Colonial Africa
Maps. Background. Gold Coast. School In South Africa. Nyasaland.

Gold Coast

Rhodesia & Nyasaland

I went to a day school in Zomba and my sister to high school in Blantyre 40 miles down the road.

I was home every day for a couple of years and recall enjoying my life in Zomba.

We used to go to the market, cycle and walk everywhere with no shoes on - a freedom I particularly liked. Even the 3 cornered thorns posed no threat to us. Not strictly true of course as the thorn in question was so constructed that which ever way it fell there was always one bright white sharp thorn sticking vertically upwards, a bit like a jack. Well worth keeping a look out for as they really made you hop for a while if you stepped on one. I had to wear shoes at school of course.

Holidays were great. We either drove 200 miles on a dirt track to Quelimane in Mozambique or we went to Lake Nyasa. Quelimane was where I learned to enjoy Perri Perri prawns as big as my Dad’s hand a long time before Nandos arrived and introduced Perri Perri to an adoring public! They were dished up free on the cafe tables with your drinks. The memories of the small hotel we stayed in, the Portuguese style cakes, the steaks in the restaurant swimming with what I later found to be Maggi sauce and still am fond of today, are very pleasant memories.

Colonial social life was quite active. My parents were quite active and often went to this dance or that dance. The Gymkhana club was the favourite. I remember one evening when we had a darts v archery contest. I loved doing archery at the club and we set up and painted a dartboard layout on an archery butt. We bought it inside and over 25yds the archery team just managed to beat the darts team to the sound of much hilarity and fun had by all. Zomba Plateau proved an attraction and my Uncle remembers climbing and fishing etc. I remember the largest Locusts I have ever seen.

My Dad’s and Uncle Gray’s job title in Zomba was Technical Officers. They ran a workshop and compound that dealt with training films via the studio on site and three mobile cinema vans which went out to the villages in Nyasaland to show training films about agriculture and hygiene and all manner of things. They were also responsible for recording and archiving government procedures like Hansards in Government House. They also ran a local radio station called Blue Band which Gray started in 1953.

Gray remembers his “top boy” was called Andrew Macapetty and very useful and reliable he was by Gray’s account.

My memory of this compound was the massive (oak tree size) avocado tree. I used to climb up it and drop avocados down to my dad to catch. Worked really well year after year until one time we got out of sync and I dropped as he was just looking up. Got him on the forehead from about 30 feet up and after he got off the ground I got “don’t do that again” Laugh!, I nearly fell out the tree.

An interview from a lady called Angela Phillips who was born in Nyasaland is interesting and can be viewed here. Other interviews start here.

The Gymkhana Club seems to have survived but not like I remember it, that is for sure.

The Local language was called Chinyanja and most of the Colonials were fairly fluent in it. My Uncle Gray has kindly allowed me to do some recordings done over the phone from his home in West Australia. He is 88, as at Oct 2009, his memory, it seems, is still good.

2014 - Sad to say my Uncle died this year. Nearly 92.

Bring me a glass of cold water.mp3 Bring me some food.mp3 Bwana Chi.mp3 Car.mp3 Car history.mp3 Cigarette.mp3 Dog.mp3 food.mp3 Hospital.mp3 House.mp3 Letter.mp3 Medicine.mp3 Moving Picture.mp3 My House.mp3 Pikinin.mp3 Radio.mp3 Tea.mp3 Veranda.mp3 Radio Story.mp3 Television.mp3



Our house in Zomba

My Sister and I in the garden in Zomba

Lake Nyasa (freshwater)

Me at Quelimane. Don’t think that was wine!

Our “Chalet” at Lake Nyasa

New Years Eve feast on the beach at Quelimane

My sister Susan and Tito

View from our Hotel in Quelimane

Quelimane road. I think that may be pineapples in the back

View over the African Plains from our 2nd house

My Sister’s Own Colonial Story

Two modern shots of the view from Zomba Mountain. I am sure the view hasn’t changed.