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|Admin. division||Copperbelt Province|
Ndola is the third largest city in Zambia, with a population of 495,000 (2008 census). It is the industrial, commercial, on the Copperbelt, Zambia's copper-mining region, and capital of Copperbelt Province. It is also the commercial capital city of Zambia and has one of the three international airports, others being Livingstone and Lusaka. It lies just 10 km from the border with DR Congo.
Ndola was founded in 1904, by John Edward "Chiripula" Stephenson just six months after Livingstone, making it the second oldest colonial-era town of Zambia. It was started as a boma and trading post, which laid its foundations as an administrative and trading centre today.
The Rhodesia Railways main line reached the town in 1907, providing passenger services as far south as Bulawayo, with connections to Cape Town. The line was extended into DR Congo and from there eventually linked to the Benguela Railway to the Atlantic port of Lobito Bay (which used to take some of Zambia's copper exports but is currently closed). The Ndola railhead was responsible for the town becoming the country's centre of distribution. Before the road network was built up in the 1930s, a track from Ndola to Kapalala on the Luapula River, and boat transport from there to the Chambeshi River was the principal trade route for the Northern Province, which consequently formed part of Ndola's hinterland.
See Copperbelt Province for the history of the copper-mining industry.
Once, the largest industrial centre of Zambia, boasting, among many high-powered sites, a Land Rover vehicle assembly plant, Dunlop Tire manufacture, Johnson & Johnson Industry, Ndola's economy shrunk significantly between 1980 and 2000. Many closed factories and plants lie unoccupied in the town. A number of former industries such as clothing and vehicle assembly have gone completely. At its height Ndola was Zambia's host of Production sites for such world-renowned blue chip names as Colgate-Palmolive, Unilever, Dunlop, Land Rover, etc. Even though the term 'ghost town' can no longer apply to it, Ndola is yet to regain its economic glory of pre-1980 days.
There are no mines in Ndola itself but the Bwana Mkubwa open-cast mine is only 10 km south-east of the city centre. Until their closure, copper and precious metals used to be brought from elsewhere in the Copperbelt for processing at the Ndola Copper Refinery and Precious Metals Refinery. Copper exports provide 70–80% of Zambia's export earnings, making the city very important to the country's economy.
The Indeni Oil Refinery in Ndola supplies the whole country with refined petroleum. It was repaired in 2001 after being severely damaged by fire in 1999.
Ndola is home to one of the country's national newspapers, the Times of Zambia, as well as its printer, Printpak. These run as one company called TimesPrintpak. Catholic church run printing press, Mission Press, is also located in Ndola. Mission Press operates as a commercial entity.
One mark of Ndola's commercial significance to Zambia is shown by the presence of the only major centre of operation for the country's central bank, the Bank of Zambia, oustide of the capital, Lusaka. Every Major bank in Zambia has at least one branch in Ndola.
The largest insurance group in Zambia, ZSIC (pronounced 'zeesk'), owns many commercial and residential properties in the city.
Ndola has huge limestone reserves which are believed to be among the most homogeneous of their kind in the world. Limestone has therefore become to Ndola's economy what copper is to the rest of the country, providing much of the wealth and employment (Lime is a major component in the production of cement; a cement plant getting its lime from limestone and manufacturing a limestone cement will consume well over 80 kg limestone per 100 kg of cement it manufactures).
Between 1974 and 2009, Ndola supplied over 50% of Zambia's cement from a plant located some 5 km south-east of the heart of the city. This plant was called Chilanga Cement, Ndola Works. The parent company then was Chilanga Cement plc. Chilanga Cement ran two plants in Zambia: one built in 1949 and located at Chilanga (hence the parent company name) and the other built in 1969 and located at Ndola. In 2008, the new holding company, Lafarge Cement Zambia, completed construction of a brand new plant at Chilanga which would produce about double the volume of Ndola Works. By mid-2009, the new plant was still gathering momentum toward full production capacity, leaving Ndola still a significant player in the region's cement industry. Nonetheless, the combination of huge limestone deposits and existing transport infrastructure passing through Ndola has kept the city a very attractive destination for investment into cement and closely allied activities.
A second cement works is under construction in 2008. In June 2009, countrywide advertisements were published to finalise staffing for this new cement plant.
Another important processing plant that is based on limestone in the area is Ndola Lime. It is Zambia's sole producer of Lime. Ndola Lime is located near the two cement manufacturing facilities. It supplies the mining industry as well as farmers who require agricultural lime. Ndola Lime company is wholly owned by ZCCM Investment Holdings, a parastatal holdings company via which Zambia's government maintains its active interest in the country's mining and closely related heavy industry.
The four processing plants (the cement plants, the lime plant and Bwana Mkubwa) have mining rights on land located very close to the traditional Chiefdom of Chiwala. Chief Chiwala is therefore a significant interested party to Ndola industry and economics.
Egyptian company El-Sewedy Electrical joined a consortium of local companies led by ZESCO Ltd (Zambia's electricity supply authority), and established a transformer manufacturing plant and an electrical meter manufacturing plant in Zambia in 2008. Both these facilities are located about 5 km south of Ndola city centre.
Ndola is on the Zambia Railways line with passenger and freight services running between Kitwe and Livingstone via Kabwe and Lusaka. Freight branch lines run to other Copperbelt towns and from Ndola to Lubumbashi in DR Congo via Sakania.
A dual carriageway links Ndola to Kitwe, the Copperbelt's second city, and other tarred highways link to Mufulira and Lusaka.
The oil pipeline from Dar es Salaam terminates at the Indeni Oil Refinery in the town.
These factors make Ndola the distribution centre of the Copperbelt and northern Zambia.
Sport and Recreation
As with many towns on the Copperbelt, Ndola's sports and recreation life was heavily supported by the now disbundled mining conglomerate, Zambia Consolidated Copper Mines Ltd (ZCCM). With the demise of ZCCM, many facilities deteriorated fast. Nevertheless, significant sports places are Ndola Tennis Club (membership), Ndola Swimming Pool (public), the Kanini area (about 3 km from city centre and home to several sports clubs and playing fields like Ndola Wanderers Football Club, a rugby club, and others). About 10 km north-west of the city centre, there is a motor racing track popular with weekend motorbike enthusiasts. The city has several recreational green parks which enjoy a very basic level of maintenance and are open to the public. Of particular significance is the Dag Hammarskjöld Crash Site Memorial located some 10 km north of Ndola city centre. Dag Hammersgjoeld Stadium, which was located on the banks of the Kafubu river south of the city and was razed in the 1980s to make way for an improved one, was never rebuilt on original site. Instead, construction works began in early 2009 on a new location north-west of the city for a replacement football stadium capable of hosting major international matches. It will be an ultra-modern stadium with a seating capacity of 50,000.
Ndola city is home to Zesco Football Club, a top-flight team in Zambia's equivalent of the English Premier League. Zesco FC is fondly called "team ya ziko", in the nyanja language. ('the country's team' or 'national team').
Land, Living & Transit Accommodation
Even before independence Ndola had quite a number of good hotels such as the Savoy Hotel which was built in 1956. The areas where the Savoy Hotel, Workers Compensation Fund Board building and the coach station used to be a town market. On the site where Chapasuka bar is was a plush three stars hotel known as Selborne Hotel. Annesley Hotel, renamed later as Coppersmith Arms Hotel was situation where the Royal Hotel is now.
Other good hotels that were highly rated in Ndola before independence were Ndola Hotel situation in the place where Independence Service Station is now, along Cecil Avenue, renamed Independence Avenue.
Rutland Hotel which was before independence rated the best hotel in Central Africa and had four stars, was later bought by Mrs Queen Thom Bate, who was the first born daughter of the first mayor of Ndola, Councillor Thom, (situated at the very end of Tusha Street and the Elephant and Castle. The Elephant Hotel (now Ambassador Hotel) was owned by Mr Len Catchpole who was at one time mayor of Ndola.
Another contemporary uniqueness about Ndola is that it is the only town outside the capital which has almost run out of publicly controlled land for greenfield construction. What used to be an expansive and beautiful zoo called Ndola Zoo, which later closed out, on the sloping west side of the city has been demacated and the plots sold out for construction of residential properties. North of the city, between the affluent northern surbub of Kansenshi and Kaniki Bible College, there used to be only private farms, a huge timber plantation owned by forestry company, Zaffico and open natural forest. A large section of this area has now been partitioned off and plots of land sold out for construction of residential properties. The area promises to have a more affluent nature to it than neighbouring Kansenshi, Itawa, on the south side and Northrise, on the east side of the city. The new area is called 'Mitengo' ('the trees'). By close of 2008, the local authority was in advanced stages of agreements with property developers to build a mordern mall that will include cinema screens and banking facilities in the Mitengo area.
With the decline of the city's industrial base between the 1980s and c2004, the city's hotel and catering industry followed suit. However, the trend is quickly reversing. There are lots of international-standard guest houses springing up in the residential areas. Thus, a visitor to Ndola is assured of a genuine mix-in with the real locals if they choose to use the guest houses. Internet presence is not the norm for these guest houses though, so advance bookings are only heard of in rare cases. Some of the more nationally known guest houses are Fatmols, Chana and Palm Guest House. Palm Guest House has hosted national leaders and CEOs of multinational companies in the recent past. There are four hotels in the city: Savoy (located in the heart of the city and with very picturesque views of it from the higher floors) together with Mukuba (located some 15 km out) are the leading names. Royal and Ambassador hotels are much smaller ones located within the city. A restaurant and guesthouse combination exists on Broadway called Michelangelo. Michelangelo is frequented by the mid-market to more up-market diners.
Features of Historical and Touristic Interest
- The Slave Tree or Mukuyu Slave Tree around which Arab slave traders held slave markets in the nineteenth century (a mukuyu tree is a kind of fig tree). It has sadly fallen due to "termites".
- Dag Hammarskjöld Memorial ten kilometres along the Ndola/Kitwe road commemorates the site where the then United Nations Secretary-General died in a plane crash on September 18, 1961 during the Congo Crisis.
- Lake Chilengwa 14 km E of Ndola at 12°58' S 28°45' E, was formed by the collapse of rock into an underlying limestone cavern, and has local cultural significance.
- The Copperbelt Museum, with a collections of gems and minerals of the Copperbelt.
- Small reservoirs formed by dams on the Kafubu and Itawa streams flowing through the south-east of the city are used for boating and recreation.
Note: the thermal power station which dominates the skyline near the railway station and which was built to power the mines and refineries ceased operation in the 1960s when the Kariba Dam power station came on line.
Education and Research
Ndola is believed to have the country's third highest student population in post-secondary education. It also has a significant number of research scientists working in the area of tropical disease control.
- Two national top-tier secondary schools, Fatima Girls and Chiwala High, are located a short driving distance from Ndola city centre.
- More recently, a gemstone training school (and regional gemstone exchange) has been set up where the old precious metals refinery stood. The school has yet to establish full boarding capacity for its student body.
- Simba International School, one of the best schools in the country, is located in Ndola. It is considered one if the best schools because it uses the British Cambridge Syllabus. As a result most of its graduates seek higher learning in the UK and the US
- Nsansa School, a co-ed private boarding school, is in Ndola.
- Northrise University, a private university is located in Ndola. Since inception, it has been housed in a downtown office block next to a bank and a hotel, but has now secured a greenfield site and has began construction of its full campus there. Northrise university currently offers courses in Business, Theology and Computing. The highest academic level currently attainable at Northrise is a first degree.
- NORTEC, the Northern Technical College. NORTEC supplies skilled workers nationwide in such specialisations as Automotive and heavy equipment maintenance and repair, mechanical engineering, Computer Aided Design, etc.
- Other notable colleges which are nationally recognised are: Kaniki Bible College, Zamtel College (run by national telecommunications provider, Zamtel), NIEC Business college, ZBIC, and a Biomedical College affiliated to University of Zambia and Ndola Central Hospital.
- The Theological College of Central Africa (TCCA, commonly pronounced 'teeka') was founded in 1982 by Evangelical Fellowship of Zambia to train African Christian leaders in their own culture and locale for service in churches and Christian organizations in southern Africa. The college offers an accredited four-year degree as well as a three-year diploma program. The students and faculty have come from almost twenty different Christian church denominations which include Anglicans, Baptists, Brethren in Christ, Pentecostals, Presbyterians and Wesleyans.
- Umutende School is a private alternative school with a strong focus on social reconstruction.
Northrise University. sometimes regarded as the best university in Zambia, is located in Ndola.
TCCA's graduates serve in ten countries as:
- Church pastors in Zambia and the region,
- Bishops and church administrators,
- Principals and teachers at Bible colleges,
- Christian education directors,
- Bible translators and distributors,
- Christian relief and development workers,
- Leaders in student ministries of various kinds,
- Youth leaders in music ministries,
- Students in graduate programs in Kenya, England, South Africa and the U.S.A.
Some African graduates are now doing reverse mission work as they engage in pastoral and other ministries in the West. For example, the Rev. Elijah Mwitanti (1991 grad.) is serving as Senior Pastor of Our Saviour's Lutheran Church in Holladay, Utah, USA. After serving in the Baptist Association of Zambia, Rev. Mwitanti attended Reformed Theological Seminary (RTS) where he graduated with a masters degree in 1997. He then served the pastorate in the Southern Baptist Church before joining the Lutheran Church in 1999. Rev. Mwitanti credits sound theological instruction at both TCCA and RTS for his ministry success that includes being part of the pastoral team that responded to the 9/11/2001 crisis of New York City. He was serving a Lutheran congregation in Hoboken, New Jersey at the time and was part of the team of pastors that were available to provide counseling and lead in memorial services. Rev. Mwitanti is a native of Luanshya, although he now considers Ndola as his hometown.
The Tropical Diseases Research Centre (TDRC)
The Tropical Diseases Research Centre (TDRC) was initiated by the World Health Organization (WHO) in collaboration with the Zambian Government. This was in response to a resolution of the World Health Assembly (Resolution No. WHO 27.52) of 1974 which called for the intensification of research in tropical diseases and stipulated that, as far as possible, the work should be done in developing countries where these diseases are endemic.
The Zambian Government generously offered space at Ndola Central Hospital to accommodate the Centre. In January 1981, the TDRC became a National Institution for research, training, and service in diseases of public health importance in Zambia. To this effect, the TDRC must be seen first and foremost as a national resource dedicated to priority health problems in Zambia and as a facility for training national and regional health service personnel. It is a statutory body under the Ministry of Health with the mandate to conduct Epidemiological, Clinical and Biomedical Sciences research.
Scientific Departments of the TDRC
Department of Public Health
The Public Health Department has personnel qualified in Epidemiology, Social Science, Demography, Public Health, Medical Informatics and the Bio-statistics. The department engages in both field and clinical research with multi- disciplinary approach, drawing on the techniques and perspectives of epidemiology, health systems research, clinical medicine, medical sociology, medical anthropology, nutrition and health economics.
Department of Clinical Sciences
The Clinical Sciences Department has well trained Physicians and Nursing Staff. The department is involved in clinical trials of new chemotherapeutic agents against malaria, schistosomiasis, HIV/AIDS and other diseases of public health significance to Zambia and the region.
Department of Biomedical Sciences
This Department has 7 units, namely: Parasitology, Immunology, Vector Biology, Haematology, Microbiology, Nutrition and Clinical Chemistry. The department gives support to the other departments and has started conducting independent basic science research to understand further the biology of disease causing organisms. The department provides support to and is a reference Centre for the National AIDS/STI/TB, Malaria Control and Prevention Programmes.
It also evaluates all new diagnostic tools for tropical diseases. It also provides laboratory support for patients on ARV.s through CD4, HIV viral load, chemistry and haematological parameters measurement. The Microbiology unit has set up an ultra modern TB reference culture laboratory to carter for the Northern region of Zambia.
The choice of eating places in Ndola is limited. The usual social eateries are Michelangelo, on Broadway, Quicksave (European style 'restaurant in a supermarket') at the bottom of Broadway, Starscape, near city police headquarters and the guesthouses and hotels. There is a city centre cinema hall called Plaza 5 but some might find it to be rather tacky. Weekend life is centered around the guesthouses, sports clubs and the pubs. These also house large plasma screens where many locals like to follow the English Premier League.
The night clubs are located within the heart of the city. With regard to personal security, Ndola is a very safe and benign city.Chez Ntemba International Dancing nite club, Galivaz Nite club, circles nite club, are all in Ndola.
Zambia's largest and ultra-modern soccer stadium is currently under construction in Ndola. Ndola continues to see a rise in housing projects as many people are building houses and developing new neighborhoods.
The majority who are religiously active in Ndola are Christians and mainstream Catholics. The United Church of Zambia has a cathedral called St Andrews standing just next to the government and legal compound in the heart of the city. The Catholic Church also has a cathedral and full compound, including a guest house, located across from Michaelangelo,a famous Italian restaurant, on Broadway. Among the independents and Pentecostals, the choice is large and their visibility is difficult to ignore. On the main road leading to Ndola Swimming Bath, there is an Anglican cathedral and a line of other church houses. On a beautiful small hill in this area stands the main hall, offices and kindergarten & primary school belonging to Bread of Life Church, Ndola.
Other religions and ritualistic practices are present in Ndola, but are either comparatively small in number or are constitutionally secretive.
"City of drivers, banks and heaps of sausages"
- In 1993, a driver working for one of the large banks could not believe his luck when he somehow found himself in sole control of a van loaded with millions in hard currency. The amount was said to be around K300m. With that he could do just about anything, including bribe police and disappear from the country forever. He decided to disappear. No sooner had the authorities started serious FBI-style investigations than the fugitive flamboyantly surfaced in his local township. When the heavily armed squard arrived, they found the man in merry spirits and with truckloads of sausages in his house!! Apparently. Nonetheless, this man's career as a top-flight bank robber was over! His name was Ringo Phiri. In Zambia, the term 'Ringo Phiri' is fondly used to refer to a form of criminality that is so uneducatedly unsophisticated that it makes you laugh instead of get angry.