The End of Joint Development: Planning Lake Kariba
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Having settled their disputes over the best energy scheme for the Federation, it started to dawn on Central African politicians that the dam would turn nature into an economic resource in more ways than by electricity generation.1 The prospect of a record-size reservoir — about 150 miles long, with a shoreline of more than 800 miles — whetted fresh development appetites. A new township would replace the erstwhile bush with a ‘large lakeshore civilization’ of 8000 Europeans and 50,000 Africans, Roy Welensky, who succeeded Huggins as Federal premier in November 1957, raved.2 Moreover, the lake promised economic benefits in terms of fishing, tourism, transport, agriculture, and scientific research, which a group of experts under the joint Northern and Southern Rhodesian Kariba Lake Committee set out to study.3 Finally, I argue that the reservoir became a symbolic site of reconciliation — between human technology and natural wilderness, modern development and prehistoric time, ‘European culture’ and ‘African nature’.4
KeywordsJoint Development Game Reserve Tennessee Valley Authority Colonial Authority Natural Wilderness
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