In Northern Rhodesia in the early 1950's, most heavy household items could only be purchased at designated "European" stores. Africans were generally not permitted to shop at these stores but when they did, they were served through a hatch at the back of the shop.

As it happened, Robinson Chisanga Puta Chekwe required a bed. He set off to buy one at the Nchanga Co-operative Store. A white sales lady told him to go to the hatch, outside the shop to make his order.

Robinson obliged. He then told the lady that he wanted to buy the bed he had seen inside the shop. After being told the price, he took his money out of his pocket and gave it to the lady. Upon receiving the money, the sales assistant asked him to go and enter the shop so that he could collect the bed. Robinson declined the offer to go inside the shop and insisted that the bed be given to him through the hatch where the money had passed! Robinson's action demonstrated the absurdity of serving Africans through the hatch and it did not take long before the practice was abolished.

--Recollections by Henry George Mumbi Shikopa


Puta, our saviour