An insight into the end of the Empire

Malcolm Christie with his new book.

Malcolm Christie with his new book.

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A Milngavie man has published a book of letters that gives a fascinating first hand account of the last days of the British Empire in Africa.

Malcolm Christie (79) has written “Goodbye Colonialism, Farewell Feudalism: Letters from a District Officer, Barotseland 1959-62’. Barotseland is a region between Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Angola.

Malcolm’s letters are addressed to his parents, his wife-to-be Christian and friends, and tell of the first three years of a young Scottish recruit to the British Colonial Service in an African feudal kingdom.

The book includes commentary about the political situation between white settlers and the native population, which became violent at times with widespread destruction of properties.

They also discuss his friendship with the local Chieftainess, lion and crocodile hunts, witchdoctors and their medicines, missionaries and old pioneers, and a visit of the Queen Mother to the Paramount Chief in 1960.

Malcom said: “They recount foot-slogging tours of village developments and improvement projects – all part of the British colonial system of government.

“It’s a way of life which has disappeared but it ensured that the transition from the British Protectorate of Northern Rhodesia to the independent nation of Zambia in the heart of Southern Africa was a peaceful one.”

The book costs £14.99 and is available from Milngavie Minimarket, Strathblane Road and Ruby Red, Main St.