By Shalala Oliver Sepiso

Places of Note and interesting bits:

Some places we know differently now had other names. Lusaka’s Kamwala Secondary School used to be Prince Philip. David Kaunda Secondary Technical School was Hodson Technical College, Kabulonga Boys and Kabulonga Girls were Jean Rene and Gilbert Rene respectively. Chawama Compund used to be called Roberts, after a local European settler. An Italian called Marapodi used to run a brick kiln opposite the Independence Stadium. That is how that compound was named after him. Mandebvu is connected to Zimbabwean immigrants who lived there and kept beards (mandebvu) due to their religious practices. The spelling shows the Zimbabwe connections.

Burma Rd used to be called Market Rd and it was renamed in honour of local soldiers who fought on behalf of the british colonialists in Burma (now Myanmar). George Compound was a gift from George Hadjipetrou, an Englishman who actually died in 1995 aged 84 while his wife Yolanda died in August 2010 at the age of 93. Their daughter, Marianthy used to (or still does) run Andrew’s Motel.

So there was a large farm which made up what is now southern Lusaka, owned by a farmer John Laing, hence the compound by the same name. He lived there with his wife and family. He had general workers who lived on different parts of the farm, but his domestic workers lived in what is now known as “Kuku” compound or “Kwa Kuku”. (Not sure if the cook used to come from there). Along came a young man, John Howard, who married Mr Laing’s daughter. John Laing gave John Howard a part of his farm to manage, now known by his name as well. When Mr Laing died, in typical African tradition, his wife moved out of the house to live at a new site. The old home stead is now known as “Chibolya” compound, meaning abandoned place in Nyanja (we call such a place “Matongo” in Tonga). The new place where Mrs Laing moved to became known as “Kwa Mrs” or “Misisi” compound as we now know it. Before her death, the Mrs decided to give her faithful workers some of the land, this area is now known as “Chawama”, to acknowledge the good deed done.

Lusaka comes from the Soli headman Lusaaka the same way Kabulonga comes from Kabulongo village, a Soli village named after the reddish soil in the area. It was located around the place where Kabulonga Round About is today.

Meanwhile, Kabwata Clinic is built on the location of the original Katungu Bar.

Then there is the history which is now gone:

The first Disco in Lusaka was called Dust Bin and was at The Turf Club in Lusaka’s show grounds.The DJ was a Zimbabwean called Joe Pike.

PVC Disco was owned by a Lusaka businessman who also owned the first double decker buses in Lusaka if not Zambia, James Banda (no possible relation to Rupiah Banda?) Bob Samakai, Steven Ngoma and Eddie Manda were some of the crew members of the then popular mobile disco.

Malawian Eddie Manda well known as the ‘ Master Jam’ became the house DJ at Studio 22 owned by the Hickey Brothers Tony and Errol in Findeco House. Lusaka’s Studio 22 was somehow divided. From the lifts you walk in straight on the dance floor face to face with the DJ’s deck. On the right (Europe) you see a different class of revellers. Turning to the left (Africa) you notice a different crowd. It was never a racist division but disco lovers (Africa side) refered to it that way. One was free to go anywhere one wanted. Most black Zambians felt more comfortable on the Africa side. When the 6pm curfew was imposed because of the rebel soldiers were sneaking into Zambia hunting for Zimbabwean freedom fighters, entrance to most disco houses was 6pm. At Lusaka’s Studio 22 and the Q-Stiques in Emmasdale revellers used to go in for the whole night (6 to 6). Studio 22 used to serve coffee or tea free on request. You could doze off on a chair without interference from the bouncers.

Mr Rooster in ZIMCO building ground floor owned by the Hickey brothers became a dealers meeting joint. Next to Mr Rooster was Mwaiseni stores which used to be known as Checkers Retail Store and was the only store in Lusaka with escalators.
At the corner of Katondo street and Freedom way was The Lagondola bar and night spot owned by former Bank of Zambia boss Mr Jere became a popular spot because of the teentime shows by The Cross Bones. (The spot now has an unfinished building). Mr Jere also owned another night spot in Makeni called Kilimanjaro Pleasure Resort. Mike Nyoni, Chris Chali and other Lusaka bands were regular performers at both night spots.

Directly across Freedom way from Lagondola was Stanley Bar. Just outside Stanley bar was the main station for transport to Kanyama compound.

Top floor of the Society House was Hanif Adams’ “Room at the Top night club” ( High Lites) which mysteriously caught on fire one early morning. After High Lites Night Club was burnt down, Hanif Adams, his staff and new Disco gear moved temporarily to the American Dome by the edge of the Lusaka Show grounds.

Indians in Lusaka came from Fort Jameson. Indian settlers in Fort Jameson were predominantly Muslim. They originated from
Gujarat and entered Chipata through East Africa at the behest of the BSAC.

Wagon Wheels was a popular bar and restaurant situated by the Lusaka International Airport turn-off later to be known as Patelo’s Chicken (I think).

Lusaka always had lots of bars and discos and night spots. Some these were:
The Il Bambino in Lusaka Hotel, Mens only Q inn and the Dog Box, Grand Bar, Corner Bar, The Fountain, Ansac Arms, Red Lion, Forum, Africa Bar, City Centre Restaurant, Kwacha Hotel Bar, Mont Matre Bar, Rockwood night Club in Lusaka west (which was owned by the Chelemu Brothers after they bought the farm house from the Vlahakis family), Rocky Gardens (which was popular for lovers), Ba George at Andrews Motel, Pick & Whistle and The Q Sticks. In Kamwala was Hoola Hoop Bar. Lusaka Hotel had a men’s only bar called The Dog Box. Entrance was through Cairo Road. Au Mont Blanc was a cafe next to the Lusaka Post Office. Of course we need to add the likes of Mumana, New Londe, Nkuzyeni, Masiye, etc. There was Woodpecker Inn (present location of Woodlands Mall), Fridays Corner, City club and many others. We cant talk of discos without mentioning Mooncity and Valentino’s. There was Lotus Inn Bar next to lottie House owned by the Late Fundafunda who also had ama tarven kwa George and Green Villa Nite Club in Lusaka West which featured Shalawambe before their eventual retirement placein the 90s…To name all the bars will be hard. Matero alone you have Africa 2000, Nsimbi Yanga, Kariba Bar etc Geoge Compund has the likes of Namwela Zanga (chibuku bar once owned by my best friend) etc. From 70s to date is long time but you can add yours me I end here.

Then there is the interesting history:

Carlton Cafe was in the Central Arcade and had a private ‘Whites only’ bar called the ‘Grill Room’. It became the Forum (Boxers Mess) when the late Lusaka lawyer Mr Folotiya took over the premises. Nearby was Carlton Bar which was popular with South Africans. In the alley behind the bar was a brothel.

Talking of brothels, in the 70’s/80;s Lusaka sex workers used to parade along The Great East Road right opposite the Lusaka show grounds before moving on to Addis Ababa. Stanley bar was popular with Zairean sex workers( Bandumba) in the evening till late. The sex workers used to line up outside for clients to take their pick.

Zambia’s late Zam-Rock icon Paul Ngozi owned a take away food shop in Kabwata called “Chibe Pakapaka” He lived in Chinika compound before moving to Libala stage 2 till his death. He owned a sleek blue Skyline car. His band was called the Scorpions and they jammed in Makeni at a bar called the Pelican.

Now for a fable or urban legend:
The ghost of Rosemary, a Lusaka waitress who was said to have died misteriously appeared in three different bars she had worked in. First appearance was at Tambalala bar owned by a Mr Kasanda along Kabwe road not far from Chingwere cemetery where she was supposed to have been buried. Second appearance was at the Independence bar in Emmarsdale owned by The Findlays. Third appearance was at Evening Bar in Matero owned by Saigar Daka where she was said to have kissed a man who lost all his teeth and lived to tell the story.

Add what you know of Lusaka and its history.


  1. Interesting read indeed. The film industry was a thriving entertainment option for many. We had a number of movie theatres namely; Palace in the Kamwala Shopping area. Others were 20th Century, Plazas 1 to 5 in the heart of the city, and not forgetting Lido Drive-in the Makeni area. Not to be outdone, the Zambia Information Services (now part of ZANIS), regularly screened outdoor shows in residentiaI areas of Lusaka and beyond including in rural and most remote parts of the country. With evolving technology spurning endless viewer options, all these studios, as we called them, have had to close down and the premises converted into shops. Perhaps someone should write about sport and how it was taken very seriously at every level in our schools.


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