The Genesis of Modern Zambia, 1890-1914

Michael Langley describes how missionary endeavour, the ambition of Cecil Rhodes and the technology of mining engineers combined to create the background of modern Zambia.

I wonder how many people remember that old white settler, “Chirupula”, Stephenson. Over eight years have passed since the last of his many visitors called on him at Chiwefwe to listen, until dusk spread across the valley towards the distant Congo and the fearful Irumi Mountain, to the incredible stories of his youth; of how he and the Bwana Mkubwa, John Fletcher Jones, had crossed the virtually unknown territory between Fort Jameson and the Hook of the Kufue; of how he had returned and founded the stations at Ndola and Mkushi, and of his life at Chiwefwe with his three African wives, as administrator, trader, recluse and oracle.

One of his favourite stories was of the mandate he gave the people of Chiwali in 1901—that there would be no more war, witchcraft or slavery. It was very passively received; in fact, he managed to maintain peace with disarming ease. Only much later did he discover the reason: among their three deities the Lala tribe had one who, according to legend, was fair skinned. So the stranger in their midst was obviously Luchere reincarnate, for only a god would dare to preach such an insane gospel.

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