While Zambia’s history is undoubtedly long, when reading many accounts of contemporary events, it almost appears as though it did not exist prior to the democratic changes ushered into play post 1991. 

For example, 1964 – the year of Zambia’s independence, is special for many reasons.

But most of the events of that memorable year appear to have vanished forever from the nation’s collective memory.

In this special 1964 feature, MakanDay highlights a weekly selection of some of the year’s key moments, corresponding with the current week in 2021. In this initial installment of the series, the entire month of January 1964 is covered.

The series is researched and compiled by David Punabantu, with final editing by MakanDay Editor John Mukela. 

Whenever possible, the original tone and syntax is retained in keeping with the original 1964 texts. For example, negroes (African Americans), Africans (native Zambians) and place names Fort Jameson (Chipata).

What clearly emerges from the series is that some of the negative traits of Zambia’s current socio-political discourse stem from the country’s tortuous past, and events such as for instance, political violence, pose questions from the past that reflect the present. 

1 JANUARY 1964

At mid-night, the ten-year-old Federation of Rhodesia & Nyasaland comes to an end. The federation had originally brought together the three present-day territories of Malawi (Nyasaland), Zambia (Northern Rhodesia) and Zimbabwe (Southern Rhodesia).

On the previous day, Tuesday, 200 members of the Northern Rhodesia African National Congress (ANC) demonstrate outside Government House chanting "Away with the Governor!", Sir Evelyn Hone. They demand that elections be postponed. Some white miners start leaving for South Africa. The National Union of Plantation Farmers condemns minimum wages as "slave wages" – being £4 18s for male workers in Western, Central and Southern Provinces. They demand to be paid no less than £22.

2 JANUARY 1964

A gunman attempts to assassinate Ghanaian President Kwame Nkrumah after firing five shots and leaving one guard dead. The last attempt on the leader's life was on 1 August 1962, when a bomb is thrown at his car. (Zambia) ANC leader Harry Nkumbula claims that the United National Independence Party (UNIP) is working with Governor Evelyn Hone to undermine the ANC.

UNIP and ANC members clash at Katuba. Three ANC men are detained. In Chinsali, clashes between UNIP and the Lumpa Church increase as the death toll reaches 10.

3 JANUARY 1964

The Order in Council for Self Government of Northern Rhodesia (NR) is published in the Government Gazette. ANC leader Harry Nkumbula promises he will not boycott the up-coming general elections. The Northern Rhodesia African Trader's Association seeks a reshuffle after its top brass, including its president, Mr. Robinson Puta, fail to secure parliamentary nominations from UNIP, enabling them to contest the up-coming general election. During the upcoming weekend, UNIP plans to hold a rally in the ANC stronghold of Mumbwa, which is to be addressed by Mr. Kaunda, Mr. Richard Sampson and Mr. Sambono.

4 JANUARY 1964

Mayor of Lusaka Tom Parker opens the Olympic size swimming pool, constructed at a cost of £56,000, using donations from Ndola Lottery (£16,000) and Lusaka City Council (£35,000). United States Negro basketball team, the Harlem Globetrotters, fly into Ndola today, to play at Ndola Dag Hammarskjoeld Stadium. In boxing, the junior welterweight boxing title fight is between U.S. favourite Eddie Perkins against Yoshinori Takahashi of Japan tomorrow.

5 JANUARY 1964

Violence erupts again between UNIP and ANC supporters in Mufulira and the police use tear gas. Mr. Aaron Milner of UNIP tells a rally of 10,000 people that Mr. Kaunda had been approached by a 12-member ANC-People’s Democratic Congress (PDC) delegation from Southern Province saying they will urge their followers to vote for UNIP. Chief Justice Sir Diarmaid Conroy increases the sentence of a 51-year-old UNIP member, Benson Ngwira, of Fort Jameson (now Chipata) from three to 10 years for arson, after his appeal.

6 JANUARY 1964

ANC leader Harry Nkumbula complains of radio electioneering as UNIP propaganda is aired mainly  on radio, while opposition propaganda is sidelined. A Nkumbula rally in Monze is tear gassed, while a UNIP gathering faces a similar fate, as it is deemed by police to be a breach of the peace. Lusaka tyre dealers sign a petition to Finance Minister Trevor Gardner demanding that they be allowed to buy tyres from other sources, and not be restricted to the Dunlop Company. Two Africans from South Africa join Lusaka City Council.

7 JANUARY 1964

Mr. Kaunda reveals a UNIP plan on TV to provide free education for all, more hospitals and clinics and guarantees no meddling with the Judiciary. In Fort Jameson, two children are burnt to death and three others suffer burns when UNIP members burn four villages supporting the ANC.

8 JANUARY 1964

The Rhodesian Grain Marketing Board agrees to purchase 500,000 bags of maize from Pretoria. National Progressive Party (NPP) leader John Roberts says he is determined to oppose the one- party-system in Northern Rhodesia. Spurs are ousted as F.A. Cup favourites, leaving Manchester United and Liverpool as top contenders.

9 JANUARY 1964

Mr. Kaunda claims that although the deaths in Fort Jameson were unfortunate, they were the result of a botched rescue attempt by UNIP of an elderly man who was being tortured and held captive in leg irons. Agriculture Minister Mr. Simon Kapwepwe, blames the federal government for the shortage of maize, and authorises the new Grain Marketing Board  to  place an order for 210,000 bags of maize through its Southern Rhodesia counterpart. Aston Villa are beaten 2-1 by fourth division Aldershot. Chelsea win 2-0 against Spurs.

10 JANUARY 1964

"Lost City of the Kalahari" found by Northern Rhodesia scouts is said to be a geological freak. Another 60 reported smallpox deaths in Northern Rhodesia brings the total deaths to 261, according to the Health Ministry.  At the end of November 1963, a total of 1,581 caught the disease and it had killed 201. The first African Roman Catholic Bishop in the Rhodesias (Northern and Southern), the Most Reverend Clement Chabukasansha, returns from  Rome, where he was consecrated. Road fitness vehicle certificates are reduced from 10 years to 8 years.

Map of Mr. Jack Leech’s route to the fabled “Lost City of the Kalahari” 10th January 1964

12 JANUARY 1964

Three guards are posted outside Mr. Harry Thorneycroft, the former ANC Transport Secretary after getting threats from UNIP youths.  Mr. Simon Kapwepwe does not discount that the anti-Kaunda leaflets circulating over the weekend are from within UNIP. Mr. Guy Arnold, the executive secretary of the Northern Rhodesian National Youth Services (NRNYS) proposes a plan to have 100 camps of youths who would be used to build roads, bridges and railways in the nation.

13 JANUARY 1964

The "Voice of Zambia" Front is discovered to be the source of the anti-Kaunda movement within UNIP and wants Agriculture Minister Mr. Simon Kapwepwe, to lead UNIP and become the first Premier. In Chibolya, Mufulira, four ANC houses are stoned. The Civil Servants Association declares a dispute with Government. UNIP takes all the seats in Choma’s Town Management Board by-election. Northern Rhodesia Methodist Church is ready to hand over 80 schools to Government.

Picture that appeared in the Northern News, front page, showing police practicing sharp shooting with the headlines on the front page reading “Police, councils ready for election violence”, 13th January, 1964.

14 JANUARY 1964

In Mufulira, ANC cadres beat up two UNIP members. Mr Harry Nkumbula denies a plot to use ex-gendarmes and armed Katangese to stop villagers from voting in the up-coming general elections next week. The Northern Rhodesia Farmers’ Union rejects the minimum wages awarded to African workers.

Mr. G. Motsi Kunaka, a member of the Southern Rhodesian Ng’anga Association, 14th January 1964

15 JANUARY 1964

UNIP claims two more ANC defections. Flu hits telephone operators leading to hold ups on the phone system. A three- fold increase in crime in Lusaka occurs when compared to 1962. There is heavy buying of copper on the London Metal Exchange (LME). There are no vacancies for teachers in Lusaka, according to Education Minister Mr. W.A.R. Gorman. About 450 people enroll at Lusaka's College for Further Education. More than 1,500 people are vaccinated against smallpox in Lusaka.

16 JANUARY 1964

The 1963 census results reveal that Northern Rhodesia will need twice as many schools by 1974 against the current population of 330,000 students. Africans numbering 74,000 search for work in Lusaka. A strike hits Bancroft mine in which 80 miners out of 140 refuse to go underground. The  Mine Workers Union (MWU) accepts the new deal under protest.

17 JANUARY 1964

A massive rush to join UNIP  is  alleged by Mr.  Aaron Milner, who claims that 250,000 new UNIP party cards are needed. African traders lose their businesses in a Kitwe market fire.

The Northern Rhodesian scout troop that searched for the “Lost City of the Kalahari”, 17th January, 1964

19 JANUARY 1964

Northern Rhodesian tariffs affect firms in Southern Rhodesia.

ANC leader Harry Mwaanga Nkumbula addresses a rally in Kamwala, 19th January 1964

20 JANUARY 1964

“One-man, one-vote” elections are to take place for self-government in Northern Rhodesia. Armed police are on a dawn to dusk curfew of ANC  stronghold in Chief Mungule's area. African students are leaving Russia after the protest of the death of a Ghanaian student. About 1,300 apply for Anglo American Staff Training School against the 130 places offered.

As mothers vote as seen in the background, an elderly woman looks after their children, 20th January, 1964

21 JANUARY 1964

The National Progress Party (NPP) wins the first four reserved seats. Government is to buy land for a new airport. Northern Rhodesia’s Coalition Cabinet is to meet tomorrow for the last time. Fourteen youths arrested in Lusaka in connection with political unrest are mostly UNIP members.

Picture of Kenneth Kaunda on an election poster in readiness for the elections on January 21st, 1964

22 JANUARY 1964

Mr. Kaunda is the first Premier. UNIP wins the main roll, but loses all the ten reserved seats to the NPP, while the ANC wins nine seats. UNIP takes 51 seats of the 75 with 5 results yet to come. Anglo American group is to develop a three-acre site in Lusaka at a cost of about £140,000, to house Anglo workers. Mr. Nkumbula calls the recent elections unfair as 24 areas are unopposed because ANC candidates were denied a chance to file in their nominations.

23 JANUARY 1964

Prime Minister Kaunda names his new cabinet called the "Kwacha Year" team. Mr. R. Kamanga heads the Transport & Communications Ministry. Mr. D. Banda heads Housing & Social Development. Mr. J. Chimba  heads Labour & Mines. Mr. M. Chona heads Justice. Mr. S. Kalulu heads Lands & Works. Mr. S. Kapwepwe heads Home Affairs. Mr. E. Mudenda heads Agriculture. Mr. A. Wina heads Finance. Mr. S. Wina heads Health. Mr. A. Zulu heads Commerce & Industry. Mr. N. Mundia heads Local Government. Mr. J. Mwanakatwe heads Education. Mr. M. Sipalo  heads Natural Resources.

24 JANUARY 1964

Ten Parliamentary Secretaries are appointed. UNIP youths harass whites in Mufulira by demanding to see their party cards after UNIP fails to win the reserved roll seats. UNIP nets 820,364 votes on the main roll, ANC nets 233,331, while independents net 3,271. On the European reserved roll NPP nets 11,157 against UNIP's 6,177. In Ndola, for the second day, students are turned away from non-fee-paying  schools because  there  are  no  available  places  to place students.

25 JANUARY 1964

Final election results are in and UNIP has 55 seats. ANC gets 10 seats. At a 40,000-strong UNIP rally in Lusaka, new Prime Minister Kaunda warns that he will arrest ANC MPs "if they misbehave". Kaunda gives a European eight days to surrender an alleged weapons cache meant for the ANC. However the claims of weapons by Kaunda are dismissed and called "fairy tales" by ANC leader Nkumbula. Kaunda warns UNIP cadres from demanding to see  party  cards  of  Europeans,  Africans, Asians and Coloureds.

26 JANUARY 1964

Fee-paying schools start to return students who have not paid their school fees. Kapwepwe denies an all out campaign against "imperialist Portugal" and "fascist South Africa". Kaunda inspects the army at work in Stephenson Barracks in Lusaka. Africans fear that by joining the part-time Northern Rhodesia Territorial Forces they may lose  their  jobs or be victimized.

UNIP and ANC “peace corps”, January 26th, 1964

27 JANUARY 1964

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First day in barracks for the Northern Rhodesia Armoured Car Regiment, 27th January, 1964

28 JANUARY 1964

Parents who have not paid their school fees are being given a grace period of a day to pay. The Ndola branch of the Local Government Officer's Association meets to discuss pay and work conditions. A crocodile grabs a man at Victoria Falls while he is fishing. The man, Mr. Benecke, aged 30, survives the attack but needs 57 stitches to his leg. In Southern Rhodesia, police open fire killing two as rioting mobs in Salisbury’s Highfield African Township occur. Liverpool beats Port Vale 2-1. Preston North End beats Bolton Wanderers 2-1.

29 JANUARY 1964

Northern Rhodesia post office is losing £20,000 a month due to uneconomical prices to deliver letters and rates have to go up as a result, reveals the Post Master General Mr. K. E. Miles. Sixteen Parliamentary Secretaries (PS) will serve the 14-member cabinet. The Ministry of Education will have two Parliamentary Secretaries. Simon Kapwepwe threatens to ban newspapers that distort the news or reports that cause trouble for the new government. Mwanangwa, the senior advisor to the Paramount Chief of the Bemba, is found guilty on four counts of arson, malicious damage and accessory. Huddersfield beat Chelsea 2-1.

30 JANUARY 1964

Victoria Falls National Park staff shoot and kill two crocodiles. Kapwepwe visits Rhodes National Gallery to see what can be done to promote African culture. Kaunda wants diplomatic links with South Africa before the independence of Northern Rhodesia and asks Britain for permission and an exchange of envoys between the two African nations. An ANC office in Mufulira and three Watchtower houses in Kalulushi are stoned at night in Mufulira by UNIP cadres. The National  Union of Postal & Telecommunications wants Government to bar foreign workers coming to Northern Rhodesia.

31 JANUARY 1964

Prime Minister Kaunda firing a machine-gun, 31st January, 1964

South Africa turns down diplomatic relations with Kaunda. Kaunda visits the army and watches demonstration by "D" Company of the Northern Rhodesia Regiment and fires a machine gun at Tug Argan rifle range. Health Minister S. Wina is battling a severe shortage of health workers. He says he is short of 87 state registered nurses. J. Chimba warns that the minimum wage for farm workers will be in force soon. Census shows 70 percent or 3.4 million Northern Rhodesian Africans have no education, while less than one percent have passed Standard Six, and 1.2 million African males are seeking work in Northern Rhodesia.