When we walked

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.

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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.

About Makeni Webmaster

I spent most of my youth in Makeni, growing up at the centre as it emerged from the bush, one building at a time. I now work in the UK as a lecturer in computer science.
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