WHEN William Finaughty, a member of an 1820 Settler family from Grahamstown, made the first of his hunting trips to Mzilikazi's Matabeleland in 1864, the land teemed with wild life. For the eleven years covered by his Recollections he traded and shot for ivory, mainly in the south west of Rhodesia and in Botswana. Skilled in bushcraft, fit and fearless, he hunted on horseback, using an old muzzle-loader.
His book is full of incident and encounter with contemporary hunters, missionaries, traders and exprorers, among them Jan Vijoen, Henry Hartley, Thomas Baines, Chapman, Francis, Sam Edwards, Leask, Phillips, Mauch, Mohr and many others. Garnish is added to the hunting fare by his stories of the Matabele (he met Mzilikazi and Lobengula), of the crafty Bushmen, of veld lore. His unadorned descriptions of the harsh realities of bush life, of the ever-present danger from marauding lions, of fever, the lack of water and the tsetse fly impress as well as inform and entartain.
Finaughty's Recollections were first recorded by R. N. Hall in instalments in The Rhodesian Journal and in 1916 they were published in book form by an American sportsman, G. L. Harrison, in an edition of only 250 copies. One Instalment was missing. In 1957 the work was reprinted, including the missing chapter. It has now been re-set with an additional Foreword and annotations by Edward C. Tabler.