Copperbelt businesses and families

After posting a recipe book published by the Ndola Women’s Society on the ZJC website – we are grateful for the text and pictures on this page from Mark B Abrams. 

Mark grew up on the Copperbelt and knew several of the families and businesses mentioned as advertisers in the recipe book (page references below) and has written below about his own family as well. If anyone else would like to contribute to this page please use the contact form below.

Scroll down to find another list of other businesses from Ndola provided by Mervyn Blumberg (edited by Aviva Ron) for which we thank for their contributions. Mervyn has also written a personal history of his family and life in Ndola. Click here.

Mark Abrams
Mark Abrams


Additional background information on the Copperbelt Jewish Community of the 1950s – with thanks to Mark Abrams.
The lady seated at the centre was my father’s sister Hilda Zlotnick. 
On the right is my father’s mother Sonya Abrams ( Abramowitz) who was seldom amused.  Men from left to right:
Joe Goldberg
Isaac ( Zlottie) Zlotnick. The founder of I. Zlotnick & Co and its subsidiary ‘Worths” David Karstaedt ( at the back). He was involved with Worths Luanshya before he was married in Johannesburg in 1956. He returned with his wife and twin daughters, Louise and Alexis ,to manage Worths in Bancroft.
Izzy Goldberg.
Izzy and his twin Joe arrived in Luanshya as infants with their parents Sonya and Isak in 1939 from Latvia. Izzy and Joe went to Milton in Bulawayo. Joe went to college in Bulawayo and Izzy studied Architecture in London. 
They both went to Israel in the early 1960’s and set up an architectural practice. They both married in Israel and Izzy and his family relocated to London in the 1980’s. Izzy’s son Iddo Goldberg who was born in Israel
 is an actor who has played many supporting roles in television and film in the UK. I met with Izzy in London in 2019.
My father’s brother Morrie Abrams who was involved in Worths Luanshya and later relocated to Kitwe and managed Worths Kalulushi
Luanshya 1955 - themed party
Luanshya 1955 - themed party
A ‘ turnaround party’ in Luanshya about 1953/54. 
The tall man in the centre in black face ( pre politically correct days) was my father Barney Abrams who went to Luanshya in 1948 with my mother and his first 2 children who were infants at the
time. Three more children were born in Luanshya and I was the last. My father was involved with Worths Luanshya and later relocated to Kitwe in 1960 and managed along with his brother Morrie Worths Kalulushi. After his brother and brother in law left for Salisbury he managed Worths Bancroft in 1963/64 although still resident in Kitwe.
The lady in the chef’s hat was my mother Cecile (nee Karstaedt).
The lady with the cigarette and pistol was my aunt Hilda Zlotnick.
The seated man in the white blouse was Isaac Zlotnick.
The man on the right in the white dinner jacket was Harry Rayner. His nephew was Dennis Figov. Dennis’s father established a general trading business in Luanshya called Figovs in the early 1930’s Dennis took over the business in the mid 1950’s 
and remained there until the early 2000’s when he retired to Cape Town. Dennis who I believe was born in Luanshya was mayor of Luanshya in the post independence period and there is a street Luanshya town centre called Figov Ave. 
There was another Jewish mayor of Luanshya in the early 1950’s called Phil Rosen who had a business called luanshya Trading. He officially received the Queen Mother in 1953 when she visited Luanshya as part of the Coronation celebrations. 
Phil’s son Eric was studying law in Ireland when I was a child. His mother Rita came from Ireland. Eric later became a judge in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
Turnaround party
Turnaround party approx 1953/4
Wedding of my uncle David Karstaedt and Dr Helen Gordon at the Wolmarans Street Shul in Johannesburg 1956.
My parents, sister and uncles came down from Luanshya for the wedding.
Left end of the top row my father Barney Abrams Next to him my mother Cecile (nee Karstaedt) The lady to the right at the back  is Helen’s mother Mrs Gordon who was the sister of Dr Damie in Ndola. Next to the groom on the right is his brother Joe Karstaedt.
The flower girl in the middle is my sister Annette ( now Sacher) . She arrived in Luanshya in 1948 a few months old. In 1961 she went to High School in Salisbury and lived with my uncle and aunt Isaac and Hilda Zlotnick.
She was married at the  Salisbury Street Shul in 1968 and remained there with her husband and two sons until 1975.
Dave Karstaedt and Helen Karstaedt wedding
Dave Karstaedt and Helen Karstaedt wedding

Check out the web page with details of the Susman Wulfsohn Trading empire.  


Below – Norman & Lily Glazer formerly of N’dola, Zambia, proprietors of Business Machine Services. Were active members of the N’dola Jewish community. With thanks to Allan Glazer.

Copperbelt Businesses

(Updated 5/3/24 by Mark Abrams).

I am responding to an invitation for background on some of the business advertisers in the recipe book produced by the Ndola Women’s Zionist Society. Based on my knowledge of the date of establishment of one of the businesses and the change in location of another I would say this recipe book was produced sometime between 1956 – 1959.

From personal and family recollections, various readings including ‘Zion in Africa’ by Hugh Macmillan and Frank Shapiro, correspondence with Hugh Macmillan

Page 13 (from Ndola recipe book) 

‘Worths’ ( I. Zlotnick , Bancroft Ltd)

Worths, Bancroft (now Chililabombwe) was one of three Department Stores on the Copperbelt trading under the name of Worths. The other two stores were located in Luanshya and Kalulushi. Worths was a part of I Zlotnick & Co which also owned General Stores at different times from the 1930’s through the 1960’s in Luanshya, Bancroft, Kasama, Fort Rosebery ( now Mansa) and Wankie . The General Stores traded under the name of I. Zlotnick & Co. My father Barney and his brother Morrie were Directors of the company and Isaac Zlotnick, the founder of the company, was their sister Hilda’s husband. There was a smaller business, also called Worths, which was a Ladies Fashion business in then Salisbury in the 1950’s and 60’s located first in Manica Road and later in Angwa Street, This business was run by my father’s sisters Anne Matthews and Judy Harris.

Isaac ( Zlottie) Zlotnick was born in Bialystok , Poland in 1906. He and his family were part of the third Aliyah after the First World War . The family settled on a Kibbutz and in 1929 Isaac Zlotnick made his way to then Northern Rhodesia and settled in Luanshya where he established I. Zlotnick and Co. when Luanshya’s Roan Antelope Mine was just going into production. During the Great Depression of the 1930’s when copper production was limited across the Copperbely he relocated to Wankie. It is uncertain if he maintained his business in Luanshya at the same time .During a trip to Johannesburg he met my Aunt Hilda. They were later married on his family’s Kibbutz in then British Mandated Palestine and spent their honeymoon in Beirut. They returned to Wankie and later in the late 1930’s he returned to Luanshya with my aunt. Over the course of the next twenty years or so he established many businesses in then Northern Rhodesia. As well as the general store in Luanshya he opened general stores in the Northern and Luapula Provinces at Kasama and Fort Rosebery. It is believed by some although not confirmed that some of these early. businesses were partially financed by The Great Lakes Corporation mainly active in Nyasaland but also Tanganyika and Northern Rhodesia and headquartered in Scotland

As an aside Fort Rosebery was named after Lord Rosebery who was the British Prime Minister at the end of the Nineteenth Century. His wife , the Countess of Rosebery, was born Hannah Rothschild after whom Pardes Chanah ( Hannah’s Orchard}, a town in Central Israel is named.

In the 1940’s Isaac Zlotnick established the first long distance bus service connecting the Copperbelt to the Northern Province. He also had a boat and fishing business on the Luapaula River which forms one the borders between then Northern Rhodesia and the then Belgian Congo. According to the Northern Rhodesian Government Archives he was the first white man to extend lines of credit to local fishermen as part of his fishing enterprise. Dried fish would be transported from Luapula Province across the Congo Pedicle to the Copperbelt.

As another aside: during this time he knew of a Nissim Soriano who had come from Rhodes Island to the Belgian Congo in 1938 . He also had a fishing business on the Luapula River based on the Congo side. Soriano married a local woman and one of his sons is Moise Katumbi who took on his mother’s clan name . He is now one of the wealthiest persons in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) . He was Governor of Katanga 2007-2015 and the runner up in the Presidential elections in the DRC in 2023. He has a brother, known in DRC and Zambia, who sometimes goes under the name of Raphael Soriano. A few years ago I saw a documentary about Moise Katumbi. It included an interview during which he mentioned his father is buried in Netanya, Israel.

My father Barney Abrams and his brother Morrie Abrams , originally from South Africa , went to Luanshya in the late 1940’s and joined the business. During the 1950’s the Worths Department stores were established on the Copperbelt in Luanshya, Kalulushi and Bancroft as well as another I. Zlotnick general store in Bancroft. My aunts who ran Worths in Salisbury would alternate annual buying trips to Europe mainly for Worths Salisbury but also Worths Luanshya which had a large Ladieswear Depatrment which attracted customers from across the Copperbelt and a few from as far as Elizabethville in the Belgian Congo .Most of the garments for the Worths Department Stores on the Copperbelt were manufactured in Bulawayo. Arthur Kaplan who represented some of the clothing manufacturers in Bulawayo made frequent business trips to Lusaka and the Copperbelt and was a friend of my parents.

Worths Luanshya also had a Pharmacy run by my mother’s brother Joe Karstaedt. He relocated to then Salisbury in the late 1950’s and had a

Pharmacy there called Queensdale Pharmacy. Between 1957 – 1959 my mother’s other brother Dave Karstaedt managed Worths in Bancroft ( possibly the time of the advert in the recipe book). He came to Bancroft with his wife Dr Helen Gordon and their infant twins, Louise and Alexis. Helen worked for the Northern Rhodesian Government as a School Doctor. They relocated to Salisbury where Helen had a Medical Clinic and Dave managed one of the businesses which I think belonged to the Kaufman family. Dave Karstaedt was awarded the Military Cross for bravery in action under enemy fire in Italy during the Second World War.

Another aside: Dr Helen Gordon’s aunt was Dr Damie ( Manya Damje) who was a doctor in Ndola and well known across the Copperbelt. She was born in Latvia and studied medicine at the University of Padua in Italy after the First World War – I understand the only woman in her class. She went to Ndola in the 1920’s and stayed there until 1960. In the 20’s and 30’s she participated in a Public Health Campaign to eradicate Blackwater Fever which was prevalent across the Copperbelt at that time. She left Ndola in 1960 and settled in Israel. There is a street named after her in Ndola , one of the rare instances where a street or place named after a white person was maintained after independence. There is another street in Ndola still called Lowenthal Street, named after Abe Lowenthal who was at one time the Mayor of Ndola. He built the Lowenthal Theatre in the 1950’s which still operates as a theatre under that name in Ndola, and still the best theatre in the country from a building design point of view. Dr Mark Lowenthal, who I believe was Abe’s son, was the doctor who treated the only survivor of the aircraft crash that killed United Nations Secretary General Dag Hammarskjold in 1961 just outside Ndola. He was on his way to negotiate peace during the Katanga War in the Congo.

By the late 1950’s I had an extended family – relatives and relatives of relatives of about thirty members across the Copperbelt. As well as the names already mentioned there were some others: Isaac Zlotnick had a nephew Chaim Arkin who was born in British Mandated Palestine. He came to Kitwe in the !950’s and became the General. Manager of a Company called Heinrichs Syndicate with headquarters in Windhoek. Heinrichs owned a number of businesses across the Copperbelt including the Edinburgh Hotel in Kitwe and a brewing company called Heinrich’s Chibuku. Heinrich’s was eventually bought out by

Lonrho ( London Rhodesia Company) and Arkin relocated to Johannesburg in 1960. Morrie Abrams’s wife Lily had a sister Rose married to Joe Freed. They had a confectionery manufacturing business in Ndola.

In 1958 Isaac Zlotnick went to the Expo in Brussels. He was inspired by the theme of the Expo which was Science and Technology . He decided to go into manufacturing and in 1961 he left Northern Rhodesia for Salisbury and established the ‘Plastics and Polythene Ltd’ factory in the Industrial Area of then Salisbury. Worths, Luanshya had closed in 1959 and a number of smaller businesses were sold between 1959 and 1963 to provide capital for the import of machinery from the United States for the manufacturing business. During the Congo Crisis in the early 1960’s when the Lobito Railway which connected Lobito Bay in Angola to the Copperbelt via the Congo was partially closed , a consignment of goods from Europe destined for Worths had to be abandoned at the port.

During the same Congo Crisis a number of refugees were temporarily accommodated in the Kitwe Shul Hall and my sister Annette recalls that Worths Kalulushi, which was close to Kitwe, provided some essential supplies which she and my mother delivered.

Although the run up to Zambian independence in 1964 was relatively peaceful there were some incidents which affected one of the businesses in the far north. (Yet another aside: Emmerson Mnangagwa, President of Zimbabawe, who although born in then Shabani grew up in Northern Rhodesia. He started his political activism as an organiser for Kenneth Kaunda’s UNIP Party in Bancroft in the early 1960’s, although I don’t remember any incidents affecting Worths Bancroft businesses ).

In early 1964 , a few months before Zambian independence when Kenneth Kaunda was the first and last Prime Minister of Northern Rhodesia, he and his UNIP party hosted a dinner at Kitwe’s Edinburgh Hotel which although not the first was certainly the largest multiracial social event in Kitwe up until that time. Members of Kitwe’s business community including my parents, were invited and In a speech Kaunda assured the guests of their participation in the future Zambian economy. Two years later in 1966 following reforms introduced by the Zambian Governemnt many of the businesses were nationalised although general prosperity that began in early 1950’s continued and accelerated until the early 1970’s. But, for what remained of Worths the die had been cast. Attempts to find local investment proved unsuccessful due to political and economic uncertainty, and I. Zlotnick & Co (NR) and its subsidiary Worths (NR) went into voluntary liquidation a few months before Zambian independence in October 1964.

In 1961 Isaac Zlotnick settled in then Salisbury and passed away in 1966 .He is buried along with many of my aunts and uncles and two grandparents in Harare. He was a kindly man of restless energy and enterprise who perhaps due to circumstances and timing, never fully consolidated his many ventures.

My Uncle Morrie Abrams and his family, who like my family first settled in Luanshya and later in Kitwe, left Kitwe for then Salisbury in 1964 and joined Plastics and Polythene Ltd. He retired to Cape Town in the mid 1970’s and passed away a few years later. In 1964 my father Barney Abrams joined Roberts Construction ( later renamed Murray and Roberts, – M&R) in Kitwe. M&R was a large South African Construction Company and my father managed the Procurement Division for M&R’s Zambia projects as well as a few in Malawi. The projects were mainly Mining and Civil infrastructure as well as government funded Housing and Educational projects. The latter included the Zambia Institute of Technology (ZIT) in Kitwe funded by the Government of Canada and now transformed into the Copperbelt University’s Kitwe Campus, My first job as a student architect whilst studying in Winnipeg, Canada was working for the Canadian Architects on site at the ZIT Campus under construction in Kitwe,. This was during the 1973 and 74 university summer recesses. My father Barney Abrams took a transfer with M&R to Johannesburg in 1975. Both my parents passed away in Johannesburg – my mother in 2006 and my father in 2009.

Page 13 – Bennetts the Chemists

This was a business established in Kitwe by two brothers Stan and Basil Bennett in the 1950’s and were in business there until 1967 when they went to Johannesburg. In the 1960’s Bennetts the Chemist provided medical supplies during the Katanga War in the Congo although I am not sure if it was to the United Nations troops or the Gendarmerie of Moise Tshombe. In the early 1960’s the two brothers both married women from Salisbury. Stan married Belinda Rosen and Basil married Daisy Habib and they lived in Kitwe until 1967.

Later Basil established a Baby Products manufacturing business in Johannesburg which still exists and is run by his two sons.

Page 17 – S. Kelly Ltd.

Sam Kelly ( I think the original name may have been Kolowski) and his wife Hilda lived in Kitwe and were amongst a few refugees from Lithuania and Germany who managed to get visas for Northern Rhodesia in the late 1930’s.

As well as owning a Men’s Outfitters he was a Master Tailor although there was little demand for bespoke tailoring in Kitwe. He did have one customer a fellow Jewish refugee from Berlin who was often seen wearing a dark three piece suit and a Homburg hat, even during the October heat. Sam’s sister, a Mrs Klot, was a piano teacher in Kitwe – possibly the only one , and a number of children in the Jewish Community and beyond were subjected to her stern instruction. Sam was a keen stamp collector and at one time the President of the Rhodesian Philatelic Society. They had a daughter Sonya and as I recall the family left Kitwe in 1968 or 69.

Page 28 – Freedco Sweet Works

This was a business in Ndola that manufactured confectionery. It was established by Joe Freed and his wife Rose. I am not sure when they arrived in Ndola but left in the early 1960’s. My family was connected to Rose Freed by marriage. Joe prepared a number of boys across the Copperbelt, including my brother, for their Barmitzvahs. Joe’s son Aubrey Freed lived in then Salisbury for many years. Joe’s other son Neil ( Pinkie) Freed fell during the Yom Kippur War. I remember seeing Joe and Rose sometime in the early 1970’s when they had a business on either Jeppe or Bree Street in Johannesburg.

Mark Abrams writes – My aunt Helen Gordon with her twin daughters Louise and Alexis Karstaedt. Helen was living in Bancroft at the time and worked for the Northern Rhodesian Government as a school doctor whilst my uncle Dave Karstaedt managed Worths Bancroft. The photo would have been taken in 1958 and possibly at her aunt Dr Damie’s house in Ndola.

Helen Gordon Louise & Alexis
Helen Gordon Louise & Alexis
My Aunt Judy Harris and my grandmother Sonya Abrams ( Abramowitz) taken in Rome in 1956/7 during my aunt’s buying trip for Worths. – La Dolce Vita!
At the time my aunt was living in Salisbury and my grandmother in Luanshya. Judy’s son John Harris lived briefly in Bulawayo and went to Israel in 1970 , settling in Haifa where he had a Law Practice specializing in Maritime Law.
Judy Harris and Sonya Abram
Judy Harris and Sonya Abram

Jewish Business in Ndola – (not all)  – contributed by Mark Blumberg with edits by Aviva Ron (nee Elkaim)

Jewish Businesses in Ndola

Car Hire ,Taxi and Trucking – 1953 – 1968
Regent Café -1952 – 1954
Charlie and Doreen Blumberg

Northern Cycle Works
Jacob Katz – also led services at the Shul before and after Mr Joe Freed was hired.

Freedco Sweet Works
Joe Freed

Northern Rhodesia Vulcanizers
Abe Lowenthal – also Mayor of Ndola

Benatar and Bar-David
Furniture Manufacturing

Broadway and Bijou Bioscopes
Hesse and Abe Lowenthal

Harry Shulman
Lawyer – Also a Mayor of Ndola

Sonja dress

Northern Glass Works Ltd
Max and Chaim Katz

New Era Dry Cleaners & Florists
Fingleson family – Syd Fingleson was also a mechanic at Dulys

Star Jewelers
Sam and Rhoda Esra

Elkaim Construction
Hanan Elkaim – also Chairman of Hebrew Congregation
First grower of arabica coffee on a farm outside Ndola

Kapulsky Bakery
Kapulsky Brothers Akiva and Yonah, brothers of the Kapulsky brothers who set up the chain in Israel, starting with Allenby Street in Tel Aviv and Kikar Zion in Jerusalem..

Ndola Butchers
Yankale Lurie

Arthur Robins

Echo Electrical Supply
Maurice Kantor – Manager of a Rhodesian Electrical supply company

Friedberg Jewellers

Hoffman Furniture
Mr Hoffman

Jetty’s Furnishers
Jake Zukas , Yvette Zukas had a women’s’ and childrens clothing store

Northern Importers and Distributors 

Ndola Agencies Ltd 

Cessman Signs

Arnolds Music Box

Ndola Agencies Ltd

Piper Clothing Manufacturer
Gabriel Raddison

Business Machine Services .. BMS
Norman Glazer

Percy Kling – manager Old Mutual

Carpentry & Construction
Chaim Traub

P. Lieberman – Agents for Philips bicycles

M. Goldberg – Timber merchant 

Other Professionals

Mr Schmal – accountant , worked for Thom Stores

Dr Louis Lee

Dr Manya Damie – Family Practice
Dr Mark Lowenthal
Dr Harold Shlomowitz – Anesthesiologist
Dr Paul Wulfson – orthopaedic surgeon
Dr Sylvia Lehrer – Obstetrician

Viorica Filip (wife of Yonah Kapulsky)

Marta Paynter

Harry Schatz – Llewellin High School- Chemistry

Business Machine Services

(from Allan Glazer) My family was in Ndola from August of 1955 through September of 1969.

 My late dad, Norman Glazer had a business in N’dola called Business Machine Services with a branch in Kitwe.