Friday, January 06, 2012

“Mum, how come when Rhodesia asked for independence from Britain, we were told no but places like Zambia and Malawi did?” or The history of Rhodesia, Rhodesian style…

“Mum, how come when Rhodesia asked for independence from Britain, we were told no but places like Zambia and Malawi did?” or The history of Rhodesia, Rhodesian style…

And so in early 1973, the future Gokwe Kid sat down miserably for another torturous breakfast. It was school holidays. He was 14 going on 15 and was now a pupil at the co-ed Mount Pleasant High School, Salisbury. Having been removed from Allan Wilson Technical School due to ‘poor performance’ by his father, the Headmaster, Geoff Lambert, had kindly placed the lunatic in 3b1 instead of where he should have belonged – mainly in the ‘Special’ class.
He liked his new school. He had chinas from the Boy Scouts days in his class, those days before his father had removed him - blaming the Scouts for ‘poor performance’ at school. There were also nice girls in the class. They tended to be a bit more tolerant of his verbal diarrhoea of unashamed utter bullshit. Also, only the headmaster and deputy heads were allowed to cane the boys, which was a relief because the Kid had been beaten almost everyday at Allan Wilson.

Mount Pleasant High was in the northern suburbs, a so called ‘affluent’ area and had grown at a huge rate, so by the time the Kid was enrolled there were over 1100 pupils spread over six forms. The classes all numbered under 30 pupils. By the time a child entered the third year of higher education, his/her path to O’levels and beyond had been determined. There were three ‘A’ streams. These kids were the crème de la crème, not just Rhodesia’s elite, but in the world –


The Intelligence of White Rhodesians

For the past five years, all Standard Two European, Coloured and Asiatic students in the Salisbury District of Rhodesia (which contains over 50 per cent of the white population) have been given South African group intelligence tests. Those scoring 130+ have then been tested individually, using the latest international standardization of the Terman-Merrill test.*

About 95 per cent of those scoring 130+ on the group test did so on the individual test. The Terman-Merrill tests revealed that about 7 per cent of the white children in the government schools of the Salisbury district had IQs of 130 or better. This compares with about 2.5 per cent in that range in the U.K. and the U.S. and about 3 per cent in New Zealand. Group testing of pupils in privately operated schools indicated that their inclusion would not have lowered the percentage of gifted children.


Thus, white Rhodesians are an elite element within the English-speaking world in terms of psychometric intelligence. This finding is reinforced by visual impressions. Salisbury whites appear larger, healthier, more vigorous, alert and bright than London whites. Beatniks, transvestites and obvious homosexuals are conspicuously absent.

Among the reasons offered for the intellectual superiority of white Rhodesian children were:

(1). The Group Test is a much better instrument than the subjective opinions of teachers for winnowing out gifted children from the mass.

(2) Rhodesian policy is to exclude immigrants who lack jobs, thus minimising the influx of unskilled, uneducated and incompetent elements.

(3). Since the white minority must provide managerial, scientific, professional and intellectual leadership for the Africans as well as the Europeans, the demand for elite elements is enormous. Rhodesian officials estimate that 15 per cent of their white population consists of professionals and highly skilled technicians as against 10 per cent in the case of white South Africans and only 6 per cent in the case of the British. (The tests showed that the Coloured and Asiatic children made quantitatively insignificant contributions to the 130+ IQ group.)

(4). Immigration to developing frontier countries is probably positively selective for self-reliance and intelligence.

Of the 800 or so white Rhodesian children who scored 130 or better, no less than twelve were shown to have Iqs in the 180+ range. This again is a multiplier of the normal IQ distribution.

‘A’ streamers would be fast tracked in two years through their O’level curriculums. They could take as many as they liked and tended to hang around in their own clique, but some ‘B’ streamers, especially boys of sporting abilities were acceptable. ‘B’ streamers were a weird hotchpotch. There were two. B1 and B2 but only divided to maintain low numbers in class. They would take three years to complete a minimum of five O’levels. They were given some options. English, French/Afrikaans and Maths a must. All boring. Geography also a must. The Kid loved this subject; especially as his teacher had the biggest mazams he had ever had the pleasure of looking at, stuffed into a tight, sleeveless top.
Then you could choose two from the following – Accounts, Biology, Physics and Chemistry, Domestic Cooking and History. The Kid loved history and biology told you about sex so that was that. There was a problem though. His biology teacher was called Mrs Virgo, and although a nice old dear, was rather old fashioned and learning about reproduction from her tended to put you off the idea. Here was a problem. The ‘A’ streamers were taught by the best teachers. ‘B’ streamers were taught by the less gifted, such as the maths teacher who didn’t even have a degree.

‘C’ streams were for the idiots. Quite a lot of them actually, C1,2 and 3, but not all were totally brain dead. Some suffered from learning disabilities that are recognised now, but in those days were just bundled under ‘thick and naughty’ and had what little sense they had constantly beaten out of them in the vague hope of getting some into them. One of these went on to become world famous – Bruce Grobbelaar.

But it is HISTORY that interested the Kid that fateful morning as he watched with growing alarm as the ponging mess called Pronutro – Banana flavour, slowly coagulated into the soya bean mash it was made of. The Kid neither liked nor disliked his petite, blonde and rather strict step-mother Katherine. It was all just c'est la vie for him. No hugs and stuff in this family, just a smack across the head from father if he returned a barb with one of his own. And then the Kid did a classic – opened his mouth before engaging brain
            “Mum, how come when Rhodesia asked for independence from Britain, we were told no but places like Zambia and Malawi did?”
            Step-Mum pursed her lips and narrowed her eyes. The Kid knew the look and thought he shouldn’t have hit the enter button before going carefully over the content.
            Katherine stood up and returned shortly with a large, brand new text book and placed it before the panicked eyes of the future winner of ‘Rhodesia Has No Talent’. The book is titled Longman Secondry Histories. The Modern World since 1900. It is a 1973 revised edtion published by Longman Rhodesia (Pvt) Ltd, Southerton, Rhodesia.
            “Ignore the first two thirds; they cover much of what your O’level history curriculum of Europe since the 19 hundreds. I want you to read the section ‘Africa South of the Sahara 1900-1972.’ I want you to pay particular attention to the Chapter 28 and read the questions at the end and write the answers. You will dedicate two hours each morning of the holidays to the task. At the end you will know the answer. Do I make myself understood?”
             The Kid felt sick as a proverbial pig. A simple question received a rather complicated answer – one to totally mess up his plans of just dossing about for four weeks.
            “What is this book?” the Kid babbled in panic.
            “The Rhodesian Government has recognised that not all whites are bright sparks. They have realised that O’level may be just out the reach of some of them. They have introduced a new certificate. It is called the Rhodesian General Certificate of Education, RGCE. They pass, they may go onto O’levels. If they fail O’ levels, at least they may have something to show a future employee.”
This was all doing the Kid’s head in. He thought of maybe taking a mouthful of Pronutro and fall on the floor, spasmodically twitch a bit while spitting gunky soya gunge out his mouth. No chance of that – wicked step-mother was well tuned to his stunts.
            “But, but, I know all about Rhodesian history, like at Blakistan Junior School we learnt about the Mazoe Patrol, and, and at Allan Wilson, they even have bits of them in cabinet!”
            “So you know everything do you? Pray, open to page 289 and answer the following.”
            The Kid does as he is told and with horror realizes he is well up the creek -

Southern Rhodesia

a) For what reasons did Britain establish control over Southern  Rhodesia?
b) How was the country governed from 1898 to 1923?
c) How did the European settlers gain power? _ .
d) ln what ways did the economy of Southern Rhodesia develop in this period?
e) Why did the settlers demand a change of government after the First World War? What kind of government did they want?
f) Describe the constitution set up in 1923.
g) Name three Prime Ministers who held office between 1923 and 1953.
h) What was the Land Apportionment Act and why was it passed?
i) How did Southern Rhodesia's economy develop up to the Second World War? .
j) What part did Southern Rhodesia play in the Second World War and how was the country affected by the war?

            “Er, this is for the idiots, clever kids don’t need to know things like this. We learn about English kings and stuff, and world wars and nasty Nazis, much more interesting.”
            Katherine ignores this ignorant comment and turns the pages to the questions on page 341 -

Events in Southern Rhodesia

a) Name the two Prime Ministers of Southern Rhodesia 1953-1962.
b) (i) Who were the African nationalist leaders and what did they
(ii) Why were the nationalist parties banned?
c) What did Africans gain by the constitution of 1961 ?
d) What new party gained power in 1962? Who was the Prime
Minister? What was the attitude of the new government to the
e) Why did Southern Rhodesia fail to gain full independence from
the British Government?
f) What does 'U.D.l.’ mean? When did Rhodesia declare U.D.l.?
g) How did the British Government and the United Nations try to
overthrow the Rhodesian Government? Why did these measures
h) Where and when were unsuccessful attempts made to reach
settlements after U.D.l.?
i) When did Rhodesia become a Republic? Who was Prime Minister
and who was President?

            “Can you answer these? You will after you study. You may start now. I will be monitoring you.”
- - -

Woosh, it is 2012, The Gokwe Kid rolls another cheeky fag and gazes out the window. The book is there, looking rather dragged about, but he has it. Perhaps the only one in existence now. It is so clear, almost prophetic in clarity. The history of Rhodesia, uncomplicated, simple and yet for all its brilliance was restricted to ‘C’ streamers. Crazy… He scans pages, does some OCR and messes about with the parts he needs. He wonders why we, the white Rhodesians never clicked. For all our ‘fine’ education, we just didn’t get it. Nor did the author in the end. But if we had looked…it was all there, but study HISTORY and African history at that…eish, what the hell for? It is not like we will lose anything…or

- - -

The future winner of the Rhodesian X-factor conceded defeat, staggered to his room and moaned for ten minutes about his own stupid gob…and he read and read. The prose was so…basic that even an idiot could understand it –

Southern Rhodesia

Cecil Rhodes was a wealthy man with driving ambition. During the Scramble for Africa, he wished to extend British power to the region between the Limpopo and the Zambezi Rivers and so prevent the Boers of South Africa or the Portuguese of l\/Mozambique acquiring the area. Gold had been found and it was hoped that the region would prove as rich as the South African Rand.
ln 1885, he persuaded the British Government to establish a Protectorate over Bechuanaland thus securing the route from the Cape to the land beyond the Limpopo. In 1888, his agent, Rudd, obtained a Concession from Lobengula, the king of the dominant
Matatabele tribe. This gave Rhodes permission to look for minerals in Mashonaland, an area to the north of Matebeleland, in which Lobengula sent his warriors to raid.         
In the following year, Rhodes obtained a Royal Charter which set up his British South Africa Company. The Company was given permission to govern Mashonaland and to make land grants. In 1890, the first group of Europeans entered Mashonaland as settlers, establishing forts along their way. Their journey ended at Fort Salisbury, named after the British Prime Minister of the time. After that, the pioneers dispersed to farm and look for minerals. Soon  afterwards, an Eastern border to the Company's territory was established after a dispute with the Portuguese.
            Lobengula and his chiefs were unhappy with the extent of British penetration and the restrictions which had been placed on their raids into Mashonaland. Attacks on the Mashona caused a war with the European settlers in 1893. Although the British suffered a serious disaster when a patrol led by Major Allan Wilson was wiped out by the Matabele, European weapons soon proved effective. The Matabele were subdued and Lobengula died soon afterwards.
In 1896, first the Matabele, then the Mashona, rebelled against the British South Africa Company. The Matabele were subdued and in a series of indabas or discussions in the Matapos hills, Rhodes himself met the chiefs and persuaded them to accept the Company's
authority. Finally, the Mashona rebellion was also brought under control. The name 'Rhodesia' was used for the first time in 1895.

Government by the Chartered Company 1893-1923

The British South Africa Company, often known as the Chartered Company continued to rule Southern Rhodesia until 1923. At the head of the government was an Administrator. Efficient government was introduced by two men in particular: Sir William Milton, the Administrator from 1898 to 1914, reorganised the Civil Service, and Sir Drummond Chaplin, his successor, continued his work.
ln 1898, the British Government gave Southern Rhodesia a new constitution. The normal Executive and Legislative Councils were set up and from the beginning the settlers elected members to the Legislative Council. By 1907, their representatives were in a majority.
Meanwhile the country developed economically. Railways were constructed from Beira and the Cape. Gold was found in quantities, but coal, chrome and asbestos became more valuable to the economy. European agriculture also developed and after the First World War, tobacco became an important export.

Responsible Government

At first the Company and the settlers got on well together but by the First World War, a quarrel had developed between them. The settlers believed that the Company paid too much attention to its shareholders in England and that it should spend more on such things as schools and hospitals. They also resented the tax on gold miners and the granting of land to speculators. In its turn, the Company found that it was not making a profit and wanted to give up the responsibility of governing the country.
The war brought a lull in the argument, as approximately 25 per cent of the European population took part in campaigns in German South West Africa and East Africa, as well as overseas. However, an  association was founded during the war to work for Responsible
Government for Southern Rhodesia. As we have seen, in this type of government, the Prime Minister and his Cabinet are chosen from the chief party in the elected Legislative Council. As the settlers already had a majority of representatives in the Council, this would give them
control of the government.
After a General Election in 1920, twelve out of thirteen elected members on the Legislative Council supported the Responsible Government Association led by Charles Coglhan. The British Government then appointed a Commission to investigate the governments of both Northern and Southern Rhodesia. For Southern Rhodesia, they recommended Responsible Government if a majority of voters approved in a referendum. As some people  favoured union with South Africa, the voters were offered a choice, but the majority voted for Responsible Government. The new constitution came into force in 1923. Southern Rhodesia became a British colony with a Government representing the king. The Government was to be chosen from the Legislative Assembly which was elected by those who could read and write and had an income of £1OO per annum. The colony was to be practically self-governing in internal matters, but the British kept control of Foreign Policy.

The Kid sighs deeply. What the hell must he learn this shit for? It wasn’t like he was going to have to fight for the nonsense - little did he know…  A couple of chinas turn up and bang on the kid’s bedroom window. They want him to come out and play. Swim and do ‘Marco-Polo’ in the pool glistening so invitingly just on the right of his line of sight. Katherine hears the knocks too and dismisses them until 10 o’clock, as he must study. He hates her…

Southern Rhodesia 1923-45

Southern Rhodesia developed smoothly under Charles Coglhan who was Prime Minister from 1923 until his death in 1927. He was followed by Howard Unwin Moffat who began to experience difficulties. ln the early 1930s when the Great Depression caused unemployment
and hardship and many people left the country. Economic difficulties brought Moffat's downfall and in 1933, Godfrey Huggins became Prime Minister. He had come to the country as a young doctor and stayed on. He was a popular personality and actually remained Prime Minister of Southern Rhodesia until 1953, and then of the Federation until 1956, the longest 'reign' in the British Commonwealth.
As in Kenya, a land problem developed especially as the African population gradually increased with the end of tribal warfare and the introduction of better living conditions. ln an attempt to solve the problem, Moffat's Government passed the Land Apportionment
Act of 1931. This separated the lands of the two main races who were not allowed to buy land in each other's areas. This was intended to prevent exploitation of the African by speculators and also to encourage white immigrants to bring their capital and skill to develop the European areas. However, it caused bitterness amongst Africans who resented the amount of land allocated to European use.
After the set-back of the Depression, economic development continued. Tobacco became Southern Rhodesia's biggest export. New minerals were discovered, strip roads were laid and industries began to grow up in the towns. Economic development caused a social problem. Many Africans left their villages to work on the European farms and in the mines and
towns. Their wages helped to buy the consumer goods that were now available. However, the system had some bad side effects. The Europeans regarded the Africans as only temporary residents in their areas. Most of them left their wives and children at home and so families were split, and this caused a decline in traditional African values. Many workers did indeed return to their villages after saving enough money for what they wanted, but others became
de-triba|ised and did not wish to return, yet they had no permanent home in the town. This problem became worse after the Second World War. African agriculture also deteriorated as too much was left to the women who were conservative in outlook and resisted
new methods. 

Yawn, what does the Kid care? The only ‘real’ contact he had with black people was Julia the maid and David the garden-boy. Not exactly the future…He plods on through the chapter.

 Southern Rhodesia played an important part in the Second World War considering her size. Several camps were set up to train Air Force personnel, while about 10,000 troops of all races served in the British Army in such areas as North Africa, Italy, the Middle and Far East. Many of the Africans who had served abroad came back with new ideas and afterwards began to demand more opportunities for advancement. ln addition, the war caused an economic boom as the demand for agricultural produce and minerals increased. Factories to manufacture consumer goods also grew up as it became difficult to import them from Britain. 

The days go by, and the Kid attempts to absorb the short history of his country. He skips a bit…

Soon after the break up of the Central African Federation in 1963, Malawi (Nyasaland) and Zambia (Northern Rhodesia) achieved independence. Southern Rhodesia, originally the most advanced of the three territories, had still not gained full independence, though, in practice, Britain had very little control over her affairs.
During the Federal period up to 1962, Southern Rhodesia had two Prime Ministers, Garfield Todd and Sir Edgar Whitehead, who had passed laws to advance Africans. However. African nationalists led by Joshua Nkomo and Ndabaningi Sithole were not satisfied with the rate of progress. They did not oppose the Federation in the same way as the nationalists in the Northern Protectorates, but wanted 'one man, one vote', and African control of the Southern Rhodesia Government. Their violence led to the banning of the nationalist parties, the restriction of the leaders and a State of Emergency in 1959.
However, a new constitution was introduced in 1961 and approved in a referendum by the Rhodesian electorate. This gave more Africans the vote according to their education and property. African nationalists were not satisfied. Renewed violence and intimidation led to the banning of Nkomo's Zimbabwe African Peoples Union (ZAPU.),and the renewed detention of the nationalist leaders. The majority of Europeans were worried by this violence and in the elections of  1962 (which the African voters boycotted to show their dislike of the
constitution) they ousted Sir Edgar Whitehead and voted in the newly formed Rhodesian Front Party, (RF).
The new Prime Minister, Winston Field, asked for independence for Southern Rhodesia but this was refused by the British Government who wanted a constitution more favourable to the African nationalists. Fie|d's failure to gain independence resulted in his replacement by Ian Smith in 1964. Long negotiations between Smith and the British Prime Minister, Harold Wilson, achieved nothing. The British laid down Six Principles for a settlement, the first of which stated there must be unimpeded progress towards majority rule'. This was unacceptable to the Europeans of Southern Rhodesia who did not want to hand political power to inexperienced Africans.
Because of the failure to achieve independence by negotiation, the Rhodesian Government made a Unilateral (onesided) Declaration of Independence on 11 November 1965. The British Government said this was illegal and imposed sanctions or trading restrictions on the country. This failed to subdue Rhodesia  and in December 1966, Smith and Wilson met once more, aboard  H.M.S. Tiger in the Mediterranean. It seemed as if a settlement had been reached but the agreement broke down because the British proposals for an interim government until final arrangements had been made were not satisfactory to the Rhodesians.
After that, Prime Minister Wilson appealed to the U.N. to impose mandatory (compulsory) sanctions against Rhodesia. This was done, but because it was impossible to block all access to Rhodesia, sanctions did not bring the country's downfall. In fact, because of the difficulty of importing goods, secondary industry expanded and boom conditions followed. The main result of sanctions was to place the European electorate more firmly than before behind Smith and the Rhodesian Front Government. In 1968, further negotiations between Smith and Wilson on board HMS Fearless also broke down and in 1970, still unrecognised by the rest of the world, Rhodesia became a Republic, with Smith as Prime Minister and Clifford Dupont as President.
ln 1971 negotiations were reopened with the British Government. ln November, Ian Smith and Sir Alec Douglas Home signed an agreement by which Rhodesian Indepen-
dence would be recognised by Britain. A new constitution was to be introduced giving Africans a gradually increasing number of seats in the Assembly, while racial discrimination was to be reduced. However, in accordance with one of the Six Principles, the British wished
to test public opinion to see if it favoured the proposed settlement.
A Commission led by Lord Pearce was sent to Rhodesia and in May 1972 reported its findings: while most Europeans, Coloureds and Asians were in favour, the Africans rejected the proposals in over whelming numbers. The Rhodesian Government claimed that this was caused by intimidation, but the verdict meant that the settlement was not put into force.

The Kid hands in his answers. What a waste of time! He has learnt nothing really and doesn’t give a toss…

- - -

Woosh, 2012, a late evening. The Gokwe Kid is tired, but absolutely fascinated. Shame the story ends in 1972. Eish, a few years later all shit breaks out! He rolls yet again another cheeky and decides he is an alcoholic. He ruffles through a few more pages. He finds some stuff and starts to think the author of this text book was lucky not to be shot – by either side-

- - -

Criticism of colonialism

The colonial period in Africa's history was really very short, less than a hundred years, but it brought important changes. African nationalists are quick to point out the bad side of colonialism, for example the exploitation of their raw materials and minerals and the use made of cheap or even forced labour. Many educated Africans resented the
condescending attitude of Europeans.
On the other hand, without colonialism, there would have been no
nationalism. It was the European powers which drew the boundaries of modern African nations. ln addition, the Europeans brought many social and economic benefits: Britain in particular spent more money in the later years of her rule than she ever took out of her colonies.
Communications were developed, crops introduced, minerals discovered and mined. Missions, hospitals, schools and clinics were established. The modern African nationalist was himself produced by these European influences, not by the tribal past of pre-colonial
Africa which he usually rejected.

The problems of independence

Many Africans expected too much of independence. lt did not automatically solve old problems and, in fact, it created some new ones. The most serious of these was a lack of unity within the state. During the struggle for freedom, most Africans had been united against the colonial Government, their common enemy. Once this was removed, tribal and regional feuds revived and caused political conflict and even bloodshed as in the Nigerian Civil War from 1966 to 1970.
Because of the need to achieve unity, most African countries soon became one party states. The political group which had gained independence ran the government and banned all other political organisations. The former French colonies were the first to do this but some ex-British states soon followed suit. These states had been left with parliaments like those of Paris or West-minster but these did not suit the African personality. To the new leaders, the Western European system of allowing and even paying critics to oppose the government seemed extremely foolish especially as they had few experienced politicians. As Nyerere of Tanzania said, “There can be no room for difference or division.”
The politicians claimed that the one party system was a more African way of doing lthings than democracy. ln the tribal past, the elders used to meet under an indaba tree and discuss difficulties until they were solved, not divide into groups to oppose each other. Along with one party states, African Socialism developed. In general, this meant that the government controlled most aspects of life in the country. Once opposition was banned, the Prime Minister often became the President as well. Parliament became unimportant and the government began strict supervision of civil servants, police and the law courts. ln a democracy, these are regarded as neutral in political matters, but many African governments staffed them with loyal party men.
The people of the African states became in general far less free than under colonial rule. In many states, critics of the government could be arrested, restricted, gaoled or even executed, either without trial or after proceedings in which all the judges were party men and in which they were allowed no defence. The most extreme example of this, occurred in Guinea in January 1971, when over fifty people were executed in public for their part in an alleged invasion of the country.
It was not always easy to find sufficient educated men to staff government departments and so incompetence often hindered the work. Added to this was corruption, as many officials used their positions of power to take bribes and so line their own pockets at the expense of the government. This was very difficult to eradicate especially in West Africa where the system of ‘dash' or bribery had been a way of life since the old slave trading days.  
As there was no legal way of changing the government, critics had to resort to violence. Often in the new African states, the army was the only group with the necessary strength to overthrow the political leaders. As popular discontent increased, the generals ousted the politicians. General Mobuto of the Congo was the first of the military rulers. Then, when Ghana’s  President Nkrumah was absent from the country in 1966, he was deposed by the army, which set a new fashion in military coups.
These became common place, the most recent to date being the deposition of Milton Obote of Uganda in January 1971. African states ,are, in general, very poor. They need schools, hospitals and clinics. They need to develop agriculture, industry and communications. They need mines, dams` and power stations. However, they lack the technicians who are needed to develop these projects and because the people are poor, they cannot raise the money to pay for them in taxation. Such money as is available is often wasted on prestige projects such as monuments and Presidential palaces which do not benefit the people at all. To make matters worse, the population is expanding at such a rate that a  LITTLE development is useless: ENORMOUS improvements are necessary FAST.

Foreign Aid could help to solve economic problems but often the country which gives it expects support in return. Both Russian and Chinese Communists have sent aid, for example to Guinea and Tanzania, in the hope of securing a foothold in Africa. On the other hand, Western European countries and the U.S.A. are accused of neo-colonialism, when they ask for support in return for their assistance. Thus, Africa could become a scene of rivalry in the   Cold War, though most African states claim to be neutral. ln fact, they have tried to make themselves part of the 'Third World', of the non-aligned powers. As most Asian and African states had gained independence by 1970, they were in fact in a majority in the United Nations where they had great influence.

- - -

Woosh – 2012, North Wales. The Gokwe Kid runs to the toilets and vomits. This cannot be. It is almost four decades since he read that stuff, and yet it is real as today. This is all too much, why was this restricted to the idiots? Would it have made a difference if it was taught to the bright sparks? Who knows, because a short time later – WAR and 50.000, give or take a few, will die…for what?

The Kid is knackered, but he has one more page to scan. The signed page of this history book. He recalls meeting the co-author and had demanded that book for his collection. It was not signed. In fact, it was just a test copy with a few, corrections jotted in. He insisted on a signature.
            “I haven’t signed using this name for a very long time,” the co-author said to the Kid.
            “Do it, just go for it,” the Kid replied.

And so he got his way. He knew a bit about the author. A strict Roman-Catholic (besides bending the rules now and then), born and raised in a working class two up and down terraced house in some backwater in Leeds, United Kingdom. The father was a steam train driver, the mother a house wife, but with frugality they sent their only chid to university. A personality that was not very creative - but very determined. Though marriage the author landed up in Nyasaland, teaching black children. Divorce and migration saw the writer teach at Hatfield Girls High, Oriel Girls High, Species College and be an archive secretary to Sir Roy Welaensky, in Salisbury, Rhodesia. Later - became the Head of History at Mount Pleasant High and in protest after 1980, when the ruling party insisted on changing history, became Head of History at the prestigious, privately funded St Georges High School. A position held for well after the use by date.

The Kid pushes a book page for maybe the last time into the scanner. It is the page with the signature…

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I enjoy the humour of your recollections, and the nostalgic memories they stir up.
I had friends at Mt. Pleasant and went to St. George's; we had a way of life that sadly no longer exists.