Friday, June 22, 2007

1971-72 Apartheid, Rhodesia Trek

On my Christmas Combi trek to Rhodesia with Roy Cowgill, Botswanan roads were corrugated dirt. Botswana was a big cattle ranch with poor Tswana herdsman. At Gaberone, a Tswana cop detained Joe in front of a store: "Yo' hev pukked on a yello' line seh!"

"What yellow line?" Asked Roy Cowgill. Cop scuffed his foot on the only tar strip in Gaberone main road, exposing a faded yellow line below dust. Off we went to the cop-shop, cop walking, Roy Cowgill driving behind cop. At the cop-shop, wanting to pay the fine, we argued with four gesticulating cops. "We must be at Victoria Falls on Monday," said Roy Cowgill. "We must pay our fine now!"

"No seh! Yo' mus' wet fo' de megistret who comes to de court on Mondey. Mondey!" Maybe they wanted a bribe...

Near Francistown, we slept on the roadside. In my sleeping bag, I thought of Shona and Matabele terrorists...I drove a long, dusty trek to the Botswana-South West Africa-Zambia-Rhodesia border. Along the way, Tswana road-workers sjambokked oxen-teams pulling chopped-down acacia trees over corrugations to flatten the road surface. Road-graders were non-existent: an indictment of former British control. Later, roads were tarred when USA funded improvements of the BotZam Road, and when De Beers and Botswana state ran Orapa, Jwaneng and other diamond mines. (Guy Arnold, Africa A Modern History, Atlantic Books, London, 2005).

We looked at Mosi-oa-Tunya, Victoria Falls, and chucked stones into the Boiling Pot from Vic. Falls Bridge. At Wankie Game Reserve, we looked for elephants, but saw none. Eastern Matabele bush would witness massacres during the 70s Bush War, and afterwards during the 80s, when thousands of Matabele were killed by Mugabe's Shona 5th Brigade, trained by North Korean, commie minions. After Bulawayo, Khami Ruins, Motopos Hills, Zimbabwe Ruins, eastern game parks, Salisbury, we trekked to Durbs, via Zululand game parks, where we swiped two rhino skulls lying in the bushveld: good teaching aids.

See Victoria Falls from Zambia.

No comments: