I have done a fair number of 19th century stamps lately. So to change it up a little lets move forward to the 21st century. Some things change, but most stay the same. So slip on your smoking jacket, fill your pipe, take your first sip of your adult beverage, and sit back in your most comfortable chair. Welcome to todays offering from The Philatelist.
This is an interesting stamp visually. It was part of a series depicting African legends on the creation of the earth. This is probably too sectarian and divisive a subject for a western stamp. The drawings though are well executed and aimed at children. One issue that crops up being in the modern time is that it is evident that the stamp is more of a curiosity rather than something to use for postage.
Todays stamp is issue A179, a 600 Kwacha stamp issued by the Republic of Zambia on November 10th 2000. It was part of a three stamp issue. The Scott catalog seems to only view the stamps as a sheet together. The three stamps together are worth $1.60 whether mint or canceled to order. I only possess the one stamp featured today so I will guestimate its value at 53 cents.
Zambia was granted independence from Britain in 1964 after a white led federation with Zimbabwe and Malawi could not be sustained. It was originally intended to be a democracy but the first President Kenneth Kaunda ruled for over a quarter of a century with no legal opposition. Originally whites were given a voice in the legislature but this was withdrawn and most left. At independence, Zambia only processed 100 black college graduates. It did have the revenue from all the newly nationalized industries but the educational system required massive investment. Kaunda became a leader in the non aligned movement and a major supporter of majority rebel movements in the still white lead countries around Zambia. This lead to increased security risks and even clashes with Rhodesia and South Africa.
Kaunda sought and received aid from East and West but much was squandered on corruption and useless military equipment like MIG 21 fighters, that Zambia could not properly maintain or operate. The economy was heavily dependent on copper exports but when price levels of copper dropped the only replacement was debt. The economy contracted 30 percent in the last years of Kaunda’s rule. Eventually the economic distress lead to strikes and coup attempts and Kaunda allowed a real election with labor leader Fredrick Chiluba winning and becoming the second President of Zambia.
The styles of the two men were quite different. Kaunda was famous for his khaki safari suits. In Southern Africa the suit is known as a kaunda suit. President Chiluba was only 5 feet tall and wore high heeled shoes and fancy business suits. The two men were still rivals and sniped at each other. Chiluba tried to have Kaunda’s citizenship revoked for having parents from then federated Nyasaland. Kaunda in turn accused Chiluba of being a thieving, cross dressing, dwarf. Chiluba was accused of stealing 50 million dollars from the government by having the intelligence service wire it to London. Chiluba said it was for foreign missions and was cleared by a friendly local court. Over 60 million was recovered from him after he left office. Kaunda is still around in retirement in his 90s and Zambia still stagnates.
Well my drink is empty and I will now depressingly contemplate what a country is to do when there is no one competent to run it. Come again tomorrow for another story that can be learned from stamp collecting.