Ndola is one of the most prominent towns in Zambia’s Copperbelt province. Today, the numerous copper mines in the region provide the region’s wealth. But in the past, a darker industry spurred the settlement.
Still standing near the center of town, the Slave Tree was the central location where Swahili slave traders met to discuss their gruesome transactions. Under its shade, Swahili traders such as Chipembere, Mwalabu, and Chiwala held councils of war and sold enslaved people to the Mambundu from Angola.
Much of central and southern Africa, including modern-day Zambia, was crisscrossed by slave traders transporting human captives to the Swahili coast to be sold to Arab slave traders. These traders would enslave people themselves or buy people who had been captured by warring local tribes.
Slavery was abolished in Zambia early in the 1900s, when the British Colonial Administration was established. The town of Ndola itself was founded in 1904 after the discovery of copper at the Bwana Mkubwa mine at the site of the slave trading post. The Slave Tree was left standing as a monument to the lives lost to the slave trade.
Know Before You Go
The Slave Tree is near the center of Ndola along Makoli Avenue. It is surrounded by a small fence with an open gate. The tree can be visited at any time.