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First Phase DigitalSummary
“Fifty-five years ago, shortly after midnight on 18 September 1961, an aircraft crashed on its approach to Ndola airport in the British colony of Northern Rhodesia, which is now Zambia. On board were 16 people: the UN Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld, the members of his mission, and the Swedish crew. The sole survivor, who spoke of “sparks in the sky” and said the plane “blew up”, died six days later. Suspicions were voiced about the crash because of the strange details that quickly emerged. For instance, the British high commissioner, who was at Ndola, showed no concern that Hammarskjöld failed to land and insisted that he must have decided “to go elsewhere”.”

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About the Authors
Henning Melber (PhD) is also Senior Advisor/Director emeritus, The Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation, Uppsala/Sweden, Senior Advisor, The Nordic Africa Institute, Uppsala; Senior Research Fellow, The Institute of Commonwealth Studies/School for Advanced Study, University of London;  van Zyl Slabbert Visiting Professor for Sociology and Political Sciences at the University of Cape Town in 2017; Professor Extraordinary, Centre for Africa Studies/University of the Free State, Bloemfontein; Co-editor: Africa Yearbook/Managing co-editor: Africa Spectrum/Editor-in-chief: Strategic Review for Southern Africa

Susan Williams (PhD) is a historian with a particular interest in the strands of the past that have been neglected or concealed and in the voices that have not been heard, such as those of the colonised. Her research draws heavily on archives and also a range of other sources, including oral testimonies and media. Her research takes her to many different nations. Areas of expertise include: the history of sub-Saharan Africa; espionage and intelligence; the history of the United Nations; British, French and Lusophone colonialism and neocolonialism; decolonisation; the Modern Commonwealth; and the global impact of nuclear weapons development.

Feature image photo credit: UN Photo