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The Northern Rhodesia Journal

Introduction & Foreword

Here are the Editorial and Introduction to the very first issue,  that explain the purpose of the Northern Rhodesia Journal  (NRJ) :-


THE Northern Rhodesia Journal has been launched with a definite purpose. But the ideal to which we aspire is difficult to outline in a few words. This is not because the journal is unique or original. Far from that because it is the examples set in neighbouring territories that have been a spur to our own effort. The countries to the north of us, especially, have been for many years served by similar journals of substance and renown. The difficulty is to state in a succinct fashion what our policy really is. It is easy to classify journals with restricted outlooks such as those concerned only with anthropological or agricultural or natural history interests. We too shall deal with all those topics but generally speaking we hope to draw into our net a catch of such variety that it cannot be easily classified.

We hope to bring to the general reader glimpses of the past history of this country and to place on record the events that have made recent history ; we shall relate the memoirs of men who have helped to mould the shape of our lives here or of men who have interesting tales to tell ; we shall open our columns to those who want to discuss facets of the wealth of animal and plant life of the Territory ; we shall write on the vast and variegated native culture that impinges on us at all times ; and, in fact, we shall be glad to publish anything of Northern Rhodesian interest that we believe to be of permanent or of literary value.

This is a wide and flexible programme and there should be no dearth of material. As well as allowing ourselves a great deal of latitude in the choice of topic for publication we also aim at a big public through a variety of style. Our main object is to attract and keep the attention of the non-specialist, the ordinary citizen who is interested in learning all he can about his country. But experts on definite subjects will write for us on phases of their subjects that have a Northern Rhodesia appeal, albeit a technical one. We do not expect an expert to write down to his public. On many subjects it is not possible to use any but esoteric language and in any case there are always fellow Northern Rhodesians who will want to read what the expert has to say. On the other hand, we shall not refuse any contribution on the grounds of shaky style or grammar. It is the information and interest we arc after. The criterion for publication will be whether we think the article is a serious contribution to our knowledge of Northern Rhodesia.

We think that one of the most important functions of this journal will be the publication of the lesser historical records. Many of these are in the archives or are hidden away in tattered District Notebook, on distant Bomas. We shall print many of these pages of history, and if the journal accomplishes little except the gathering together into easily accessible form of such tangible proofs of history then, we think, the task will have been worthwhile.

We have already begun to collect memoirs of men who lived in those early, adventurous days that, as far as Northern Rhodesia is concerned, are only a few decades away.

Unfortunately most of the men who opened up the Territory were not given to writing. One of them, the late H. T. Harrington, when reproached with the fact that he had not written anything of his adventures replied that he had been far too busy making history to find time to write it. But a few did write and there arc many more, with memories full of incidents and stories that would fascinate the modem Northern Rhodesian, who could write if urged. Now that we can offer the pages of this a home for their recollections we hope they will put pen to paper.

W. V. Brelsford

Here is the Foreword to the first issue, written by the Acting Governor of Northern Rhodesia.


I AM very glad to accept the invitation of the Editor and the Editorial Committee to write a Foreword for the first number of the Northern Rhodesia Journal. This publication will, I am confident, be welcomed by many readers who are anxious to acquire a wider knowledge of the history, natural history and sociology of this Territory.
When the historians of to-morrow take up and examine the annals of our times they will discover, not, as some might imagine, a clear ehronicle upon an unspotted page, but rather a palimpsest in which the story of our own progress overlays the dim pattern of an ancient past. And they will understand, as we should do, that although this age of science in which we live is changing the face of Africa and bringing the benefits of civilisation to its peoples, nevertheless there were primitive skills and arts in the country we now call Northern Rhodesia when Babylon was a city of hanging gardens and Hellas was mistress of the Mediterranean.
In the history of civilised Africa we are a young country ; the spirit of the pioneers is still among us and the urge in us is to look forward rather than to look back. But it is no ill thing to pause at the end of a day's march and look around, to mark the traces of those who went before and leave a sign for those who follow. Here, in this Journal, is the opportunity.

LUSAKA                                                                                  R. C. S. STANLEY

Acting Governor

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