The shift is changing at this Copperbelt mine, and the times are changing, too. In?
The shift is changing at this Copperbelt mine, and the times are changing, too. In the old days, black muscle and white brains and muscle built this and other copper mines vital to Zambia's economy; the white man felt secure here and throughout the rest of the country. But today, the whites of Zambia are often worried, frustrated and angry.
Under British rule, the white man was master of all he surveyed. With independence in 1964, he became the reluctant teacher of Africans gradually taking over places like this Mufulira mine. Now a few of Zambia's 76,000 whites are leaving the country. Many more talk about it, expressing sympathy with rebel Rhodesia and saying they have no future among 3,400,000 liberated but irresponsible Africans.
This is dangerous for Zambia because on the rich Copperbelt, which supports the nation's economy, and elsewhere, it is the skilled white supervisors and executives who make the wheels of industry and trade go round.
Black nationalism is fiery here in what was once called Northern Rhodesia, but as yet there aren't nearly enough trained Africans to take over many white jobs properly.
So, a white has to supervise copper mold leveling ...as his job moves toward Zambianization.
Under the growing, nationwide Zambianization program, Africans are being trained to replace whites in many stops. By 1970 40 per cent of the country's 6,300 white mine workers will have been Zambianized. Many fear that by then the African government won't let then take their Zambianization compensation money and savings out of the country with them.
Underground--amid the drilling and explosives--there is fear that black nationalist pressure may push Zambianization ahead too fast for safety and profit.
Africans sometimes resent the much bigger money whites earn, though generally they merit it. For instance, underground at Mufulira, white Section Shift Boss Kevin Grove makes almost $7,000 a year--two and a half times as much as his blue-helmeted section boss, Saul Chisanga.
The whites live well but some have anxieties about the Rhodesian rebellion turning Zambia into another bloody Congo.
Grove and his wife, both Australians, discussed conditions.
Chisanga, a relatively advanced African, is no extremist...a hopeful sign.
African inefficiency angers and frustrates many whites.
Often the whites are racially prejudiced, but they still make a point when they say it will be anywhere from 15 to 50 years before they can teach the ill-educated Zambians enough to have them completely take over an industrial complex like Mufulira.
For many years to come, Zambia will need its skilled whites more than they need Zambia. A white exodus would severely damage the economy and political stability of one of Africa's most promising independent nations. While the white man's role here is diminishing, it is still vital...and a wise country will let him play it.