On Oct. 30, 1964, TIME magazine reported on the celebration of the independence of Zambia (formerly Northern Rhodesia), with its new president, Kenneth Kaunda.
But as the jubilant crowds celebrated, one man complained that the festivities were interfering with his "space program." Edward Makuka Nkoloso informed the TIME reporter that his Zambian "astronauts" would beat both the US and the Soviet Union in the space race -- by going to the moon, and then to Mars.
This was an unusual boast, to say the least. At the time, Zambia's population numbered 3.6 million, with barely 1500 African-born high school graduates and less than 100 college graduates. Nkoloso himself was a grade-school science teacher, and self-appointed director of the country's (unofficial) National Academy of Science, Space Research and Philosophy. More...