For years after John Livermore left his teaching post in Zambia in 1968, the letters he wrote home to his mother in Colchester remained stashed away along with newspaper clippings, photographs, and other documents from his time in Africa. Encouraged by his daughter, Crystal, John has put together his experiences in writing for the first time.
John had been teaching Geography at a Colchester school when he was recruited by the Ministry of Overseas Development in London to teach in Zambia. Arriving in Ndola in mid-winter, John meets an old university friend and journalist Geoff Chapman, who asks him to document his time teaching at Mungwi Secondary School just seventeen miles outside Kasama. Working with a vibrant staff from the UK, India, Canada and South Africa John gets stuck into teaching life. He arrives in the aftermath of the conflict between the Lumpa sect and the ruling part UNIP.
Before Christmas Rhodesia’s UDI results in petrol rationing. Travelling some of the worst roads in Tanzania he completes an East African safari in a newly acquired Land Rover.
He then moves to the Southern Province and joins the local Kalomo Club rugby team. John visits Kafue and Chobe River game parks and spends a night in the ruins of Zimbawe. Before leaving Zambia he travels with friends from Victoria Falls to Cape Town.
A fascinating exploration of life in 1960’s post-colonial Africa, South of the Lake, North of the River is an in depth look at the politics, culture-and teachings-of the time.