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Kariba into the Millenium
by Colin Gillies

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Publisher - C.J. Gillies, 1999
290mm x 220mm x 20mm, 200 pp. in two sections. First half, more than 100 sepia & black/white illust. Includes facsimile of a original book published in 1957 (122pp, 78 black/white illus.) Second half, more than 150 full colour photos. Hard cover - outside front cover and spine gold foiled, with full color varnished dust jacket.
ISBN 0797419969


The construction of the Kariba Dam wall on the mighty Zambezi River bordering Zimbabwe and Zambia produced a vast man made lake and changed the region forever. This book covers the construction of the dam and the subsequent effects & developments due to the dam's creation on the shores of Kariba and Zambezi Valley over the last 40 years.

This is the story of one of the greatest engineering feats ever undertaken by man, the story of the construction of what was at the time the largest man-made lake in the world, Lake Kariba. On a section of the Great Rift Valley, in an area known as the Gwembe Trough, engineers set out to tame one of the World's mightiest rivers, the Zambezi.

The story tells not only of the magnitude of the project in engineering terms, but also of the conflict it caused with the local Tonga people who refused to believe that their River God, Nyaminyami, would allow a man-made structure to stop the flow of water. Nyaminyami was credited with causing several deaths which occurred during the construction of the dam and the massive floods which were experienced over two successive years. During this period, 1957 and 1958, flood water levels reached heights never before recorded, destroying much of the infrastructure which had already been built.

With the rising waters of the lake engulfing many island sanctuaries, the famous "Operation Noah" was carried out. Under the leadership of Rupert Fothergill, game rangers of the Southern Rhodesian Game Department evacuated thousands of animals to safety in what is still today, one of the largest wildlife rescue operations ever undertaken.

The story of Kariba as presented here covers the period from when the lake was first conceptualised through to its construction between 1955 and 1959. This first section is reproduction of a original book published in 1957. It includes 78 superb black and white photos showing all aspects of the dam's construction itself, as well as the adverts of the various companies involved in the construction. An additional section deals with present-day Lake Kariba and it's effects on all aspects of the region starting with "The Birth of a new Lake" with the Dam's opening by the Queen's Mother in 1960. This second section covers all the effects and developments that has taken place in the Kariba environs up to the present Millenium, including the drowning forests, early weed problems, relocation of the Batonka tribes, various fishing industries, crocodile farming, tourism, main lake fishes, wild game & bird life, lake shore developments, climatical conditions etc. The book closes with a chapter on the future of Kariba as the author sees it.

Ultimately it is a story of a project which shaped the future and changed the fortunes of all involved with it, the effects of which are being felt even with the approach of the new millennium, 50 years from it's birth.

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