LUANSHYA, the quiet mining town of Zambia located in the copperbelt province, has something to smile about in the recent cabinet reshuffles in South Africa. It just produced the newly appointed Minister of State Security. Bertha Letsatsi-Duba went to school at Luanshya Girls in Zambia and is part of Cyril Ramaphosa’s cabinet. At the time Luanshya was called Roan in the colonial era.
According to a bio-profile shared with the Zambian Business Times, Bertha Letsatsi-Duba left South Africa in 1982 to join the Africa National Congress – ANC and Umkhonto we Sizwe in exile after she completed her high school at Zambia’s Luanshya Girls High School.
History of Luanshya
Luanshya was founded in the early part of the 20th century after a prospector/explorer, William Collier, shot and killed a Roan Antelope on the banks of the Luanshya River, discovering a copper deposit in the process. The antelope fell to the ground, its head resting on a rock where an exposed seam of copper ore was visible. The mining company eventually formed to exploit Collier’s find was named “Roan Antelope Copper Mines Ltd”. For most of the 20th century, copper was mined in great quantities at Luanshya but towards the end of the century, mining there became increasingly uneconomic, causing a severe recession in the town. There is still a fair amount of copper underground. Whether the town sees a revival in its fortunes will depend on how efficiently the copper is extracted and sold.
The city is the birthplace of former Vice President of Zambia, the late George Kunda, Folk singer, John Edmond, and Writer A. C. Grayling. The Roan Antelope Rugby Club also in Luanshya formerly held the record for highest goal posts in the world, which were once recognized in the Guinness Book of Records.
Zambia is considered a front-line country that contributed to the liberation struggle for most countries in Southern and Central Africa. The country provided a safe haven and home to key freedom fighters who left their countries for security reasons in fear of oppressive colonial regimes that had taken control of vast lands across Africa. Barely a month ago, Zambian learnt that current Zimbabwe’s President Mnangagwa was born in the Mumbwa area of Zambia and was educated at the University of Zambia.
The country spent huge sums of its sovereign funds to provide jobs , education and homes in support of a pan African ideology.
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