30/11/2023       Next-->

We climbed Efifi in the Matopos not so long ago, accompanied by precious members of the family who now live in Australia. It was a personal time, especially for my daughter Jo who was born in Bulawayo and in whose blood, the very word Matopos runs deep.

Nothing had changed since her last sojourn, the lichen was as iridescent, the terracotta hues in the rocks were thrilling, her geography lessons at Girls College in 'onion weathering' came stumbling back, the baboons' utterances were iconic, the black eagles threaded their way through the skies and the exquisite peace was exactly the same as it had been when she had visited her brother at REPS School what seemed like a thousand summers ago.

Jo and her husband Alex walked in glorious isolation across the great grey granite rocks, while the oldies took advantage of a neat little hollow in the rocks for a moment's solitude.
'The peacefulness of it all: the chaotic grandeur of it: it creates a feeling of awe and brings home to one how very small we all are.'

So many things that we Zimbos take for granted enthralled this beautiful young woman. The 'everlasting plant' that festooned many of her dressing tables over her young years, the magnificent 365 degree vista from the summit. The pond where, during a wet season, scorpions and frogs would fight to the death for possession, the soft tufts of wild grass where no doubt the klipspringers slept at night.
The veritable tapestry of happiness that made her into what she is today....strong, resilient, beautiful, proud and capable.

John Eppel has a wonderful collection of poems about the Matopos and I quote.

'When I die I want you to make of me
ashes, the colour of infinity;
the colour of horizons where the sky
beyond the focus of an eagle's eye
meets earth - not any earth - the western hills;
five wasted cheekbones where makaza spills,
of drops, a shiver, trickling slow.


Wonder if you or any of your readers can assist me, I have been trying to find an address for Mike Chadwick, who used to live in Bulawayo, he was a Wood Carver and also went by the title Chief Mopani' He had many Exhibitions of his work in Bulawayo and Harare back in the 70s and 80s I remember. I do have two of his early pieces,
and I think that I heard that he came back to UK. But everything that I have tried has drawn a blank so far,
Any chance that your readers may know of his whereabouts, of course he may no longer be with us
Many thanks Mags,
Graham Rowe (ex ZITF) now living in London.

I lived in Bulawayo in the sixties (perhaps before your time). In later years my mother, Helen Williams ran the RSPCA shop there.
During my time in Bulawayo I was friendly with the Du Preez family who I seem to remember lived in Pauling Road Suburbs (though it may have been another road) I think Mrs Du Preez taught at Evelyn School..She also wrote books for children.. She had two children, Moya and Phillip..Like me they would be in their seventies now.
I have lived in Europe (France) for many years now but often wonder what became of my Bulawayo friends.
I wonder if you might have known the Du Preez family and what became of them
I have enjoyed reading your articles. They stir memories..Hence my letter.

Regards from Paris.
Graham Williams