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Tuesday, 26 June, 2001, 13:16 GMT 14:16 UK
African eclipse - your experiences

Africans have been celebrating the first total solar eclipse of the millennium. Read their impressions of this great event.

If you were lucky enough to witness it, send us your experiences.

This Talking Point has now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.


The eclipse was really wonderful and enlightening. The sun disappeared for only three minutes and a few seconds, and it became that cold in Lusaka! We should never take the sun or the solar system for granted. Let us preserve our Earth especially.
Chileshe Mutale, Zambia


The most awesome experience of a lifetime

Anne Williams, Zimbabwe
The most awesome experience of a lifetime. To view a total solar eclipse on the Zambezi Escarpment overlooking the land we all love, is forever imprinted in my heart and mind. The differing stages of the eclipse produced such different reactions; from the deathly chill as dark descended to the ecstasy of the Bailey's beads and Diamond Ring and into the sheer beauty of totality. What a clever universe we live in!
Anne Williams, Zimbabwe

I watched the eclipse in Livingstone. It was absolutely electrifying! Definitely the best moment of my life!
Shaneel Patel, Zambia

In Harare the sun was covered 98% by the moon. At the time of maximum coverage, the temperature dropped and the light appeared like that in a football stadium at night.
Garth, Zimbabwe


I wish all people in the world had had the chance to see it

Malaika Kaunda, Zambia
If there was anything special this year, nothing can excel the Almighty God's eclipse. I was at Victoria Falls with my family very close to Moshi ya Tunya. It was magical, splendid and very memorable. I wish all people in the world had had the chance to see from close range like us down here.
Malaika Kaunda, Zambia

So glad we made the effort to get to the total zone, as it was well worth it for the darkness suddenly falling after eerie light build up. Beautiful colours of silver and blue flaring for much further than anticipated, radiating out from the total eclipse. A pretty awesome experience, crickets all started singing, children around us were the most excited, everyone there and on the long drive home all fired up with eclipse enthusiasm. Wish the totality had lasted longer, just so quick. Saw traditional spirit people dancing on the way home, hope they think it is a good omen for our poor beloved country, and that everyone will acknowledge that there is always a much bigger picture!
Sian and Scott brown, Zimbabwe

I have only few words for the eclipse: God is great.
Sambi Mumba, Zambia

I put on my sunglasses and any time it would peep out I would look at it. My five and a half year old daughter thought the sun had become the moon because it was darkening. I am still trying to explain this phenomenon that even I hardly understand. The sun was so bright that for some minutes after we gave up gazing at it, we had a problem seeing in normal light.
Stella Nyarangi, Kenya


Nothing could prepare you for that feeling of real darkness

Matt, Amsterdam, Netherlands (ex UK)
The streaming video brought back memories of the 1999 eclipse. The whole experience was terrifying but thrilling. I had heard all the science talk, knew the physics, listened to the astronomers, but nothing could prepare you for that feeling of real darkness. Never have I felt so small and helpless.
Matt, Amsterdam, Netherlands (ex UK)

There will never be any other moment like this in my life. The temperature dropped as the sun was being covered by the moon. As the sun was being uncovered birds could be seen flying as they do in the morning. It was total confusion for dear nature.
Oliver Kalesu Ndhlovu, Zambia

We had 3 of our computers, all with different webcams, displayed. Having been disappointed in 1999 we got to see the eclipse properly - it was amazing. Thank heavens for the internet and technology. Now we never need miss an eclipse, no matter where it is!
James B, UK

I didn't think it was going to be as good as everyone was making it out to be, but I now regret not going further north and seeing totality. We went up to the 99% zone and that was quite spectacular, but for anyone who missed out on it, my advice is to take any measures to view the next one!
Kevin Igoe, Harare, Zimbabwe

It was amazing; we were in and out of the office all day. I was jumping up and down like Tigger, it was so exciting.
Claire, South Africa

While travelling through Zambia I ran into Kourne Krige, a rugby player for South Africa. He owns a farm near Lusaka and was having a big party for his friends and some local people. It was a carnival atmosphere, everyone was so excited
Josh Galaun, Zambia


The whole place had a carnival atmosphere

Irene, Lusaka, Zambia
Amazing! We were over at the international airport site where there were loads of people and the whole place had a carnival atmosphere. Then it happened, and we saw storks flying back to their homes and when the sun 'came back', they were flying back to the feeding swamps. There are stories of chickens that were making distress cries as they gathered their young to go back into into chicken runs to sleep when it seemed night had come and made even louder noises when the sun 'returned'.
Irene, Lusaka, Zambia

It was great to see drivers, passengers and pedestrians in festive mood after the event. It's been a long time since Zimbabweans have been able to share and cheer something together without fear of repercussions!
Peter, Zimbabwe

Doesn't it make you think about the vastness of the cosmos, of our deep connection with the past and the future? Isn't creation awe inspiring? The moon and the sun in perfect alignment for us to experience.
Misha Taylor, UK


It was a chance of a lifetime, you just had to be there

Steve Robinson, Zimbabwe
Travelled to Mt Darwin about 160kms north of Harare to make sure we were in 'the belt'. What an experience! Silvery light just before total eclipse, total quiet, flocks of birds flying off to roost, crescent shaped lights in all the shadows, the shimmering of your own shadow just before the total eclipse, 360 degree sunset, out came a few stars. It was a chance of a lifetime, you just had to be there.
Steve Robinson, Zimbabwe

I was in the house when my wife and sister told me we had achieved totality. It was so amazing to witness such a spectacular view! Also, it became so chilly. I wanted my son to witness it (4 months plus of age ). He just had to see it!
Declan Milimo, Zambia

At 1430hrs, all seemed normal at Lusaka International Airport. I was a little sceptical at first because I expected to see the full moon heading towards the sun. Nobody had explained the phenomenon fully. But when I looked through my eclipse glasses, I saw that about a fifth of the sun was actually chipped! At precisely 1509, the moon totally covered the sun and it was all dark. The mood was electrifying as everyone was waving, screaming, and whistling. It was a phenomenal display of nature!
Evans Chisanga, Zambia


It was an awesome sight

John Iglar, Zambia
Absolutely amazing! We had hundreds of children and families at the American International School and it was an awesome sight. Plenty of junior astronomers with us now!
John Iglar, Zambia

It was absolutely magical. The temperatures started dropping at around 1350, it started getting dark and the moon appeared over part of the sun. We experienced 96% eclipse, but it was lovely. Its a real proof of the power of God.
Tapiwanashe Kujinga, Mutare, Zimbabwe

It was brilliant and slightly surreal. Since I was in that has tons of wildlife, I got to see how confused and disoriented the animals and insects were by this odd event.
Sepp Heltmann, Germany (living in S. Africa)

I watched the total eclipse in Lusaka. It was an amazing experience that one cannot describe it words. The sight of the sun when completely covered by the moon was astonishing.
Humphrey Mulenga, Zambia

Simply spectacular 360-degree sunset seen from above a green and peaceful miombo woodland. Peace in my time.
Paul, Zambia

It was awesome I really enjoyed it so much because it is an event which comes once in a blue moon.The fact that many tourists came to my country just for this,made me more excited more so that I spent so little to see it I thank the almighty God for making it posssible for me to see it.

I like what the electronic media has done making it possible for other people to see it on video.BBC I salute you.
Munyimba Munyimba, Zambia

I saw a 75% solar eclipse using 4 layers of an old XRAY film which I then used as filter for my ORDINARY AND CHEAP Sony DIGITAL CAMERA. MY pictures are not bad.
Joseph Ntumba, South Africa


We couldn't believe how emotional it was

Ian Morris, UK
In the office we watched the eclipse via the space eclipse site - we couldn't believe how emotional it was! Thanks to Space Online for some truly great pictures!
Ian Morris, UK

I went to Romania to see the 1999 eclipse but unfortunately it clouded over at the last second. So this time I watched it through the BBC website, thanks Beeb!
Tim, UK

Unfortunately I will not be in a position to view this one. Or perhaps that should be fortunately not - I'm convinced I still have an image of the 1999 eclipse etched on my retina for posterity!
Jonathan, UK


Amazing

Shiraz Karim, Malawi
This experience of mine was amazing. I saw the eclipse happening and at about 15:20 it felt like the sun was setting.........bye
Shiraz Karim, Malawi

I can only pray that the eclipse will be a symbol of light after the darkness in my country's economic struggle.
Bruce Stronge, Zimbabwe

I was a bit disappointed really. Don't know what all the fuss was about.
Tony Wilson, Zambia

We stood on the roof of our 12-floor building. Put on our eclipse glasses left over from 1999 and saw nothing again.
Kev Brown, UK

At 67% 15:06 most of the birdlife started to settle in the trees. There was a marked decrease in bird song. It is now 15:21 and unusually quiet for this time of day.
Chizz Smith, Boksburg, South Africa


It's quite something!!

Linda McCully, Zambia
Watching the eclipse on the internet nowhere near as exciting as it was in the Channel Islands, but you still get that sense of awe of creation
Richard Goatly, UK

The time is 14:57hrs (Local African time) and I am sitting writing this as the eclipse is happening. I am in Kitwe, the Copperbelt region o f Zambia as the light is fading - my first view of a solar eclipse!! It's quite something!!
Linda McCully, Zambia

I'm in the country where the eclipse is very visible, right now. The effects are so vivid and in a few minutes, we will be experiencing total darkness. As I write, it looks like the sun is setting but it is only 15:20 Zambian time.
Kennedy Mambwe, Zambia

I expect the June 21 2001 eclipse will affect birds in southern Africa. I observed the August 11 1999 eclipse in Cherbourg, France. There, seagulls glided around quite unconcerned until the moment of totality. At that point they let out cries of distress and wheeled around in confusion at the sudden darkness.
Chris Bright, UK

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21 Jun 01 | Africa
Africa awaits solar eclipse


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