Sunday, 18 November 2018

Chapel En Le Frith Stocks 1940

The 18th Century stocks still stand in Chapel-en-le-Frith's Market Place alongside the Market Cross. Behind is the Roebuck Hotel. A house was built here in the 13th century for the Duely family. Rebuilt in 1700, it became a beerhouse in 1720 known as the New Hall. Between 1750 and 1850 the building served as a courthouse until becoming the Roebuck Hotel

Friday, 9 November 2018

A Guards Officer Is Fitted For A Bearskin 1957

A Guards officer is fitted for a bearskin at Herbert Johnson's hatters shop at 38 New Bond Street in London.  This business had been established in 1889 when the young Herbert was encouraged by the Prince of Wales whose top hat he had repaired. A reputation for high quality craftsmanship soon brought the patronage of the well dressed gentlemen including royalty. Johnsons specialise in classic hat designs and also supply dress caps and berets to most military regiments. There have been several changes of ownership was well as address since the founder retired in 1928 and the business is now owned by Swaine Adeney and Brigg. The shop is now located at Piccadilly Arcade.

The bearskin hat dates back to the mid 19th century when French Grenadiers wore them to give added height and impress their enemies. The British Grenadier Guards adopted this headgear following the Battle of Waterloo and this was followed by two other foot regiments in 1831.  The bearskin is part ofa  ceremonial uniform and is made from the skin of the Canadian black bear. Thousands of bears are culled each year by Inuit hunters to control populations and approximately 100 skins annually meet the Army's needs. They are purchased at auction by the manufacturers at a cost of about £650 each. Each hat requires an entire pelt and with care will last for decades.

Rupert The Rhino

My dad was the head vet of Operation Noah, a huge conservation project to relocate wildlife when the Zambezi river was dammed, creating Lake Kariba. One morning in May 1962 they darted a female black rhino and unfortunately, she moved into the water just as the drug took effect. She drowned before the rangers could get her out. She was lactating, which meant she had a baby, and they found this tiny rhino, no more than six weeks old. Dad brought the rhino home to look after. Rupert [named after Rupert Fothergill, the head ranger of Operation Noah] was shipped up to suburban Salisbury [now Harare] from the Zambezi valley. We put him in a cowshed at the bottom of the garden but that night there was an extremely cold frost and the next morning he was almost on his last legs. Dad brought Rupert up to the garage and made him a nest out of hay bales and used infrared lamps. It became his little haven; we had to coax him out – he was very nervous at first. Then quickly he became part of the family. I think he thought he was just another Condy kid – he would go in and out of the house as he pleased.

I am the oldest of four. That’s Diana, then aged three, at the front, with David, six, Catherine, seven, and me at the back, aged eight. This photograph was probably taken a month before Rupert left us in November 1962. He was quite big by then and was drinking milk with a straw from a bucket. He would have eight pints four times a day. When he first arrived he weighed 150lb; six months later he weighed more than 500lb. We couldn’t believe how quickly he grew. Dad had analysed the milk of his mother and found it to be very high in protein and very low in fat. Rupert always loved bananas and lychees. We tried to introduce him to the natural vegetation but he didn’t like that, so he ate sadza [maize meal] made into a porridge.

We knew we couldn’t keep him forever, so after six months it was decided that he would go to Matobo Game Reserve, where there were no lions. Mum cried and cried – it was like sending off her little boy to boarding school. Two years later we went to visit. Rupert came out of the bush and we were shocked to see this huge animal. Mum began calling, ‘Come Rupey my boy…’ Rupert let out a strange little squeaky sound – not what you would expect from such a big animal. We were convinced he had recognised us.

Sadly, not long after that Rupert was found dead in the bush. It will always be a mystery why Rupert died because he was very healthy and everyone was happy with his reintroduction. It was only in the making of a documentary, My Wild Affair, when I went to Lewa Wildlife Conservancy in Kenya, where black rhino have been raised, that we found out rhino are still considered babies up to the age of three. We had sent him back prematurely. But no one had ever hand-reared a rhino then; we had no point of reference, you couldn’t Google it. So we had given him a chance and given him lots of love, and he was a very happy little rhino for the time that we had him.

The Rhino Who Joined the Family: My Wild Affair will be shown on July 16 at 9pm on Animal Planet Rhino

By Hermione Lister-Kaye
7:00AM BST 04 Jul 2014

Thursday, 8 November 2018


Zimbabwe Herald 18.10.17

In colonial Rhodesia, there were separate schools, hospitals, restaurants, toilets, hotels, buses, leisure centres, playgrounds and suburbs for whites and blacks

Dr Sekai Nzenza on Wednesday
This man in the village next to ours shook people’s hands using a stick. His hand did not touch another person’s hand. No. His hand could only hold one end of the stick. It was the other end of the stick that made human contact. The man’s name was VaBhunu, meaning The Boer or The Afrikaner.

“Mbiri yake murume uyu yaive yei?” asked my niece Edna, meaning why did this man behave this way? Where did he derive his fame from? Edna is 15 years old and in Form Three. I was helping her with her homework. She was writing an essay about how we grew up during the colonial times when there was so much racism in this country. I told her that Africans and Europeans did not mix when I was growing up. There were separate schools, hospitals, restaurants, toilets, hotels, buses, leisure centres, playgrounds and suburbs. The white man regarded himself as superior to the African and there were many privileges available to white people only and not to black people.

In the Harare Gardens, there were benches written Europeans only and toilets for maids and nannies while the madams had theirs with clean towels, toilet paper and polished floors. During Rhodesia, it was hard to be black, especially in the city. Down here in the village, there were two men who behaved like white men. VaBhunu and Mr Lancelot. At any village gathering, most men sat on logs, wooden stools, bricks, buckets, stones or anything that they could place their bottoms on. There were hardly any chairs in the village. But we all knew that when VaBhunu or Mr Lancelot arrived at a beer party, everyone stands up and looks around for a chair for them. Mr Lancelot and VaBhunu did not allow their bottoms to sit on anything that was not a chair. No. After close exposure to Europeans, the two men (who were close friends) said they did not want to lower themselves to the level of natives.

“Tete, ndati mbiri yevarume ava yaive yei?” asked Edna again. Why were these men different from everyone else? Mr Lancelot, not VaLancelot, was a Mudhibhisi, the cattle dip supervisor or manager who reported directly to Mr Welensky, or Werenziki, the inspector of cattle management in the rural areas. Mr Lancelot always wore heavy brown boots and a brown long jacket with big buttons. He was the only man who moved around with a fountain pen and a bottle of ink so he could sign his name in the individual cattle register book that people carried to the dip tank. Mr Lancelot claimed he was so close to Mr Welensky he was allowed to drink from the same cup of tea that the white man used, each time he went to the district council for meetings.

Mr Lancelot had a grinding mill opposite Muzorori & Sons Stores. One Boxing Day we all went to Muzorori & Sons Stores to listen and dance to LP or long play records. We were dressed up in our Christmas best clothes. Christmas was not Christmas unless you wore new clothes, ate plenty of bread with jam, chicken, rice, meat and sweets. People visited each other and celebrated Christmas. My sister Charity, my brother Charles and I arrived at the shops after the music had already started. Mr Lancelot sat on a chair under the mango tree near his grinding mill. He was wearing white gloves, a silver suit, shiny black shoes and a red hat with a feather sticking out.

VaBhunu wore a brown striped suit, a black and brown striped shirt, brown pointed shoes, a red tie and a big brown cowboy hat. He held a bottle of Castle beer in one hand and his greeting stick in another. When he saw us arriving, Mr Lancelot shouted at Charles and asked whether our father was coming to the shops. We could not shout back because that was not proper. We walked over to them and shook hands with the stick. Mr Lancelot shook hands with us using his gloved hand.

“Your father is an educated man,” said Mr Lancelot. “But he is not using his education well.” Charles nodded, though he later said he did not know why he was nodding. Charity, who was always the first one to speak, asked why they felt that our father was wasting his education. Mr Lancelot said, “He drinks local beer with the natives.” Then he laughed heartily, mocking our father. VaBhunu smiled and asked about my mother. He shared the same totem with her, Nyati the Buffalo. He then dismissed us by waving his stick sideways.

Later on, we saw Mr Muzorori join the two men and they sat on chairs while everyone else sat on a bench, bricks or stools. But Mr Muzorori was a humble man. He shook hands with everyone, even though he had more money than Mr Lancelot or VaBhunu. He drove a car called an Anglia while Mr Lancelot and VaBhunu had bicycles. When we got home, Charles sat on my father’s chair holding a long stick. Pretending to speak like a VaBhunu, he said, “Come here, kaffirs. Let me shake your hand and congratulate you on a good job done this year.” Charity and I said yes, we were good loyal kaffirs. We knelt in front of Charles with our heads bowed and shook the stick.

Then Charity suddenly got up quickly and grabbed the stick from Charles. She broke it into two and shouted: “You are not our boss. Murungu, go back home to England!” she said. We all laughed. Baba laughed too and said, “Greeting people with a stick is not a sign of civilisation.” He then counselled us about the meaning of education. He said showing off and treating other people the way white people treat Africans was not proper. In fact, it was outright immoral. Hausi hunhu. Hakusi kufunda. Baba said this mimicking the white man’s behaviour and looking at others with disdain and treating people as inferior beings would one day come to an end. It did.

If you pass by both VaBhunu and Mr Lancelot’s homesteads now, all you see are old ruins of brick buildings with no roofs, overgrown with Lantana Camara bushes. VaBhunu never had any children. Years later, some people said VaBhunu was probably never the type of man to marry. He preferred to dress up well, to look smart and spend time with other men. Zvinonzi vaive neshavi redonha. It was only much later, when I was already at university that I learnt about the power and behaviour of men like VaBhunu. VaBhunu’s manner was possibly influenced by the experience he had when he served in the African Rifles Series managed by the British South Africa Company, a private company responsible for administering this country when it was called Southern Rhodesia.

He was possibly a private or a sergeant recruited from the Southern Rhodesia Native Affairs Department. In those days, Africans were paid 25 shillings per month while European sergeants were paid 180 shillings month. Ten pounds was given as gratuity to the next of kin if the African privates or sergeants died while fighting for the British. VaBhunu was a few years older than my father. This means he would have joined the Rhodesian African Rifles (RAR) around 1940. From 1956 to 1958, some African sergeants left Southern Rhodesia and went to fight in Malaya, now Malaysia. On the 11th of November 1965, when Ian Smith, the former Prime Minister of Rhodesia, made the Unilateral Declaration of Independence from Britain, the RAR remained part of the Rhodesian army. When the first Chimurenga or the revolutionary liberation war against the Rhodesian colonialist government started, the African RAR fought on the side of the white army right up to the time of independence. In April 1981, the name “RAR”, and its insignia or badge was replaced by the Staff Corps badges of the Zimbabwe National Army.

VaBhunu must have been a retired RAR when he came back to the village just before the liberation war reached our area. This means he was already on a pension after supporting colonial rule in many parts of Africa or even in Burma or Malaya. I told my niece Edna that the days of greeting one another with a stick or with a glove are not yet over. Today, we still have other ways of mimicking the white man. We sometimes look down upon our culture and try very hard to eat, dress, talk and behave like Europeans. One day, we shall throw away the metaphoric stick and the glove and see each other as we are, sevanhu. We shall find a balance between our traumatic colonial history and the present. One day.

Dr Sekai Nzenza is a writer and cultural critic