Ndola is the third-largest
city in Zambia, with a
population of 374,757 (2007 estimate). It is the industrial, commercial,
distribution on the Copperbelt, Zambia's copper-mining region, and capital of
It is also the commercial capital city of
Zambia and has one of the three international airports, others
being Livingstone and Lusaka. It lies just 10 km from the border with
Ndola was founded in 1904, by John Edward "Chiripula" Stephenson
just six months after Livingstone, making it the second oldest
colonial-era town of Zambia. It was started as a boma
, which laid its foundations as an administrative and
trading centre today.
Rhodesia Railways main line
reached the town in 1907, providing passenger services as far south
as Bulawayo, with
connections to Cape
Town. The line was extended into DR Congo and from
there eventually linked to the Benguela
Railway to the Atlantic port of Lobito Bay (which
used to take some of Zambia's copper exports
but is currently closed).
The Ndola railhead was responsible
for the town becoming the country's centre of distribution.
road network was built up in the 1930s, a track from Ndola to
Kapalala on the Luapula River, and
boat transport from there
to the Chambeshi River was the
principal trade route for the Northern Province, which consequently formed part of Ndola's hinterland.
Province for the history of the copper-mining industry.
Once, the largest industrial centre of Zambia, boasting, among many
high-powered sites, a Land Rover vehicle assembly plant, Ndola's
economy shrunk significantly between 1980 and 2000. Many closed
factories and plants lie unoccupied in the town. A number of former
industries such as clothing and vehicle assembly have gone
completely. At its height Ndola was Zambia's host of Production
sites for such world-renowned blue chip names as Colgate-Palmolive,
Unilever, Dunlop, Land Rover, etc. Even though the term 'ghost
town' can no longer apply to it, Ndola is yet to regain its
economic glory of pre-1980 days.
There are no mines
in Ndola itself but the
open-cast mine is only
10 km south-east of the city centre. Until their closure,
and precious metals
used to be brought from
elsewhere in the Copperbelt for processing at the Ndola Copper
and Precious Metals Refinery.
Copper exports provide 70–80% of Zambia's export earnings, making
the city very important to the country's economy.
The Indeni Oil Refinery in Ndola supplies the whole country with
refined petroleum. It was repaired in 2001 after being severely
damaged by fire in 1999.
Ndola is home to one of the country's national newspapers, The
Times of Zambia
, as well as its printer, Printpak. These run
as one company called TimesPrintpak
. Catholic church run
printing press, Mission Press
, is also located in Ndola.
Mission Press operates as a commercial entity.
One mark of Ndola's commercial significance to Zambia is shown by
the presence of the only major centre of operation for the
country's central bank, the Bank of Zambia, oustide of the capital,
Lusaka. Every Major bank in Zambia has at least one branch in
The largest insurance group in Zambia, ZSIC (pronounced 'zeesk'),
owns many commercial and residential properties in the city.
Ndola has huge limestone reserves which are believed to be among
the most homogeneous of their kind in the world. Limestone has
therefore become to Ndola's economy what copper is to the rest of
the country, providing much of the wealth and employment (Lime is a
major component in the production of cement; a cement plant getting
its lime from limestone and manufacturing a limestone cement will
consume well over 80 kg limestone per 100 kg of cement it
Between 1974 and 2009, Ndola supplied over 50% of Zambia's cement
from a plant located some 5 km south-east of the heart of the
city. This plant was called Chilanga Cement, Ndola Works. The
parent company then was Chilanga Cement plc. Chilanga Cement ran
two plants in Zambia: one built in 1949 and located at Chilanga
(hence the parent company name) and the other built in 1969 and
located at Ndola. In 2008, the new holding company, Lafarge Cement
Zambia, completed construction of a brand new plant at Chilanga
which would produce about double the volume of Ndola Works. By
mid-2009, the new plant was still gathering momentum toward full
production capacity, leaving Ndola still a significant player in
the region's cement industry. Nonetheless, the combination of huge
limestone deposits and existing transport infrastructure passing
through Ndola has kept the city a very attractive destination for
investment into cement and closely allied activities.
A second cement works
construction in 2008. In June 2009, countrywide advertisements were
published to finalise staffing for this new cement plant.
Another important processing plant that is based on limestone in
the area is Ndola Lime. It is Zambia's sole producer of Lime. Ndola
Lime is located near the two cement manufacturing facilities. It
supplies the mining industry as well as farmers who require
agricultural lime. Ndola Lime company is wholly owned by ZCCM
Investment Holdings, a parastatal holdings company via which
Zambia's government maintains its active interest in the country's
mining and closely related heavy industry.
The four processing plants (the cement plants, the lime plant and
Bwana Mkubwa) have mining rights on land located very close to the
traditional Chiefdom of Chiwala. Chief Chiwala is therefore a
significant interested party to Ndola industry and economics.
Egyptian company El-Sewedy Electrical joined a consortium of local
companies led by ZESCO Ltd (Zambia's electricity supply authority),
and established a transformer manufacturing plant and an electrical
meter manufacturing plant in Zambia in 2008. Both these facilities
are located about 5 km south of Ndola city centre.
on the Zambia Railways line with
passenger and freight services running between Kitwe and Livingstone via Kabwe and Lusaka.
branch lines run to other Copperbelt towns and from Ndola to
Lubumbashi in DR
Congo via Sakania.
carriageway links Ndola to Kitwe, the Copperbelt's second city, and
other tarred highways link to Mufulira and Lusaka.
Ndola Airport has scheduled domestic services to Lusaka and an
international service to Johannesburg and Dar es
from Dar es
Salaam terminates at the Indeni Oil Refinery in the
These factors make Ndola the distribution centre of the Copperbelt
and northern Zambia.
Sport and Recreation
As with many towns on the Copperbelt, Ndola's sports and recreation
life was heavily supported by the now disbundled mining
conglomerate, Zambia Consolidated Copper Mines Ltd (ZCCM). With the
demise of ZCCM, many facilities deteriorated fast. Nevertheless,
significant sports places are Ndola Tennis Club (membership), Ndola
Swimming Pool (public), the Kanini area (about 3 km from city
centre and home to several sports clubs and playing fields like
Ndola Wanderers Football Club, a rugby club, and others). About
10 km north-west of the city centre, there is a motor racing
track popular with weekend motorbike enthusiasts. The city has
several recreational green parks which enjoy a very basic level of
maintenance and are open to the public. Of particular significance
is the Dag Hammarsgjoeld memorial site located some 10 km
north of Ndola city centre. Dag Hammersgjoeld Stadium, which was
located on the banks of the Kafubu river south of the city and was
razed in the 1980s to make way for an improved one, was never
rebuilt on original site. Instead, construction works began in
early 2009 on a new location north-west of the city for a
replacement football stadium capable of hosting major international
matches. It will be an ultra-modern stadium with a seating capacity
Ndola city is home to Zesco Football Club, a top-flight team in
Zambia's equivalent of the English Premier League. Zesco FC is
fondly called "team ya ziko", in the nyanja language. ('the
country's team' or 'national team').
Land, Living & Transit Accommodation
Even before independence Ndola had quite a number of good hotels
such as the Savoy Hotel which was built in 1956. The areas where
the Savoy Hotel, Workers Compensation Fund Board building and the
coach station used to be a town market. On the site where Chapasuka
bar is was a plush three stars hotel known as Selborne Hotel.
Annesley Hotel, renamed later as Coppersmith Arms Hotel was
situation where the Royal Hotel is now.
Other good hotels that were highly rated in Ndola before
independence were Ndola Hotel situation in the place where
Independence Service Station is now, along Cecil Avenue, renamed
Rutland Hotel which was before independence rated the best
hotel in Central Africa
and had four stars, was later
bought by Mrs Queen Thom Bate, who was the first born daughter of
the first mayor of Ndola, Councillor Thom, (situated at the very
end of Tusha Street and the Elephant and Castle. The Elephant Hotel
(now Ambassador Hotel) was owned by Mr Len Catchpole who was at one
time mayor of Ndola.
Another contemporary uniqueness about Ndola is that it is the only
town outside the capital which has almost run out of publicly
controlled land for greenfield construction. What used to be an
expansive and beautiful zoo called Ndola Zoo, which later closed
out, on the sloping west side of the city has been demacated and
the plots sold out for construction of residential properties.
North of the city, between the affluent northern surbub of
Kansenshi and Kaniki Bible College, there used to be only private
farms, a huge timber plantation owned by forestry company, Zaffico
and open natural forest. A large section of this area has now been
partitioned off and plots of land sold out for construction of
residential properties. The area promises to have a more affluent
nature to it than neighbouring Kansenshi, Itawa, on the south side
and Northrise, on the east side of the city. The new area is called
'Mitengo' ('the trees'). By close of 2008, the local authority was
in advanced stages of agreements with property developers to build
a mordern mall that will include cinema screens and banking
facilities in the Mitengo area.
With the decline of the city's industrial base between the 1980s
and c2004, the city's hotel and catering industry followed suit.
However, the trend is quickly reversing. There are lots of
international-standard guest houses springing up in the residential
areas. Thus, a visitor to Ndola is assured of a genuine mix-in with
the real locals if they choose to use the guest houses. Internet
presence is not the norm for these guest houses though, so advance
bookings are only heard of in rare cases. Some of the more
nationally known guest houses are Fatmols, Chana and Palm Guest
House. Palm Guest House has hosted national leaders and CEOs of
multinational companies in the recent past.There are four hotels in
the city: Savoy (located in the heart of the city and with very
picturesque views of it from the higher floors) together with
Mukuba (located some 15 km out) are the leading names. Royal
and Ambassador hotels are much smaller ones located within the
city. A restaurant and guesthouse combination exists on Broadway
called Michelangelo. Michelangelo is frequented by the mid-market
to more up-market diners.
Features of Historical and Touristic Interest
The Mukuyu Slave Tree (in Ndola,
- The Slave Tree or Mukuyu Slave
Tree around which Arab slave
traders held slave markets in the nineteenth century (a mukuyu
tree is a kind of fig tree). It has sadly fallen due to
- Dag Hammarskjöld Memorial
ten kilometres along the Ndola/Kitwe road commemorates the site
where the then United Nations
Secretary-General died in a plane crash on September 18, 1961 during
the Congo Crisis.
- Lake Chilengwa 14 km E of Ndola at 12°58'
S 28°45' E, was formed by the collapse of rock into an underlying
limestone cavern, and has local cultural significance.
thermal power station which dominates the skyline near the railway
station and which was built to power the mines and refineries
ceased operation in the 1960s when the Kariba Dam power station came on line.
- The Copperbelt Museum, with a collections of gems and minerals
of the Copperbelt.
- Small reservoirs formed by dams on the Kafubu and Itawa streams
flowing through the south-east of the city are used for boating and
Education and Research
Ndola is believed to have the country's third highest student
population in post-secondary education. It also has a significant
number of research scientists working in the area of tropical
- Two national top-tier secondary schools, Fatima Girls and
Chiwala High, are located a short driving distance from Ndola city
- More recently, a gemstone training school (and regional
gemstone exchange) has been set up where the old precious metals
refinery stood. The school has yet to establish full boarding
capacity for its student body.
University, a private university is located in Ndola. Since
inception, it has been housed in a downtown office block next to a
bank and a hotel, but has now secured a greenfield site and has
began construction of its full campus there. Northrise university
currently offers courses in Business, Theology and Computing. The
highest academic level currently attainable at Northrise is a first
- NORTEC, the Northern Technical College. NORTEC supplies skilled
workers nationwide in such specialisations as Automotive and heavy
equipment maintenance and repair, mechanical engineering, Computer
Aided Design, etc.
- Other notable colleges which are nationally recognised are:
Kaniki Bible College, Zamtel College (run by national
telecommunications provider, Zamtel), NIEC Business college, ZBIC,
and a Biomedical College affiliated to University of Zambia and
Ndola Central Hospital.
- The Theological College of Central Africa (TCCA, commonly
pronounced 'teeka') was founded in 1982 by Evangelical Fellowship
of Zambia to train African Christian leaders in their own culture
and locale for service in churches and Christian organizations in
southern Africa. The college offers an accredited four-year degree
as well as a three-year diploma program. The students and faculty
have come from almost twenty different Christian church
denominations which include Anglicans, Baptists, Brethren in
Christ, Pentecostals, Presbyterians and Wesleyans.
- Umutende School is a private
alternative school with a strong focus on social
TCCA's graduates serve in ten countries as:
- Church pastors in Zambia and the region,
- Bishops and church administrators,
- Principals and teachers at Bible colleges,
- Christian education directors,
- Bible translators and distributors,
- Christian relief and development workers,
- Leaders in student ministries of various kinds,
- Youth leaders in music ministries,
- Students in graduate programs in Kenya, England, South Africa
and the U.S.A.
Some African graduates are now doing reverse mission work as they
engage in pastoral and other ministries in the West. For example,
the Rev. Elijah Mwitanti (1991 grad.) is serving as Senior Pastor
of Our Saviour's Lutheran Church in Holladay, Utah, USA. After
serving in the Baptist Association of Zambia, Rev. Mwitanti
attended Reformed Theological Seminary (RTS) where he graduated
with a masters degree in 1997. He then served the pastorate in the
Southern Baptist Church before joining the Lutheran Church in 1999.
Rev. Mwitanti credits sound theological instruction at both TCCA
and RTS for his ministry success that includes being part of the
pastoral team that responded to the 9/11/2001 crisis of New York
City. He was serving a Lutheran congregation in Hoboken, New Jersey
at the time and was part of the team of pastors that were available
to provide counseling and lead in memorial services. Rev. Mwitanti
is a native of Luanshya, although he now considers Ndola as his
The Tropical Diseases Research Centre (TDRC)
The Tropical Diseases Research Centre (TDRC) was initiated by the
World Health Organization (WHO) in collaboration with the Zambian
Government. This was in response to a resolution of the World
Health Assembly (Resolution No. WHO 27.52) of 1974 which called for
the intensification of research in tropical diseases and stipulated
that, as far as possible, the work should be done in developing
countries where these diseases are endemic.
The Zambian Government generously offered space at Ndola Central
Hospital to accommodate the Centre. In January 1981, the TDRC
became a National Institution for research, training, and service
in diseases of public health importance in Zambia. To this effect,
the TDRC must be seen first and foremost as a national resource
dedicated to priority health problems in Zambia and as a facility
for training national and regional health service personnel. It is
a statutory body under the Ministry of Health with the mandate to
conduct Epidemiological, Clinical and Biomedical Sciences
Scientific Departments of the TDRC
Department of Public Health
The Public Health Department has personnel qualified in
Epidemiology, Social Science, Demography, Public Health, Medical
Informatics and the Bio-statistics. The department engages in both
field and clinical research with multi- disciplinary approach,
drawing on the techniques and perspectives of epidemiology, health
systems research, clinical medicine, medical sociology, medical
anthropology, nutrition and health economics.
Department of Clinical Sciences
The Clinical Sciences Department has well trained Physicians and
Nursing Staff. The department is involved in clinical trials of new
chemotherapeutic agents against malaria, schistosomiasis, HIV/AIDS
and other diseases of public health significance to Zambia and the
Department of Biomedical Sciences
This Department has 7 units, namely: Parasitology, Immunology,
Vector Biology, Haematology, Microbiology, Nutrition and Clinical
Chemistry. The department gives support to the other departments
and has started conducting independent basic science research to
understand further the biology of disease causing organisms. The
department provides support to and is a reference Centre for the
National AIDS/STI/TB, Malaria Control and Prevention
It also evaluates all new diagnostic tools for tropical diseases.
It also provides laboratory support for patients on ARV.s through
CD4, HIV viral load, chemistry and haematological parameters
measurement. The Microbiology unit has set up an ultra modern TB
reference culture laboratory to carter for the Northern region of
There are no radio stations based in Ndola. There is a private
television station but reception of its signal is weak. Ndola is
the production home for a national television soap called Loose
. One of the two state-run national dailies, the Times
, is based in Ndola.
Light social places
The choice of eating places in Ndola is limited. The usual social
eateries are Michelangelo, on Broadway, Quicksave (European style
'restaurant in a supermarket') at the bottom of Broadway,
Starscape, near city police headquarters and the guesthouses and
hotels. There is a city centre cinema hall called Plaza 5 but some
might find it to be rather tacky. Weekend life is centered around
the guesthouses, sports clubs and the pubs. These also house large
plasma screens where many locals like to follow the English Premier
The night clubs are located within the heart of the city. With
regard to personal security, Ndola is a very safe and benign
The majority who are religiously active in Ndola are Christians and
mainstream Catholics. The United Church of Zambia has a cathedral
called St Marks standing just next to the government and legal
compound in the heart of the city. The Catholic Church also has a
cathedral and full compound, including a guest house, located
across from Michelangelo, on Broadway. Among the independents and
Pentecostals, the choice is large and their visibility is difficult
to ignore. On the main road leading to Ndola Swimming Pool, there
is an Anglican cathedral and a line of other church houses. On a
beautiful small hill in this area stands the main hall, offices and
kindergarten & primary school belonging to Bread of Life
Other religions and ritualistic practices are present in Ndola, but
are either comparatively small in number or are constitutionally
"City of drivers, banks and heaps of sausages"
- In 1993, a driver working for one of the large banks could not
believe his luck when he somehow found himself in sole control of a
van loaded with millions in hard currency. The amount was said to
be around K300m. With that he could do just about anything,
including bribe police and disappear from the country forever. He
decided to disappear. No sooner had the authorities started serious
FBI-style investigations than the fugitive flamboyantly surfaced in
his local township. When the heavily armed squard arrived, they
found the man in merry spirits and with truckloads of sausages in
his house!! Apparently. Nonetheless, this man's career as a
top-flight bank robber was over! His name was Ringo Phiri. In
Zambia, the term 'Ringo Phiri' is fondly used to refer to a form of
criminality that is so uneducatedly unsophisticated that it makes
you laugh instead of get angry.
Aldershot - United
Blantyre – Malawi
Bentol – Liberia
Porto – Portugal
Mkhachkalal – Russia
Harbin – China
Lubumbashi – Democratic
Republic of Congo
Walvis Bay – Namibia
- Camerapix: "Spectrum Guide to Zambia." Camerapix International
Publishing, Nairobi, 1996.
- BBC World Service Website: "The last shirt maker in
Ndola". David Lyon, 22 May 2004. Accessed 18 March 2007.
- Terracarta/International Travel Maps, Vancouver Canada:
"Zambia, 2nd edition", 2000