Red Mettle

October 2011

An african uprising

It’s a kind of rags-to-riches story, in which the rags represent the remarkable Society House high-rise structure destroyed by fire nearly 15 years ago, and the riches denote the transformation of same into a new, glittering source of national pride. The architect concerned tells the real life fairytale of this process of reincarnation, and alludes to the Zambian zest for glamour and fortune.
Inner city mega-project on Cairo Road (left), Sanitary Lane (middle), spanning Cha Cha Cha Road. Courtesy of Louis Karol & PJP Architects
Following hotly-contested Zambian elections on September 20th, Rupiah Banda was voted out of office amid largely peaceful demonstrations on the streets of Lusaka. His Excellency the Republican President Michael Sata was sworn in on Friday September 23rd. A text message from Lusaka on Saturday indicated that Banda’s giant portrait had been torn from the hoarding around Society House, but that the project perspective remained untouched: “Hi Robert, the cadres forced the Chinese to remove Banda’s high level portrait and burned it on the street of Cairo Rd. Our big project wrap has remained intact as it remains a symbol of pride in the CBD.”
This article appeared in DAM30. Order your personal copy.