Livingstone 200

Written By: The Lowdown - May• 31•13

Northern 2011 09 10 DSC_5138With the recent passing on of Britain’s Iron Lady, Margaret Thatcher, and the furore about her funeral coupled with the fact that the month of May sees the 140th anniversary of the death of David Livingstone at Chief Chitambo’s village in 1873, we thought it interesting to see what sort of funeral was accorded David Livingstone.


But first, what was the date of Livingstone’s death?  His journal indicates that it would have been 1 May, but according to his faithful servants, Chuma and Susi, the date was 4 May. This was the date which they carved on a tree and which they reported as the date of death.  It is also the date on his gravestone at Chitambo’s Village. Yet other memorials to this explorer record the date as 1 May.


It is well known that following Livingstone’s death, his two servants removed his heart which was buried under a tree at Chitambo’s village. They then carried his body to Bagamoyo, on the Tanzanian coast, where it was handed over to the British authorities and transported to London for burial.


When the steamer carrying Livingstone’s body arrived at Southampton, an artillery salute, the initiative of some local volunteers, was given. From Southampton, a special train was laid on to transport his body to the offices of the Royal Geographical Society in Savile Row, where the body lay in state for two days. From there, it was moved to Westminster Abbey where he was laid to rest.


According to historians, David Livingstone had all but a state funeral.  For a full state funeral, parliamentary approval needs to be given and his body would have laid in state at Westminster Hall. There would possibly also have been greater involvement by the military and the monarchy. But the ceremonies were still pretty much the same as if it had been a state funeral – Queen Victoria’s empty carriage followed Livingstone’s hearse down Pall Mall and Whitehall, and the Prince of Wales and Disraeli, the then prime minister, attended the sacraments in person.


Of course by the time Livingstone was buried, his body was almost a year old. Having had the heart removed, the body was laid in the sun for two weeks to dry following which it was wrapped in layers of calico, bark and sailcloth and then sealed with tar to keep it from putrefying on its long journey to the coast. The trip took nine months through the heat of tropical Africa and ten men died along the way.  The fifty or so carriers that survived the trip persisted in the belief that David Livingstone was important to his country and also out of respect for him.


The final journey of Livingstone’s body was the last of a series of stories about him which had inspired Victorian Britain.


David Livingstone was buried at Westminster Abbey on 18 April 1874, just a day after Margaret Thatcher’s funeral on 17 April, one hundred and thirty nine years later.

Dam Spam

Written By: The Lowdown - May• 31•13
Northern 2011 09 10 DSC_5138“Y’ello! Now subscribe to Love Quotes …”
“Y’ello! Only MTN Mobile radio gives you latest hits of chartbusters …”
“Important Announcement, Send WIN to 7777 and win …”


These are only a few examples of the spam that I receive on my mobile phone and as can be seen, it is from none other then my service provider, MTN!


But that is not all. A few weeks ago, at the office during prime working hours and my head down in some complex technical stuff, my phone rang. Being accessible to my clients on an almost 24/7 basis is one of the services that I offer. I was thus obligated to answer the phone, only to find that it was MTN with a recording telling me that I could now listen to the radio through my mobile phone!


In September 2011, ZICTA directed that phone companies had to allow subscribers the option to ‘unsubscribe’ from any promotion they may offer.


Looking back at the messages I have received over the last few months, only one SMS gave me an option to unsubscribe.


But it is not only the phone companies (I am reliably informed that Airtel and Zamtel also send out volumes of unsolicited SMS’s.) Recently I received a series of unsolicited SMS’s from the UN office in Zambia and last week from KampalaUniversity. What is this all about?


The continual receipt of this unsolicited marketing material is a violation of my right to choose what marketing, advertising or other information I wish to receive, as well as impinging on my time. This is especially so when the marketing message is received via a phone call with a recorded message.


Phone companies should only be permitted to send out advertising material if a subscriber has signed up to receive such material, rather than sending spam to an entire gamut of numbers, thereby annoying all subscribers. Of course I don’t mind receiving useful bits of information; perhaps notification of an outage for maintenance but I am way past subscribing to ‘Love Quotes’. In fact I grew out of those when I was a teenager. And what, may I ask, are ‘hits of chart busters’. I grew out of these when I was a teenager, as well.

In The Garden

Written By: The Lowdown - May• 31•13

logo In The Garden 2Aloes are a very undervalued plant.  They come in many sizes but they all need little attention and less water.  The flowers are attractive and long-lasting and best of all they attract sunbirds.  Birds add something special to a garden.  A flock of tiny blue waxbills, the bold masked weaver, the melodious bulbul, the bright metallic colours of the male sunbird are all a common sight in the garden.  If you are lucky a pied wagtail will stroll across your lawn, wagging its tail. The tiny brown prinia is easily identified by its small size and its short tail sticking up at a jaunty angle.  Palm swifts can fill the air with their flight as they catch insects in the early evening.  Recently a little sparrowhawk has been spotted in gardens along our road, usually at the top of a tall tree.  Part of the pleasure provided by a garden is the abundance of wildlife it attracts by offering food and shelter to birds, bees, butterflies and many other small creatures.


Another great advantage is to be able to cut flowers for the house.  You don’t need to be an expert to make a simple arrangement of flowers.  Shasta daisies are easy to grow and their long-lasting white flowers will brighten any corner of the house in a simple glass container.  Strelitzia or “bird of paradise” has exotic and unusual flowers that are eye-catching in a vase.  In fact, any flower at all with a little creativity can become a source of beauty in your home.


Watering is now a priority.  Make it effective by watering in the morning or late afternoon when the ground is less hot.  Don’t leave a hosepipe lying in the sun, as it will make the water so hot that it will scorch leaves.  When not in use it should be in the shade.  Mend any leaks in the pipe.  Buy connectors and organise several lengths of hosepipe so that all corners of the garden can be reached by connecting them together.  You may need to install a short rod of steel at the corner of a flowerbed so that the hosepipe being pulled over the ground is kept away from the flowers.  Taps don’t last for ever: replace washers or the tap itself as required.  Be systematic and have a timetable so that each part of the garden is watered regularly.  Large trees and some shrubs will find water underground as their roots go deep.  The smaller the plant and the shallower its roots, the more often it will need to be watered.  In general, water deeply and less often.  Automatic sprinkler systems seem to offer an easy solution but in practice the calcium deposits from our hard water soon clog the holes and the system is no longer effective.  Keep an eye open for the drooping leaves that mean a plant has insufficient water.  Cover the soil with a thick layer of compost or any mulch to reduce evaporation from the soil surface.



Birds, Bugs and Bushes

Written By: The Lowdown - May• 31•13

Birds, Bugs and Bushes 1The Brown House Snake (Lamprophis capensis)


Brown house snakes are a light brown to reddish brown in colour. Older specimens are dark olive to almost black. There are two light stripes on either side of the head from the tip of the snout across the upper half of the eye. These stripes sometimes run along the anterior third of the body. The other stripe runs from the lower half of the angle of the mouth. The underbelly is yellow to white. The average length is between 60 cm and 90 cm. though some can reach up to a metre or more.


These snakes are oviparous; the female after mating lays a clutch of between 8 and 18 eggs. On hatching the young measure between 19 cm and 26 cm. Like all snakes there is no parental care of the young. Once hatched the young are able to fend for themselves. They begin by feeding on insects then graduating to larger prey as they grow.


They are found in southern and eastern Africa.


This is a common snake around houses. Hence its name ‘house snake’. It will, if need be, enter houses in search of prey. What is comforting though is that these snakes are totally harmless to humans. They will bite when they are handled roughly or feel threatened, but they are harmless as they do not have any venom or fangs with which to inject venom. They are solid toothed snakes, having no fangs. Sometimes, if they do not bite, they will instead sham death.


Found almost every where, these are largely ground dwelling snakes. They live in burrows, holes and under fallen trees and rocks, though they are more common around human houses and buildings. They are drawn to human dwellings by the presence of rodent’s upon which they feed. They also eat lizards, frogs, birds and bats. They secure their prey using their sharp teeth. Fastening the sharp points into the body of the prey, they wrap their coils around the victim, constricting it. They have similar shaped heads to pythons and tackle prey in a similar fashion. They are powerful constrictors, willfully attacking, killing and swallowing any prey they can overpower.


They are common nocturnal snakes, either foraging for prey or males seeking out females during the mating season. Though often around houses, they are overlooked due to their nocturnal habits. Most encounters are usually accidental and sadly they almost always end up with the killing of these harmless snakes. They are an important natural controller of rodents. As fierce hunters of rodents, they even enter the burrows and hideouts of the rodents to seek them out. They are able to consume, in one night, an entire rodent family. Unfortunately the traditional fear of snakes does not spare even, helpful and harmless species like the brown house snake.



Let’s Go Camping

Written By: The Lowdown - May• 31•13

logo Staying OutIt is a sad fact of Zambian life that much of the country’s tourism centres on the Zambezi and Livingstone.  Ask anyone what there is to see in Zambia and it is not just foreigners who will cite Victoria Falls as virtually the only place to visit.  Of course its importance cannot be overlooked, but there is far, far more to see and do in our country.  A trip up the Great North Road, for instance, is full of places to stop and see: waterfalls, game parks and monuments.  Free of the frantic traffic that clogs the Lusaka-Ndola road, it offers an easy drive with many places to stop for refreshment and/or accommodation.


Forest Inn, Mkushi

A welcome first stop on the Great North Road, Forest Inn offers basic chalet accommodation and camping facilities.  Situated in a beautifully shaded area, this is a wonderfully relaxing place and perfect if you have been driving for a long time.  The restaurant offers breakfast, light lunches and dinner at very reasonable rates.  Some of the items on the rather extensive the menu is likely to be unavailable however.

Chalet at Forest Inn

Chalet at Forest Inn


KasankaNational Park

Just from the Serenje turn-off, Kasanka is one of Zambia’s little-known secrets, although plans are afoot to attract a wider clientele.  Rescued by big game hunter turned conservationist, David Lloyd, about twenty years ago, Kasanka is a public-private partnership which relies heavily on donations and outside funding to survive.  One of the major reasons to visit this park is to view the migrant bat population which arrives there in September/ October every year.  However, there is also plenty of game to view, especially in the dry season.


Kasanka has two lodges in which to stay in chalet accommodation.  Wasa Lodge is closest to the main gate and overlooks a small dam.  Although quite pretty, it is Luwombwa Lodge that has a nicer setting on the curve of the river.  Here, the chalets overlook the water and provide a very peaceful setting in which to relax.  Facilities are much more basic than they are at Wasa and it is not as popular a choice, perhaps because it is on the far side of the park.  It is possible to hire canoes here though and it is closer to the airstrip, should you decide to drop in by air!


Kasanka also has two campsites: Pontoon and Kabwe.  Both are quite small and so it is best to book during the high season.  Pontoon is rather closed in for my liking, surrounded by trees and the tall reeds made it difficult to see the river.  This may be different during the dry season, of course.


Kabwe is further away but more open, the view looking out onto a marshy area, makes it popular with bird watchers.  The camping facilities are good and the staff that man them are more than keen to make sure your stay is a comfortable one.  Best of all is the shower with its open top!  Firewood is included in the camping price.


The most disappointing aspect of Kasanka was the food at Wasa.  Campers are welcome to have a meal there, providing they give due warning, but it was very basic and over-priced and the presentation lacked any sort of finesse.

View from Wasa Camp

View from Wasa Camp


Straw-coloured Fruit Bat, Kasanka National Park

Straw-coloured Fruit Bat, Kasanka National Park


Chalet at Wasa Camp

Chalet at Wasa Camp

Mutinondo Wilderness

Mutinondo wins the prize for the best campsite … ever, I should think!  It is large, but you don’t feel overwhelmed by people, although it is quite a popular destination.  The toilets offer a view out down the hillside and the showers are open to the stars.


Mutinondo also offers chalet accommodation of different types and the prices for these include all meals and activities, such as horse riding and canoeing.  Campers are welcome to eat at the lodge as well, as long as they give notice. An honesty bar operates for all clients and there is certainly nothing better than gathering round the fire at night and exchanging stories with other guests.


Mutinondo Wilderness

Mutinondo Wilderness


Chalet at Mutinondo Wilderness

Chalet at Mutinondo Wilderness

Kapisha Hot Springs

The campsite at Kapisha is also quite large and has a pleasant location next to a river.  The camping facilities are far more basic than they are at Mutinondo or even Kasanka: they are adequate, but not special, although they do have proper toilets as opposed to ‘glorified long drops’!


There are some great walks to do around Kapisha, and of course the hot springs on their own are a major draw.  Much time can be spent wallowing in their warmth!  Self catering and full board accommodation is available, although the former is not as easy as it sounds as you have to share the main kitchen.  The restaurant offers a wide variety of food and it is quite delicious – well worth a trek from the campsite!


Zambia does have a host of things to see and do and they needn’t cost you an arm and a leg.  Camping is the cheapest route to take, but may not be everyone’s cup of tea.  It is sad that most people you do meet at these places are foreign and probably get to experience more of Zambia than the average local, who often looks to holiday outside of the country!  Take a trip on the wild side and see what Zambia has to offer!


Kapisha Hot Springs

Kapisha Hot Springs


Relaxing on the river banks at Kapisha Hot Springs

Relaxing on the river banks at Kapisha Hot Springs





Fool on the Hill

Written By: The Lowdown - May• 31•13

FOTHTo kill a horse all you need is a little love, enough not to feel like a complete swine. And a handgun of a medium calibre, say a 9mm, if you don’t want too much thrashing about afterwards, which tends to upset the owner. The love, this helps both the horse and you. Although I guess the horse wouldn’t care if you approached the task with complete indifference. But approach it with a heart full of sorrow, or bloodlust or regret and the horse will know and that last walk to the fresh mound of soil and pit at the end of the paddock will be one of reluctance and fear. You do it with love; love of the beast and his potential realised, or as yet not. Love of his form and function and the marriage of these, which until this point has made him so worthy to walk the earth in the perfection of a horse. Love of THE horse though perhaps not THIS horse, which you may only just have met and whose state most likely is sorry, to have brought you to his side to play God. If you don’t have this love in you then you’re already lost and there are probably large chunks of you missing and you are a hair’s breadth away from being the crazy in the church bell-tower, holding off the SWAT team while the congregation lies bleeding in the pews from your hellish handiwork. If there’s love in your heart you can lift his muzzle and drawing two imaginary lines from eye to ear, place the barrel at their intersect and squeeze the trigger, stepping back as he lurches to his knees to dodge the first gout of crimson he will exhale as his eyes cloud from glassy to grey slate and his heart keeps pumping long enough to run the quarter mile that has always sufficed to carry him from danger.
She’s so full of morphine now that sometimes she doesn’t remember my name. After a lifetime of dieting she has finally reached her target weight and if looks could kill, hers will. The sofa in the sitting room was replaced by a hospital bed a week ago and then, she made me put plastic discs under the legs so they wouldn’t mark the carpet, now she couldn’t give a shit. In fact she hasn’t for a week and never will again as the closest she comes to eating is a couple of trickles of water a day and some damp cotton buds swabbed on her gums to moisten her mouth. They’ve left the opiates for me to administer, and tell me to use them as I see fit. What I see is a woman who has cared for me all my life and who has lived in fear all of hers. Who, faithless in matters of the spirit, believed wholeheartedly that medical science would, in her lifetime, banish death with a battery of pills and machines with comforting dials and flashing lights and optimistic pings. That belief deserted her too, less than six months ago when the doctors told her that her bones were full of cancer. Lung cancer for a devout non-smoker with three broken vertebrae, five fractured ribs, a snapped clavicle and six places where the cancer had forced its way between the plates of her skull and was pushing her eyeball out of its socket. Her X-rays catalogued a car wreck that had never happened. The diagnosis killed her and from that moment fear, and her surrender to it, gave the cancer permission to do its worst. She never for a moment put up a fight, though for our sakes she went through the motions of moving from stick to wig, to walking frame and wheelchair. From oncology consultations to post-chemo vomiting and breaking her arm just getting out of her chair, to this bed and the indignity of being bathed by her son and filling a bag through a catheter.

How I see fit to administer the opiates is all at once, crushed in a teaspoon of honey dripped onto her tongue at night between her feeble bouts of coughing and breathing like a creature already laid in some dusty crypt. The state of Idaho doesn’t criminalize aiding, abetting, assisting or counselling suicide, but she’s long past abetting now and I’m too afraid of prison and already too far from my wife and little boys.

I was on the verge a week before, of doing the right thing, of “seeing fit”. But luckily I ran out of pluck ,as two days later Darleen, the hospice lady, told me that she had watched enough deaths to know that that my mother’s was still weeks away. It would have seemed suspicious if at that point she’d woken up dead, and I suppose that they might have measured the amount of morphine in her blood post-mortem. And that would be me, playing doctors and nurses with a bunch of Aryan Brotherhood good ol’ boys as a guest of the Idaho Department of Corrections, since you’re no more allowed to overdose your dying mother than to shoot a prisoner on Death Row. So I lie awake in the spare room each night with the door open and listen to the thin, bitter bile accumulate in the back of her throat and her breathing deepen and rattle like a chain spooling round a capstan until she hacks or vomits. Then rise to lift her head and offer the kidney bowl and help her clear her mouth as her rheumy eyes roll back like a frightened horse and she tries to place my face in the crepuscular light and fathom whether it belongs to a friend or foe.

“It’s a funny thing” said Darleen at the kitchen table as she filled in the notes for her visit “But I’ve always found with my patients that when their earlobes get stuck to the side of their neck, they’re ready to go and mostly don’t make it through the night”. I question her again on this and she assures me it’s a fact she’s discovered in her career of easing people gently from their skins with as much dignity as possible. I pressed my own earlobe against my neck for a few seconds and when I let it go, it sprung back into place. Later that night, bored and lonely I drank six large Chivas Regals, being the only whisky that I could find in the house, and I pushed my mother’s earlobe to her neck for a whole Sopranos episode. Know this. An earlobe sticking to your neck may be a sure sign that you are going to die, but holding somebody’s earlobe against their neck … that doesn’t kill them. I know because after the last whisky I clumsily super-glued hers in place, and she was still alive in the morning.

A month before when she could still sit up in her chair for a few lucid hours a day, we watched one of many movies together. I tried to change the channel when it became clear that this was a family cancer saga, but she shushed me and said “Leave it. I always thought your sister looked like Sally Field”. She seemed unmoved by the melodrama and even chuckled half heartedly a couple of times; until the scene where the dying mother is making a video memoir with her son and starts to recount an anecdote about her own father. “You remember your grandpa?” she reminds her son. “I really don’t Mom. I was only 5 when he died”. And I turn to catch my mother take these words like a bullet and slump in her chair with the realisation that all the hours, and laughter and loving she has lavished on my boys will find no purchase in their memories and that she will only be kept alive for them in photographs and second-hand stories.

She’s run her quarter mile and it isn’t far enough. Her funeral is paid for and the obit is in the out-tray just waiting on the date. All she can do now is house the pain, though I have more than enough love to take it away from her. More than you need for a horse. But I can’t. It would be frowned upon. That humanity is denied me. So I board a plane and fly away, a coward, and leave her to die slowly in fear.

Happy Mother’s Day and cheer up for goodness sake, it’s probably just a short story.

On Tour

Written By: The Lowdown - May• 31•13

logo MITHSo the boy’s father said to me, if I send him out to you can you introduce him to a horse? I didn’t know that he fancied horses; thank goodness, it turned out that he seemed to prefer the young ladies riding upon them!


So here comes an impressionable lad, he has only got a couple of weeks of the Easter holidays before returning to school, we must make the best use of his time. “Now, face the horse, its head to your left, it’s fundament to the right and put your left foot in the stirrup in front of you. No!  Left, as in Army Left!” One youth upon horse, an idiot grin upon his face, mutters something about being way out of his comfort zone. After two or three days he has located his discomfort zone, his backside! Relent a little and let a grandchild teach him how to drive a quad bike. This is more to his liking but we cannot waste his time on trifles. The garden factotum is a far better tutor than I prove to be so he becomes the co-pilot of the vanette which is used to teach the boy to drive along the sundry bush tracks about the place. Emphasis is placed on checking basics such as water and oil levels in the light of his Mother’s proven inabilities in that field. (Well, I ask you, how many times do you have to cook a Pajero before you learn the basics?)


Then it is time to show the lad a bit of the country. We head north for the Copperbelt, stopping off for a good breakfast at the Fig Tree Café just south of Kabwe, then on up to where the smog of Kitwe awaited. The Smelter might be closed but there, with so much dust and charcoal fumes and smoke coming out of local brewery chimneys, it is proven that pollution is alive and well in Chitwe Shitty. Traffic remains bad, parking worse, exacerbated by Kitwe City Council allowing buildings to go up on the last bits of parking space in President Square. A quick visit to Chisekoni market, the explanation of Salaula, all broadens the lad’s economic horizon as does the quantity of second hand Toyota Specio motor cars around, all employed as illegal taxis. A trip to Parklands is made to introduce the lad to George who continues to preside over the production of Pizzas; possibly the best in Africa. Now to a mate who has organized a flying lesson for the lad. He goes off for an hour in a 180 with Brian, sees the Open Pit in Nchanga from the air, lands at Kasompe, takes off again and returns to Stravendale, wide eyed and enthusiastic about flying. All the while my mate and I chew the fat over some beers supped in the shade of an old Russian Biplane that made it this far from the Steppes, bound for the Congo. Its infirmities were such that it came close to collapse at Ndola but managed to wheeze over to Stravendale where the parking fees are negligible, never to fly again (unless someone wants to spend ridiculous amounts of money). The plane is in good company. Two others are there, one that forgot to put its wheels down on landing (I am told that there are two types of pilot, those who have done this and those who are about to do so); the other got blown over and has bent wings, looks forlorn and unloved. A splendid curry dinner, a night’s rest and then on to Chingola via the haunts of his Mother’s youth in Kalulushi. Another mate entertained us, showed us the new Lubambe Mine on the border (used to be Konkola No 2 shaft that worked for a few months back in the 50’s) and then back to have a look at the new No 4 Shaft at Konkola, a huge edifice designed to raise huge quantities of ore to the new huge concentrator designed to process huge quantities of ore into concentrates. As I know what is down below there I have my doubts, but, for sure, KCM has to get rid of an awful lot of water before they can hope to fulfill their ambitions. Now, the lad likes puppies and loves rugby, so sits and watches a match on the box, puppy happily asleep on him, whilst my mate and I examine the contents of a bottle of Green Label. We are given another night of kind hospitality before we move on in the morning to pass through Mufulira and up to Mokambo to go through the Pedicle, “Au Congo”.  So his father has said “He does French at school and is fairly proficient in it, it will be good practice for him.” HA, flipping HA!


Now, we all know that all who live in Zambia are allowed free and unfettered passage along the Pedicle road. Zambia has now built a bridge across the LuapulaRiver and is paying to have the 60 odd kilometres tarred to facilitate that easy passage. The Zambian Customs and Immigration personnel on either side of the Pedicle are a delight to deal with; you arrive, are given a piece of paper which is stamped and away you go. Pas de problem, comme les hommes dites au Congo! Into the dirty little building on the other side you go. You submit your piece of paper. It is ignored at first but then you understand. A few Kwacha is submitted and then your papers for your car are examined. “Passport!!!” ”Mais non, Monsewer, Je suis Resident.” Display my resident’s card. It is rejected out of hand. ”PASSPORT!!!” Luckily I have brought mine and the lads. They are taken away. You are ushered into the back office. “Vous etes etranger” “Come, my lad, time for you to explain yourself!” A stuttering mumble emits from my linguist fellow traveler which no one can understand. The upshot was that I had to pay a visa fee KR 270 (Sir, if you do not like it, go back to Ndola and apply for one) Naturally it was not a visa, just a scruffy piece of paper that said that I can travel across. Surprisingly, they did not charge for the lad, clearly impressed by his inability to speak anything. The next hurdle was the Health Check, yet another excuse to wheedle money. Now, for some reason the lad did not have a Yellow Fever certificate but I had taken both mine and the Madam’s certificate. I submitted mine which was scrutinized minutely; nothing wrong there; now the other one was demanded; I handed it over, again a minute scrutinisation, then he looked searchingly at the lad, uttered the Madams name and handed them back. A few more Kwacha changes hands and we are allowed to tip the gate man to let us go on! The lad varies between hysterical laughter and outrage at the open corruption that he has just witnessed. I neglect to tell him that we may be in but have yet to get out again of the Congo. The journey is uneventful, the road under repair is much like the curates egg; good in parts! Now a newer customs post is found on the other side and through the whole rigmarole we go again. This time they want to charge the boy but, with a bit of slight of hand, my scruffy piece of paper gets transferred to his passport. A few more Kwacha distributed here and there, and then they stamp our passports and demand another KR 250 “Pour Facilitation”. The health check man and the gate man loom next; the health check man does not bother too much, he just wants money for a drink as does the gate man. From the smell emanating from the pair of them I think that they had been at it already! Out into Zambia we go, a wave of relief sweeps over me until we get to Zambian Immigration. There the young man tries to imitate a Congolese. “The lad has got a single entry visa, he has been in the Congo, look, his passport has been stamped, and he must pay another visa fee.” I then had to be stern, firm but resisted the urge to pull the young man’s head off. In the end his cousin needed a lift to Mansa so all was well and away we went. MY ADVICE TO ALL:  GO ROUND; NOT THROUGH!!


The Mansa Hotel has seen better days but is still habitable. Two rooms cost me KR 300, there was a comfortable bed and air con in my room but, as per usual, no plug in the basin or bath. I had forgotten the trick; always take some plugs with you. The afternoon was spent resting from the rigors of the journey but then the lad had more education to go through. A packet of Chibuku was to be served at dinner, along with a beef stew and Nshima. Alas, there was no Chibuku to be had in Mansa, so Lusaka Beer (Whiter, Smoother etc so the advert goes) was substituted. It looked like runny Yoghurt, tastes rather sour, smells worse, and is, without a shadow of doubt, an acquired taste, a pleasure that I will continue to forgo. On the other hand the beef stew and Nshima was an epicurean feast! An early night for the morrow was to be a bit of a journey, North, first to the Musonda Falls, then the Mambalima Falls, the long series of rapids and Falls on the Luapula, then on again to Nchelenge, where, at the Lake Mweru Transport Lodge, I could sit and share a Simba with the lad before he had a paddle in the lake. An abandoned, half sunk, Police boat was being used as a diving board by lads. Onto the road again, back down to turn off, past the Mabel Shaw Church and Mission Hospital towards Kawamba and the Ntumbachushi Falls. The lad was enrapt by its beauty. South again, the road having one long bad stretch which is under repair and back to Mansa. I refuel the vehicle and get a couple of meat pies for the ever hungry lad and head for Samfya, narrowly avoid turning a wandering pig into pork chops and arrive there at dusk. I am beguiled by the sign to the Samfya Beach Resort, “First Class Accommodation and Food” Again KR 300 buys us two rooms. Enquiries are made about food.  Chicken and chips were available. Was Fish available? Alas, there was no fish. The lake lapped on the shore and laughed with me. In the end there was no chicken but eggs were available, so egg sandwiches were ordered. Two things then happened. The lad managed to lock himself in his bathroom and there was a power cut. I was not popular when I sang that old refrain “Oh dear, what can the matter be, two old ladies locked in the Lavatory”. “It is not funny” he said as I sat on the sand outside in the dark with a beer whilst the staff busied themselves extracting him.


The dawn saw us on the road again, this time to see the Livingstone Memorial Site. A 22 km little dirt road wanders off into the bush to get there and it remains as I first saw it, a rather plain, grim memorial in a rather plain, grim site. Whatever his last words were reported to have been, I am sure they were actually “Is that it?” Back to Lusaka we went to regroup before heading out to Mukambi for a spot of game viewing. The lad was lucky, lionesses, leopard, civet, genet, elephant, hippo, vultures, even a rabbit, all made a guest appearance. I had to tell him that he was very lucky, many a time one can go to the Kafue National Park and see nothing but puku for a week. One incredible sight that we did see, however, was a brand new Chinese lorry in a dry river bed. Apparently it had tried to cross the bridge on Christmas Day and had been swept off the bridge. The driver managed to escape though his mate was swept away and drowned. Now the lorry sits, a mute testament to the power of water, abandoned by its owner.


The lad is put back on an aircraft to the UK with a letter to his French tutor; TRY HARDER!

Down In The Drink! (Part 2)

Written By: The Lowdown - May• 31•13

logo The Cat O' Nine TalesI taxied the Cessna to the East African Aero Club, tied it down, and checked into their visitor accommodation. During my last stay in Kenya with the Cessna ‘push-pull’ Skymaster, I had a personality clash with a prominent member of the club’s committee. In my opinion he had misused his privileged position to have me banned, but I had recently contacted the club’s committee, who had assured me that if I met all the usual requirements I would be reinstated, and pending this, I could use the facilities as a temporary member.


I entered the club and was soon amongst many old buddies, including Johnny Adamson, Jim Stewart and Ben Pont. They were all members of the committee, and urged me to start collecting the sixteen committee member’s signatures, necessary to support my application, and I proceeded to do this over the next few days, whilst I was getting a new radio, and organising cash expenses from London.


I had a pleasant stay in Nairobi, visiting old friends, and making new ones, and I was happy to learn that Jim Stewart would be following me to London in his company’s aircraft, ”If I go down in the drink, you can throw me a life raft” I joked.


Soon I was on my knees in the pilots room with the big ONC charts on the floor, planning my flight to the Mediterranean. When flying in Africa I always prefer this method, rather than relying on instrument high-altitude charts, as reliable radio beacons are few and far-between, and in those days the GPS navigator was scarcely available.


We had a final party in the club, and after submitting my re-application with the sixteen committee signatures, and a year’s subscription, I enjoyed a good night’s sleep before my early morning start for the day-long flight to Khartoum.


Once again I was over my old stamping ground the Kenya N.F.D. and it was not long before Lodwar, my refuelling point came into view in the desert below.


As I descended to land at this tiny strip, I resolved to make a three-pointer, as the wind appeared to be straight down the runway, but I was wary, as the hot desert winds often eddied around the mountainous slab of rock which towered above the Catholic mission beside the strip. It was fortunate I had my wits about me, because just as the 185 floated a few feet above the runway, a sudden gust made my starboard wingtip almost graze the ground. As the wing went down, I had full deflection on my rudder, corrected for the centreline with aileron and the ‘plane settled into a three-point landing, I sighed with relief, and taxied to the Mission pump, I should have made the landing a ‘wheeler’.


It was not long before I was airborne again abeam Lake Turkana (Rudolf), scene of my earlier adventure with the Ethiopian Marxist Government, climbing high to avoid the turbulence of the hot desert of southern Sudan. I climbed even higher as I neared the enclave of Ethiopia where the GambelaRiver enters the Sudan, as I knew there were warring factions of Sudanese rebels and Ethiopian soldiers below, I had no wish to make an involuntary entrance to their war games. This of course was one of the areas where I had flown ‘Mac’ McElroy a VIP hunting client, some sixteen years before.


Soon the forward visibility decreased to nil, and the ground below disappeared, a sandstorm was blowing, not a full haboob, but enough to put me on instruments. I called Khartoum and they informed me that the ILS was U/S but they cleared me down to 4,000 feet, and it was at this height I swept over the threshold of runway 36 before seeing it.


Fortunately the 185 has large flaps, and by some judicious forward slipping, I was able to land the aircraft and take the first turn-off to the terminal. I spent the night in Khartoum’s Meridian Hotel. Another early start, and crossing and re-crossing the Nile, as it meandered below, I was soon approaching Southern Egypt, though unfortunately their air traffic control made me steer clear of Lake Nasser.


I planned to spend a night in Luxor, to clear customs and all official business, so that I could get an early start from Cairo, and cross the Mediterranean by daylight. I landed at Luxor, then a very busy city, as a much-advertised performance of Verdi’s grand opera ‘Aida’ was to be staged that night, At Luxor airport I watched a demonstration by the Italian Airforce Aerobatics Team ‘Gruppa Tricolore’ marking the operatic occasion, and as a fellow pilot met them at ‘briefing’ after their flight. This team was to be decimated in the ‘nineties’ when a collision in West Germany killed their best pilots.


I arrived in Cairo by nine in the morning, but my hopes of an early departure from Egypt were doomed. I am convinced that there is no other country in the world, which goes to so much trouble to make things difficult for travellers. I witnessed a European woman in tears, who was trying to negotiate with a totally unsympathetic immigration officer. I know they certainly think of all the best dodges to make a pilot utterly miserable. It took me no less than four hours to pay for my aviation fuel, because the company would not accept British Sterling Pounds cash, which I had obtained in Kenya, just for this very eventuality. They insisted on U.S. Dollars traveller’s cheques being cashed into Egyptian Pounds.


No sooner had this transaction been finished when the whole rigmarole had to begin again to pay airport taxes! It was after five in the evening before I was ready to start my take-off, and their final indignity was to route me first to Fayoum, a hundred miles on a south-west bearing, back into the desert, before I could turn on track for Crete. As I eventually passed over the coast, it grew dark, and I knew I was committed to make a night sea-crossing in a single-engine ‘plane, I began to hate all Egyptian officials!


However it was a wonderful clear night, and I could often see large cruise liners plowing along underneath, at least I appeared to be much faster than they were!


Suddenly, the engine coughed, my heart missed a beat, frantically I checked the instruments. All in order – temperature, pressure, RPM and boost, all normal. The engine was fuel-injected, so carburettor icing was almost impossible, and induction icing unlikely. I was again at eleven thousand feet, so I leaned the mixture, the engine started to sound rough, so I returned the mixture to the former position.


For some time things were normal, then the engine ran rough again. I pushed in the leaning knob, and the richer mixture smoothed out the engine. I was terrified, it was dark and I could visualize trying to pull off a night landing on water. I looked out and saw far below me a large liner, for an instant I considered circling to keep it in sight, but I calculated that Crete could not be more than half an hour away. With the engine alternatively running rough and smooth, that half hour seemed like a lifetime, and then suddenly, I was aware of a white mass out of my port side window. It materialised into a great snow-covered mountain, glinting, five thousand feet high, in the light of the moon. I passed over the SITIA beacon above the eastern shore of Crete, and joyfully, turned west, starting to descend. Soon I was on the ground at Iraklion, checked into a nearby hotel and slept like a log for seven hours. At least I was out of dammed Egypt, and their corrupt and unhelpful officialdom.

See Part 1

To be continued

Beauty … Naturally

Written By: The Lowdown - May• 31•13

Northern 2011 09 10 DSC_5138True beauty comes from within and not from a bottle (regardless of what the label might say). Being kind to your own body, the environment, fellow citizens of planet Earth, plants and animals is an act of beauty in itself. However, as our skin is a vital part of our whole body, attention to its needs is also important.


It is recognised that our skin (the largest organ of our body) absorbs more than 60% of what we put on to it. But unfortunately the world of cosmetics is not regulated as strictly as the food manufacturing industry. This means that it is very likely that most of the cosmetic products we see on the shelves are actually, in one word, harmful. Most countries don’t have the same “safe cosmetics” standards for their citizens as the European Union has for European citizens. Think about this. There are some manufacturers that create two versions of the same product: A safe one for European citizens and another for the rest of the world. Sucks if you’re part of the rest of the world, doesn’t it?


With this in mind, why would I choose very carefully what I put in my mouth and not what I put on my skin?


By making your own fabulous 100% natural beauty potions you are caring for yourself and our wonderful planet at the same time, not to mention that whisking up a beauty potion is also an enjoyable craft and lots of messy fun!


Remember that even so-called natural cosmetics aren’t always as natural as they sound: they may still contain high percentages of chemicals and, even when active botanicals are listed on the label, very often they are highly processed and their ‘natural’ power is completely diluted by the time they end up in the same jar on the shelves. The word ‘natural’ has no legal definition within cosmetic law.

Thus, anyone can use it. And they do.


One of my main rules is: if you don’t understand what is written on the list of ingredients (and who can? Most of the words are unpronounceable!) then those are most probably chemicals that should not be on your skin.


Truth is, you can make your own beauty and skincare products simply by using what’s in your garden or by selecting what’s in your fridge and cupboard. I am not saying that there is no space for shop-bought cosmetics, especially when we have a busy life and when there ARE some truly natural products out there. But there are some amazing alternatives to what you buy over the counter that are easy and fun to make and heaven to use.


If you

  • are horrified at the synthetics, petro-pharmaceuticals toxic chemicals, fragrances etc. that end up in commercial skincare products (even in those labelled ‘natural’)
  • want to know exactly what’s on your skin
  • have sensitive skin
  • care for our amazing planet, its people and animals
  • love herbs, flowers, spices and plants
  • are able to make a salad dressing, boil an egg, brew a cup of tea and melt chocolate in a double boiler
  • chose organic and local but don’t wish to pay a fortune

then you will enjoy this little column and the little advices in the forthcoming issues of this magazine.

This column is written by Paola from Essential Skincare 

You Gotta Be Crazy

Written By: The Lowdown - May• 31•13

Northern 2011 09 10 DSC_5138Why, I ask, would anyone want to walk one hundred kilometres in less than thirty hours through the day and through the night, up and down hills and through unpredictable but probably inclement British weather? This is exactly what Lusaka’s Ruth Puffett is going to be doing on 25 May where she is taking part in the London to Brighton Challenge. And she has a good reason for doing it too. She is raising funds for Zambian charity, FlySpec (see The Lowdown, September 2012).


FlySpec is a flying medical service which takes free orthopaedic and reconstructive surgery and more recently prosthetic and orthotic services by air, to disabled people in rural communities all over Zambia; places where such specialist surgery is not otherwise available. FlySpec was set up by Ruth’s father, John Jellis OBE, who is an Orthopaedic Surgeon and his partner, Goran Jovic, a Reconstructive Plastic Surgeon. FlySpec is funded entirely by charitable donations.


The London to Brighton Challenge is an annual fundraising challenge where walkers and joggers register to raise funds for their selected charity.  They then obtain sponsorship and donations from friends and other well-wishers. This year, there are over 300 charities involved and participants have to pledge a minimum of £400 for their chosen charity.  Last year, 1,400 people participated and this year, they expect more than 2,000 participants.


Ruth has been ‘training’ for her long walk since the start of the year, first with just a few kilometres but slowly increasing them as she became fitter and built up her endurance and stamina. This, together with sheer determination is what has got her this far and is what will see her reach the finish line on 26 May.


If you would like to support Ruth in her fundraising attempt, please contact her by email at


Good Luck, Ruth!



Did We Misunderstand?

Written By: The Lowdown - May• 31•13

Northern 2011 09 10 DSC_5138Whilst researching the article Our Gorgeous Gorge I came across this article from, published in December 2012. 


Investor to inject $10 billion Zambezi water project

The centuries old dream to make the Zambezi navigable from its delta on the Indian Ocean as far as the Victoria Falls is still alive, with an undisclosed investor willing to put in US$10 billion to further the project.

Last Wednesday, Public Works Deputy Minister Senator Aguy Georgias met the ambassadors for Malawi, Zambia and Mozambique in Harare to give an overview of the new plan for the Zambezi seaway. “I urge you to approach your principals in your different countries and sell the idea to them so that we sign a memorandum of understanding and begin work on the Zambezi banks immediately.

“There is an investor with US$10bn waiting to inject the capital once the memorandum of understanding is signed and the four countries form a company to run the project.

“I cannot reveal the identity of the investor at this stage,” Sen Georgias said.

The seaway would cut freight costs that have rendered trade unviable among the countries and other global players.

Sen Georgias said the project would involve (dredging) opening up or deepening the banks or riverbed of the Zambezi River to allow ships to sail from the Indian Ocean to as far afield as Victoria Falls and back.

Right from the beginning of Portuguese exploration of the east coast, the dream of opening a route into the interior along the Zambezi has been mooted.

Several major difficulties have always stood in the way.

First, the Zambezi enters the Indian Ocean through a delta with constantly shifting channels.

Secondly, there are a number of rapids along the river. But the Cabora Bassa and Kariba Dams have flooded two of these major rapids, and the Batoka Gorge Dam will flood a third.

It was with the opening creation of the Cabora Bassa Lake that the old idea was revived, since with lock gates at the dam and dredging of the main delta channel a route would be opened right up to the Mutapa Gorge downstream of Mana Pools.

Malawi would connect to the seaway via the basically navigable Shire River.

“This is a mammoth project. It has a big economic significance to Zimbabwe and her allies. It will help cut transaction costs. At the moment export and import charges account for 80 percent of the cost of doing business,” commented Sen Georgias.

Says Sen Georgias, ‘‘To be certain, work on the Zambezi Seaway project will have to run in tandem with the improvement of facilities and capacity at Mozambican ports, specifically Beira. ‘‘There will be demand for greater efficiency in handling the massive cargo that the project envisages would come through the Zambezi Seaway. It will certainly be the most cost efficient. Any negative impact will be on ports further afield, that will naturally become less competitive.’’

On completion the project is expected to make trade smooth among SADC states and beyond with particular emphasis on the slashing of freight charges that the countries would enjoy.

The project is the brainchild of Sen Georgias who has since requested President Mugabe to be its patron.

Sen Georgias said they expected to complete the project within 18 months once it gets underway.


Perhaps we have misunderstood and there are no dams to be built on the Zambezi!!


Security Onion

Written By: The Lowdown - May• 31•13

Northern 2011 09 10 DSC_5138The recent spate of armed robberies around Lusaka serves as a timely reminder to take a long hard look at the security of your home. The most important thing is to ensure your personal safety.


Usually, it is impractical to fully protect an already-built home from a determined intruder, however, a lot can be done to make it more difficult for intruders to get into your home and, more importantly, to make it harder for them to take you by surprise.


To do this you need several layers of security – to misquote a popular cartoon character; “ Good security is like an Ogre Onion.”




The objectives of good home security are:

  1. To deter intruders, by presenting such challenging security barriers that the prospective intruder is discouraged from attempting or continuing to attempt entry.
  2. To warn the house occupants of an attempted intrusion so that the house occupants can take steps to protect themselves and their property and, if a security monitoring service is used, to activate the  appropriate security response/counter measure.
  3. To delay or impede intruders to give the house occupants time to get themselves into a safe place and for security counter measures to take effect.
  4. To record and/or leave an evidence trail of the intrusion attempt so that intruders can be identified and/or insurance can be claimed.


Ideally, for personal safety, you need to be warned BEFORE intruders are in your home, and have time to reach a place of safety in your home that is strong enough to keep out a determined intruder for as long as it takes for someone to come to your aid. In practice, in Lusaka, this means that your home, when locked, should give you at least 5 minutes protection from a determined intruder and that your Safe Haven, within you home, should be able to give you at least 15 minutes of protection.


Good security has layers, like an onion. Lets consider some of these layers.


Most houses in Lusaka  are surrounded by a boundary wall or fence. This is the first physical security layer. Anyone who climbs over a wall or over or through a fence to enter a property can be charged with criminal trespass. A high, solid wall is good as it makes it hard for intruders to see into the property. If you have good neighbours you might prefer a boundary that allows you to see through and watch out for problems on each others’ properties. Any decorative features, trees or structures that make it easy for someone to climb over the boundary should be removed. An electric fence on the boundary that sets off an alarm if it is cut or tampered with is a good early warning system. Properly installed razor wire, anti-intruder spikes and thorny plants on or around the boundary are good deterrents. If you have dogs, a boundary fence or a wall defines their territory for them and they will usually protect that defined territory.


Security lighting is important. If you have  a night guard, he or she needs to be able to patrol the property without a torch. If you do not have a night guard, it is better to have security lights that are only activated when needed. Place security lights so that they would effectively “blind” someone looking into the property towards the house and try to eliminate areas of deep shadow where intruders can hide. Security lights can be proximity activated, so that they light up the area where there is suspicious activity and also activate an alarm.


There are many types of outdoor electronic intruder detectors. These can be a useful way of warning you that there is an intruder in your yard. It is difficult to completely eliminate false alarms from such devices, especially if you have dogs and cats. My preference is for Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) with motion sensing, which can monitor critical areas, warn you when it senses movement in these areas and also show you the area and intruder when it happens.


Moving onto your house; all windows whether they open or not, should have burglar bars. Ideally the burglar bars should be on the inside so that intruders have first to break the glass and then tussle with bars before they gain entry.


All external doors should have security gates and again, ideally these should be fitted inside the house. A good reason for putting burglar bars and security gates on the inside of windows and doors is that you can then install an alarm system that will activate the alarm when a window is broken or a door is opened BEFORE the intruder is in your home and WHILE the intruder is still faced with a security layer that should prevent entry for at least five minutes, giving you time to get into your Safe Haven and for security counter measures to take effect.


Most people make the accommodation wing of the house into their Safe Haven, but this depends on the layout of the house and is your personal choice. The important thing about the Safe Haven is that all the doors and windows to it MUST be extra secure and give you at least 15 minutes of forced entry delay. Ideally, this will also be where you sleep at night. You need to consider how you will secure the entrance to the Safe Haven during an emergency. My preference is for latch locks that will lock the gate as soon as it is closed. Padlocks can be used after you are safely in the Safe Haven.


Ensuring that your burglar bars and security gates are strong enough is important. Gaps between bars should be small enough to prevent a small child from getting through. A gap of 10 cm prevents even a baby’s head getting through the bars, which is important as toddlers have been injured by getting their heads stuck in burglar bars. The bars should be thick enough to prevent them from being easily bent or cut. Burglar bars should be strongly anchored into the wall and welded to steel window frames in as many places as possible. Intruders will use extreme force to get in, burglar bars and security gates need to be strong.


External doors that open outwards will have their hinge pins on the outside. Intruders can knock out the hinge pin and lever the door open, bypassing the lock. To prevent this, tack-weld one end of each hinge pin to the hinge and fit at least three 10 mm steel pins into the hinge end of the door that engage with holes drilled into the door frame when the door is closed.


The physical security of your home is YOUR responsibility. Take time to check it and look at every single door and window. Make sure windows close properly and can not be opened from the outside. Check that all your external doors and Safe Haven doors and security gates are fitted with good quality security locks and replace any locks if you think keys may have been lost, illegally copied or in any way compromised.


Quite often keys used in robberies are obtained from domestic staff, who usually live in less secure houses and locations. One way to deal with this is to have two sets of locks on external doors and security gates that domestic staff need access to – and for the domestic staff to only have keys to one of each lock, allowing you to ensure their safety and yours by locking both sets of locks when you are home.


Consider installing an intruder alarm system or at the very least a siren that can be used to distract and disturb intruders as well as alerting neighbours that there is a problem.


Employing a security guard is an option, but if the physical security of your house is good, the guard becomes, essentially, a gate opener and a human being in harm’s way if armed intruders get into your yard. If the physical security of your house is not good, the guard may become part of the problem.


Some parts of Lusaka have neighbourhood watch schemes that offer varying degrees of security assistance. Check and join if you feel that the service offered meets your needs.


There are many security companies in Lusaka that offer Alarm Monitoring and Response services.  I strongly recommend having a good Alarm Response service. Choose a company that has a mobile unit based close to your home and check that the services and level of service they provide meet your requirements. A good company will provide you with clear and understandable security advice regarding the weak points of your home and will respond quickly to any alarm activation.


Even the best physical security measures will not help if you don’t use them. Do lock your outer security gates and doors when you are at home. Do take care to prevent your keys from being copied. Use your alarm. Check it regularly. Make sure you have a working phone, radio or mobile phone in your Safe Haven. Walk your perimeter as often as you can, and check that all your security layers are in place and in good working order.


Avoid allowing casual access to your home. Don’t leave cash and valuables lying around in plain sight.


Spending a little time each day to lock up and secure your home might save you from having to deal with the dreadful consequences of an armed robbery.

Happy and Healthy Feet

Written By: The Lowdown - May• 31•13

Northern 2011 09 10 DSC_5138Many people suffer from problems with their feet which can often cause further problems with  ankles, knees and backs. Feet problems usually go away with time, rest, ice, anti-inflammatories (NSAIDS) and shoe gear changes. But sometimes these problems won’t go away, and that’s when you need a podiatrist’s help and expertise.


Podiatry is the specialised medical field which deals with the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of problems and conditions associated with the foot.  The treatment extends to ailments and dysfunctions associated with the ankle, knee and lower back. Treatment includes but is not limited to rectifying conditions associated with diabetes, ingrown toenails, wound care, specialized pedicure, ortheses for toe correction, prostheses (artificial toes), tailor-made insoles, shoe adjustments and general footcare and advice.


Diabetes and circulatory problems are often present together. The danger is that due to the reduced circulation the healing process is affected. Any injury such as a cut, sore or blister can lead to a bad infection. Because the healing process is now slowed, any infection can be potentially dangerous. Often these infections lead to hospitalisation and sometimes amputation.
People with diabetes and circulatory conditions need to pay close attention to their feet and seek the care of a podiatrist immediately if any problems arise. Secondly, many diabetics will also suffer from a condition known as neuropathy. Often the feet will experience numbness that can affect just the toes or, in more severe cases, the entire foot. Since these patients have reduced feeling in their feet, any cut, bruise, sore or blister can lead to ulceration and ultimately to infection. They are also more likely to have these problems since there is little feeling in their feet. Therefore vigilance is of the utmost importance. A minor cut that is not noticed for a week coupled with reduced healing capabilities can lead to dire consequences. Diabetics should check their shoes for any objects before putting their feet into them. They should check the bottoms of their feet daily to insure there are no cuts. Lastly, they should visit their podiatrist regularly for footcare and check ups.


The good news is that Lusaka now has a podiatrist. For more information or a check up please call or email Podiatrist Ms. S. Roesink, Tel: 0974 901-066, Email: or call Corpmed for an appointment.

Readers Have Their Say

Written By: The Lowdown - May• 31•13
Northern 2011 09 10 DSC_5138The Speed Hump Plague Is Spreading Faster Than Army Worms

I am a Kitwe resident, but I recently drove through Chilanga : about 15 mins to travel the few kilometres from Lafarge to ZAWA HQ. And this on the main Cape to Cairo road !!??!

Then the trip back to Kitwe! Lusaka-Kabwe now takes over 2 hours, whereas 20 years ago, when the road was potholed it took 30 minutes less. Yes, much more traffic – but it’s the DOZENS of humps slowing trucks to 10 kph that does the damage.

Now the latest lunacy : 22nd Avenue in Kitwe. New speed limit signs : 65 kph. But on the stretch from Central to Kantanta Streets, the three humps slow vehicles to 10 kph and you can hardly reach 40 kph in between. I have timed, several times, the 300m stretch that contains these humps – it takes about 45 seconds. This works out at 32 kph in a 65 kph zone.

It’s not that I’m totally against humps (though I wish we could stop ‘the boy racers’ some other way) but surely in 2013 we can design and build humps of such a shape and size that they can be crossed at near the speed limit.

I hope you feel you want to use this – I think it might just start something that will lead to an improvement in this situation.


What do readers think?  Or more importantly what do the Councils and Road authorities think? Ed


Beware Flying Stones

I write to thank you for such a beautiful and truthful article. It is a well researched item. Having lived in Lusaka for some time now, it makes me wonder why this is being allowed. Surely,what sort of government is this that allows everythig to go? Is it that someone is a beneficiary? I dont think that a Planner or an Engineer  can permit such?

Thank you again,

Agnes, Lusaka Resident



Written By: The Lowdown - Apr• 30•13

Cover - 2013-04