This is my original Report to the Resident Commissioner written in 1957 as
the Conducting Officer of the Delegation.
1. En route to Cape Town.
The party travelled comfortably to Cape Town on Tuesday 13th
August 1957 in a special coach put at the disposal of the Government
by the South African Railways. Throughout the journey the railway
staff were extremely courteous, providing excellent beds for the
two nights on board and doing all they could to be of assistance by
bringing meals to the compartments and always being on call.
At Cape Town we were met by a representative of the Rhodesian
Chartered Agency. After a short interview with the Press we were
conducted to waiting cars, which took us to the Docks where we
boarded the "Dunnottar Castle".
In the afternoon the Paramount Chief and her party went into
Cape Town to buy an umbrella and hat box. In the course of half an
hour or so about 150 umbrellas in Stuttafords were inspected one by
one, but none proved suitable. Determined, in spite of the pouring
rain, to look further afield the entourage trailed into "O.K. Bazaars",
but there too drew a blank (this, did we but know it, was a portent of
things to come).
However, the afternoon was not altogether wasted since the
party met, in Stuttafords Store, an old friend in Mr. R. P. Fawcus
(Government Secretary, later Resident Commissioner of the
Bechuanaland Protectorate) who was travelling with his family to the
United Kingdom on leave. It was he who told us that the mail boat
the "Winchester Castle" was half empty.
As the "Dunnottar Castle" was now so delayed that it would
not have reached the United Kingdom until some five days after the
official tour was due to begin the whole party transferred, after some
anxious staff work, to the "Winchester Castle". We found the new
ship quite as comfortable as the one we had left. After numerous
goodbyes - and some swallowing of Avomine - the boat sailed at
4p.m. on Friday, 16th August 1957.
2. The Voyage.
It was not long before the party had settled down to the routine
of shipboard life, with much time spent in playing deck games
and eating. Two of the party tried hard to beat the scales in the
gymnasium and pass the 300lbs mark, but never quite succeeded.
The rest were content to remain somewhere near the average of
With the co-operation of the Captain special tours were
organised for the party to the Bridge, Radio Room, Kitchens and
Storage Rooms. The ship's officers concerned made these visits
extremely interesting and entertaining. Much to everyone's delight
the Paramount Chief herself took the wheel of the "Winchester
Castle" for a short spell. The general organisation and running of a
large passenger and cargo vessel is not something a landlocked race
like the Basuto know much about, so that a great deal of value was
The time at sea passed very quickly, with every day something
new to be sampled. Four of the party played in the cricket match
versus the ship's officers and put up a good show. One member of
the party was a volunteer "victim" in the crossing the line ceremony
and received the biggest cheer of the day when he was eventually
thrown into the pool. Four members of the party won the kitty at
Tombola. One of the party, thinking it time he learned to swim, one
day suddenly hurled himself into the swimming pool, to the great
alarm of the instructor who immediately dived in fully clothed to
rescue him. Thereafter they remained great friends and by the end of
the voyage the novice had learnt to swim. The majority entered for
the deck games competitions and some prizes were won. The cinema
- not often seen in Basutoland - also proved most popular.
3. Shipboard Relations.
These entertainments and diversions, instructive though they
were, were not what made the voyage so valuable. Nor was it merely
in the provision of a breathing space between the rush and frantic
bustle of departure - which had left all completely exhausted when
they embarked - and the even more strenuous and exhausting tour which lay ahead. The interval gave us time to gather strength; slowly
the party was knit into a whole, with an organisation for meeting
most eventualities and a procedure for tackling difficulties. This
proved most useful later in the trip. But the real value of the voyage
and what proved its worth beyond any doubt, lay in the slow building
up of a satisfactory relationship between the blacks in the party and
the whites with whom they associated on board.
Until that moment in their lives their relationship with the white
man outside their own country was not always pleasant. One of the
Paramount Chief's Advisers once related how, while travelling in
the Union of South Africa with a white man, a hotel commissionaire
summoned him sharply, saying "Boy, fetch the Boss's hat over
there!" The Adviser did not think it worth arguing, nor was he
anything but polite. But like many Africans before him he wore a
mask thereafter in his dealings with white men. On board ship it was
good to see these masks gradually removed. At first all on board
were treated by the Basuto with the same polite reserve. The waiter,
when he brought the menu, would ask, "Will you have the fish,
Sir?" and the reply would be, "If it is possible I would like the meat,
please, Sir". And the "Sirs" would be bandied back and forth while
the menu was discussed.
It was not long, however, before they learnt to discriminate and
their relations with their fellow passengers became extremely cordial.
Much of this was due to the example set by the Captain, a forceful
personality and a strict disciplinarian. The day after we sailed he
gave a cocktail party for the passengers in the lounge. At first he
was reluctant to ask the Basuto as he said he had had experience of
the difficulties that arise between black and white passengers when
he took Khosana Bereng (the heir apparent and first King of Lesotho) and his party to the United Kingdom in
1953. It would, he felt, not be pleasant for either side if trouble
brewed. Such social apartheid however would not have made too
auspicious a start to the voyage; the Basuto would naturally have
been on the defensive and the other passengers would probably have
felt that if the Captain cut the blacks that was part of the protocol. It was building up trouble for the future. This the Captain was not slow
in seeing. The Basuto were duly asked to the cocktail party and the
Paramount Chief, followed by her two ladies in waiting and a file
of vast, impressive looking black gentlemen, soberly attired, arrived
in tremendous state after all the other passengers had assembled. In
dead silence they were introduced to the Captain, and then before
anyone knew what was happening, the Captain and all his officers
had each made for one of the party and started talking rapidly. Very
soon everyone had joined in and the tone was set for the rest of the
Captain Lloyd gave one or two more cosy little parties
for the Basuto in his cabin and before we reached Southampton
the Paramount Chief formally presented him with a Basuto hat in
remembrance of a very pleasant trip. He had himself photographed
in this hat and presented signed copies to each member of the party,
much to their delight. When we met him again quite by chance in
Oxford he was given a warm welcome.
It is, perhaps, worth mentioning that although the party very
soon felt quite at home on board, playing games with the other
passengers, chatting with them over a cup of coffee after dinner,
ordering tea, snacks and drinks as they felt inclined, they always
behaved with the utmost propriety and never on any occasion, either
at sea, in England or on the continent, had anything like too much
to drink, although often hard put to refuse an embarrassing measure
of hospitality. People everywhere were most impressed by this and
often went out of their way to say so.
In the matter of clothing, too, they behaved with the utmost
discretion. Although without dinner jackets on the voyage the
men all bought black bow ties which they wore with their black
suits and white shirts, so that it was hard to tell the difference.
Nevertheless in England some of them had themselves measured for
dinner suits (nothing off the peg, of course, would fit!) and bought
striped trousers. The latter, worn with their bowlers, looked most distinguished when they strolled down Piccadilly twirling their
5. Las Palmas.
On Monday, 26th August, the ship berthed at Puerto de la Luz,
the port of Grand Canary, where the party undertook an organised
tour of the island, under the auspices of the C.Y.R.A.S.A. Agency,
who put a guide and interpreter at our disposal and arranged three
modern cars and a minibus for our transport.
From the harbour the party passed through Las Palmas, the
capital of the island, where 165,000 of the total population of
330,000 live, and thence up through banana plantations to the
mountains, following a winding road to the pretty village of Santa
Brigida. Then by a most spectacular road - reminiscent of a tarred
Sani Pass - to the top of the extinct volcano of Bandama, 6,000 feet
high, from which a magnificent view of the island was obtained.
At the higher levels the country, with its bare soil of volcanic
origin, looked very like Basutoland, but everywhere there was an
abundance of agricultural produce, chiefly in the shape of potatoes,
tomatoes and bananas, but also apples, peaches, maize and, in the
Angostura valley, (where we saw people living in caves in the hill
side) oranges and lemons and other tropical fruits. In spite of a low
annual rainfall these crops flourish since irrigation is practiced on a
very wide scale. Water conduits were in evidence everywhere and
made a deep impression on the party. Later in the tour, near Rome,
they were reminded of what could be done in this field by seeing
many miles of ancient Roman aqueducts standing high above the
On the return trip the party made a short stop in Las Palmas to
do some shopping. No one was caught by the vendors of imitation
Parker 51's at £1 apiece, but all had some fun out of them. Spanish jewellery on the other hand proved very popular.
After leaving Grand Canary we spent the next two or three days
preparing for our arrival in England. A quantity of British Travel
Association literature was absorbed, bags were packed and labelled,
cameras loaded, accounts paid, landing cards collected, tips handed
out, passports checked and, finally, goodbyes were said and addresses
exchanged. The ship docked in Southampton very early on the
morning of Friday, August 30th.
The day began at Southampton at 5.30a.m. with the arrival of
mail from the Commonwealth Relations Office giving us the first
inkling of our destination in England and subsequent itinerary.
After absorbing this quickly, together with various press briefs, the
baggage was dealt with and then Immigration. A hurried breakfast
was followed by a Press Conference at 7.30 a.m.
Between 20 and 30 newspapermen and photographers
representing the English national and provincial press created a
furore when we arrived in the lounge. After they had been brought
under control the photographers were given ten minutes to do their
worst, while the Paramount Chief (notoriously sensitive about
flash bulbs) was encouraged to smile and keep her temper until it
was over. Then the reporters had their turn: self-government, the
installation of Bereng as Paramount Chief and the incorporation of
Basutoland into South Africa - subjects which had received publicity
in the South African press - were all very live issues, with each
newspaperman looking for an angle which he could use to advantage
in a sensational headline. Here our preliminary work came in useful
and there were few questions that took the party completely by
surprise. The Paramount Chief answered the first general questions
herself and then handed over to one of the advisers for the rest of
the conference. We usually managed to adhere to this procedure
during the rest of the tour and, with the preliminary briefing, it paid
dividends. Throughout, all members of the party were keenly aware
of the necessity for handling questions concerning their relations with the Union of South Africa with the greatest care and never
succumbed to the great temptation of appealing to mass sentiment in
England - this in spite of leading questions by journalists and visits
from people like the Reverend Michael Scott. Even the Paramount
Chief by the end of the tour was getting public relations minded and
instead of the usual glum look and consequent bad write-up that
she received in Cape Town, was treating photographers to beaming
smiles and waving to the crowds much in the manner of the Queen
Mother. Mostly it was a question of emphasising that the party
could not look upon themselves as a collection of individuals on
holiday, for whatever they did they would be treated as a delegation
representative of Basutoland. If they cared for the good name of
Basutoland and wished the British people to continue to take an
interest in them and their affairs it was obvious that they had to treat
the press and public bodies with respect.
After the Press Conference on the ship the party went ashore
with their hand luggage, through Customs and boarded the
specially reserved coach on the boat train - followed throughout by
photographers. The journey to Waterloo was spent in conference
preparing for the next meeting with the press and analysing the last.
At Waterloo the party was met by Messrs. D.W.S. Hunt (later Ambassador to Brazil - and Brain of Britain) and
M.P. Fairlie of the Commonwealth Relations Office and Mr P.C.
Cooke, of the Central Office of Information. There was the usual
crowd of photographers and four newsreel men. We left for Jermyn
Street in magnificent Daimlers from the government car pool.
The Overseas League Annexe in Jermyn Street, which was to
be our headquarters in London, proved most suitable. It contained
a series of very comfortable suites on different floors, consisting of
bedroom, sitting room and bathroom, with telephones. We were all
made Honorary members of the Overseas League for the duration of
our stay in England and the facilities in the Headquarters building,
where we ate our lunches and dinners, proved extremely useful.
On arrival in Jermyn Street there was a short Press Conference,
with correspondents ranging from the London Times to a newspaper
in Melbourne and a ladies journal in Hamburg. This was followed
by lunch and, immediately afterwards, a B.B.C. television interview
in the Paramount Chief's sitting room. By the time all the lights
had been set up and the tape-recorder tested everyone was in such
a state of nervous tension that for once even the usual Basuto flow
of oratory had dried up. The excerpt we saw on the television news
later that night was certainly not very impressive.
After this there was a conference with the Central office of
Information on the tour itinerary, where an effort was made to reduce
the number of engagements. This continued until 6 p.m. when there
was a large reception at the Overseas League. At about 3 a.m. that
night when the last bag was being unpacked, some of us wondered
whether three weeks in England was not rather a long time!
8. Royal Ballet.
Saturday, 31st August, our second day in England, was spent
sight-seeing around London in the special coach put at the disposal of
the party for the duration of our stay in England. That night we paid
a visit to the Royal Ballet at Covent Garden. The party was received
by Major Collins, the House Manager at the Royal Opera House,
who had served during the war with the Basuto. He conducted us to
the Royal Box. The House was packed and the performance, which
was the final one of the season, was quite magnificent. During the
interval the party was served with a chicken champagne supper in the
King's smoking room.
On Sunday, 1st September the Paramount Chief and her party
attended the impressive High Mass at Westminster Cathedral and
later were conducted round the building. In the afternoon Mr Fairlie
of the Commonwealth Relations office took some of the party sightseeing.
The following morning the party went to Madame Tussauds
and in the afternoon we were received by Sir Gilbert Laithwaite,
Permanent Under Secretary of State at the Commonwealth Relations Office. Amongst those at the reception were Sir Ian Fraser (the blind M.P. who owned the Fraser Group of Trading Stores
in Basutoland and was Chairman of St Dunstans.) and Lady Irene
Fraser, Mr. Justice and Mrs. Elyan, Mr. and Mrs. D.M. Wilson, Mr.
R.P. Fawcus (Commissioner of Bechuanaland), the Abbot of Ampleforth and Father Bernard Boya and
various members of the Office.
On Tuesday the party went to the Farnborough Air Display by
coach and there saw an exhibition worthy of Britain's might and
skill. At least five aircraft that had never been publicly shown before,
two world record holders and the latest versions of some of Britain's
successful turbine and piston engined airliners, were features of
the display. There were three aircraft capable of speeds in excess
of 1,000 m.p.h. In addition there was a static exhibition of guided
missiles and rockets which, even in the pre-sputnik era, proved
awesome. We walked around the inside of a Beverley Transport
Plane - as big as a house, and the party was invited by the President
of the Society of British Aircraft Constructors to the V.I.P. enclosure,
packed with highly coloured, be-medalled foreign delegations and
high-ranking British officers, including Lord Mountbatten and the
Chief of the Air Staff. We sat in the first row, close to the runway
which crossed our front, with a magnificent view.
The show began with three Westland Whirlwind helicopters
dancing a ballet in the air just over the runway; then, every minute
or so, a new plane took off and landed or performed corkscrew
runs at near sonic speeds in front of us, shooting vertically into the
clouds and out of sight in a matter of seconds. The organisation
of the display, which must have required jet planes to rendezvous
somewhere over Ireland for their run-in, was brilliant. Among them
we were interested to see a performance by the Twin Pioneer, which
may be in service in Basutoland next year. Its ability to land in a
matter of yards was quite staggering and almost unbelievable when
contrasted with a Valiant jet bomber, taking up almost a mile of runway, which came roaring in immediately afterwards. As was to
be expected it was the super-sonic planes that really stole the show.
Slipping in over the horizon in a hushed silence the tiny dot was
suddenly and miraculously abreast, exploding with a breath catching
roar of living sound that could be felt pushing us backwards out of
our chairs. It made a tremendous impression on the Basuto who felt
proud to be associated with the nation that produced such marvels.
On the return from Farnborough the party had a brief look at
another kind of English marvel - Windsor Castle - so vast it could
have contained all Matsieng (the H.Q. of the Paramount Chief where he lives and has
his offices) and still had room to spare.
10. Sir Ian Fraser.
On Thursday, September 4th, Sir Ian and Lady Fraser
entertained the party to luncheon, at the Fellows Room in the
Zoological Gardens. Also invited were Mr. D.W.S. Hunt, Miss
Emery and Mr. Fairlie of the Commonwealth Relations Office, Mr.
and Mrs. D.M. Wilson and Miss Fraser. After lunch Sir Ian took the
party round the Zoo and tried to persuade the Paramount Chief to
ride an elephant with him. The press, television photographers and
the crowd were most disappointed when she refused, but later she
pleased everyone by feeding the sea lions. At 4 p.m. Lady Fraser
entertained us to tea at her beautiful home in Regents Park where Sir
Ian presented the ladies with a Basuto blanket each and the men
with a shooting stick each. He also promised the men any blanket of
their choice when they returned to Basutoland.
In his speech Sir Ian referred to the long association of
the House of Fraser with Basutoland and hoped that in spite of
impending constitutional changes this association would continue
and prosper. Chief Leshoboro Majara, replying on behalf of the
Paramount Chief thanked Sir Ian and Lady Fraser for their hospitality
and gifts and said he was sure it was the wish of all the Basuto that the long standing friendship that existed between Frasers and the
Basuto people should continue to flourish.
11. Grassland Research Institute.
The party left their London base by coach on the morning of
Thursday, 5th September, for a tour of the provinces and Scotland,
which was to last nearly a fortnight. A luncheon stop was made at
Skindles, a beautiful riverside hotel at Maidenhead, and at 3 p.m.
the party was received at the Grassland Research Institute, Hurley,
by the Director, Dr. William Davies and his staff. After explaining
the work of the Institute in the conference room the party was taken
round some of the experimental plots. We returned for tea with the
Director and his staff and left again at about 5.30 p.m. It was a most
interesting and profitable tour. (A further note on the work of the
Institute is available in here).
From Hurley the party continued by coach to the Randolph
Hotel, Oxford, where we were met for dinner by Mr. W.O.H. Collins,
who had been a senior official in the Basutoland government, and his
The next morning the men in the party were taken on a
conducted tour of Oxford University by Mr. W.H. Voigt of the
Central Office of Information. The history and organisation of the
University were of great interest to all.
13. Corpus Christi College.
At noon we were received at Corpus Christi College by Mr.
W.F.A. Hardie, the President, and Mrs. Hardie, Mr. Frank Lepper,
Senior Tutor, Brig. G.O.M. Jameson, C.B.E., Bursar, and Mr. M.G.
Brock, Tutor in Modern History. We were then taken around the
College and shown Khosana Bereng's rooms. At the reception in
the President's Lodgings before luncheon Mr. D.W.S. Hunt of the
Commonwealth Relations Office, Sir Douglas Veale, Registrar of the
University, Mr. J.G. Mouldon, Dean, and some of the dons and their
wives joined the party. Luncheon was taken in the Hall and followed
by coffee in the Senior Combination room, where certain of the
College treasures were on view.
As Chief Nkuebe Mitchell, speaking on behalf of the Paramount
Chief, said in his speech of thanks, it could not have been a more
delightful and entertaining visit. The Paramount Chief presented to
the President, the Registrar and the Senor Tutor traditional Basuto
hats and these were received with many expressions of appreciation.
From Corpus the party went almost directly to the Institute
of Commonwealth Studies where the Director, Mrs. E.M. Chilver,
entertained us to tea with senior members of the University and
others, including Anthony Andrews, M.B.E., M.A., Wykeham,
Professor of Ancient History and Fellow of New College, and Mrs. Andrews, Max Beloff, B.Litt, M.A. F.R. Hist.S. Gladstone Professor
of Government and Public Administration, Lady Bourdillon, Sir
Andrew Cohen, United Kingdom representative to the United
Nations, Mr. and Mrs. W.O.H. Collins (lately of the Basutoland
Administration), Dr. G.F. Dawes, Director of the Nuffield Institute
of Medical Research and Mrs. Dawes, Mr. R.A. Frost, O.B.E., Mr.
E.M. Hugh-Jones, M.A., Keble College, and Mrs. Jones, Dr. J.B.
Kelly, Research Officer, Institute of Commonwealth Studies, Mrs.
Proudfoot, B.Litt, Somerville and St Hughes Colleges, Miss Margery
Perham, C.B.E., Fellow oflmperial Government, Nuffield College,
Mr. E.L. Stahl, M.A. Christ Church and Wadham Colleges and Mrs.
The party had some interesting discussions with the various
distinguished guests at the reception, but were more than ready for
their dinner at the end of this rather exhausting day. After dinner the
men in the party saw a play by Jean-Paul Sartre at the New Theatre.
The party rose early on Saturday, September 7th to pack and
then left Oxford by coach soon after breakfast for Stratford-on-Avon.
On arrival we were received by the Manager of the luxurious
Welcombe Hotel and with due ceremony shown to our very
Almost immediately we left again to attend a reception given by
the Mayor at the Town Hall in Stratford-on-Avon. There we were
entertained to tea and shown the civic regalia, and banqueting rooms,
signed the Visitors Book, had press photographs taken and, after the
usual speeches, returned to the hotel for lunch with the County and
District Advisory Officers of the Ministry of Agriculture, together
with the Midland Regional representative of the Central office of
After lunch the Paramount Chief retired with the ladies while the
men in the party had a most interesting tour of farms in the Stratford
district in the company of Ministry of Agriculture officials. We
returned at about 6 p.m.
The next day, Sunday, September 8th, the Paramount Chief and
some of the party attended Mass in Stratford in the morning. She
was received ceremonially at the church and conducted to a special
pew at the front.
In the afternoon more farms in the Evesham area were visited.
15. Stoneleigh Abbey.
The party left Stratford early on the morning of Monday,
September 9th, for Stoneleigh Abbey, Kenilworth, the headquarters
of the Massey-Harris-Ferguson Farm Training School. Over a cup of
coffee in the ancient Abbey the Resident Director, Captain Duncan
Hill, explained the work of the school and its general organisation.
Later we were conducted round the farm, examined the various farm
implements produced by the Company, inspected the school and saw
an interesting demonstration of contour ploughing, deep cultivation,
and their implements in use.
We were then taken by coach to Coventry where the Directors
of the Company entertained the party to a magnificent lunch in the
most modern hotel in England, the Leofric. The hotel, and the square
in which it is situated, lie in the centre of Coventry, an area that was
completely devastated during the war and that has only recently been
rebuilt. It is now a fine example of modern architecture, planning
and development, probably unique in England, and as such proved of
great interest to the party.
After lunch the party left by coach for Nottingham, which we
reached about 6 p.m. We were met by Mr. D.M. Guilfoyle, Chief
Regional Officer of the Central Office of Information and also the
local representative of the Royal Empire Society. Members of the
press interviewed some of the party.
16. School of Agriculture. Nottingham.
After breakfast the following day the party paid a visit to the
University of Nottingham School of Agriculture, situated at Sutton
Bonington, eleven miles from the University centre. We were met by
Professor E.G. Hallsworth, Dean of the Faculty and Dr. J.T. Morgan, Senior Tutor, who explained the work and general organisation of the
School. Afterwards the party was conducted on a most interesting
and profitable tour of the 500 acre estate - 300 acres of which are
arable - lying in rolling country in the valley of the River Soar. The
estate includes a modern fruit plantation, a market garden, and three quarters
of an acre of horticultural glass houses, three of which are designed
for general work on plant nutrition and plant physiology and one
fly proof glass house for entymology. There is also a commercial
farm. We saw the dairy and milk products laboratory, the chicken
houses, both deep litter and battery systems, a flock of ewes on which
various experiments were being done, the herd of large white pigs
kept in a modern piggery designed for individual feeding, a herd of
identical twin heifers and steers, various field and crop experiments,
a modern grain drying plant combined with storing, milling, mixing
and bagging machines, all joined on a kind of conveyor belt system,
so that from the time the crop was cut in the field until it came out as
a bag of flour or feed, it was not touched by hand. These and many
other things were of the greatest interest to the party and we left the
School convinced that in the field of agriculture it would be difficult
to improve it.
The party returned to Nottingham for lunch, after which we
packed again preparatory to our departure for York. Before leaving
we proceeded to the Mansion House where the Lord Mayor, Lady
Mayoress and various local dignitaries received us ceremoniously
and gave us tea, after which the press took photographs. We signed
the Visitors Book and had a quick look at the Mansion House. The
Paramount Chief presented the Lady Mayoress with a traditional
Basuto hat before we left.
We reached York after the long coach drive in time for a late
dinner. The Manager of the Royal Station Hotel gave us a warm
welcome and soon made the tired party comfortable.
17. Doncaster - St. Leger.
We left York by coach after breakfast the following morning for
Doncaster, which we reached at noon. There we were received by the Mayor and his lady and other dignitaries in ceremonial robes at
the Mansion House. The street canopy and red carpet had been laid
out for our arrival, which was conducted with great pomp.
At luncheon, which was taken in the Mansion House as guests
of the Mayor, we met some of the leading citizens of Doncaster and
representatives of the Race Course Committee. After the speeches
the Paramount Chief presented the Mayoress with a traditional
From the Mansion House we proceeded with a police escort to
the race course, accompanied by the Mayor, and were there received
by the Chairman of the Race Committee, who showed us to our Box.
In spite of the rain the meeting was most enjoyable and two members
of the party managed to back the winner of the St. Leger. After the
racing the party was entertained to tea by the Committee and we then
returned rather tired to York for a late dinner.
After breakfast the next day the Central Office of Information
representative took the party for a sight-seeing tour of York. At the
Minster we were received by the Dean and then shown round this
memorable church by the Verger.
The party returned to the hotel in time for an official luncheon
party at which the Sheriff of York and his lady were the guests
of honour, together with Messrs. Wormald, Walker and Senior,
Directors of the Dewsbury firm which makes blankets for the
Basutoland market. The director presented gifts of blankets to each
member of the party.
After lunch we left by coach for Ampleforth College where
Khosana Bereng, the heir apparent, had recently been a pupil. We
met with a great reception by the Abbot and masters. Following a
tour of the College buildings the Headmaster entertained us to tea in
his rooms and in a warm speech of welcome presented the Paramount
Chief with various gifts. In the course of her speech of thanks the Paramount Chief presented the Headmaster with a traditional Basuto
After tea we visited the college farm and then Gilling Castle, the
fine old preparatory school for Ampleforth. We returned to York in
time for dinner.
The party rose early the next day to pack again, leaving York
after breakfast on the 9.51 a.m. train for Edinburgh, which was
reached soon after lunch. At 4 p.m. there was a reception at the
The following day the party left the hotel after breakfast for the
Centre of Rural Economy at the Burk and Dryden Estate, six miles
south of Edinburgh. The livestock were, as always, most interesting.
Luncheon was taken at the George Hotel and then the party
proceeded to Sir Alick Buchanan-Smith's farm at Balerno, where they were wannly received by Sir Alick and his son, who entertained
us to tea and showed us his magnificent herd of Ayrshire cattle.
The party spent Sunday on a scenic coach drive to the Trossachs
and Loch Lomond.
On Monday morning the party left for Pitlochry where, after
lunch, a visit was paid to the Forestry Training School at Faskally.
This was a most instructive afternoon and all returned confirmed men
of the trees.
21. Visit to Secretary of State.
Tuesday, September 17th, was the day set aside for the visit
to the Secretary of State. The party left Edinburgh in the morning
for Castlemains, the home of the Earl and Countess of Home. Our
hitherto fairly good record of punctuality for important occasions
was on this occasion broken, but not through the fault of any member of the party. The guide lost the way and we arrived about
twenty minutes late. As there had been some domestic difficulty
at Castlemains that morning this was perhaps not the disaster it
might have been; in any case the complete absence of formality and
genuine warmth of the welcome extended by the Secretary of State
quickly removed any embarrassment there might have been. Other
guests at lunch, which was served by the Earl of Rome's children
and their friends, were the Duchess of Roxburghe, Major Monteith,
Mr. Butterwick and Miss Emery from the Commonwealth Relations
After lunch we assembled for the conference with the Secretary
of State. The meeting was extremely cordial throughout and all
members of the party spoke well, never overstating their case and
never making immoderate demands. There is little doubt that such
personal contacts are extremely valuable on both sides and it would
be difficult to believe that the meeting did not result in much greater
understanding, confidence and respect.
After tea Chief Leshoboro Majara thanked the Secretary of State
on behalf of the Paramount Chief for his hospitality and expressed
the general feeling of pleasure which the meeting had engendered.
The Paramount Chief then presented the Earl and Countess of
Home with traditional Basuto hats and the Earl of Home presented
the Paramount Chef with a rug of Douglas tartan. Before leaving
Castlemains the Earl of Home took the men around the Estate to see
the ruined family Castle. It was with genuine regret that we finally
After dinner in Edinburgh the party packed for their departure
on the night train to London. Mr. and Mrs F.G. Muirhead and Mr
H.M.L. Shearer came to see the party off. The Earl of Wemyss
also called at the hotel after dinner to greet the Paramount Chief
and renew old acquaintances. We left Edinburgh at 10.40 p.m. and
arrived in London at 7 a.m. the following morning.
22. Return to London.
After the long and tiring tour of the provinces the party were
glad to get back to their base in Jermyn Street, with the thought of a
few consecutive nights in the same bed. The day was spent quietly
sorting and unpacking and doing some shopping. In the evening we
were taken to a performance of cinerama at the London Casino. The
three dimensional effect produced by the three cameras on a wide
screen, coupled with stereophonic sound, was most realistic and the
opening sequences of the film, in which one felt oneself actually
sitting in an aeroplane flying low through the jagged snow covered
peaks of the Alps, was at times unbearably real.
The next morning the party paid a visit to Croydon, the largest
County Borough in England, to see something of the work of a local
As we approached the Town Hall large crowds of people lining
the road cheered and waved a welcome; the Mayor and Mayoress,
Sheriff, Town Clerk and Beadle dressed in their ceremonial
robes of office, were waiting on the steps to receive us. After the
introductions the Mayor led us up the red-carpeted grand stairway,
flanked with masses of flowers, to his Parlour where refreshments
were served and the press and one or two leading citizens were
introduced. The Mayor then read his address of welcome and introduced local manufacturers who presented
the Paramount Chief with gifts of chocolates, a casket of perfumes,
a gold watch, a portable battery radio and some Christmas crackers. He ended his address by saying on behalf of the people of Croydon,
"May your feet go softly and may you and your people ever be
sheltered under the Queen's blanket".
After the reception the party returned to their cars and proceeded
with the Mayor and other officials, under a police motor-cycle
escort, to the new Addington Estate. On leaving the Town Hall the
Paramount Chief acknowledged the cheers of the crowds who were
still present and stopped to talk with one or two of the small children.
24. Fairchildes School.
New Addington is a satellite town of Croydon with a population
of about 18,000 people all housed on the Estate (built by the Local
Authority) which has its own shopping centre, community centre
and schools. We stopped first at the Fairchildes Secondary Modern
School for Boys, which was opened in 1951 and now has 450 pupils
aged between 11 and 16 years. The Headmaster conducted the party
round the school, which is modern, with plenty of space, light and
What most impressed the party was the activities of the Young
Farmers Club, which demands and receives the attention of pupils
in term and holiday time alike. There is in fact no lack of volunteers
for the task of tending the garden and greenhouses and feeding and
watering the livestock over the week-end and during the holidays.
Thanks to the inspiration and vision of the Headmaster
coupled with the enthusiasm of the staff (which latter contains both
agricultural and horticultural specialists) these town children living
on the edge of the country have developed a real and burning love
for the land and its associations. This love of the country and living
things has made itself felt in a remarkable way on the estate with
the result that, unlike many another such area damage to plants and
trees and near-by crops is practically nil. An enlightened Parks
Department has fostered this love of the children for the things of
the earth by allowing them to plant the trees in the road in which
they live. It is intended that, at some later date, the trees should be
labelled with the names of the children responsible for the planting.
In common with the majority of new schools Fairchildes has
grass surrounds to the buildings; these are kept in perfect condition
by the pupils, who are also responsible for the rock garden and
floral display. The school has two green-houses, one heated,
the brickwork of which was done by the pupils in the handicraft
class. The propagating and potting sheds are scenes of great
activity. Beekeeping is an important feature of the overall plan
and the livestock kept includes goats, rabbits and poultry. Much
experimental work is carried out by the pupils in the form of grass
trials, experiments in crop rotation and demonstrations both indoors
and outdoors of the effect of weed-killers. With this emphasis on
horticulture it is not surprising to find that a great many of the pupils
take rural science as a subject in the General Certificate of Education.
Many pupils go on to Merrist Wood Farm Institute, before which,
thanks to the co-operation of a local farmer, they do a year's practical
work on a farm.
Since 1951 an annual flower show and fete has been held at the
school when both children and parents combine to put on a first class
display. The feminine influence is found in the arts and crafts
and domestic sections which form an important part of the show.
Generous help is given by firms in the matter of prizes. The Young
Farmer's Club is a regular exhibitor at shows and exhibited at the
Royal Show at Windsor in 1954. It has its own office in the school
with a sales department and duly audited books. Out-of-school
activities in connection with the Club, in which both boys and girls
participate, include cooking, basket work and wood-work, with the
teachers in both of the schools willingly co-operating and freely
giving of their leisure time.
The visit to Fairchildes was a refreshing experience; a shining
example of what can be accomplished when staff and pupils readily
co-operate in something worthwhile.
The whole school lined up to see the party off and having been
given a half-holiday in honour of the visit chanted "Will ye no come
back again?" as the coach moved off.
A visit was then made to one of the houses on the Estate and to the Community Centre after which, still with our police escort,
we proceeded to the Shirley Park Hotel for an excellent luncheon
with the Mayor and Mayoress and Town Clerk. In our speeches we
thanked the Mayor for his hospitality and great feats of organisation
and expressed our desire to follow the schoolboys injunction to come
back again. We returned to London later in the day, replete, after this
most interesting and successful visit to Croydon.
25. House of Commons.
The following morning the party visited the Houses of
Parliament and was shown over the building by Mr. Bernard Braine,
MP., who managed to combine a sight-seeing visit with a fascinating
lecture on constitutional history. We enjoyed every minute of the
tour and were not sure at the end of it whether our coach driver in
York was right when he pointed to a house and said "There lived
the only man to go to Parliament with the right intentions - Guy
26. Commonwealth Relations Office Press Conference.
In the afternoon the party attended a reception at the C.R.O. to
which certain foreign editors and other press correspondents known
to have an interest in Africa had been invited. Chief Leshoboro
Majara addressed the gathering on behalf of the Paramount Chief
and then, while tea was served, editors and correspondents mingled
informally with the party. This manner of meeting the Press did
nothing but good.
The following afternoon, a Saturday, the Directors of Tottenham
Hotspurs Football Club welcomed the party to their ground and
box. All enjoyed the ensuing first class match against Sheffield
Wednesday. Unfortunately the Paramount Chief, who was intended
to "kick-off' was not able to be present.
28. "Son et Lumiere".
In the evening some of the party were taken by Miss Emery of
the C.R.O. to a "Son et Lumiere" at Greenwich. This is a new form
of Masque, which entails no live actors, but lights and recorded
music and voices and, especially architecture. In the words of
Patrick O'Donovan, "The result is unforgettable and yet curiously
difficult to describe. The setting is the wide empty amphitheatre in
the park behind the Palace. The buildings are dark. The circle of
great trees is silent. London is only a distant noise of traffic. Then
a burst of music and then an explosion of light and the Queen's
House, restrained, noble, as satisfactory a house as ever sheltered a
sovereign, stands up white and shining. Its long colonnades on either
side and the plain pavilions at either end are lit up from an invisible
source: the trees are a brilliant green and flowers make a line of
scarlet the length of the building. The setting is vast enough for the
eye to take in at once the whole panorama of Britain's finest series
of linked buildings. The masque becomes a chronicle of Greenwich.
Sir Lawrence Olivier has recorded the voice of Humphrey, Duke
of Gloucester, who in 1433 built his palace of Bellacourt here and
he sustains the narrative. There, marvellously, are the voices of
Kings and Queens clear and undistorted over the air. Sometimes
they come from one wing, sometimes from the other. Sometimes
they come from the Queen's House at the centre and sometimes
they fill the whole area. When they talk of danger, there are a pair
of low lights splashed against the facade that throb in time with the
insistent music. When there is talk of bloody executions and civil
war, the colonnades run red with light. When Elizabeth is born here,
the lights on the upper floor flash on. When the King visits, all the
windows shine. When the plague comes, the lights turn a sort of
deadly green. The script is frankly a proud one and towards the end,
when there is talk of ships and of Nelson, the great range of Wren's
Naval Hospital behind is brought in. First the two domed towers,
then the long line of sober wings. It lasts barely an hour and is
unique in England". It made a great impression.
Sunday, September 22nd, was our last day in England, a day
of frantic packing and preparations for departure.
Early on Monday, September 23rd, we left Jermyn Street in a
flurry of bags, passports and labels and caught the plane for Paris at
9.00 a.m. The flight in a B.E.A. Viscount was extremely comfortable
and quick, getting us to Le Bourget in a little over an hour. There,
with the help of the Reverend Father Quirion, O.M.I., who was
to accompany the Paramount Chief to Lourdes, we successfully
negotiated the customs and took the coach to the Hotel Continental.
As our rooms had not yet been vacated we went straight to Notre
Dame, where Father Quirion conducted us round the cathedral. It
was here, in the precincts of this sacred church, after we had been
on French soil only an hour or two that the party had their first
experience of sellers of French post cards!
After lunch in a nearby restaurant the Paramount Chief and the
ladies went shopping with Father Quirion while the rest of the party
continued their sight-seeing tour of Paris. The Reverend Ellenberger,
who was a missionary in Basutoland for many years and was actually
born in the cave house at Masite, together with his son Professor F.
Ellenberger, the geologist, who came to Basutoland to inspect the
recent dinosaur discoveries, met the party at the hotel
and took Chief Leshoboro Majara to Versailles.
In the evening after dinner the Paramount Chief and three
others, accompanied by Father Quirion, left by train for Lourdes.
They arrived there the following morning and thanks to Father
Quirion's excellent arrangements were well received, heard Mass in
the grotto, and the Paramount Chief bathed in the waters. That night
they took the return train to Paris, arriving the following morning in
time for breakfast before catching the plane for Rome.
The remainder of the party, while the Paramount Chief was in
Lourdes, spent the morning in Paris sight-seeing and in the afternoon
We left Orly Airport, Paris, at 11.50 a.m. on Monday in a T.W.A.
Constellation. It was a fairly clear day and we had a good view of the snow covered Alps, making a short stop at Geneva. The party felt
that the most striking difference between the real Switzerland and the
Switzerland of South Africa was the incredible greenness and lush
forests they saw in Europe.
As soon as we were airborne again lunch was served, a
magnificent meal in the American manner; everything on the tray
at once, including chewing gum, half a bottle of vintage wine, a
miniature bottle of cognac and cigarettes; all, cutlery included,
hygienically wrapped in cellophane. This was quite
different to the meals we had in France, where the continental
breakfast was not too popular. Soon we were sampling "pasta" and
We landed at Ciampino Airport, Rome, at about 4 p.m. where
we found ourselves being televised. Mr. MacDermot, Head of the
Chancery at the Vatican Legation, met us on behalf of the Minister.
He took us through the customs and immigration with the minimum
of delay to our inevitable coach. This very presentable vehicle
caused some raised eyebrows amongst the airport officials - without
saying anything they made it obvious that they had been expecting at
least a fleet of Rolls Royces.
We went straight to the Grand Hotel, one of the best in Rome,
where the manager was waiting to greet the Paramount Chief
and present a bouquet. He conducted her to a vast suite, recently
occupied by Royalty, where she found flowers and champagne
on ice waiting for her. Even the bedrooms in this hotel were air conditioned,
much to our relief, as the weather was warm after
That evening the Reverend Father P. Butelezi O.M.I., a Zulu
who had studied for a number of years in Basutoland and then gone
to Rome to study for the priesthood, came to the hotel to discuss
plans for our stay in the city. He, together with the Reverend
Brothers Mohlatisi and Motanyane, all Oblates who had spent
some years in Basutoland and knew the language well, performed invaluable work while we were in Rome in conducting the party on
sight-seeing trips and ensuring that they learnt as much as possible
of the history and importance of what they saw in the short time that
The next day the party were up early to hear Mass at the tomb
of St. Peter. They spent the rest of the morning examining the
Basilicas and monuments of ancient Rome. If anything could put
the history and development of Basutoland into proper perspective it
was this visit to Rome, the place from which so much of our Western
Christian heritage stems. There they saw the Forum, the Coliseum,
Pantheon and many other buildings of great historical significance,
hundreds and even thousands of years old.
In the afternoon the party attended a reception at the house of
the Oblate Missionaries, where they met many church dignitaries
concerned with Basutoland affairs and also the Minister to the Holy
See. When it was over in the cool of the evening, Father Butelezi
took the Paramount Chief shopping while the rest of the party
sauntered around the streets gazing into shop windows and observing
the nocturnal promenade of the Roman citizenry.
32. Papal Audience.
The following day the party rose very early to make their
preparations for the visit to His Holiness the Pope. Clad in black
suits, dresses and veils the party proceeded by coach along the
ancient Via Appia to Castel Gondolfo, a pretty village in the Alban
hills, and the site of the Pope's summer palace.
Here Her Majesty's Minister, Sir Marcus Cheke, received us and
conducted us with great pomp and ceremony past various guards and
through innumerable reception rooms until eventually we reached the
ante-chamber, where sundry scurrying secretaries took over.
Promptly at 9.30 a.m. the Paramount Chief alone was taken
by a senior prelate to greet His Holiness. After a short talk with
the Pope at which His Holiness assured the Paramount Chief of the
great interest which the Church took in Basutoland, saying she could
rely on him for assistance in any of the projects undertaken by the Church in Basutoland, they emerged into the Audience Chamber.
His Holiness first blessed the party and then ascended his throne and
read an Address in English. Then
he rose and presented each member of the party with a souvenir
of the visit and chatted informally for a time. Before leaving a
photographer was summoned to take a picture of His Holiness with
the party. The poor man hastily adjusted his camera, got everyone
ready, pressed the trigger - and there was a dull click! The flashbulb
had failed to ignite. Under the Cardinal-Secretary's fiery eye
the wretched man hastily unscrewed the offending bulb and replaced
it with another, while we all composed ourselves again. This time
it worked but, lest there should be any mistake, His Holiness with
a benign gesture beckoned the man to take another picture quickly.
Again we all looked pious and once again there was a dull click!
This was almost too much for the photographer, now a bundle of
nerves, twitching fingers and running perspiration. But the 82 year
old Pontiff calmly stood in the midst of the group, quite unperturbed,
until all was over and then bade us farewell.
The Paramount Chief was then taken to visit the head of the
propaganda Fide College, (the foreign affairs Department of the
Secretariat of State) an ageing Cardinal, who again assured the
Paramount Chief of all his support for Basutoland affairs.
From Castel Gondolfo the party proceeded by coach via the
Alban lakes and Frascati to Tivoli, where we had lunch at a charming
restaurant overlooking the gorge and waterfalls. We also paid a visit
to the enchanting Villa d'Este with its beautiful hanging gardens
and hundreds of fountains. We returned to Rome again in time for
tea and a bath before going to a reception at the residence of Her
Majesty's Minister, Sir Marcus Cheke, on the outskirts of Rome.
For our last night in Europe, the Minister gave us an excellent
party (including pate de foie gras) at which we met some most
interesting people - amongst whom were His Excellency Monsignor
P. Sigismondi, Secretary of the Congregation of Propaganda Fide
and Monsignor Thomas Ryan, a senior official in the Secretariat.
Saturday, 28th September, was our last day in Rome. We spent
the morning seeing as much as possible of the Vatican Museum, (not
an easy task as the building has over 1,000 rooms) and St. Peters.
After lunch the party packed up for the last time, settled
accounts in various currencies and were seen off by the frock-coated
Manager and staff of the hotel. On the way out to the airport we
stopped at the Fontana di Trevi, in the middle of one of the busiest
streets in Rome, and all got out to thrown coins in the waters of the
fountain - to ensure our return one day. It was a curious spectacle
for the Romans, who are not as used to black men as the British and
French, but at least we were not on this occasion, as happened on our
entry into the city, greeted by shouts of "Mau Mau".
At the airport, with typical Italian courtesy, we were driven
to a specially set aside waiting room for V.I.P. 's where tea was
served. The customs and immigration people did not worry us at all.
Eventually as the sun was setting, the Britannia flew in from London,
two hours late, and after saying goodbye to the representative from
the Legation, we climbed aboard on the last lap of our journey.
At about 2 a.m. we came down for our first stop at Khartoum.
Although it was an unusually comfortable plane everyone was glad
of an opportunity to get out and stretch his legs. Even at that hour
it was hot and it was good to be able to sit under the stars sipping
iced limejuice. The crocodile-skin bags were popular, as one would
expect of the people of the crocodile, and it was interesting to see our
first big airport run by black men.
Next morning we had breakfast in Nairobi, which made a poor
showing for an international airport. The Paramount Chief had to
wait so long for her food that she nearly missed it altogether
There was one more stop at Salisbury before we arrived in
Johannesburg at about 4 p.m. After what the party had become accustomed to in Europe, the return to South Africa proved
a depressing experience when they found themselves treated
once more as a non-descript bunch of Natives. However, after
much trouble everything was eventually organised and the party
comfortably installed in the train for Bloemfontein.
We arrived in Bloemfontein early on the morning of September
30th, and there transferred to cars which had been sent to meet us.
All were soon back in Basutoland after an absence of a little over six
weeks, six long weeks that seemed more like six months or six years,
so much did we pack into each day.
Thus ended a memorable tour, a tour in which many people
and many organisations played their part. It would be an invidious
task to pick out anyone person for special mention, but no record of
this tour would be complete without an expression of the great debt
of gratitude that the party owes to all who made it possible and so