The First Communist in Fort Jameson

A life story which is mostly about Africa, including Zambia before and after independence and the author’s time as Director of the Africa Centre. He also describes his role in the international voluntary service movement.

Anyone who mixed with Africans and supported their advancement was labelled a communist by white people in Rhodesia. Nigel Watt went to Fort Jameson in Northern Rhodesia in 1961 as a colonialist who was opposed to colonialism and he stayed on to run a school in independent Zambia – a time of great change. Most of his life has revolved around Africa.

This autobiography covers his early years, his love of railways, his travels in Africa and to India, his years as Director of the Africa Centre in London at a time when it was at its most vibrant He describes his time in Congo and in Burundi where his work for reconciliation earned him an MBE.

He describes the development of the workcamp movement and his part in this, working for International Voluntary Service (GB) which led to involvement in southern Africa, and later for CCIVS, the worldwide co-ordinator based at UNESCO.

This book adds interesting extra detail to the historical record of Zambia and Africa over the past sixty years. It also records with humour a very interesting life story.

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Nigel Watt

From 1998 to 2002, Nigel Watt worked in Burundi for Christian Aid and for CARE International, growing to love the country and dedicating himself to understanding its complexities. He was awarded an MBE (The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) for “services to national reconciliation.” He has been involved with Africa for most of his life, first as a teacher and head of a secondary school in postindependence Zambia, supporting the development of youth voluntary service in a number of African countries, and then serving as director of the Africa Centre in London.

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