Newlife Posted October 11, 2017 Report Share Posted October 11, 2017 (edited) This is the story of my family and our many generations of adventure in Africa from the mid 1800s. Only those who have lived in Africa understand the African context. As I take a long look back from the distance of Australia I am pleased with the adventure and the courage shown. We arrived in Africa with nothing and we left five generations later with nothing but we are richer for the experiences and value life, integrity, character and legacy and take nothing for granted. "Young man if you want to make something of your life go north, there are reports of gold that would set you up for life." The year 1890. That young man was my great grandfather. "Rhodes is wanting to open up new territory and he has promised farms to those who would take up the challenge." "Just think about it!" So he did and when the Moodie trek left for Matabelleland in 1892 young Sid was one of the people who left for new and dangerous adventures in the unknown north. Only 17 wagons and 29 families could be persuaded to leave the relative safety of the south, 37 menfolk and 31 women. They would be cut of from civilization, far from any help, traveling arduously on a road that was little more than a rough track through virgin bush. Crossing mountain ranges and fording deep rivers, it was not a trip for the faint of heart. Those that did not believe in God soon learnt to pray. This was the first group that attempted the long trip from Bethlehem in the South to Salisbury in the north. "It will take four months to travel that distance and then you can get to work building a great future!" the experts had confidently predicted with the enthusiasm of spectators urging daredevils to jump into the unknown. Eight months later they arrived. Eight months of grinding, arduous travel with sickness ,disease and death as constant companions, with deprivations and hardships that the modern man just could not comprehend, with hostile African tribes to negotiate with, no recourse but to push on, "just around the next river, just over the next hill, we cant turn back, its too far, better push on I'm sure we will get there soon enough... When the Moodie party arrived they found that the country was sparsely inhabited and as they approached some of the kraals the populace would flee terrified. Thomas Moodie spoke Shangaan and discovered that they were in constant fear of raiding parties from the fierce and ruthless Matebele tribe who subjugated all surrounding tribes with the utmost cruelty and domination. The Matabele numbered in the region of thirty thousand and had fled from King Shaka, the famous and violent King of Natal after falling out with him. Mizilikazi had been one of Shaka's top men and had been a leader and an ambitious soul who had learnt the utmost in warfare, torture and extortion from the master himself. Shaka was devoid of mercy, totally psychopathic, life to him was as worthless as a twig tossed into a fire. He idly wondered at the miracle of life that came to pass in the womb, and asked for a young pregnant women to be brought to him for inspection. He disemboweled her for the sake of his curiosity and watched dispassionately as she and her fetus kicked their life out in the sand in front of him. Shaka though nothing of crucifying men by pushing poles up the anus and planting them in the hot African sun to slowly die. He trained his men in terror and intimidation, torture was a sport and the fear and fame of the Zulu nation spread far and wide. Shaka would kill any of his warriors who showed the slightest weakness. Shaka had a warfare style of total annihilation of the enemy and loved to kill babies. When his mother died Shaka murdered thousands of his subjects so that their family members could share his grief. Mizillikazi was no more refined in his attitude and having fled Shaka in great haste made his way up north into Southern Rhodesia assimilating or destroying all tribes he encountered on the way. He set up his headquarters in the Matopos in 1834 and called it Bulawayo or the place of slaughter for the number of people that he killed there. He dominated the local Mashona tribe and had some simple rules. All women in the region belong to me, all cattle in the region belong to me, all men in the region are my slaves, all life in the region I can take at any time for any reason. All people in this region will pay tributes and taxes to me or die. Mizilikazi tried to kill all his own sons to protect his royal position and got it right to execute his heirs except Lobengula who's mother managed to conceal him. Mizilikazi died in 1868 and Lobengula took his fathers place. Lobengula continued the constant raiding and taxing the surrounding area begun by his father. Lobengula was loathed by the surrounding tribes but much loved by his own. Sid settled into life in this atmosphere and began a career as a farmer working hard to establish his farm and get some infrastructure going. Not long after arriving there was a dispute between the Matabelle and the Mashona as the Mashona, emboldened by the prospect of protection by white guns refused to pay cattle tribute to Lobengula. They requested protection and the BSA company was only too pleased to deal with Lobengula. Lobengula was not a well man and the Matabele fled into refuge where Lobengula died. If Sid thought his problems were over he could think again! In 1896 the Matabele launched a surprise attack to kill all whites in the country and returned in force, with guns and bullets. With the regular army out of the country and the ordinary citizens virtually unprotected it was up to Sid to join a small group of civilian men to rescue stranded citizens in the path of an angry army of thousands of gun bearing Matabele warriors out to kill... But that is another story. Edited October 12, 2017 by RedPanda typo fixed 2 Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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