SINCE 1964, State House in Lusaka has been regarded as the official residence of the country’s head of state. But for many Zambians they are several facts they don’t know of this historic building that was opened in 1935.
1. Money to build State House in Lusaka was donated by Alfred Beit. (a director in the British South Africa Company, (BSAC), In his will he set up the Beit Trust through which he bequeathed large sums of money for infrastructure development in the Northern Rhodesia. Some of the monies in his will were used to build Independence Avenue, Cairo Road, Lusaka City Airport, Supreme Court of Zambia, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Zambia, Cabinet Office and the European Hospital (UTH), Kafue Bridge, Luangwa Bridge, Beit Bridge on Zimbabwe/Zambia Border and Beit Bridge on Zimbabwe/South Africa border.)
2. State House was designed by renowned British architect Sir Walcot also famous for designing government buildings in South Africa.
3. State House was constructed in 1935 to serve as the official residence of the governor of Northern Rhodesia.
4. During the colonial era, State House was known as government house and served as the official residence of colonial governors of Northern Rhodesia.
5. 13 colonial governors lived in State House since 1935, with Major Sir Hubert Young being the first occupant and Sir Evelyn Hone was the last governor to live in State House. During this time one governor by the name of Sir John Maybin died in office on 9th April 1941 and he is the only governor to be buried at Aylmer May Cemetery in Rhodes Park, Lusaka.
6. Six Zambian presidents have lived in State House since 1964, with two dying in office. (Late Mwanawasa, 2008, Late Sata,2014)
7. In 1974, President Kaunda then did a security upgrade to State House. President Kaunda also built Nkwazi House (Official residence of the President) and the prestigious 19-hole golf course.
Credit: Mwebantu 2016