A man, and DC, better fitted by nature to be in charge of "KK" during his rural exile
would have been difficult to find at that time. A cool, unflappable character of
known courage. He had served in Bomb Disposal while in the army. And anyone who
has done that was respected by the army, whether decorated or not. The essential factor
governing Cyril's character was his constant good humour. Happily Kabompo, for all its
internal quarrels, made a good first impression on him. He may have glanced out over
the river at nightfall and seen the little fishing canoes each with its open fire lit in the
prow which recalled Venice to the imagination. To return to earth, the little fires were to
attract the fish! Practical folk - Africans.
Cyril Greenall's book wonderfully illustrates what one good man on the spot can do to
reconcile an unruly District to itself and to hope of prosperity, despite many obstacles
and the billeting on him of the shrunken Empire's most awkward customer, namely
Kenneth Kaunda of Chinsali. KK, as he was known, was of mixed tribal descent and
raised by rather "chippy" missionaries at Lubwa in Chinsali, very conscious of nonconformity
to others. This Church was as the mediaeval church in Britain, a fertile ground for self-absorbed and self-interested characters. KK fitted well. Here he advanced to
political leadership and by exploiting general inferiority in wages, status, opportunity,
anything to hand - and there was a good deal - he became the mouthpiece of African
discontent. Sadly, he courted racial hate as a political weapon, a too-easy trap...
The excessive, almost hysterical, admiration of his followers can be shown by this
anecdote: Kabompo has a particular kind of snake which could slither at great speed over
the top of uncut grass. KK encountered a specimen one fine evening and quite correctly
leapt clear. The British High Commissioner happened to visit the station a year or two
later and found a large notice board with the following inscription:
Here our beloved leader,
now President Kenneth Kaunda,
was nearly bitten by a snake.
He asked that the board, which had fallen into decay, be restored.
Cyril Greenall was never "Kaunda's Gaoler" in any real sense. He was more of a
guide, tutor, mentor. KK was lucky in HMG's choice of custodian which displayed
unusual wisdom. What good qualities he brought away with him he owes mainly to
Cyril's presence and example.
There were still a number of quite rough diamonds in the administration, not all of
whom liked Africans, particularly KK who was nobody's leading favourite. Instead he
had a kindly, slightly old-fashioned gentleman in charge of him. Lucky for him, lucky
for us, lucky for Zambia. A good-hearted book which it would profit everyone concerned
in the pre-Independence years to read. They should find it of outstanding interest, and it
does much to put their past prejudices into a fair perspective.