There had been signs of resistance to white rule from the 1930s, notably growing trade union activism in the copper belt. The campaign for an end to the Central African Federation (and later for independence) included strikes, boycotts of racist shops and of beer halls imposing a colour bar, sit-ins and political noncooperation, which took place periodically from 1953 until independence. Women were prominent in the boycott campaigns. The use of nonviolent methods was influenced by Kenneth Kaunda, who emerged as the main leader of the independence struggle. Kaunda admired Gandhi and developed his own version of ‘positive action’, although many of those taking part in the struggle did not accept nonviolence in principle and dealt harshly with those who did not join the resistance. There was also extensive sabotage of government property during the 1961 civil disobedience campaign.
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B. 1.b. Zambia (Northern Rhodesia)
The mass displacement caused by the Kariba Dam was a central issue for the pro-independence movement, despite the problems of organising resistance in the affected areas. Pioneer study of what is now called ‘development-induced displacement’.
Chapter 3, ‘Colonialism and the roots of African nationalism’ covers early copperbelt strikes; chapter 4 ‘Federation – genesis and exodus’, includes extensive information on developing resistance to the colour bar, to the building of the Kariba dam and eviction of local farmers, and to the Federation itself. Chapter 5 ‘The creation of Zambia’ examines final stages of resistance and political developments. His earlier book, Zambia, Pall Mall Press, 1965, pp. 375, also covered the evolving struggle in chapters 5-7.
(Originally published as March to Political Freedom, 1981).
Personal account by an activist prominent in the independence struggle of political events from the 1940s to 1963.
Nkumbula was the first major exponent from the 1940s of African resistance to white dominance and federation, and led the Northern Rhodesian African National Congress. But in the late 1950s he moved towards gradual reform policies and stood for a seat in the 1959 elections, whilst Kapepwe and Kaunda opted for further resistance and founded their own separate party.