official_name = PAGENAME
dot_x = |dot_y =
pushpin_map_caption =Location in Zambia
subdivision_type = Country
subdivision_type1 = Admin. division
subdivision_name1 = Central Province
population_total = 210,000
latd=14 |latm=26 |lats= |latNS=S
longd=28 |longm=27 |longs= |longEW=E
Kabwe is the capital of the
Zambian Central Province with a population estimated at 210,000. Formerly named Broken Hill, it was founded when the Broken Hill leadand zincdeposits were discovered in 1902. Kabwe also has a claim to being the birthplace of Zambian politics. [http://www.times.co.zm/news/viewnews.cgi?category=8&id=1119640642 The Times of Zambiaonline] , website accessed 8 March 2007: "Kabwe: the nucleus of national politics" by Kelvin Kachingwe.]
Broken Hill Mine and its legacy of pollution
The name "Kabwe" or "Kabwe-Ka Mukuba" means 'ore' or 'smelting' but the European/Australian prospectors named it after a similar mine in
Broken Hill, New South Wales, Australia. The mine became the largest in the country until overtaken in the early 1930s by larger copper mining complexes on the Copperbelt. Apart from lead and zinc it also produced silver, manganeseand heavy metals such as cadmium, vanadium, and titaniumin smaller quantities. [ Bruce Kapferer: "Strategy and Transaction in an African Factory", Manchester: Manchester University Press 1972]
In 1921 a human fossil (a skull) called Broken Hill Man or
Rhodesian Man(classified as " Homo rhodesiensisor Homo heidelbergensis") was found in the mine.
The mine, which occupies a 2.5 km² site just 1 km south-west of the town centre, is now closed but metals are still extracted from old tailings. A study by the
Blacksmith Institutefound Kabwe to be one of the ten worst polluted places in the world due mostly to heavy metal (mostly zinc and lead) tailings making their way into the local water supply. [ [http://www.blacksmithinstitute.org/ten.php The Blacksmith Institute website] accessed 1 March 2007.]
Headquarters of Zambia Railways
The first railway in the country, operated by
Rhodesian Railways(when the territory was administered as North-Western Rhodesiaand North-Eastern Rhodesia) reached the Broken Hill mine as early as 1906, and the town became the northern base for the railway, which was the second biggest employer after the miningindustry. A locomotive maintenance facility was constructed there. In 1909 the railway reached Ndolain what was to become the Copperbeltin the late 1920s.
The railway workers' unions played a large role in politics of the country. In racially-segregated colonial times before Africans had the vote, the town was the seat of
Roy Welensky, leader of the powerful European Railway Workers Union (ERWU), who became Prime Ministerof the ill-fated Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland, which was opposed by the Northern Rhodesia Railway Trade Union (the black Africans' union) led by Dixon Konkolaand also based in Kabwe. Today the town is the headquarters of Zambia Railwaysbut employment levels on the railway have been heavily cut back.
Kabwe's role in Zambia's independence
Reflecting Kabwe's central location and railway union base, it was chosen as the site for a rally held on October 26, 1958 at Mulungushi Rock north of the city by the Kaunda-Kapwepwe breakaway group from the
Zambian African National Congress. Later, they founded the political party UNIPwhich led the successful independence movement and continued to hold conferences at Mulungushi Rock, which became known as the 'birthplace of independence' in Zambia.
The name was changed to Kabwe in
1966, shortly after independence. As well as being on the main Lusaka- Copperbeltrailway line it lies on the Great North Road. To the east of the city are the hydro-electric power stations of the Mulungushi Dam, Mita Hills Damand Lunsemfwa Falls, built to power the mine and town.
Industries and agriculture
Closure of the mine led to economic decline for Kabwe. [http://www.zamnet.zm/newsys/news/viewnews.cgi?category=4&id=1100549219 Zamnet Online News:] "Kabwe: From discovery to recovery" (Daily Mail),website accessed 7 March 2007.] It has a number of
manufacturingindustries including the Zambia-China Mulungushi Textilesplant established with Chinese investment in the 1980s, but after suffering large losses this plant has closed (temporarily according to management) at the beginning of 2007.
Other industries include pharmaceuticals, milling and cotton ginning, and leather tanning.
Commercial farming areas surround the city about 10 km from the centre, and the road and rail links provide ready access to markets of the Copperbelt and Lusaka.
To the east and west of Kabwe are areas with good but so-far undeveloped tourist potential, advantaged by Kabwe's central location and proximity to Lusaka and its international airport:Camerapix: "Spectrum Guide to Zambia." Camerapix International Publishing, Nairobi, 1996.] , [http://earth.google.com Google Earth] accessed 2007.]
Lukanga Swamp, 50 km west, with a wildlife area (currently a Game Management Area) on the other side of the Kafue River, 120 km from Kabwe — but road access is very poor.
Mulungushi River& Lunsemfwa Rivervalleys, including Lunsemfwa Wonder Gorge: these two rivers flow into the western end of the Luangwa Rift Valley just over 50 km south-east of Kabwe, and just south of the Mulungushi Dam and lake which offers good boating and game fishing activities. The valleys are very scenic wilderness with good wildlife potential. Again, there is no proper road access to the area.
Chifunkunya Hills— 150 km east, a wilderness area of rugged granite mountains rising 1000 m above the Luangwa Valley, just to the north-west of the confluence of the Lunsemfwa and Lukusashi Rivers, with no road access.
Institutions and attractions
Mulungushi Rock of Authority, north of the city
Kabwe Warriorsfootball club, one of the top three teams in the country
*Bwacha House National Monument: Number E1376 Musuku Road, Bwacha Township, where on 8th March, 1958 Kenneth Kaunda was elected President of the
Zambian African National Congress
*Big Tree National Monument: a fig tree with a 50 m wide canopy on the east side of Broadway, which served as a meeting place on many occasions during the early years of the town's history
Broken Hill Manmemorial at Kabwe municipal offices
* Zambia National Service Training School
* Chindwin Barracks and Kohima Barracks (
Zambian Defence Force)
* Kwame Nkrumah Teachers Training College
* Mukobeko Trades Training Institute
* National Fire Fighting Services Training School
*Mulungushi Boat Club,
*Best selling novelist
Wilbur Smithwas born in Broken Hill on January 9,1933.
*The remains of an extinct hominid referred to as
Rhodesian manor Kabwe craniumwere found in a cave located in Kabwe by miners in 1921.
* Terracarta/International Travel Maps, Vancouver Canada: "Zambia, 2nd edition", 2000.
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