Zambia’s booming capital Lusaka celebrates its centenary at the end of July this year, with the Lusaka100 committee scheduling a host of activities fit for the big 100.

The stage has been set for a momentous celebration on Cairo Road on Wednesday the 31st of July. Events will kick off at dawn with a running and walking marathon beginning and ending at the South End (Kafue) Roundabout.

Following the marathon, the Malasha Bike Race will see competitors speed from the Kafue Roundabout to the Church Road Junction and back again, each bearing three bags of Malasha . Spectators can then enjoy a spectacle of vintage cars parading along the road followed by rally vehicles, 4X4 competitive vehicles and off-road motorcycles. Following the vehicle parade will be a float procession open to all who wish to participate, including schools, sporting associations and other voluntary organisations, businesses and Government Departments, all accompanies by musical performances from popular local artists and bands.

The event also promises various arts activities for Lusaka’s school children to revel in. Primary School pupils will get to show off their work at an art exhibition, while Senior School pupils can take part in a mural competition. Various other art competitions and exhibitions have been arranged to entertain and challenge all participants and spectators. The full itinerary can be accessed on the Lusaka100 website. Various cultural and historical themed events and performances are also in the line-up, promoting Lusaka’s many heritage sites.

A live music concert open to all will close the ceremony before a captivating display of fireworks sets the navy-blue sky ablaze with colour.

The committee has also arranged a wide range activities and festivities in the weeks leading up to the big day itself. The Wildlife and Environmental Conservation Society of Zambia, the oldest conservation based organisation in Zambia, has organized a tree-planting campaign in the ten days leading up to 31st July in association with their own school-based Chongololo clubs and Toyota Zambia. Further environmental campaigns are being explored, such as the clean-up and recycling campaigns, ensuring an eco-friendly experience.

Various musical entertainments will be hosted in the city as a bid to promote the centenary, including a “Battle of the Bands” and free music concerts to promote local artists. A food and wine tasting festival will be held on Sunday 28 July to tantalise all foodies and wine lovers, complements of Lusaka’s top hotels and restaurants. The event will not only focus on music, arts and culture but sporting events will also feature to maximise the entertainment for all.

All in all, Lusaka100 looks set to be a fitting tribute to Lusaka’s development over the last century. Now one of Africa’s fastest-growing cities, Lusaka was once the site of a small village named after its chief Lusaka. Historians believe the village was situated on Manda Hill, around where the Zambian National Assembly building now stands. In 1935, due to its fairly central location and its situation on the railway and at the crossroads of the Great North Road and Great East Road, Lusaka was chosen to replace Livingstone as the capital of the British colony of Northern Rhodesia. After the amalgamation of Northern and Southern Rhodesia in 1953, Lusaka became a centre of the Zambian independence movement, from where the educated local elite helped bring about the creation of the Republic of Zambia. In 1964, Lusaka became the capital of the newly independent Zambia. As well as drawing more and more Zambians from all over the country in the decades since independence, Lusaka also now has a sizeable immigrant population making it an increasingly cosmopolitan and culturally diverse city.

And aside from the designated Lusaka100 festivities, Lusaka has a range of everyday delights to take in inbetween. Visit a local market at the Kabwata Cultural village on Burma Road where woodcarvers, artists and craftsmen flaunt their creations. A trip down Lumumba Road is guaranteed to provide great bargains; also make a stop to the City Market for more handicrafts. Enjoy a mouth-watering meal at The Engineers restaurant where Chef Moses Lukunde will offer you a true taste of Zambian cuisine; from goat to impala and chibwabwa (a traditional meal of pumpkin leaves with ground nuts). There’s something to accommodate all taste buds. So take a trip to Lusaka to help the city celebrate its centenary this July and the chances are you won’t wait another 100 years for your next visit.