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Times to remember Episode 4
Written by Frank Leslie Boswell   
Tuesday, 19 July 2011 17:31
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My employment with Rhodesia Congo Border Power Corporation.

I started working for R.C.B. P.C. on the 1st May 1959 as a Light Current Electrician. Around the beginning of 1966 their name changed to Copperbelt Power Company. They were a non-profiting company in which all the mines on the Copperbelt had shares. A few days before the end of the financial year the Control Room was a hive of activity. The statistician Arthur Scholem was in and out of the Control Room getting them to either arrange load shedding or to increase the load. This was done to balance their books.

Why the name change

Initially the Mines were required to supply their own power. To overcome this hurdle it was decided to obtain power from the Congo. Hence the name “Rhodesia Congo Border Power Corp.” A team of Italians built the 220,000Volt line, which they completed around 1957. This was well before the scheduled date. It spelt disaster for some contractors who were supplying the mines with wood for their furnaces. Before their contract ended wood could be seen all along the road stacked in lots of a cord (3.6 cubic metres).

Around the beginning of 1966 the name changed to Copperbelt Power Company when the 330,000Volt line from Kariba was commissioned.

With the problems in the Congo their supply of power came to an end and we were then able to supply them with power.

Our first accommodation supplied by the R.C.B.P.C

At first there was no accommodation available and we were given a room in the Single Quarters. It was actually convenient as our meals at the Mine Mess were paid for by R.C.B.P.C. Ernie Rodgers ran the Mine Mess an excellent chef with the most powerful voice. We were close to the Rhokana cinema, club, rugby fields and swimming pool.

The Kafue Fairies

When thinking of Rhokana swimming pool the Kafue Fairies come to mind. They would jump from the top diving platform after being soaked in petrol and set alight. One of their events nearly ended in disaster when the petrol drum caught alight as they were jumping from the diving platform. Aussie Osborne who was still on the diving platform kicked the drum into the water setting the area around it alight. The Kafue Fairies that surfaced in the flames miraculously escaped virtually unscathed. I can’t remember the full squad but the names of Steve Arneil and Dirk Swanepoel come to mind.

During this gala one of the participants would swim the length of the pool twice under water. Attached to him was a string of assorted coloured torch globes covering the whole of his rear body. As he entered the water all the swimming pool lights were switched off. With the length of the pool and the extra weight of the illuminated globes and batteries he was carrying took some doing. With the last event I attended he was still recovering from flu which resulted in him collapsing as he was getting out of the pool after his performance. At first the organizers thought nothing of it as he went to the bottom of the deep end of the pool. Fortunately they soon saw that this was no part of his act and their immediate reaction saved him from drowning.

The swimming pool and surrounds were always kept clean with Pop Patrick in charge. Nobody would go to the top diving platform unless he/she intended diving or jumping from it as Pop Patrick would not allow you to come down by any other means.