I arrived in the Netherlands in November 2004 with a PhD proposal I had prepared in Zambia tucked in my armpit. Two great people saw it, rejected it and advised me on how to go about it the right way. This way. In retrospect I now wonder how a research proposal as wide as a mile, passed through the door of an airplane. Since and before then, a lot of people have contributed in one way or another in making this study and my story a hard fought success. Some were in my yesteryears and could easily be forgotten, but I would like to acknowledge the contribution of all my teachers in primary and secondary school. Special thanks to all lecturers wherever I have studied.
Some people and institutions that gave support to this study deserve special mention. I wish to extend my sincere gratitude to the first great person to reject that broad proposal and help me focus on this one; Professor André Thomsen, for agreeing to assist me by promoting my PhD study when I met him for the first time at the European Network of Housing Researchers in Tirana (Albania) in May 2003. For André, a big thank you for your guidance, is all I have now. However, the “vonk” you have ignited, will be passed on to my students from Malawi, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Swaziland, Angola and Congo DR. Be rest assured that, through me, you have provoked a situation which will engulf the entire Southern Africa and beyond.
The second person to reject the broad proposal, who I also wish to thank most sincerely, is Marisa Carmona, the co-promoter. From your immense wealth of knowledge, I have skimmed a lot. You invited me to join the Alfa-Ibis Research Network, where I broadened my research acumen through attendance, various publications and presentations in international seminars held in Europe, South America and Africa. Through you, I thank all Alpha-Ibis members and your three boys Carmillo, Rodrigo and Gonzalo. I also met your late husband Pelayo, a very wonderful person, with whom we talked about lifetime experiences in Mansa, Zambia. I will always live to remember him.
I wish to thank Ann Schlyter, who exposed me to the Gender Research on Urbanisation, Planning, Housing and Everyday Life in Africa (GRUPHEL) program, unfortunately it was already in its final phase. The knowledge, the critiques and the research experiences are unsurpassed. Through you, may I sincerely thank all GRUPHEL members. For a foreigner, your profound knowledge and insights of housing issues in Zambia were very handy. My sincerely regards to my friends Thomas and Kjell.
Kees van der Flier, the man whose shoulder I was always able to lean on when the chips were down, deserves special mention for his patience in reading, and giving very helpful comments on whatever I took to him. Thank you for always being there for me.
Although special thanks go to the entire management of the Copperbelt University, I particularly single out Dr. Ernest M. Beele, the former DVC, for allowing me to pursue my studies. I also wish to thank Mr. Chiyanika, for his help, Mr. and Mrs. Mbewe for those occasional visits to my family.
I thank my wife Chowa, my sons Kasonde and Nkole, and my daughter Chanda, who endured five long years of my absence. Especially during the year mum also joined me for her studies. Your suffering was my inspiration. I am sure that in another world, I will be a better daddy, but for now, there are housing issues that need attention. I now wish to throw down the gauntlet to you, my children, to soar only ‘where eagles dare’. To you Chanda, I am sure one day you will find answers to some of your questions and realise that Marisa was not giving me tests, I had no classmates at school, and this book I was working on for five years is not a storybook for you to read now, or is it?
Lastly, my tears of joy drop on the graves of my late mother Mrs. Henrietta Nkole Mundetela Makasa (29/10/1985), and my late father Mr. John Kasonde Makasa (29/09/2005), a veteran school teacher, who started it all, but could not see it to the end. He always insisted that, ‘my son would be a Medical Doctor.’ Well, hopefully the housing policy ‘medicine’ I have learnt in the Netherlands, from two great ‘teachers’ will contribute a cure to the housing ills in Zambia and other needy countries. To you my parents, I dedicate this study, imyeo yeno ilale muchibote, may your souls rest in peace.
To you all I wish to state that this journey has been a learning process. Whereas Newton was able to see further by standing on the shoulders of giants, I have learned to climb the Kilimanjaro and the Everest mountains and I am now able to view the housing problems from a vantage point with clarity. This thesis may be the close of a chapter, but it is actually the beginning of a very hard and long struggle. Join me and together we shall overcome, as the “vonk” goes to Zambia, and Africa.