Between my departure in 1961 and my return in 2006, there were many changes, especially in the political scene. This is an attempt to bridge the gap.
African nationalism started slowly in Northern Rhodesia. It did not gather momentum until the 1950s. Until then, indeed, it was on the defensive. It was Northern Rhodesia’s white settlers who were pressing hard for control of the Legislative Council as a step, so they hoped, towards gaining effective white-controlled autonomy, which neighbouring Southern Rhodesia had already achieved in 1923. European numbers were too few, however, to make this feasible for Northern Rhodesia. Instead, in 1953, they were able to persuade the British government to join Northern Rhodesia, Nyasaland and Southern Rhodesia into the Central African Federation. The British government hoped, in its best aspirations, to create thereby a stable multiracial entity. To many white politicians, it was a chance to build a benevolent but white-dominated society, eventually to be autonomous from British control. To Africans in Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland, it represented a roadblock to their hopes of advancement. Their protests were not able to stop it, but the very existence of the Federation enormously increased their political awareness and inspired their political activism.