Posted by: wildsidezambia | May 4, 2011

Livingstone’s rich Jewish history

Many of Livingstone’s historical old buildings, including the Capitol Theatre, were built by the first Jewish immigrants who arrived in the town around 1905. Prominent families, such as the Sussmans who went on the build the Woolworths empire in South Africa, were among the early settlers in what was then known as Northern Rhodesia.

They arrived poor but as hard workers they built a thriving Jewish community of around 500, with the first wedding taking place in 1910. Jews were very active in local and national government. The first synagogue in Zambia was built in Livingstone and a Jewish graveyard was established. All these still exist, although the synagogue and the adjacent school were donated to a Christian Church when the settlers moved on to more prosperous towns such as Lusaka in the 1970’s, where many of them still live.

Kennedy Chaile of Floating Skies Safaris has taken a particular interest in the Jewish history of Livingstone and runs a 2 1/2 hour tour taking in the historical buildings and the graveyard.

The tour has proven to be very popular with descendants of the old settler families and with people interested in the Jewish history in Africa.

For more information and bookings contact Wild Side Tours on;; Tel: +260 213 323 726.



  1. What an excellent initiative! The history of a country like Zambia is so interesting and expecially so when you think of the hardship these people encountered while working to find their way in a new country and to build towards a secure future for themselves and for their families … Doesn’t this still apply to families resettling ( for whatever reason) all over the world? Shouldn’t we ( the natives and I am talking about ourselves here in Holland!) give them every chance to do so ..??! I am SURE we do! And I will continue to give the example …

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