Memories of Rhodesia



How did we ever live without cell phones, computers, TV's and all the trappings of the modern world?  I remember when I wanted to call my mother in the UK and had to book the call a week in advance!  Or wait 18 months to have a telephone installed.   But life in the 70's in Africa was nothing compared to the 1890's.

Consider the Pioneer Column.  They had to make their own way, make their own roads, defend themselves against the dangers all around, establish outposts.  All this whilst out of contact with the outside world.  And we thought we had it rough!

The one story that impresses me is that of Alice Balfour.  In the book Twelve Hundred Miles in a Waggon, it describes her journey in 1894 from Mafeking, through Matabililand and Mashunaland (sic).  Along the way she kept a detailed diary and produced wonderful paintings - a documentary of the people and country.   Such people set out on great adventures, explored new lands and long before Star Trek boldly went where no one had gone before !

The characters; Cecil John Rhodes, Jamison, Matabili Thompson, Hugh Marshall Hole, King Lobengula, Chief Makoni, Alan Wilson, Frank Johnson and so many more.  Men, and women, that made Rhodesia!

Have we now lost the spirit of adventure?   Where are today's Pioneers and adventurers?  Rhodesians - be proud for the world is a better place because of your passing, no matter what revised, politically correct, history might say!



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The response to the first book of Rhodesian Memories has been great. Due to popular demand we now want to start compiling the second in the series.

We would like to encourage anyone who has a story, memory or other item that would help keep the memory alive to contact us for further details.

Thank you

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Ian & Janet Smith

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We received this email in response to the death of Ian Smith in November.  It speaks for itself.

You know I nearly deleted this mail. The death of Ian Smith has brought up feelings that I really didn't want to visit again. I have been an ex-Rhodesian since 1983. I despise with a passion Robert Mugabe and any other thug who stands by him in his rape of the country but lately I have also been getting a little annoyed with some Rhodesians who just can not let go and who insist on living in the past. We will NEVER be able to exist as we once did, I will NEVER be able to go home and rebuild, Rhodesia will NEVER rise again. Be that as it may this e-mail has made me think. As soon as I came across the old shows from the RBC the terrible pain of longing and nostalgia flooded through me, the pictures of a young Smith set me off back home to Harare where my mother (god rest her soul) proudly displayed a photo of Smith next to one of Jim Reeves on the heavy wooden sideboard in our lounge. Every morning as I left for school, there they were, two icons of my time wishing me a good day as John Derrimas signed off from the passing parade. "I'm John Derrimas, and this was the passing parade." Maybe I needed this e-mail from you, for I suppose that even if I can never rebuild or we as a people can never exist as once we did, we can still hold on to the memories and the dreams. And really, the pain of longing is in its own way quite comforting-in that we long for a time which we know was once shared, loved and experienced. I would think that those who have destroyed our paradise will never feel the emotions of longing and nostalgia, and maybe that is justice enough as they are condemned to always be filled with hate, anger, jealousy and fear.

Thanks for the wake up.

Boyce Van Rensburg

Southern Cross

Some may watch the Southern Cross
Set stars in the Southern sky
But few that trace their circular course
Or mark how true their daily fly.

Faithful to each hour by night
A guide for every wandering soul
Comforting in its kindly sight
It shows the circle that points the pole.

Free on its circuit born by scared will
The faithful pointers trail there’s certain round
An everlasting duty to fulfill
On some appointed mission bound.

The Southern Cross on it’s circular course
Sets out some worldly plan
The powers that guide will sure decide
The destiny of living man.

A pleasing sight these stars by night
I’ve found in them a comfort little known
On lonely tramp in my quiet camp
Away from all I love and own.

Sunday 18-3-1919 – Silverside camp
Jack Carruthers


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