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Cyprus in the late 1950s, the family naturally empathised with the Zambian people. After all, the island’s own struggle for independence – following centuries of occupation by the Abyssinians, Egyptians, Persians, Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs, British Crusaders, Venetians, Turks and finally British again – made Zambia’s seem like a walk in the park. Cyprus finally gained independence in 1960, only four years before Zambia. But by then Andrew Sardanis had developed a deep commitment to his adopted country and was on hand to help forge the new nation. Within it he built an empire of his own. Today the.e.e.e.e.e.e.e.e.e.e.e.e.e.e.e.e.e.e.e.e.e.e.e.e.e.e.e.e. 1,000 pieces housed at Chaminuka constitute.e.e.e.e.e.e.e.e.e.e.e.e.e.e.e.e.e.e.e.e.e.e.e.e.e.e.e.e. the largest single collection of modern and traditional African art in Zambia. It is also testimony to the phenomenal success of the Sardanis family. After all, ...........if you ran the industrial development corporation of a young and mineral-rich country, as well as a family business that includes mining companies, mineral brokering and – at one time – a Most tourists, let’s face it, visit Zambia to enjoy the wonders of nature. And there is no denying the allure of Victoria Falls or the great game herds of Luangwa. Yet in rushing headlong to the bush, visitors risk overlooking the nation’s cultural riches – including its fine artistic tradition. Jake da Motta visited a unique lodge near Lusaka, where both nature and culture find custodians in a remarkable family. ‘Most Zambian artists would agree that you haven’t made it unless you have a piece in the Sardanis collection.’ The house on the hill Heritage CHAMINUKA 40 Travel Zambia November 2007 Just one hour from Lusaka’s Manda Hill Mall, where you can drink a skinny latte whilst browsing the internet, or window-shop for the latest international fashions, is yet another facet of Zambia. A place where, with the help of your imagination and the owners’ gentle artifice, you could almost believe you were deep in the African bush. Chaminuka, set among 10,000ha of prime miombo woodland and open vleis, is a lodge with a difference. Your first glimpse of ‘the place on the hill,’ as Chaminuka translates to, sparks immediate curiosity. Statues, both lifelike and abstract, festoon the grassy knoll on which it perches, creating a faintly surreal ambience. The house itself is modelled on a village in northwest Zambia, where Andrew Sardanis, its creator, found warm hospitality after breaking down in his truck one day in the 1950s. In 1998 it opened up as a 19-suite hotel, but to this day remains the family home. The Sardanis story is a fascinating one. Arriving in a colonised African country from

November 2007 Travel Zambia 41bank, you too might well acquire a souvenir or two of your travels, and a lot of spare rooms and wall space on which to display them. But the collection is about more than ownership. The Sardanis family has.s.s.s.s.s.s. become synonymous with patronage of the arts in Zambia. Stelios Sardanis, Andrew’s son,.,.,.,.,.,. talks vividly of a childhood surrounded by artists who found support, sponsorship and, often, simple refuge at Chaminuka. Today the works rub shoulders around the house as the artists themselves once did – and others still do. The paintings are everywhere, not only hung around the big house itself, but also splashed across the walls of its outlying guest suites. And the breadth of styles on display is remarkable. The naïve and witty social satire of Stephen Kappata, depicting dough-faced colonials making fools of themselves, jostles for space with the unsettling calabash-headed figures of Lawrence Yombwe’s 2007 Journey series, whose landscapes are lit with the same early-Monet light as his depiction of children at play on a termite mound. Elsewhere other influences are evident: a portrait of an African man apparently lit by fire is, in reality, James Brown playing a live gig in Lusaka in the ’70s, a vibrant chief in traditional headdress reveals the unmistakable face of Kenneth Kaunda, father of modern Zambia and a Sardanis family friend. Elsewhere, the works of Henry Tayali, Patrick Mumba and Godfrey Setti reveal the painters’ artistic evolution whilst mirroring the swing in Zambian culture from homegrown to external influences and back to traditional. And paintings are not the only creations on display. Elegant stone and wood pieces by Flinto Chandia, Zambia’s foremost sculptor, are everywhere. If art is in the eye of the beholder, then the Sardanis family seems undeniably to have the gift of foresight, bringing exposure to many artists who might otherwise have remained in obscurity. ‘Most Zambian artists would agree that you haven’t made it unless you have a piece in the Sardanis collection,’ says Stelios. He adds that were his parents to place the works in trust for the nation he would have no objection. But the wryness of his smile suggests there may still be some free wall space in the Sardanis home yet to fill. Of course there is more to Chaminuka than art. The Sardanis passion for nature, once nurtured with gun in hand, today finds expression in the surrounding reserve, which provides refuge for some 70 species of mammal and 300 species of bird – a checklist many national parks would envy. Many mammal species have been reintroduced, on the basis that they were once known to inhabit the area. Today, with the exception of the lion and hyena enclosures, all the wildlife – including elephant, buffalo and giraffe – roams freely, providing tourists with a delightful introduction to the safari experience on foot, vehicle and horseback. And as if the wildlife and art were not enough, Chaminuka is also home to Zambia’s only cheese grotto, complete with diorama, cement stalactites and stalagmites, and a Flintstone-style monolithic table. The cheese, made on the property, is really rather good. Did I mention things tend towards the surreal at the House on t........he Hill? Chaminuka is situated just 30min from Lusaka International Airport, from where the lodge arranges transfers. Facilities include 30 suites, conference and business facilities, a terraced restaurant, a swimming pool and floodlit tennis courts. Attractions and activities include the art collection, game drives, bush walks, horseback safaris, fishing and boating, cheese and wine tasting, and visits to local schools and churches. Chaminuka fact file The art at Chaminuka takes many forms. Sculptures, both abstract (opposite) and figurative (above), surprise the visitor in unexpected places around the grounds, while paintings (below), both traditional and modern, splash their vibrant colours through the rooms and corridors. JAKE DA MOTTA (3)