Breakdown on the Munali Pass

April 13, 2019  •  Leave a Comment

This photograph was taken by myself around 1967/68

My photograph shows a Canadian Kenworth horse coupled to a 36ft semi-trailer pulling a 15ft drawbar trailer known in Zambia as a Dangler. This rig was also known as a ‘set of joints’ by the Canadian drivers who came over with the 52 Kenworths that were purchased by Lonhro. The Canadian’s job was to map out the Great North Road which was known as The Hell Run and to train the Zambian drivers on how to operate a Kenworth Truck. One of the Canadian drivers called Mitch, could reverse a ‘set of joints’. I tried to do this and tied the rig up in knots, which was very embarrassing as I had quite an audience watching me !

The Kenworth in the photograph looks fully loaded with maize from the Monze area and it was probably on the road to Lusaka via Mazabuka and the Munali Pass.Those are the escarpment areas south of Lusaka.

I do remember going out to fix a broken down Kenworth and It could be this one in my photograph. There was a very big thunderstorm with lots of lightening strikes all around us, so Ernest Tembo, my assistant (known as a spanner boy in those days) and I had to shelter under the semi-trailer for a while until the storm passed.

Ernest asked me for some money as he had spotted a guy on a bicycle carrying bottles. He chased the guy down the dirt road and returned with a couple of bottles filled with a brown liquid with bits floating in it.  I tasted some and I was told it was known locally as honey beer but I would think we would call it mead.  I drank some more but had to strain the bits through my teeth. These bits were the wings and body bits of the bees !

You can see that a half-shaft has been removed, probable broken by using too much power in a low gear. Kenworths also suffered from twisted propshafts for the same reason and we had to make the first five gears of the fifteen speed gear box* unavailable to the driver for the same reason.

We often carried a spare half-shaft when we went out on a breakdown and a drill rod (an 8ft drill steel used with a jack-hammer on the copper mines). The method was to remove the opposite half-shaft and use the drill rod to poke out the broken piece of half-shaft. If the broken piece couldn't be extracted , then the complete differential had to be removed - great fun out in the bush !

I have no idea why the pick-up has an L plate !

Smith & Youngson also used Leyland Hippos to transport the maize but I never worked on them.

My thanks to everyone on the Northern Rhodesia & Zambia Group on FaceBook for help in locating where this photograph was taken.

* Fuller RTO 915

 


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