PRO­FILE

The Jewish Chronicle - - WORLD NEWS - BY NATASHA BLAIR IN LUSAKA

IN THE years be­fore Zam­bia achieved state­hood in 1964, one of the few white men to stand up against the cul­ture of white supremacy was a Jew — Si­mon Zukas.

Mr Zukas and his fam­ily came from pre-war Lithua­nia to what was then the British colony of North­ern Rhode­sia be­cause it did not em­ploy quo­tas lim­it­ing Jewish set­tlers — un­like South Africa and South­ern Rhode­sia, later Zimbabwe.

He later joined the ter­ri­tory’s strug­gle for in­de­pen­dence and to­day re­mains a stan­dard-bearer for its small Jewish com­mu­nity as chair­man of the Coun­cil for Zam­bian Jewry, an um­brella or­gan­i­sa­tion.

“The threat of Hitler was around when we moved from Lithua­nia but we didn’t fore­see what was go­ing to hap­pen,” he once told the Zam­bian web­site Ex­tra­or­di­nary.

“We left for eco­nomic rea­sons but we were lucky. Only a few years later it would have been very dif­fi­cult be­cause of the war.”

Mr Zukas’s school­ing took him to the Univer­sity of Cape Town, where he stud­ied civil en­gi­neer­ing. His time there co­in­cided with the in­au­gu­ra­tion of apartheid, which thrust him into rad­i­cal stu­dent pol­i­tics and in­spired him to join the main na­tion­al­ist move­ment, the African Na­tional Congress, when he re­turned to North­ern Rhode­sia.

An ac­tive par­tic­i­pant in the coun­try’s strug­gle for in­de­pen­dence, he was even­tu­ally de­ported to Bri­tain but, fol­low­ing state­hood, was in­vited

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