Zambia - African nation
Postage Stamps of the Early Years 1964 - 1968
by Ron Shanahan
Copyright EARS Leisurewrite 1996.
A One Penny coin dated 1966 and the 1d stamp from the first definitive issue of 24th October 1964
"One Zambia - One Nation,
One Nation - One People,
One People - One President,
One President - Kaunda!"
Dr. Kenneth Kaunda, or K.K. as he was affectionately known had a very stabilising effect on the newly independent Zambia.
The first set of stamps issued by the newly independent nation was to commemorate their Independence. The country, which was Northern Rhodesia, was to have been called Zambesia, but the then Foreign Minister, Simon Kapwepwe, persuaded the House of Representatives, and the House of Chiefs, that Zambia would be snappier, and more easily accepted.
The 3d value shows President Kaunda against a background of the Victoria Falls, the 6d shows the College of Further Education, Lusaka, named after the former Governor, Sir Evelyn Home and the 1/3d shows a Barotse dancer.
The first definitive issue in Sterling values were issued on 24th October 1964. Designed by Gabrielle Ellison, a Zambian artist they showed the ancient and modern facets of life in Zambia.
½d maize-farmer & silo 1d radiographer 2d Chinyau Dancer 3d Cotton 4d Angoni bull
6d communications 9d Sawmills 1/- fishing 1/3 Tobacco worker 2/- Basket making
2/6d Game reserve 5/- Education 10/- Copper mining £1 Makishi dancer
1965 saw the release of three commemorative sets, all of which had a counter sale life of three months.
They were Centenary of the I.T.U. and the International Co-operation Year, both being issued on the same day, 26th July,
and the First Anniversary of Independence issued on October 18th.
1966 saw the release of only two commemorative sets. The Inauguration of the W.H.O. Headquarters, Geneva, on May 18th
then on July 12th two stamps for the Opening of the Zambia University.
1967. Three sets were issued, the first on May 2nd to mark the Inauguration of the National Assembly Building. This was the Zambian Parliament and the building had a copper faced rectangle in place of a dome. To show this, the printers (Harrisons) used a thin copper film.
Then on October 2nd, two stamps were issued for the opening of Lusaka International Airport. This airport was designed to take the Jumbo jets of the 1970's.
Both these sets were designed by Mrs. Ellison.
The third set was issued on 23rd October and showed the National Development.
The Government had been working to 'plans' and the results were shown on these stamps. The increasing air traffic had been the impetus for an increase in the telecommunications industry and the political implications of Rhodesia's Unilateral Declaration of Independence were the impetus for the opening of the Nkandabwe and Siankondobe coalfields and the road link with Tanzania.
January 16th 1968 was 'D' day and the Zambian economy went decimal, using the 10/- unit, which was called 'kwacha' - which in the language of one of the tribes means 'Freedom' - and the smaller coins were 'Ngwee' - which means 'little pieces'.
The reverse side of the Two Kwacha note.
The stamps, designed by Mrs. Ellison, featured tribal dancers and fauna, different from those on the sterling issue.
The obverse of the Ten Kwacha note showing Dr. Kenneth Kaunda.
The wealth of Zambia is dependent on the copper mined and smelted on the copperbelt. Ndola is the railing centre for the north, where the annual trade fair is held.
The map on the stamp shows the position of Ndola in relation to the rest of Zambia, and how close it is to the congo. The Zambian/Congolese border is only six miles from Ndola.
This stamp was issued on 29th June 1968, the day of the Fair and the Zambian Post Office had a stand there.
On October 23rd 1968, three stamps were issued to commemorate three different events. Once again all were designed by Mrs. Ellison and printed by Harrisons.
The 10n stamp issued for the 20th Anniversary of the World Health Organisaton was criticised as the '20th' was thought to overshadow the value show, so that many people thought it was a 20n stamp.
The 3n stamp commemorated International Human Rights Year and the 25n UNICEF 1946-1968.
In the early years of Independence, Zambia had a very conservative stamp issuing policy. There were no major errors on the stamps, such as values omitted, missing colours or missing heads.
One of the more obvious varieties was on the 10/- value shown below. The black colour shifted to the left giving a totally detatched light from the Davy lamp on the miners helmet. The frame has also moved to the left and the back of the miner
encroaches on to the inscription "copper mining". The normal stamp is on the right and the pair on the left show the variety.
Another small variety occurs on the 5/- 'Education' stamp. On this stamp, which shows the cylinder numbers in the selvedge, the pupil on the right of the group has a line across the top of the head, giving the impression of a mortar board.
Ron with sister-in-law Jean at Victoria Falls - photo taken by Eunice.
This is a postcard we bought and sent to my parents in England.
On the back it is dated 25.2.67 and the message is
Here we were today, across the border to Rhodesia. The falls are fabulous and we walked in the rain forest opposite the falls and got soaked from the spray, much love.
When Jean was with us we took her to the street market in Cairo Road, Lusaka and she bought a beautiful necklace of malachite, which she still has.
If you are interested in Zambia why not read all about the latest happenings through the on-line newspaper at:-
Times of Zambia
or for further reading
Contact us right here
OR Return to our Stamps page
Return To our Home Page