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He is in a unique position to tell this story. He joined the British Colonial Service and served as a District Officer in Northern Rhodesia in the years running up to decolonisation, and stayed on in Zambia after independence.

Book review – Beyond the Malachite Hills by Jonathan Lawley

Jonathan Lawley's business career reflected and contributed to African economic advancement, firmly rooted in a rejection of racialism even in its heartland of big, European-dominated, business. He applied his business ideals in pursuing indigenous technical and business training in copper mining in Zaire now the Democratic Republic of the Congo , followed by assignments in Morocco and Mauritius.

A brief interlude and a return to African politics came when he helped to supervise the elections following the Lancaster House Agreement which brought Robert Mugabe to power in Zimbabwe. But his most lasting contribution to Africa came with the mining giant Rio Tinto, and his ground-breaking scheme for training indigenous technical managers. These rose to the highest positions and broke the mould of European managerial and technical dominance.


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  • Synopsis of Beyond the Malachite Hills: A Life of Colonial Service and Business in the New Africa:.
  • Beyond the Malachite Hills, by Jonathan Lawley; Last Man In, by John Hare – review | The Spectator?

Beyond the Malachite Hills is a remarkable testament to his long-lasting and profound involvement with this often misunderstood continent. Foreword by Lord Carrington Acknowledgements. Raj Child to Rhodesian.


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  5. Beyond the Malachite Hills is a businesslike account of the last days of colonial government in Northern Rhodesia, and the first years of African self-government in its successor state, Zambia. Here Jonathan Lawley was asked to stay on as a colonial officer and African linguist in the wild and beautiful country above the Zambezi river. Bitten by the African bug, he went on to train up black workers in the copper mining industry in the Congo.

    Beyond the Malachite Hills, by Jonathan Lawley; Last Man In, by John Hare - review

    And he was invited by HMG to supervise the first general election on a universal franchise in Rhodesia: Lawley has made himself an expert on training and management in what he perceptively calls the New Africa: Lawley has an optimistic story to tell here; but this reviewer loved best his tales, told more in the workaday prose of a Wilfred Thesiger than the poetry of a romantic, of a young bachelor bashing his lonely way through bush hardly trodden by whites since David Livingstone passed by, trying to keep in repair a vast and overstretched net of fairly nominal administration, his authority sustained by little more than bravado; and determinedly acculturating himself to the life and language of the people he oversaw.

    At one point he ends up — a British district commissioner— as interpreter for Kenneth Kaunda, the new President of Zambia being unable to speak the language of the tribe he was visiting.

    European colonization of Africa : Every Year

    John Hare — the last man to be recruited into the colonial service for Northern Nigeria — is more of a romantic. His writing is a real discovery.

    Editorial Reviews

    Hare would be a master of evocative prose, of sharp humour and of adventure-telling even if he were writing about Godalming; but when his canvas is the remote immensity of Northern Nigeria and what was once British Cameroon, rivers and mountains, naked tribesmen, drunken orgies, nobility and savagery, and cultures and customs that are beginning to die even as Hare records and describes what he is witnessing… the result deserves to become a minor classic. Time and again I noted in the margin: The burning of records by the outgoing British administration — a crime against history against which Lawley, too, inveighs?

    The red-hot-chilli-based punishment of an adulterous wife? Suffice it to quote a summary he offers of his duties as a district officer, in sole charge:. He was judge, policeman, tax collector, election officer, census official and interpreter of political change. He delineated boundaries, settled feuds and accounted for cash. He was doctor of himself and others, sanitary officer, road builder and town planner. He collected tsetse flies and samples of local produce. He decided how to segregate lepers or lunatics; why a person should be vaccinated or, indeed, educated. He assessed taxes on cattle.