George Compound – The Origin And Growth
Here's my contribution to the Zambia online resource...
George Compound draws its name and origin from George Hadjipetrou, who served with the English army until the end of world war two when he was demobilized.
Mr. George, as he was popularly known, went into brick making business with a few workers who settled near the source of the clay used for making bricks. This small group of people constituted what was to become George Compound.
George Compound has had its fair share of problems, both socially and economically. Some have been there since the compound was founded, but others are new on the scene. The biggest challenges are a lack of social amenities.
The compound is situated on the North Western side of Lusaka city, on the western part of Matero. One thing that will surprise you right away is the crude way of construction. However, some have been well designed. The compound has grown since the days of its founder, the late George Hadjipetrou who died in 1995. But sadly, this growth has been in numbers only and has not been matched by the growth in quality and quantity of social facilities.
Life in George compound may look confusing to you as an outsider. But to the local dweller, they are simply trying to make a living. Take for example the “ngwangwazi”, as the locals call them or the moving vendor. You will bump into him as you stroll along the dusty roads of the compound. He usually carries along his merchandise.
These vendors are dedicated long distance walkers. Their business takes them all over George compound and other areas beyond. They just have to sale no matter where the buyer is. George compound has a market within its boundaries where the locals do their buying and selling. It’s not a grand place but it is sufficiently stocked to meet the demands of the local dweller.
The market is not only for business but it acts as a
meeting place as well: in fact some people go there to pass time!
The compound boasts of a library and a play park which unfortunately are not put to good use. Youngsters who are supposed to be using these facilities are either to busy with their lives or they simply do not care. The people are carried away with the business of living.
The drinking age has gone down in George compound. Young people are now regular patrons of the bars. With the already over burdened education facilities, most youngsters end up roaming the streets. The sad fact of this scenario is the increase in child labor. The Day Starts!
The day in the compound starts in the early hours. Around 03:00 hrs it awakes from its slumber and gradually goes on a fast pace until mid night takes over for what seems like a short time before it is another day again to face the same challenges, most of which have been around as long as the compound.
However, things are changing for the better now. As a new comer, you will notice water tanks dotted around the compound skyline. These tanks have been constructed by JICA (Japanese International Cooperative Agency) and they have led to an improvement in the quality of water. This has resulted in the lower levels of water borne diseases being experienced of late.
Despite all the challenges people face in here, you are likely to encounter happy and cheerful faces amidst all the troubles they have. Yesterday today and the future
The compound was initially an unplanned settlement. Consequently, the place is under serviced and over crowded. Economically and socially the compound is depressed. Most people are without power and water has to be shared with others because not all houses have got running water.
The authorities have come in to help sort things out ( like the JICA project). Certain things look promising and can be turned around but others need a whole reconstruction.