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SOME REFLECTIONS ON THE 70th ANNIVERSARY OF THE FOUNDING OF NORTHERN RHODESIA
by Gervas Clay
Some years ago I read in a paper an article which has remained in my mind ever since. It told the story of a journalist who was living and working in France. As he moved about his daily duties, he kept on hearing a name mentioned in connection with a time when everything was wonderful and all the people had lived a perfect life. At first he wondered if this was during the life of some early king such as Charlemagne, but the facts did not seem to fit in with any particular person. He wondered if the references were to some amalgamation of personalities from the past, but this did not also fit in. After a year or so he decided that he really must make an effort and find out who this person was who was remembered with such gratitude. Eventually he discovered that it was another name for the last English Administrator in Aquitaine, before that area of France was re-conquered and merged into the France of today.
When I first read this story, I could not help wondering if sometime in the future the same thing might happen in the then Northern Rhodesia, and whether the English would be remembered with gratitude for the work we have done when we were serving there.
I dream of a day far in the future when a visitor from these islands will go to the rural parts of that country and be told of someone remembered by his African name in whose time there was peace and plenty in the land. He will be told of officials remembered for their honesty, their integrity, and their courage, who lived far from their own kind, and worked for the advancement and progress of the Africans.
[Footnote: This was printed in the Service Sheet for the Service of Thansgiving for the life of Gervas, Just before the Service we received from the current Director of the Museum, an African, a message that reads in part – "For his contribution to the preservation of Zambia's cultural heritage he will always be remembered." Gervas would have been so pleased.]