There they transformed a tree which had previously been used as a urinal into a tree with Christmas decorations instead; decorations made from plastic bags and bottles collected off Lusaka’s streets. And with it went their engaging with and educating all who would listen. This is in addition to giving disadvantaged children and widows art courses (with an environmental slant) at different orphanages and shelters. A workshop was recently held at Naluyanda Integrated Development Organisation


Kachere also took themselves down to Siavonga during the Siavonga Festival where they constructed a plastic Nyami Nyami. During the Festival Nyami Nyami was taken to the schools around Siavonga where pupils had a chance to add their bit of plastic to it. At the same time, they were educated on the environment and climate change with special emphasis on keeping LakeKariba as well as our other Lakes and Rivers clean and the sustainable harvesting of fish.


Nyami Nyami is not yet complete and is currently residing safely at Eagles Rest. It will in due course be moved to the Civic Centre where it will be erected in its permanent position. Only then will it be stuffed full of plastic and the hard outer shell applied. In the meantime, if you are in Siavonga and want to see this ‘Work of Art’, pop into Eagles Rest for a drink or a meal and while you are there they will show you the work in progress.


But despite all this activity, Kachere have also been planning the next in their ‘Big Five’ series of animals made from plastic. As we go to press, they have made a start on an enormous elephant in Livingstone.


Working in conjunction with Livingstone Council, this approximately ten metre high elephant is being erected in the area in front of the Civic Centre and not far from LivingstoneMuseum.  Highly visible, they hope that thousands of Livingstone residents and visitors, including visitors to UNWTO, will stop by and lend a hand to creating Kachere’s latest creation. But the real target are not the overseas visitors but our Zambian people, especially the younger generation who are going to be most affected by climate change and who are going to be the charcoal burners and polluters of the future.


Kachere also hope that Lodge owners and tour operators will support this effort by having Lodge staff sort the plastic that is to be disposed of and deliver this rubbish to the Civic Centre for ‘stuffing’ the elephant. It goes without saying that ordinary Livingstone residents are also welcome to deliver their plastic bottles and bags to Kachere. They are also invited to bring their staff and families down for a bit of education and fun. What better way than for this education and engagement to be conducted by Zambian citizens rather than by foreigners with whom our youngsters do not relate.


Funding for Livingstone’s Elephant has been provided, in part, by the Civil Society Environment Fund supported by the Governments of Denmark and Finland.


Palibe Zesco

Written By: The Lowdown - Jul• 01•13

‘Palibe Zesco’, said the call from home around 1 pm.


This is a regular occurrence and resulted in the inevitable call to Faults to report the outage.


However, when nearly two hours later someone responsible got home, it was Zesco installing a pre- paid meter, with no prior notification despite the fact that the Zesco web page clearly states that Zesco will communicate the implementation schedule for the different areas. No such notification was received and there was nothing on their webpage.


But what is worse is that it is now mid–afternoon and a call to the technician on site tells us “don’t worry, we give you 50 free units”. With six houses and a borehole which pumps water for all those houses, for a staff compound of about 200 people and water for livestock, fifty units are not sufficient to see us through the night.  If Zesco cared about the service they give to their customers, a review of our monthly electricity consumption over the last 38 years (or even the last few months) would have told Zesco this. Yet this was no concern to the technician – she would make an entry when she had finished so that our new account could be set up.


We finally solved the problem but only because of assistance from the manager at Zesco’s  Chudleigh offices and a lady at Crossroads who set up a temporary account for us to recharge the account to see us through the night. Thank you to both of them.


And no thanks to the technician who left the premises without having restored the power and who told us she would only come back after 6 pm. We did manage to restore the power ourselves, but the point is that the technicians should have done this before leaving the site. How does a technician who is even doing their job half properly not check that everything is in good working order before leaving!


Surely there must be a better way to dealing with the conversion to pre–paid meters. Advance notice is a must especially where households have generators which switch on automatically when the main power goes off. One would also think it is not that difficult to set up the pre–paid account in advance; after all Zesco do have all the details of the existing account to enable them to do this. But perhaps it is similar to the Faults office asking for directions to the premises each time one reports a fault. Do Zesco not have maps of where their installations are? Again, one would think so, but perhaps that is too logical.


Of course we could go on forever complaining about Zesco’s inadequacies or offering suggestions on how improvements could be made on their service delivery. The perception of their customer service is so bad that someone was even irate enough to set up a Facebook page called ‘Zesco Sucks’ (I kid you not). Perhaps we all need to accept that good customer service and just a basic respect for their customer’s does not seem to be a priority. Instead it is increasing tariffs to ensure more money in the pocket.