This old brick building has held everyone from prisoners of war to freedom fighters during its turbulent history.
This abandoned red-brick building, known as the Mbala Old Prison, was
built in 1912 by the British colonial administration back when Mbala
(known then as Abercorn) was the seat of the colonial presence in
Northern Rhodesia. It is now maintained as a historic building and a
Zambian National Monument due to its long and poignant history.
When World War I broke out in 1914, the Mbala prison was turned into a
defense post for the Northern Rhodesia Police, which was the colonial
military. The site was well-suited to repel German attacks over the
nearby border from German East Africa (modern-day Tanzania). As the
fighting progressed, the Old Prison was used to house German prisoners
When the war ended in 1918, the prison was then used to accommodate
German Askaris—Africans drafted as soldiers to fight for the colonial
powers—until they could be repatriated to their homelands. Later,
prominent freedom fighters such as Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe, Zambia’s first
vice president, were imprisoned here. Today the building stands empty
and disused, preserved as a national monument and one of the oldest
prisons in Zambia. Its duties as a prison have been taken over by the
new Mbala Prison, located next door.
Clancy's comment: Mm ... One can only imagine the harsh conditions the prisoners had to suffer.