Saturday, October 20, 2007

State of Despondence part 2 - Lessons for Zambians

World's Most Expensive Homes 2007
by Matt Woolsey
Thursday, October 18, 2007
provided by

Along Australia's Gold Coast and across the French Riviera, they sit above the beach offering extraordinary views of the sea. In the U.K. they are palaces that humble the Queen's Belgravia mansions.

Others range from landed estates throughout continental Europe to nature preserves in Zambia.

For the past two years Forbes has listed Chaminuka as Africa’s second most expensive house. The preserve is on the market for sale, the asking price $ 20 million (twenty million US dollars). How did Andrew Sardanis who arrived, a penniless teenager, in Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia) build this pricey piece of real estate in a country whose average homes look like this?

Zambia abounds with immense resources and opportunities; nonetheless it appears as though the ability to perceive, craft a vision and act on it, in order to exploit and benefit from this resource is an ability that Zambian people lack. A few Zambians may boast of a few riches but none can equal the legacy of Andrew Sardanis or Abe Galuni.
For these two Zambian legends, arrived in Zambia penniless teenagers yet in less than forty years, they had amassed tangible treasure and wealth, enough to trickle down and preserve three or more family generations.
Sardanis a Cyprus-born journalist cum politician cum businessman had the particular genius
to place himself, at the centre rather than the peripherals of Zambia’s freedom struggle and immediate post independence economic development. He crafted a friendship with Kenneth Kaunda, that he has natured through the rough turbulence of their political and philosophical differences.
When he arrived in colonial Rhodesia, he had the vision to perceive and exploit the business of trading cattle for slaughter between the western province and the booming mine towns. Though catering to the nutritional and other needs of the colonial masters, he had the good mind to support Zambian’s freedom struggle. After independence, Sandanis was appointed Chairman of industrial Development Corporation (Indeco). He oversaw major national investments at the same time, advancing his personal fortune such that, when the rift of his differences with KK caught up with him in 1970, when he resigned his position, he was able to incorporate his own firm in the UK with a capital of 250,000 pounds.

Sardanis has clearly used his political and economic capital over the years; his influence on Zambian politics and business is enduring, he has also written a few books about his early experience in Zambia.


Cho said...

I think coming from a more developed world is equivalent to coming from the "future", and therefore may give you some added advantage in seeing opportunities. Unfortunately Zambians who live abroad don't seem to realise this. And those that do often are met with bureaucratic hurdles. The best way to do business often is to get some non-Zambian to do it for you. You'll see how many doors it opens!

Kashikulu said...

"The best way to do business often is to get some non-Zambian to do it for you. You'll see how many doors it opens!" Cho

Is that indeed the great irony of the Zambian mindset, Yet more ironic for me, was the claim by Bashikulu super Ken, our first president- who claimed then as now to be homeless on leaving office in 1991.
How could this happen to a man who commanded such great power and whose own great friend Sardanis, had in the same timeframe built a business empire (former Meridian Bank) and built this pricey estate!
Truth be told, there are a few Zambians that built beautiful homes in Lusaka east and other places. It would, however be been more satisfying, if more Zambians could see and seize the abundant opportunities our land, even in the face of red tape/Gov bureaucracy.