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A Guide to the "Grass Roots" Typescript by Noel Kennedy

Finding aid prepared by John R. Nemmers

University of Florida Smathers Libraries - Special and Area Studies Collections
May 2005

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Kennedy, Noel, 1948-
Title: Grass Roots : Typescript by Noel Kennedy
Dates: 1994?
Abstract: Photocopy of a typescript entitled Grass Roots in which Kennedy describes his early life on a family farm in Northern Rhodesia (Zambia).
Extent: 0.01 Linear feet. 1 item.
Identification: MSS 0474
Language(s): English

Biographical/Historical Note

Noel Kennedy was born December 6, 1948 in Southern Rhodesia (present day Zimbabwe). During his childhood his parents moved the family from Southern Rhodesia to Mkushi in Northern Rhodesia (present day Zambia) to start a farm. His mother, Denise Eileen "Denny" Kennedy, is referred to as the "Lady from the City" throughout the typescript. His father, John Graham Kennedy, was the son of an Irish Doctor who spent much of his life with the British army. His father was known as B.G., a shortened form of the Shona nickname Bwana Geba that was bestowed on him by the farm employees who worked for him. Noel Kennedy later departed Africa and moved to the United States.

Scope and Content

Photocopy of a typescript by Noel Kennedy in which he describes his family farm and his adolescence in Northern Rhodesia. The narrative covers the 1950s and 1960s, beginning with the emigration of the family from Southern Rhodesia to Northern Rhodesia in the 1950s and culminating with Noel's departure to attend Gwebi Agricultural College in Southern Rhodesia in 1967. A large part of the typescript is devoted to the establishment and operation of the family farm, Fair Acres Farm. The author describes tobacco and maize farming, the laborers on the farm, the use of rockets on clouds to produce rain, the selling of crops in Lusaka, and the evolution of the farm into a large agribusiness. Additionally, he describes various activities such as hunting, playing rugby, piloting small aircraft, and fishing in the Luapula swamps, Lake Tanganyika, and other bodies of water.

The narrative spans Northern Rhodesia's transition from a British colony, part of the Central African Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland, to its independence from Great Britain as the state of Zambia in 1964. Although the majority of the typescript focuses on the farm and his own experiences as a youth in Central Africa, Kennedy does make occasional observations about Zambia's relations with and independence from Britain. In particular, he discusses interactions with British soldiers in social activities and the efforts of Kenneth Kaunda to be elected as the first president of Zambia.

In addition to Noel Kennedy's text, the typescript also includes illustrations by C. Bugmann and copies of family photographs.

Access or Use Restrictions


The collection is open for research.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Grass Roots Typescript by Noel Kennedy, Special and Area Studies Collections, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida.

Acquisition Information

Donated by Noel Kennedy, 2004.

Selected Subjects and Access Terms

Agriculture -- Zambia.
Family farms -- Zambia.
Kaunda, Kenneth D. (Kenneth David), 1924-
Tobacco -- Zambia.
Zambia -- History -- 1953-1964.

For further information, please contact: Special Collections Access Services.

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