Down Memory Lane – Kingston Bookshop, Kitwe

What is where Kingston Bookshop was?

Kitwe changes. If you have been gone from Kitwe for over 17 years now, you will find some places have changed their names. Other places have not just changed names and ownership, but also their structural outlook.

Do you remember Kingston? Kingston was one of largest distributor of Books and records in Zambia until around 1996. The store had a big presence in Zambia, with a store in almost every major town and city.

Kitwe City Square-North East view-KitweOnLine

Kitwe City Square-North East view-KitweOnLine

In Kitwe, Kingston was located at Kitwe city square. The store had a well set interior, with an upstairs department where the record section was. I remember buying two records from that section. I bought Third world’s Sense of Purpose album and another album titled Wanted Dread and Alive by Peter Tosh.

The place next to where a take away called Tummy fillers is today, which is now called Mikadeshi, was an alley leading to the public toilets behind today’s After Ten take away. I used that alley on several occasions on my way to the Ministry of Education offices at the BOMA now called the Office of the District Commissioner.

Today, Kingston building is Indo Zambia Bank. Indo Zambia bank has changed the face of the former Kingston shop a great deal. There is no more up stairs section. The roof inside has been fitted with air conditioning and impressive lighting. Indo Bank has put an Automated Teller Machine at the point where the main entrance to Kingston used to be.

Other places have changed over time in Kitwe. There are new buildings in and around town. In the follow up articles, this writer will explore many places that have changed over time. Some people who have been out of Kitwe for a long time may ask such questions as, Is Mumbwa School of Careers still there? Is Piano House still there? Is Tito bar and Restaurant still there?

Others may be surprised to find that a house they once lived in is no longer there, especially those of our readers that lived around town in areas such as PAMO drive, Enos Chomba street, Kanyanta street and Wusakile A Section. There are many developments taking place in and around those areas.

Kitwe changes over time and we will keep you informed.

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  2 comments for “Down Memory Lane – Kingston Bookshop, Kitwe

  1. JS
    March 27, 2014 at 12:29 am

    I still have a precious book that I ordered from England through Kingston’s around 1969. I bought my first flute from their music section upstairs.
    Kitwe Bookshop was a good source of Christian literature.
    These places helped make Kitwe what it was.

    Brian, your account of your experiences in Kitwe makes for interesting reading (

  2. Brian Barratt
    March 16, 2014 at 10:37 pm

    I moved from Kitwe to Australia in 1968. I well remember Kingston’s Bookshop. Their head office and wholesale department was in Ndola. I was employed in 1961 by the late Rev. Merfyn Temple (who was Kenneth Kaunda’s mentor) as Educational Manager of USCL Kitwe Bookshop and was responsible for the warehouse and school supply department which was then in Blantyre Road. My colleague was responsible for the general bookshop which was near to what was then OK Bazaar. It’s all so long ago, but I have happy memories of my years in Kitwe. Unfortunately, though, I have lost touch with the people I used to work with.

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