John Carlin Editor of A bercornucopia  in front of the Lake Press.

John Carlin Editor of Abercornucopia in front of the Lake Press.


John Carlin and Aram Luchewe Press Operator

John Carlin and Aram Luchewe Press Operator

Abercornucopia was a six page monthly newspaper printed and published by the Lake Press Limited of Abercorn, Northern Rhodesia. It was conceived by the editor John Carlin as a cornucopia of news spilling from the remote little hill station that was Abercorn, now Mbala in the Republic of Zambia.

Starting in December 1962 it ran for only 39 issues. The final edition came out in July 1966. This lively little news sheet spanned a critical period in the run up to Zambian Independence and through the first two years of UNIP’s rule under the presidency of Dr Kenneth Kaunda. Abercornucopia gives a vivid portrait of a tiny European settlement in the heart of Africa in the last days of British colonialism and the first years of Zambia’s nationhood. 

Abercorn was first settled in the 1890s in the healthy highlands above the southern end of Lake Tanganyika. It was a delightful spot and an enviable posting for those officials and others lucky enough to live there. Established to halt German expansion from East Africa and stop the slave trade, the first stockaded boma was at a major four-way crossing point on ancient trade paths. It seldom had more than 250 non-African residents in a total population of some ten thousand in the district.

While the paper carried all the local news and club gossip from this highly sociable community, Abercornucopia also commented on political news and events in the wider world. Newspapers in Lusaka, the Copperbelt and even further south in Rhodesia copied items by “Cornelius”, John Carlin’s pen name. He owned the Press and had been a Fleet Street journalist who had edited papers in Nigeria and Beira.

“Cornelius” took an optimistic view on the coming of Independence but was quick to criticise when District Commissioners or UNIP officials were seen to overstep themselves or the law. Indeed Abercornucopia’s demise was eventually due to criticism of a post independence Resident Minister in Kasama and his comments on the fate of the followers of the prophetess Lenshina, then held in a nearby refugee camp.

Colin Carlin, January 2015


The long serving staff of the Lake Press Limited produced 143 issues of Lyashi totalling 1.25 million copies plus a wide range of general printing and of course Abercornucopia.

Pierre Mofya

Benedicto Luchembe   

Aram Luchewe    

Charles Chellah  

Blackson Chinama 

Martín Muhone 

Johnny Mumba  

Maurice Lupupa  

Workingson Nkonde 

Gaston Kalifwa 

Patterson Paul

Jonas Kasonde

Miss Mabel Membe 

John Sikazwe              

And other staff including:

Alfred Simbeye

James Bwalya


Composing Room Foreman

Senior Compositor

Senior Printing Machine Operator

Head Binder

Printing Machine Operator

Intertype Composing Machine Operator

Intertype Composing Machine Operator

Machine Operator


Printing Machine Operater

Printing Machine Operator

Guillotine Operator

Lyashi Proof Reader

Compositor and Warehouse Clerk


General hand and later manager of the Kasama Bookshop and University Bookshop in Lusaka

General hand


Further Information

For further information on the people and history of Abercorn please click here.