The History of Kitwe

A work in progress… Next time you walk down the street, wherever you are,  take a good look around you. You are watching history from a privileged front seat. The sights, sounds and smells around you are the ingredients of a historic time capsule. Someone down the line will look back one day, and wonder what it was like to walk where you are walking today. Today is history in the making. YOU are a history maker. History will be incomplete as long as it does not chronicle YOUR experiences today. That's how important each human being is.

Boy at Lake Bangweulu - Samfya - Zambia

Brian Barratt took this photo in the 1960s on the shores of Lake Bangweulu. He has recorded his thoughts on his nice website (

"While I was gazing out over the water, and watching the sun slowly rise, a little boy came and sat nearby. He, too, just gazed into the distance. I didn't speak to him, because I thought he might be saying his morning prayers……"

This could also be the only photo in existence, of someone's grand father! Think about that for a moment. Compiling historical records is an enormous challenge and responsibility. It's a massive jigsaw puzzle and every piece counts. It is also enormously satisfying. Brian's website is a gem and provides nuggets like this aerial photo of Kitwe's Independence Avenue running North from its junction with Oxford street (bottom).

Independence Avenue -Kitwe - Zambia

Between OK Bazaar and Edinburgh Hotel on the left, you can see the Astra Cinema building from which roof this photo (below) was taken:

Matuka Avenue - Kitwe - Zambia

Looking East along Matuka Avenue towards the City (Kaunda) Square


Like the modular robot that re-assembles itself when kicked apart, the internet is furnishing us with a tool that allows pieces of the historic jigsaw puzzle to creep towards each other to recreate a beautiful work of art.

To read about The Early History Of Kitwe, click here

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  7 comments for “The History of Kitwe

  1. Michele Burstein nee Hearns
    March 3, 2017 at 11:29 am

    I would so love to know where I can get some photos of Kitwe from the 50 and early 60s. I was born in the Nkana Mine Hospital – Dad was a mine captain at the Chingola mine – and emigrated to New Zealand when I was 12 with my parents. I have no photos of my birthplace but really vivid memories of Mindoro Dam, of the town centre, the golf club, my primary schools and Kitwe Girls High where I had just started before we left Kitwe. If you could help at all I would be so grateful.

    • JS
      March 4, 2017 at 5:29 am

      Hi Michele, One of the best places I’ve found is the Great North Road website:
      It was last updated in 2015 but it is a treasure trove of photos and shared memories.
      If you do have any photos you would like to share here, it will be really great to have them.

  2. March 1, 2017 at 6:57 am

    Thank you for this. I was born in the Nkana Mine Hospital (Dad was a mine captain at the copper mine) and have no pictures of the place where I was born and spent the first 12 years of my life.

  3. July 17, 2011 at 2:50 am

    I was delighted to see you have used one of my photos, taken in the 1960s, and given full acknowledgement and a nice accompanying comment. I lived in Kitwe from 1961 to 1968 and have many fond memories. If you wish to use any more of my material from the NRZAM website where you found my photo, I would be pleased, as long as you acknowledge the source.

    In June 1968, the Minister of Education made a speech at the opening of a new State Publishing warehouse complex. Much to my surprise, he thanked ‘Mr Brian Barratt…whose services to this country are very much appreciated by my officials and myself.’

    • Editor
      July 30, 2011 at 1:47 am

      We have you to thank for the wonderful photos of Kitwe. We like them so much we made them into a slide show.
      We value your contribution.

  4. Musonda Lemba
    March 11, 2011 at 7:38 pm

    This is certainly a great site for Kitwe expatriates like me who are now resident in Lusaka! Keep it up!

    • Editor
      March 12, 2011 at 11:41 pm


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