Edward Makuka Nkoloso
|Some or all of this article's listed sources may not be reliable. (December 2013)|
Edward Festus Makuka Nkoloso was a resident of Zambia. He joined the British forces in World War II, and served as a sergeant in the signal corp. After the war, he became translator for the Northern Rhodesian government. He was also a grade school teacher, and opened a new school, which was purportedly shut down by British authorities. He then joined the resistance movement. He was arrested and imprisoned in 1956 and 1957. Following his release, he was appointed as security official of United National Independence Party. In 1960, he founded the Zambia National Acedemy of Science, Space Research and Philosophy. In 1964, he participated in the Constitutional Convention.
From 1960 until sometime after 1969, this program sought to accomplish the launching of a rocket that would send one girl, 17-year-old Matha Mwambwa, and two cats to the moon. There were also plans for a trip to Mars. Nkoloso hoped to beat the United States and Soviet Union's respective space programs at the height of the Space Race.
To train the astronauts, Nkoloso set up a makeshift facility on an abandoned farm seven miles from Lusaka where the trainees would climb into a 44 gallon oil drum which would be rolled down a hill bouncing over rough ground. This, according to Nkoloso, would train the men in the feeling of weightlessness in both space travel and re-entry. In addition, they used a tire-swing to simulate weightlessness.
Nkoloso stated goals of the program were to establish a Christian ministry to "primitive" Martians, and the hope of Zambia becoming the "controllers of the Seventh Heaven of Interstellar space". However, he reportedly instructed the missionary in the space program not to force Christianity onto the native Martian inhabitants if they didn't want it.
The rocket, named D-Kalu 1, was a 10 foot x 6 foot drum-shaped vessel. Named after the first president, David Kaunda, he claimed it was made of aluminium and copper, and space worthy. The planned launch date was on October 24, 1964, Independence Day, and would take place from the Independence Stadium, but was purportedly denied permission due to being inappropriate.
It is said that he then asked UNESCO for a grant of £7,000,000 in Zambian pounds to support his space program. It is also said he requested $1.9 billion from "private foreign sources". However, the Ministry of Power is reported as stating those requests had not been made on the behalf of Zambia.[unreliable source?]
The term "Afronauts", coined by Nkoloso, refers to the participants of this program.
Nkoloso stated the program failed due to lack of funds, the pregnancy of astronaut Matha Mwambwa and her subsequently leaving the program to return to her parents, and problems with morale due to media attention. The rocket was claimed to have been sabotaged "by foreign elements". The Zambian government distanced itself from Nkoloso's endeavor.
Nkolosa unsuccessfully ran for mayor of Lusaka, Zambia, emphasizing scientific advancement. He was appointed by President Kaunda to the Liberation Center, a movement for regional freedom, and retired in 1972. He received a law degree from the University of Zambia in 1983. He was awarded the Russian Jubilee Medal "Forty Years of Victory in the Great Patriotic War 1941–1945". He also served as president of the Ndola Ex-servicemen's Association and made an honorary army colonel. He died on 4 March 1989, and buried with presidential honors.
A photograph book Afronauts commemorating the events was self-published by Cristina De Middel in 2012. The short independent documentary film titled Afronauts (Frances Bodomo, director) is slated to be premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2014.
- "Makuka Nkoloso the Afronaut", Faces of Africa, CCCTV News, 16 Oct 2013 (video)
- Edward Makuka Nkoloso, "We're going to Mars! With a spacegirl, two cats and a missionary", editorial, unknown newspaper, unknown date (probably 1965), reproduced here in "The Global Trip 2004" (a blog).
- "Africa in the Great War" Gabriel Banda, The Post Online, 6 Nov 2009
- "New constitution leaves Barotse Agreement out" Kombe Chimpinde, The Post Online, 15 Apr 2013
- "Tomorrow the Moon," Time, 30 October 1964. Behind paywall.
- The Lusaka Years: The ANC in exile in Zambia, 1963 to 1994 Jacana Media, Hugh Macmillan, 2013, p20-21, 98
- "Zambian astronauts train for Moon trip -- Interview with space academy director", ITN, 14 November 1964
- Dennis Lee Royle, "Zambians Have Plan To Put African On Moon But Problems Mount Up", Associated Press in Gettysburg Times, 18 Aug 1965, p6
- Afronauts Cristina De Middel, 2012
- Reproduction in "Investigator Magazine" of a letter from the Ministry of Power, Transport And Communications, Zambia.
- Afronauts Sundance Film Festival, 2014
- Patrick Moore, (1972), Can you speak Venusian?: A guide to independent thinkers. David and Charles
- Interview on YouTube
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