"Luanshya - what a beautiful town it was!" Luanshya by Bwana_Brown

Luanshya Travel Guide: 26 reviews and 51 photos

Luanshya, what can I say about this little mining town in the middle of nowhere in Zambia, Africa!? At 23 years old, I was invincible and had just graduated from university and suddenly here I was in fabled Africa - how could it possibly get any better?

I had the time of my life while living there, learning about and exploring this continent that I had read so much about but had thought that I would only ever experience through movies or books. Not only that, I became part of a championship softball team and the experience of living on another continent taught me to always pay attention to the people, animals, plants and everything around you. I had the most dangerous experience of my life during a break-in there (I think the guys were high on drugs) but also the greatest happiness, as I met and married my wife Susan - we are now coming up on 33 years of togetherness!

Previously, in New Brunswick, Canada, I had completed my 12 years of schooling followed by another 5 years of university to obtain my degree in Electrical Engineering. I had done what had to be done to get my 'piece of paper' and now I intended to see what 'real' life was all about! I was not interested in a Masters degree or the usual job offers that were available - my heart was set on Africa! Not having any actual job experience, I applied to the Canadian University Service Overseas volunteer agency, simply specifying that the job must be in 'Africa'. A couple of weeks later they told me I would be teaching electrical technology subjects at the Zambia Institute of Technology in Luanshya, Zambia - leaving in about 3 months time! That was exciting news!

This is just a flashback to what Luanshya was like way back then in the early 1970s - but we are hoping to return sometime soon!

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:The best time of my life
  • Cons:Things have not gotten better for Zambians
  • In a nutshell:It was a bygone era
  • Last visit to Luanshya: Apr 1975
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (25)

Comments (29)

  • Jan 10, 2013 at 4:18 AM

    Remember it like it was yesterday. My Dad emigrated from London in May 1947 and Mum and 3 kids flew Sabena DC3's from Northolt to Brussels, Marseilles, Tangier, Kano, Brazzaville, Elizabethville, Luanshya in 5 days - last leg in a Piper Cherokee V tail.
    First home was 2 joined rondavels at 73 Zenobia Ave; later moved to 27 Zenobia; 53 Eucalyptus and last place was 21 Karina Ave on the Eastern side facing the bush. Damned hyenas and jackals were a problem at night.

    Went to local school until 1951 whe packed onto a train at 11rs and sent to boarding school Kingswood College, Grahamstown. Even in those days it was hard to get into a good school in Rhodesia or northern parts of South Africa. Had a girl friend went to school in Swaziland from the Copperbelt.

    Crossed Victoria Falls 39 times by train or taxi and once we walked 3/4 across in the dry season. Beer and cigarettes at Victoria Falls hotel after a swim in the pool, waiting for the train to arrive from Livingstone.

    Mangos of every type growing along the roads, also pawpaws and guavas. The pool and the saturday flicks at the club across the road were mandatory for us kids. Also won the Makoma Sailing CUp with Dad three times in a row. Those were the halcyon days never to be repeated.

    Pity maps don't show street names.
    David Phillips

  • Oct 12, 2010 at 5:01 AM

    This brings back memories of living in Luanshya in 1980-1981. We lived in Mimosa Ave right opposite the Horticultural Club. I won prizes for my garden peas. One of my children now wants to find the house on Google Maps, but I can't find any street names.

  • richiecdisc's Profile Photo
    Oct 6, 2009 at 4:48 PM

    What an amazing adventure. Love the nightlife tip and what a find in James, especially the local foods and maggot saving laundry detail! It's good to see your "real life" wasn't ruined. In fact, it seems this was the beginning of the whole thing.

  • Aug 16, 2009 at 8:04 AM

    Nice to see for a change how was life in Africa in the old days :) I wonder how much it have been developed since? I would have like to visit this country one day.

  • Aug 3, 2009 at 2:16 PM

    Nice find! I worked here 76-81 in Power Plant then SE28# , then SE Baluba. Many memories, all good. I remember the jacaranda tree by Std Bank. Had a lovely place on 'E' Avenue. Thanks so much for this. John Gray

  • Nemorino's Profile Photo
    Jul 6, 2009 at 5:37 AM

    Glenn, these are fascinating & moving accounts of your life in Zambia in the 1970s! Your account of meeting & marrying Sue right there in Luanshya reminds me of another VT member, tiabunna (George) who got engaged in Oodnadatta in the Australian outback.

  • Kuznetsov_Sergey's Profile Photo
    Nov 14, 2008 at 9:39 AM

    Luanshya became an important place for your family, I guess. Loved your writing of Dag Hammarskjöld Memorial which refreshed my memory about that far event in 1961. Glad to know that German Shepherd Dynus helped you in fight with robbers!

  • robertgaz's Profile Photo
    Nov 13, 2008 at 2:59 PM

    The jacaranda tree has a very colourful presence in Bunbury too!

  • globetrott's Profile Photo
    Mar 15, 2008 at 11:06 PM

    nice to see how it all started 32 years ago ! Africa was certainly a lot more peaceful and a better place for expats than nowadays !

  • Dec 3, 2007 at 2:02 AM

    What a descriptive narration!! Most clubs been rented out to private individuals. Makoma Dam is no longer the way u left it. All structures u ve pointed out need serious 'surgical attention', if it is to be the way it was.


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