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A QUIRKY FACT FILE ON ZAMBIA

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There are many interesting facts about Zambia, mostly related to waterbodies. For instance, Zambia is home to a natural wonder, the Victoria Falls; has the second deepest lake in the world, Lake Tanganyika; and second highest single drop waterfall in the world, Kalambo Falls. However, there are more quirky and unusual facts about Zambia to discover. Here are a few.

James Brown’s visit to Zambia

In December 1970 the “Godfather of Soul,” James Brown, performed a series of concerts in Lusaka and Ndola. His visit was extensively covered in the local and international media and his concerts were attended by Zambians from all walks of life from students to musicians and politicians such as Guy Scott who went on to become the vice president of Zambia. Before his departure to the United States, he was named the ‘State Head of Music’ by then President Kenneth Kaunda and given land. Brown promised to return to Zambia a year later, but never did.

First human fossil discovered in Africa

Although it is common knowledge that Broken Hill Man, also called Homo Rhodesiensis was discovered in Kabwe in 1921, it is not well known that he was the first human fossil discovered on the continent. The more internationally known ‘Lucy’ which were female bone fossils found in Ethiopia were discovered much later in 1974.  

Tokyo Olympics

Zambia entered the Tokyo 1964 Summer Olympics on October 11 as Northern Rhodesia, a British colony with their own flag. The closing ceremony was on October 24, the day of Zambia’s independence from Britain, which changed its name from Northern Rhodesia to Zambia with a new flag. Zambia is the only country in the world to have entered and exited the Olympics with a different name.

Muhammad Ali

In a December 1970 issue of American magazine Jet, it was reported that a poll was conducted in Lusaka asking women who their ideal man was. Forty-four percent of the respondents voted American heavyweight boxing champion Muhammad Ali as their ideal man.

The End of the World War I

The First World War started in 1914 and ended when an armistice was signed with Germany on November 11 2018 ending the war. At the same time, a German general called General Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck who was in charge of the German forces in East Africa was in Kasama, Northern Zambia trying to evade British forces who were in Mbala, then called Abercorn. The general received a message from the Kasama District commissioner about the armistice and surrendered. The site at which the general is believed to have received the message is called The Chambeshi Monument. Lake Chila in Mbala is where the soldiers dumped their artillery.  

Later this year Zambia Tourism will be holding a centenary celebration in Mbala to mark the end of the Great War under the theme “Unlocking the tourism and investment potential of Northern Province 100 years after the end of the 1st World War.”

World’s largest bat migration

Every year between October and December millions of fruit bats swoop into the forests in Kasanka National Park. This is not only the world’s largest bat migration but also the world’s largest mammal migration. The sight of millions of bats is both fascinating and a little spooky. The sound of millions of bats shrieking and their wings flapping adds to the eerie atmosphere. Superstitious travellers have not missed the fact that Halloween falls within the period of the bat migration.

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