Zambia, Then and Now

Zambia, Then and Now

Colonial Rulers and Their African Successors

Book - 2009
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Written by a member of the last generation of British Colonial Service Officers in Africa, the book seeks to place both colonial rulers and their African successors in the context of history and the circumstances of their time, viewing their achievements and failures critically but not unsympathetically and comparing colonial society with that of the independent African country that Northern Rhodesia has become. Colonialism is viewed at the day to day level of the administration of a rural district by four officers and a handful of African district messengers, who worked together without even a telephone to assist them. With a wealth of detail that can only come from experience, Grant#65533;s work makes an important contribution to the understanding of a time, place, period and practices that are only now being considered in a balanced way.

Publisher: Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon ; New York, NY : Routledge, 2009.
ISBN: 9780710313430
Branch Call Number: 968.9403 G763
Characteristics: 327 p. : ill., maps.


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May 26, 2012

The first half of the book was pretty cool, obviously well edited over time as the author remembered the details over time. It contained lots of interesting stories about life in Africa.

It's really bizarre to me that the British (in this case the author it Scottish) would go to a university and ask for volunteers for new graduates to go live in Africa. Why would the local African people accept inexperienced young white people (with no training in law) to act as their court system? The author was sort of like a judge when he got to the place - he would try to determine who was telling the truth and then sentence the wrongdoers to prison or lashings or make them pay a fine. This is so weird to me. Not only that, but he had servants. This British colonial mumbo jumbo blows my mind.

The second half of the book is totally different from the first. Over 40 years later, the author (and his new 2nd wife, an amateur painter) returned to Zambia. This part of the book is hastily thrown together - just a copy of journal entries including what they ate for every meal and what the wife was up to, and how much things cost. I think if Mr. Grant had more time he would have filtered these irrelevant details out to make it match the first half of the book.

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