Kalambo falls, another forsaken history

Kalambo Falls

Kalambo Falls

By Chimuka Moono Hanyama

The tree without roots has not yet existed. So, there is no tree without roots. Neither is it likely to exist, anyway.

This also goes for the people: there is no person without roots. We all are traceable by ancestry. They are our roots.

History helps us to understand our ancestry and heritage, and later on our roots. Zambia is endowed with a lot of heritage which depicts the various roots of the people.

This heritage is found in different parts of the country. One such part is Northern province. In this part of the country lies an important heritage site. The Kalambo falls.

Located about 30 kilometres North-West of Mbala district, Northern province, the Kalambo prehistoric site was excavated by professor John Desmond Clark during the period 1956-1959.

The excavations conducted in the lake-beds revealed a stone age sequence extending from the early stone age through to the iron age, most of it stratified in living floors. The site was gazetted as a National Monument under notice number 454 of 1964.

Like many other national monuments, the site is protected and managed under the National Heritage and Conservation Act. However the big question that begs an answer is, how much of this site has been promoted and protected? The answer is not far.

It is similar to the other answers that haunt most of the idly lying historical sites in the land, such as Ingombe Ilede, Broken Hill, Isamu Pati, and many others that have been stripped of their valuable artifacts and condemned to eternal disappearance.

This is how ruthless the Kalambo falls has been treated! There is less care.

In his book, The Kalambo Falls Vol. III, JD. Clark writes, “…It was stratified, contained a succession of different archaeological industries (in the 1950s this was enough to assure it celebrity status), it also had in-situ living floors with hearths, wooden tools, and was one of the first African testing grounds for a relatively new dating technique called radiocarbon, which suggested the site could be as old as 60,000 years or more.”

Isn’t  description resounding? Is it not rich with content and value? The Kalambo Falls site may be as old as 60, 000 years or more…

We need to stress that the history of Stone Age era is vital to us as a people. It shows us where we originated interms of civilization, and how far we have evolved. This knowledge need to be kept fresh and alive for generations to come.

We need exhibits to show our children and their children’s children if we have to maintain our pride and dignity. And so we need the Kalambo falls historical site. The National Heritage and Conservation act empowers the department to ensure that the various historical sites are well looked after. So let the department look into the plight of Kalambo site.

There is need to offer balance in the way promotion of historical sites and other tourist attraction centres is done. We know it is a common marketing strategy to maximize publicity on the positive aspect. But that does not mean forsaking the silent areas.

There has been too much talk of Livingstone. This place has been market to the detriment of other important areas such as Kalambo. In fact Livingstone is thriving due to artifacts stolen from the forsaken areas! The Livingstone Museum is full of artifacts collected from these disappearing historical sites. This is bad for our generations. We need the money as a country, yes, but we have to be considerate.

Let the National Heritage Conservation rethink their strategy, or else the department risk being a danger to our roots. We want the money, however, that money can not buy but it can promote our roots.

The Kalambo historical site cannot be forgotten just like that. It contains our heritage. It contains our roots. Kalambo historical site is our identity. It is a source of hope and revival for our memories. It is engraved in our hearts.

Let Kalambo falls site receive its fair share of the cake. Not a blind eye!