Brief History of the Establishment of the Barotse Park in 1898

08 May 2015
Author 
Ilute Yeta III

THE BAROTSE PARK 1898 - A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE BAROTSE PARK

The piece of land historically known as the Barotse Park was designated thus because it was the site on which numerous protocols between King Lewanika and his successors on one part and the agents of British South Africa Company and later the British Crown on the other part were negotiated and sealed. From its inception, the Barotse Park was a soft spot of encounter between the settler communities and the indigenous people of Zambia. The following are some of the important meetings that were held on the site:

1898 THE LAWLEY TREATY

The Company asked its senior representative the Rt. Honourable Captain Arthur Lawley, then resident in Bulawayo (Matebeleland), Southern Rhodesia, to inform Major Robert Coryndon, then resident commissioner in Barotseland-North Western Rhodesia who resided at Kalomo, the then capital of North-Western Rhodesia to officially request the Litunga of Barotseland Lubosi Lewanika to meet at the Victoria Falls. The three party talks were aimed at consolidating territorial jurisdiction and the treaties that Lewanika had earlier agreed with Harry Ware in 1889 and Frank Lochner in 1890, whereas these treaties culminated into THE BAROTSELAND-NORTH WESTERN RHODESIA ORDER-IN-COUNCIL of 1899. The talks were scheduled to take place on 25th June 1898 at Victoria Falls, but the high water level of the Zambezi River affected the preparations of receiving the Litunga as the surroundings of the Old Drift or Sekute's Drift were damp and muddy. The Coryndon Administration, after consultations, decided to change the venue to a higher and dry ground on the Sandbelt. The site that was chosen was where Lubosi Lewanika's Royal Pavilion was constructed. Talks were held between the Litunga and the British Resident Commissioner in Barotseland-North Western Rhodesia on the one part and representatives or agents of John Cecil Rhodes of the British South Africa Company on the other part, agreed to provide a path for the British South Africa Company (BSAC) to proceed to the north bank of the Zambezi river, constructing the railway from Cape to Cairo. It was at this site where the Lawley treaty was concluded.

IN 1900 CONCESSION A AND B

Following the passing of THE BAROTSELAND-NORTH WESTERN RHODESIA ORDER-IN-COUNCIL which was passed in 1899, two concessions were signed at this site. The first one was Concession A which was commonly known as LEWANIKA'S TREATY. The second Concession B was signed in November of the same year. The treaty was for the mining syndicate and for sanctioning the British South Africa Company to generate hydro-electric power from the Zambezi at the Victoria Falls for usage in the mining industry on the Copperbelt. In 1901, the said concessions were ratified.

1901 CONSTITUTIONAL CONFERENCE

The Constitutional Conference was held at this site to ratify the two treaties agreed to in 1900. This lead to the subsequent naming of the Sandbelt on which this site was situated The Constitution Hill. At the same time the site was named the Barotse Centre in honour of King Lubosi Lewanika, his council and the people involved in the advancement of development in the territory of North-Western Rhodesia.

In 1902, the Litunga Lubosi Lewanika was invited to attend the coronation ceremony of King Edward VII and Queen Alexandria in England. The Barotse Centre at the heart of the Constitution Hill is where the Litunga bade farewell to his council and the people who wished him a safe journey. It was at this same site where Lewanika assured and impressed the crowd that feared for his safety, by planting his royal walking stick into the ground as a sign that would predict whether his entourage was safe. This historic event was evident enough that the Litunga Lubosi Lewanika's royal wooden walking stick germinated, rooted, branched off and grew into a big tree. Lewanika's way back from England at the end of 1902 in December was welcomed by a great royal traditional guard of honour at the Barotse Centre, which he marked by the unforgettable legacy. The Litunga arrived at his capital Lealui at New Year's first day of 1903 to a thunderous welcome, which was anti-climaxed as the final briefing was about his mother Inonge who had died.

Gradually, more settlers arrived in the Victoria Falls area, the administrators at the Old Drift or Sekute's Drift (which was unhealthy) decided to have a new township planned at the Constitution Hill. By the end of November 1904 the new township was being surveyed and the roads were marked. The township was layed out as a rectangular grid of streets and sanitary lanes forming fifteen blocks in all covering an area of rather less than one square kilometer. The central street main way (now Mosi-O-Tunya road) was to be 43 metres wide. The central block was to be an open park known as THE BAROTSE CENTRE, which still survives. The remaining fourteen blocks comprised two hundred and four stands. Some of these were reserved for the Administration's offices and other residents who were to be forced to abandon their old settlements at the Old Drift. The remaining stands were sold at an auction held on 23rd January 1905.

In 1904, when the railway line from Bulawayo reached the Zambezi River at the Victoria Falls, the Litunga Lubosi Lewanika came to the Victoria Falls for the official opening ceremony of the bridge conducted on 12th September 1905 by Professor George Darwin, President of the British Association. The first regatta which featured the Barotse royal badges of Mwandi Palace under Litia Yeta, son of Lewanika in Sesheke and Lealui the capital of Barotseland raced and Mwandi won.

It was at this very important event that the first curio shop was put up by Lewanika in the new town at the Barotse Centre. King Lewanika further declared the centre should be held unto perpetuity as a soft spot for all Africans who had less access to the new settlement, to utilize it as trading area for their crafts and as a green market. The official ceremony was the first of its kind. There were crafts and a lot of artwork from Barotseland, vegetables and fruits from surrounding areas of the Victoria Falls displayed for sale. As years passed activities among the White settlers and Africans at the new town increased. The main meeting place remained the Barotse Centre. Here the White settlers could buy crafts, artwork, vegetables and fruits from Africans.

The Barotse Centre further served as a recruitment point for native labour and as a venue for activities which involved the BAROTSE NATIVE POLICE and the BAROTSE NATIVE POLICE BAND, where Africans were actively involved.

The end remark by the parties involved during the official opening of the Victoria Falls bridge was to consider naming the Constitution Hill and areas surrounding the Victoria Falls as Doctor David Livingstone in honour of the great explorer who put the falls, the mighty Zambezi river, south and central Africa, including the people who were party to his expedition on the world map.

Two years after the official opening of the bridge in 1907, a decision was made by the White Administration of North-Western Rhodesia headed by Sir, Robert Codrington, in consultations with the Litunga Lubosi Lewanika of Barotseland, to shift the capital from Kalomo to Livingstone. The Barotse Centre was the venue for the celebrations that marked the importance and growth of the town. The town by then had two hotels, a restaurant, two mineral water factories, at least eight clothing and general stores, two butcheries, four building contractors, a chemist and a barber. Also Standard Bank of South Africa and the first North-Western hotel were opened at the capital.

In 1909 King Lewanika travelled to Livingstone to welcome the new Administrator Mr. Wallace, who replaced Robert Codrington who died. He was accorded a reception by the White Administration and Africans at the Barotse Centre especially the two pioneer Lithuanian business brothers, Harry and Elie Susman, who had been cattle traders in Barotseland, who took over the pioneer butchery, Mopane Clarke's store and a bar. The two brothers paid great tribute to the Litunga.

A major event in the early history of Livingstone town was the visit of the Duke and Duchess of Connaught in 1910. They came to South Africa to open the first session of the Union Parliament and then proceeded on a tour to southern and northern Rhodesia. The Litunga Lubosi Lewanika and other Barotse royalty came to Livingstone for the occasion and were accommodated in town. Lewanika arranged an exhibition and demonstration of traditional Lozi crafts in the Barotse Centre, of which he took the visitors on a conducted tour. As usual, Lewanika made an excellent impression on both the visitors and settlers.

In 1911, the British South Africa Company with the approval of the British Government passed an ORDER-IN-COUNCIL to facilitate the amalgamation of the two territories of North-Western and North-Eastern Rhodesia into one but for Barotseland of the Litunga, which was reserved as a state within a state. Livingstone became the capital of Northern Rhodesia. The Barotse Centre was where the celebrations took place involving the peoples of the said territories backed by the two bands of the Barotse Native Police and the North-Eastern Rhodesia Constabulary which also amalgamated to one Northern Rhodesia Police.

Three years after the amalgamation in 1914 world war one broke out. Attention in all the British colonial territories, Northern Rhodesia included, turned to war activities at the expense of development especially in Barotseland. The events of this war bothered Lewanika (who wanted to develop his nation) so much that he did not live any longer and died in 1916.

Thereafter, it was not until 1921, when the Litunga Litia Yeta III CBE who succeeded his father Lewanika, who while on his way to Cape Town via Livingstone where he was invited to meet the Prince of Connaught, met with his people in the area and the Governor General.

Another exciting event at the Barotse Centre was in 1924 when Litia Yeta III CBE travelled to Livingstone for the great celebrations that marked the handover power from the British South Africa Company to Great Britain under the rule of King George V. The Litunga was to meet the first Governor Sir Herbert Stanley.

A spectacular visit by King George VI in 1947 who was to meet his friend the Litunga Imasiku Mwanan'ono Imwiko I put the Barotse Centre on the world map because of the modern print and electronic media that covered the Royal counterpart's shake hands, bolstering links between England and Barotseland. An occasion comprised of impressive activities such as the flotilla canoes that accompanied the regatta involving the Litunga's Royal badges at the boat club, a guard of honour on the Northern Rhodesia regiment and a Royal Walk (Kutamboka) where the two Princesses Margaret and Elizabeth participated.

Sir Mwanawina III KBE, too had extensively utilized the Barotse Centre as a venue for important activities on his many visits especially when he went to Salisbury in southern Rhodesia to sign for Barotseland as a state within states in an order of the federation that was evoked in 1953.

More importantly was when the Litunga Sir Mwanawina III KBE, the Ngambela Imenda Sibandi and some high ranking Indunas flew from Livingstone to England to sign the Barotseland Agreement of 1964. The Barotse Centre has been so significant to most Litungas (even at the time of Godwin Mbikusita Lewanika II) that whenever any of them visited Livingstone they passed by to see the centre.

This site therefore where these legal documents which described Zambia as a state and nation were signed and ratified is an important historical site which should be preserved without any uderlterations.

SOURCES OF INFORMATION AND REFERENCE

1. London; Colonial Office; (Commonwealth Library)-Public Record Office; (Affairs North of the Zambezi); News from Barotseland, Une Collection Comple'te, 4 Volumes 1897-1932

2. PEMS; (Paris Evangelical Mission Society) Headquarters, 102 Boulevard Arago; Francois Coillard, Personal Papers, Letters and Journals 1880-1904 (Zambezi Files; 1885-1904), Administration Britannique, Kalomo-Mongu, 1908-1933, Sefula Mission Station.

3. National Archives, Southern Rhodesia Salisbury (Harare Zimbabwe). Administrator's Files-A15/1-15 Miscellaneous, 1889-1899. A 3/18/5 Lewanika 1896-1903. A 11/2/12/5-6 Lewanika 1901-1903 A11/2/14/1-23 North-Western Rhodesia,1902-1909

4. British South Africa Company Files, Cape Town (C.T.1/4/1-7 Barotseland, 1890-1895; C.T.1/11/1 Concessions, Barotse, 1890-1895; C.T.1/15/1 Matters relating to Native Affairs 1892, Barotseland. London Office [L.O.5/2/1-58; L.O.5/3/1-4; L.O.5/7/1-6)

5. National Archives, Northern Rhodesia Lusaka (Zambia) A Series: Papers of the Administrator, North-Western Rhodesia, (NW/A) NW/A1/1/1-13, In letters 1902-1911, High Commissioner for South Africa; A1/2/1-17 In letters 1902-1911, London Office; A2/1/1-5 Out letters 1908-1911, High Commissioner; A2/2/1-6 Out letters 1901-1911, London Office; A2/3/1 Barotse Boundary Commission (January 1904); A3/25 Barotse Native Police, Lealui 1905-1906. Reports by Harding and Gibbisons.

6. Papers of the Northern Rhodesia Secretariat (NR/B) B Series: NR/B1/1; B1/1 (A353D) Concessions-Litia Yeta III CBE Correspondence with the Secretary of State, 1922-1924; B1/1 (A281A) Boundaries, District Barotseland 1912-1925.

7. NR/B1/2/1927 Series. NR/B1/2/177-9 Barotse Concessions 1901-1911; Lewanika: 1901 Amendments: 1905 and 1906; Lewanika; 1909: Lewanika to T.B. Davvies; Barotseland boundaries 1899 March to September 1925; B1/2/291 Control of Barotseland by the Imperial Government, 1921-1922; B1/2/302-3 Barotse Government: Land cases and outline of political system 1921

8. B1/3/1928 File Series: B1/3/677 The Litunga Litia Yeta III CBE's visit to Livingstone 1928. B1/3/688 Native Affairs, Barotseland 1928.

9. B1/7/1929 Series Lewanika Concessions, 1900-1912; Reconsideration of Concessions, 1927-1931

10. KDE Series Papers of Resident Magistrate, Barotseland: KDE 2/43/1-5 Anthropological, Historical, Slavery, Language, Customs; KDE 2/44/1-21 History of Barotseland, Notes and Documents.

11. OFFICIAL DOCUMENTS British Government Agreement between Great Britain and Portugal Relative to Spheres of Influence North of the Zambezi. Cmnd 7032 (London, 1893) Award of His Majesty the King of Italy respecting the western boundary of the Barotse Kingdom Cmnd 2584 (London 1905). Barotseland Agreement 1964, Cmnd 2366

12. ZAMBIAN GOVERNMENT (Northern Rhodesia) Barotse Native Authority, Constitution Committee Report, Rawlings 1957. British South Africa Company, Report by the Ministry of Finance, Lusaka, on the Company's claims to Mineral Royalties in Northern Rhodesia, Government Printers, Lusaka 1964.

SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY

1. Bertrand Alfred-The Kingdom of Barotsi, upper Zambezi, London 1899

2. Col. Colin Harding-In Remotest Barotseland, Hurst and Blackett London 1905

3. Coillard Francois-On the Threshold of Central Africa, Hodder and Stoughton, London 1897

4. Stirke D W Barotseland; Eight Years among the Barotse, London 1922

5. Jalla Adolphe- Lewanika, Roi des Ba-Rotsi, Geneva 1902 Litaba za Sicaba sa Malozi; Oxford University Press, Cape town 1921, revised; London 1959

6. Baxter T. W; The Barose Concessions' Part 1, Northern Rhodesia journal, June 1951, no. 3, pp. 39-49. Part 2 Northern Rhodesia journal, December 1951, no. 4, pp. 38-45.

7. Bradley Kenneth; "Statesmen" Coryndon and Lewanika in North-Western Rhodesia; 'African Observer, Sep. 1936, volume V, no. 5

8. Caplan Gerald Lewis; A Political History of Barotseland, 1879-1965, thesis for Ph.D, London University 1968, published as The Elites of Barotseland, 1878-1969, C.Hurst and Co. London 1970.

9. Clay G C R; Your Friend, Lewanika, Litunga of Barotseland, 1842-1916 Robin's Series no. 7, Chatto and Windus London 1968.

10. Gluckman Max; Economy of the Central Barotse Plain, Roads-Livingstone Institute Paper no. 7 1941. Administrative Organization of the Barotse Native Authorities, with a plan for reforming them. Roads-Livingstone Institute Commn. no. 1, 1943.

11. Mutumba Mainga; Ph,D. Bulozi Under The Luyana Kings, (Political Evolution and State Formation) in Pre-colonial Zambia, 1973.

12. Brian M Fagan, M.A, Ph,D. The Victoria Falls, the Batoka Gorge and Part of the Zambesi River

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