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Zambia before and after Independence: Book Talk

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Nigel Watt and Brian Vale worked in Northern Rhondesia just before and after Independence in 1964, when the country became Zambia. Drawing on the work of Nigel's autobiography, 'The First Communist in Fort Jameson', Nigel and Brian will reflect on their experience at this moment when 'the wind of change' (in Harold MacMillans's words) was blowing away the colonial system and a new Africa was having an uneasy birth.

Northern Rhodesia was also part of the short-lived Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland which had been conceived as a “dominion” where the white settlers had political power (and these settlers would call anyone who supported African rights a “communist”!) 

About the speakers

Nigel Watt was an “education officer” in Northern Rhodesia and head of a large, new secondary boarding school after Independence. He has continued to be involved with Africa, working in the international voluntary service movement; as Director of the Africa Centre in Covent Garden; as Christian Aid Field Officer in Burundi; and on the Congo. He lives in East Dulwich and is editor for a small publisher, Books of Africa.

Brian Vale also worked in education but in the administration of two rural districts which involved him in organisation of the election of 1962 which led to African majority rule. On the breakup of the Federation he was posted to London as Assistant Commissioner for Northern Rhodesia and, after Independence in 1964, stayed on in the new Zambia High Commission.  After 2 years, he moved to the British Council and worked in the Middle East and South America before becoming Assistant Director General.

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