Back in the late 1960s and early 1970s the Lusaka Nutrition Group (a forerunner of Makeni Ecumenical Centre) held a number of fund-raising walks in Lusaka. We walked ‘against malnutrition’ on a route 10 kilometres around the city, starting and ending at the Civic Centre. Thousands of people turned out to support this effort, including president Kenneth Kaunda.
Many walkers were sponsored per kilometre they completed, receiving a stamp every kilometre at check points. Many service organisations such as Rotary took part, as well as schools and private walkers. On one occasion (I must have been about 6 years old) I was separated from the main throng (president and father somewhere near the front, I imagine) and escorted by a kindly Scottish man, Mr Bell I think, to arrive just about last at the Civic Centre, with the light fading already. If I’m not imagining things, my father spotted me coming in while speaking from a balcony, and there was a ripple of applause.
Recently I have been making efforts to archive materials from early days of the centre and Mrs Mbiya, our librarian, found some damaged photos from this time. I hope to find better ones at some point; there are many boxes and shelves of archival material waiting to be sorted, a job that will take months and requires someone at the centre.
I have, however, managed to scan a lot of photos already, and have digitally restored a few (a slow job). Some are worth seeing even if damaged. I have included a few to show you what I mean. You may even be able to spot yourself in the crowd photo!
I wonder whether the same spirit would still exist today.