Memories of Rhodesia



Now anyone who lived in Bulawayo in the fifties, sixties and seventies will know exactly what I mean.....

Bulawayo had the most awesome storm drains, deep wide dips that appeared at every intersection, and Grey Street and Borrow Street had the very best there could be .....

One could start a the Eskimo Hut near the Trade Fair, rev up the old Morry and fly like the wind down Grey Street, ramping majestically at every intersection.

A good couple of kilometers of hair raising delight until one sped past Hartsfield rugby grounds where one could disappear into the North End warren of Roads just in case the cops thought to chase you !!

It was even more fun in the rainy season when one could gush through the fifteen raging torrential rivers which ran down stream into the Matsheumhlope from first Avenue to Fifteenth Avenue...... If you could get up a good speed in that Old Austin Cambridge or VW Beetle, you could get the spray to rise up as high as the top of the windows !!

To totally drench an unsuspecting passer by was an added bonus, and when they introduced a fine which made it illegal to splash people, it took on an even more delightful and delicious temptation....

Somehow the novelty wore off when the leveled out the storm drains, and it definitely lost its wicked gloss, when they changed the names of the roads !!

The Name "Robert Mugabe Street" Cowboy somehow did not have quite the same tantalizing ring !!

The race down Grey Street from South to North, passed so many landmarks. Norvic Court on the right, Royal Cinema on the left where we used to attend the Saturday morning movies and swap all those weekly comics like Richie Rich, Lil Annie,Casper the Friendly Ghost, Tarzan and the Beanos .....

Directly opposite The Royal was the Bon Journee which still today sells a good cup of coffee and a decent meal, still features those check table cloths and those milk bar seats......

Opposite the Royal Cinema was the Model Dairy where you could buy sweet little bottles of milk and tubs of cream as well as fabulous ice creams ... Further down on the left were the Fritz Pie carts where Fritz Pickard sold an amazing array of tempting delights like hamburgers and hot dogs. One could sit outside in the open, on a metal stool which swung completely around and drink a milkshake while you watched the Grey Street Cowboys in action.

Past Selborne Avenue where Downing Bakery stood proud on the corner...oh those meat pies, Cornish Pasties, doughnuts and Downing's Bread....mmmmmmm

On the right again, Knights Auctioneers where Aiden Knight presided over a tantalizing display of objects d'art and antique furniture, Past the Grey's Inn where the Muirhead family ran the very popular and infamous pub, past the Grey Street Prison where Aiden Diggenden ran his flourishing business and from where he made it his business to escape so many times !!

Bulawayo City Roads were made wide enough to turn a full span of oxen, Grey Street was slightly more narrow however, there are still the skid marks in place where the more daring Cowboys took it upon themselves to try a hand brake "ewey "U turn !!

Things have changed somewhat, the City Fathers took it upon themselves to run a center island the entire length of Grey Street, partly to prevent the Cowboys from doing those incredible hand brake u-turns in the middle of the road, and partly to give the pedestrians a little island of safety I would imagine !!

The cinemas have all been converted into Churches, The Pie Carts made way for the Jairos Jiri Shop. C. Gauche is still there though where they sell coal, bird seed and an eclectic collection of farming equipment.

Next door the Model Dairy has been sold to a Chinese consortium where you can buy pretty paper lanterns, chopsticks and colorful Chinese slippers, all of which arrived with the construction folk who came to help us build the much needed Gwayi Shangani Dam.......

Some of our elderly citizens however, no names mentioned, still retain those beautifully maintained old Morrys and Austins which to this day bear the dents in the oil sumps, where the ramped the storm drains on an idyllic Saturday afternoon in Bulawayo....


Grey Street Cowboy is from the new web site and used with their permission.



This article was originally posted on Margaret Kriel's Morning Mirror at

Used by Permission

Sign up for our Newsletter


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


Sign up for our Newsletter

If your memory does not make it to these pages, despair not. We plan to compile them into a greater work that will be used to raise support for Rhodesian Pensioners still in Zimbabwe.

We would like to hear what your favorite memories are. Please e-mail us at


This months Memory Book of the Month: RHODESIAN MEMORIES I . Ships from our US office.



Memories of Rhodesia, Inc.
Telephone: (302) 981-7138, FAX (302) 998-4622, e-mail:

© 2003-7. Memories of Rhodesia, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

A Flame Lily Company