A history of Kafue town: origin, transformation and constraints, 1905 - 2005.

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Mbewe, Mary
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The University of Zambia
Many scholars and researchers in Zambia and beyond have looked at the history and development of big cities and industrialisation. Most studies on urban Zambia have not focused on the history and development of small towns like Kafue and yet some of the small towns have played an instrumental role in the social and economic development of the country. The neglect has deprived people from knowing the significance and impact that some small towns like Kafue have had on the economic development of our country, Zambia. The establishment of industries had both direct and indirect impact in facilitating socio-economic growth and development of many towns. This study therefore sought to reconstruct the history and development of Kafue town from 1905 when it started as a railway siding to 2005 when it celebrated its one hundred years anniversary. The study sought to investigate why the first Republican President, Dr. Kenneth David Kaunda chose to transform Kafue town into an industrial hub. It assesses the social and economic impact that industrial development has had on Kafue and the surrounding areas. Apart from serving as the engine of the development and growth of Kafue town, industries created job opportunities and influenced the establishment of other sectors like education, health and construction. The establishment of industries in Kafue had adverse consequences on the environment. Industries polluted either the air, land or water which endangered living things. The emissions and dust from industries might have seriously affected human, animal and crop life if the Environmental Council of Zambia did not establish standards and regulations for the disposal of waste. Despite the government’s hope and effort to establish manufacturing industries in Kafue, they failed to become viable due to a number of reasons. This study therefore discusses some of the reasons that led to the collapse of manufacturing industries in Kafue.