RHODESIANS GET TOGETHER
In this my first editorial , I thank all the past committee members and editors who have kept the Rhodesian Association going. Without them I would not be writing this today.
We are all of the same background and it has been so rewarding for me in recent months, meeting so many new friends. I strongly suggest that members attend functions organised by our committee.
Thirty seven members attended the Winter's Dinner night on August 24th where we had a delicious meal and wine in congenial company. Upcoming events which will be plenty of fun include a braai at Houghtons Winery on Sunday October 13th. Douglas Lyon asked me to remind the M'dalas to set aside 20th December for a Christmas lunch at the Wentworth Plaza.
I had a dozen "single" Rhodesians at my house for a get together and even if some of the singles are no longer single, we have formed a friendship group and will continue to meet every couple of months.
Included in this issue is an advertisement from Prince Edward school compiling a list of past pupils, speaking of which , my sister Dorothy is secretary of the Old Chaplin association, the president of which is George Alers.
The Rhodesian homepage maintained by Alastair Honeybun is proving a big success and I have included in this issue , extracts of some of the E mail received.
All this leads me to our feature article contributed by Richard Hamley. Whilst we are all making or have made new lives for ourselves, we cannot forget our heritage and past friends and Richard is getting together ex BSAP who now live in Western Australia. Included in this issue is a flyer and Richard will appreciate you passing this onto any ex BSAP member you may know.
Finally I would like to let you know that I am pleased to undertake the role of Editor but it all of our's newsletter and any letters, articles, contributions and especially any "Our kind of people" will be gratefully received.
Mukiwa - an emotional return to the time of my youthBy GILLY WADDACOR
THE reading of award-winning author Peter Godwin's provocative and evocative semi-autobiographical novel Mukiwa ... A White Boy In Africa triggered feelings of both nostalgia and sadness.
Nostalgia:- to see once again the majestic wilderness of Zimbabwe so poetically described by Godwin, to smell again the heady earth-scented rains of the birthplace I left 13 years ago at age 23, to tread the soils of her scenic plains and mountains.
Sadness:- that having been a voteless child of Africa I, too, had been powerless to stop the social injustices of southern African politics which until the 1980s segregated and divided a nation according to race and pitted person against person in a bloody and bitter civil war that many saw as needless but - like Godwin, my father Keith, my elder brother Michael and countless other boy-soldiers - were compelled to fight.
I laughed aloud, I wept reading the words of a peer whose eloquent portrayal of a colourful and unique era of colonial African history is so tangible I was once again that little five-year-old Manicaland girl roaming the sands of the Sabi River, exploring the bush surrounding the Main Roads Department survey camp that was my family's home for three years, eating sadza and relish with my friends at the camp fire outside their huts, taking each other for rides in my toy trailer to the general store to spend our pennies on gobstoppers, Adams bubblegum and pennycools, watching in horror as my beloved father tackled a huge snake which had settled itself in "our tree" or - having had one too many beers courtesy of Doc and Ula Watson at the Birchenough Bridge Hotel - performed his favourite party trick of climbing over the steel arch of the bridge which spans the Sabi.
Thank you, Peter Godwin, for being brave enough to tear away the layers of scar tissue to write your memoirs of growing up in the eastern highlands of that magnificent country. So many of the events, people and places you describe were so familiar it was like turning the pages of my own childhood diary. While not witnessing oom Piet Oberholzer's death at the hands of the Crocodile Gang guerrillas near Skyline Junction on the Umtali Road, I vividly remember my parents' horrified whispers of the tragic incident that heralded the start of the civil war and the eventual need to travel in convoys, carry weapons, queue for petrol, stockpile luxuries like rice and cooking oil, have bags and parcels searched before entering any public building and listen with heart-stopping fear to every dreaded Defence Ministry communique.
Climbing the Chimanimani mountains, exploring the Melsetter and Chipinga bush, shopping sprees and dental visits in Umtali, Devonshire teas at Meikles Hotel, crossing the Mozambique border for peri peri chicken and prawns at Machipanda, diving off the 10 metre board at Villa da Manica's swimming pool while your parents and their friends sipped Mateus rose wine at sundown, lazy seaside holidays in Beira and Lorenco Marques, starting real school in Umtali instead of having Correspondence School lessons under the stern eye of my mother Alice, ogling at the cute boys from Carmel College (perhaps Peter Godwin was one of them) and eventually winding up at high school in the "big smoke" of Salisbury - so many parallels to the author's life, except, being a girl, I wasn't conscripted into the army, merely bore witness to the war's mutilations and military funerals and life with economic sanctions and social restrictions. Whether or not you are a former Zimbabwean, merely know one, have visited the country or have a passing interest in African politics, Mukiwa is compelling reading - a heartfelt insight into a complex era covering the beginning of the end of Colonial rule, UDI, the war and, finally, the transition to black majority rule. A tragic history poignantly yet simply captured and relayed by a person with a profound love for his country. Even if you are a "die-hard, when-we Rhodie" who may not appreciate some of Godwin's more liberal social sentiments, Mukiwa is a literary masterpiece that demands to be read.
Seek it out, enjoy it and weep.
Macmillan publishing 1996, ISBN 0-333-67150-3, rrp $19.95
COURTENEY BOOTSJohn Rice spent more time making boots than participating in the bush war. During the Rhodesian campaign of the 70s, when he and most other able-bodied men spent a large part of their lives in the bush companions kept asking him for his boots."They were always saying: 'where did you get your boots? I want a pair like that." So I made a pair for them. "Eventually I started a modest workshop, making classic hunting boots the traditional way - as my father and grandfather did before me."The boots Rice builds in Bulawayo have the old-fashioned values of hardiness and durability, combined with quality, comfort and style. They just don't make them like this any more.
Courteney boots, shoes and accessories are now available in Australia. There are seven models in the range, all reflecting the company's African heritage. While they are expensive (the company only makes 30 pairs a week), they will outlast any comparable product.
The top-of the range Selous is a hand-made, serial-numbered, genuine gameskin veldskoene with soft goatskin collar, genuine rubber tyre sole grip, speed lacing, double-stitched welt for strength and full bellows tongue for extra protection. It is fully tested and proven by Southern Africa's elite professional hunters and safari guides.
This collector's item comes in a wooden box with its own polish, cloth, brush and spare laces to enable you to keep your expensive boots in top condition.
All the other boots and shoes in the range are made with the same attention to detail and double stitching, which is the signature of all Courteney Boots, but without the accessory packaging. They are available in buffalo or kudu suede, on either tyre-track or ripple soles, women's or men's.
You get them from OZTREK of Perth, 24B Grant Street, Woodlands 6018. Phone/fax 9-446 4967. Mobile 014-081-583.
M'dalas ReportMonthly meetings of M'dalas have been well attended in spite of wintry weather. Some of our members were in a quandary when the social calendar of the Bundu Times mistakenly gave the date of our meeting as August 22nd. (The editor apologises for this and the inconvenience caused). However, after a number of phone calls there was a satisfactory attendance of 46 on August 15th. Our apologies go to the three members who turned out on August 22nd. Meetings of M'dalas continue to be held on the third Thursday of each month and any change from this schedule will be notified in this column.
At our August meeting we were pleased to welcome new members and visitors, namely Iris Smith, Peg Williams, Glenna Lantoria and George and Jessie Mitchell.
The planned Wildflower tour will go ahead on September 26th and an account of this will be reported in the next edition.
With regard to the proposed change of venue, attention is now being focussed on the Citiplace Community Centre otherwise known as the Senior Citizen Centre at the railway station in Wellington Street. Tea and coffee would be provided by the centre and our ladies would continue to bring along sandwiches and cakes. After some discussion a show of hands was taken which resulted in about 95% approval for the Senior Citizen's Centre. Whatever the final decision , meetings will continue to be held at the Wesley Centre until the end of this Calendar year.
To all our members who may be on the sick list - Best Wishes for a speedy recovery and we look forward to a good turnout at our next meeting.
Singer Eddie Westergaard mournedCape Town singer Eddie Westergaard has died, his full potential never fully realised, said fellow musician Hylton Ross.
Eddie,(49) was born in Gatooma and died on 19th July 1996. He leaves his former wife, Arlene , his widow Judy, children Natasha,Robert and Emma and his mother Loia who lives in Perth and is a member of our association.
Eddie was a fine singer whose true potential was never realised. He brought so much enjoyment to so many people in his lifetime. He began his singing career with the Telstars in Rhodesia while he was in the army. He moved to South Africa after leaving the army, and the five piece band regrouped in Durban, as Driftwood Log, often performing at Smugglers, a popular watering hole.
In 1970 he began performing in Cape Town for Alan van der Merwe's band, Bagatelles, with which he sang for three years. He joined Hylton Ross Band in 1973 as lead lead singer. Mr Ross said " It's a great pity Eddie never tested his singing talents overseas, for he had all the makings of a top class entertainer and recording star,"
Our sympathies go to Loia and also his sister Loreen and brother John and their families who also live in Perth.
A WAY-OUT POST PERHAPS?Rhodesian's generally have little time for the 'Whenwe' and those of us who have undergone the processes of assimilation necessary to establish ourselves and survive in this part of the world, have tended not only to overlay our highveld accents with Strine', but adopt those other facets of the Australian national characteristic which decry any appearance of affectation in others or any claim to have 'been there and done that' - elsewhere than in Australia.
It is perhaps for this reason that a number of valiant attempts to form branches of the BSAP Regimental Association in Australia, especially here in Western Australia, have come to nothing.
Beyond the 'Big Island ', however, the Association is alive and well, with very active and well-supported Branches functioning in the United Kingdom, Zimbabwe, South Africa and, nearer to home, in New Zealand. A number of somewhat looser associations exist in North America and elsewhere.
Why not then, in W.A?
The Central Committee (in Harare), has for some time been actively encouraging the formation a Branch of the Association in either (or both) New South Wales or Victoria. Over the same period of time they have been gently prodding the writer to try and establish some sort of loose association or fraternal linking mechanism here in the West.
I must confess to have thought of myself as far too busy at work and otherwise preoccupied at home and elsewhere to have the necessary time available to commit myself to such a project.
Yet regularly, once a quarter, I receive "News from Central" and in it extracts from other association newsletters and periodicals world-wide which evidence the sterling work done by people like Hugh Phillips, Ken Stanford-Smith and Mike Leach (to name but a few of my former colleagues) whose dedication to the old corps makes me thoroughly ashamed of myself.
No so long ago, I acquired a copy of 'The Guards' by John de St. Jorre and Anthony Edgeworth. In this beautifully produced exposition on Britain's senior military organisations, appear a number of commentaries by former high ranking officers and others who speak pridefully of their connections with the Brigade. Among them Harold Macmillan, one time British Prime Minister, notorious in the Rhodesian context for his -Winds of Change+ speech ', who is quoted as saying: -It is a great thing, at some time in your life, to be associated with something that is quite first class"
Macmillan, of course, was alluding to service with his old regiment. Nevertheless, doesn't the quotation express precisely what the majority of its former members feel about the British South Africa Police?
Kipling wrote (about another regiment): "We broke a king and we built a road, a Courthouse stands where the Regiment go 'ed+. History confirmed the metaphor as appropriate to the BSAP.
Having also stood on the right of the line, are we not, former regular or reserve, justifiably proud of our old regiment too - a corps that was there and did exactly that. Were we not, in our day, the best Police Force in the world? . . . and so, with no small pangs of conscience with regard to earlier procrastination, and with a much greater concern as to his own adequacy for the task contemplated, the writer has at last been moved to plant the banner of the old Corps on the metaphorical high ground and send out a call to rally.
The starting point will be an endeavour to ascertain just how many ex BSAP and BSAP Reserve are domiciled in this part of the world - WA, I mean. With the editor's kind permission, I have included a 'drop' in this journal, which I trust any reader who has served with the BSAP (in whichever capacity), or who knows of any other person living in the State who has so served, will complete and return to me at the address given.
Please cast the net wide - the response will determine the next steps I should take in assuaging my conscience. Comment would also be helpful in determining where to go from here - how together we might provide that linking mechanism or establish the loose association contemplated.
Whatever transpires, any results from this survey will be passed on to the Central and UK Branches of the Regimental Association to up-date their records.
I am convinced that any attempt to put together any formal association requiring registration or incorporation will not succeed - but something less demanding upon all concerned just might.
As may be gathered, I am no great shakes as a writer (I am even worse as a correspondent). Years of Public Service writing have left me stilted of phrase and somewhat prone to wordiness. Nevertheless, if the Editor is agreeable, I might cull a few items, names, whereabouts etc., from any Association newsletters received and acting much as a mailbox, provide a few notes for this journal in a mini-Outpost* - a W.A. Outpost, perhaps? That is, of course, unless someone more able is willing to undertake the task.
*'The Outpost' - the Regimental Magazine of the British South Africa Police.
Culled from the June, 1996 'News from Central ' is the following:
"In Australia, Dave Berry, 9191, is to be found in Cairns and has regular barbecues on the beach with the Cuwie and Fairbridge clans. A few thousand miles away (Hugh Phillips assumes) Earl Cameron; 6922, is working out of an unnamed Air Force base in Westen1 Australia. (step forward Earl! - RH). A little further away, Dave Poultney, 8107, has left the land of mad cows and taken to the placid sheep of New Zealand. Presumably he had joined up already? Australia will soon be visited by Frank, 4468, and Phil Maguire and on their travels hope to meet Tony Lawrence (ex Printers). "
It would be my hope that on occasions, a few of us might get together to meet up with and share a drop of cheer with visitors, such as Frank and Phil, as they pass through or hopefully stay awhile. Frank, many of you will recall, was Member in Charge, Pioneers for many years and Phil, his wife, one of those magnificent ministering angels in white at the Depot Camp Hospital.
And who am I
Richard (Dick) HAMLEY (5567/6219) - small claim to fame - succeeding Hugh Phillips to become (as of 13 July, 1980), the last Quartermaster of the B.S.A. Police less fame as the author of 'The Regiment an illustrated history of the B.S.A. Police from 1896 onward (now under revision). Many years ago an occasional cartoonist for 'The Outpost'. Retired from Z.R.P in October, 1982. Arrived in Western Australia to settle in Perth on 13 December of that year and, since March, 1983, residing at:18 Arreton Close, Willetton (Tel. 457 6970) where any nominal rolls will be gratefully received.
A feature closing 'News from Central ' on a regular basis, is a roll call of our comrades who have passed on since the last issue. Sadly such list appears to grow longer in each edition. Noting contemporaries of my own era who have answered that last bugle, I often, echoing Hugh Phillips, feel obliged to check to make sure that my name and number isn't on the list.
Concluding the June 1996 issue, Hugh was moved to quote the verses read at the funeral of No.3340 Trevor Whyte in New Zealand. These, as they call to mind the Africa we once knew, bear repetition:
When you've acquired a taste for dust,
And the scent of our first rain,
You're hooked for life on Africa
And you'll not be right again
'Till you can watch the setting moon,
And hear the jackals bark,
And know that they're around you
Waiting - in the Dark.
When you long to see the elephants
Or to hear the coucal's song,
When the moonrise sets your blood on fire,
Then you 've been away too long.
It's time to cut the traces loose
And let your heart go free
Beyond that far horizon,
Where your spirits yearn to be.
Africa is waiting- come!
Since you 've touched the open sky
And learned to love the rustling grass,
And the wildfish-eagle's cry.
You'll ways hunger for the bush,
For the lion's rasping roar;
To camp at last beneath the stars
And to be at peace, once more
Letter to the editor
We live in Mount Barker and being Rhodies wanted to let people know about our Memorial Garden at the All Saints Anglican Church. The Garden Committee have made a special garden in memory of those killed at Elim Mission in the Vumba in 1978.
The little church really is worth visiting . It has a wonderful history and the memorial garden is a picture especially when the roses are out.
I have heard that the church at Victoria Falls would like King James version Common Prayer Books.
Our Rector, Peter Salmon-Lomas would like to donate these books. The problem is getting them to Zim. Can anyone help?.
Keep up the good work with the "Bundu Times"
Phone 098 512035
Editor: Thank you for your letter, catherine. I encourage all readers to write in - It is our newsletter .
AFRICA CUP GOLFFurther to the report in the last issue of the Bundu Times, and which incidentally should have been in the June- July issue, I would like to add some important details inadvertently omitted due to the change in the editorial position.
We are most grateful to the sponsors for their support, namely Rocla Pipe-lines (Wil 'Chiz' Hepburn), Warwick Grove Meats (Paul Van der Merwe & Bill Bosch) , Ted Watson, Pat Dunne, The South African Club and the Malawi Group. Without the donations from these sources we would either have had less prizes or charged a much higher fee to the players.
The individual highlights were also omitted and the Stableford was won by Peter Wingrove (A Rhodesian playing for South Africa) with 44 points and the runner-up with 40 points was Paddy Parker (Rhod). Don Bredenkamp (another Rhodie helping out South Africa ) had 39 points as did Dave Parks(SA). Michael Du Jardin (SA) and Ian 'Hoppy' Anderson (Rhod) had 38 points each whilst 37 was scored by Dr Mike Bray (Rhod), Mike Blake and John Pitman (Malawi) , and Terri Parks (SA). Our usual star, Pat Dunne , out to a 17 handicap came in with 19 points. Pat , either you only played 9 holes or did a 'Greg Norman choke' half way round? Steve Huckle (Malawi) hit the longest drive then picked up the marker and carried it away with him to ensure nobody behind could better his drive. The nearest the pins on the par threes were won by Paddy Parker on the 2nd and 16th holes, John Drummond (SA) the 13th and Lawrence de Sylva on the 6th. Thank you again to the sponsors and also to the players.
ObituaryDavid Smith: Tireless worker for his country
SMITH, David Colville. Farmer, financier, politician, negotiator and above all a fine husband, father and grandfather David Smith (74) died on 9 July after several years of battling heart disease.
He started his long and interesting career in Rhodesia/Zimbabwe when in 1946 he sailed from England on the first post-war voyage of the Winchester Castle.
Born in Scotland, he went to Rhodesia to farm; starting as a farm assistant, he was promoted to farm manager, later going on to establish the Mazoe farming partnership, Smith and Wheeler, which grew into a large and successful enterprise.
His interest in politics evolved and in 1965, the year of UDI, he was elected an MP and in 1968 was appointed Minister of Agriculture. Eight years later he became Minister of Finance and shortly after that was made deputy Prime Minister.
In May 1979 he was appointed Minister of Finance by Bishop Abel Muzorewa and attended the Lancaster House talks in London as a member of his delegation. Following the 1980 elections he stood as the RF MP for Borrowdale, won the seat and was given the post of Minister of Commerce & Industry in Zimbabwe+s first Cabinet.
He carried out a considerable number of successful negotiations for the new government, and lobbied tirelessly at home and abroad on behalf of the country, only retiring, due to poor health, in 1981.
Well known as an astute financier, skilled chairman, politician and negotiator, David Smith was also appreciated for his sense of humour. On being presented with the Farming Oscar last year he told the audience: -Better late than never!+
He also loved to tell a story about his early days in the country when he was charged with a major traffic offence. His ox-cart driver drove through the centre of town totally ignoring traffic signs, pedestrians and cars. When asked to explain his actions, the driver replied with cool aplomb, -I have no brakes on the ox and therefore could not stop.+
He leaves his wife Jean, four children Catherine, Marge, Graham, Elizabeth, and 14 grandchildren.
Engaged before he sailed from England, he married Jean in 1948 and last year described her as -My companion and mentor for 50 years, a wonderful wife, mother and grandmother.+
In the oration at his funeral David was described as -the solid rock at the centre of a loving family.+
Acknowledgements to The Farmer - July 18.