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Grass Roots : Typescript by Noel Kennedy

Identifier: MSS 0474

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.


  • 1994?



The collection is open for research.

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.


0.01 Linear feet (1 item)

Language of Materials



Photocopy of a typescript entitled Grass Roots in which Kennedy describes his early life on a family farm in Northern Rhodesia (Zambia).

Physical Location

University of Florida Smathers Library Building

Acquisition Information

Donated by Noel Kennedy, 2004.

A Guide to the "Grass Roots" Typescript by Noel Kennedy
Finding aid prepared by John R. Nemmers
May 2005
Description rules
Finding Aid Prepared Using Dacs
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Description is written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the Special and Area Studies Collections, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida Repository

George A. Smathers Libraries
PO Box 117005
Gainesville Florida 32611-7005 United States of America