Some years ago we composed "RAFIKI" -
a little book of reminiscences of our time
spent mainly in Uganda during the years
1939 to 1952. ("Rafiki" is the Swahili for
"friend" and the title was a tribute to
Marjorie's dog). With the acquisition of a computer and
some mastery of its powers, combined
with the natural deterioration of the
original and only copy of "RAFIKI", the
challenge to produce a revised and much
abbreviated version was irresistible -
and here is the result:
When I wrote the “Story of The Uganda Agreement, 1900” in 1948 I had a clear
idea of what I wanted to say, to whom I wanted to say it, and why. It did not
seem to me that there was much point in teaching the peoples of Uganda to read if
they had nothing to read. The thought was not entirely original and indeed the East
African Literature Bureau had just been bom, but there was a distinct shortage of
writers. At that time I was an administrative officer stationed in the Resident's
Office, Kampala, and as things were beginning to warm up between the Buganda
Government and the Protectorate Government I thought it might be a good idea if
some at least of the Baganda had the opportunity of knowing the true background.
Two things contributed to the success of the venture. I sent the manuscript
to His Highness the Kabaka of Buganda otherwise known as King Freddie asking
him if he would be kind enough to write a foreword. Quite soon afterwards an
enormous car appeared outside the bungalow where Margot and I lived and we
found ourselves entertaining King Freddie himself. As many readers will know
King Freddie had his ups and downs, which later included being deported by the
Protectorate Government, subsequently restored to become on the achievement of
independence the first President of Uganda, only to be forced to flee the country
following a disagreement with the Prime Minister, Dr. Milton Obote, ending his
days sadly in a London suburb.
But to return to that evening in Kampala, the Kabaka was at his best, and at
his best he was a polished, cultivated and polite gentleman. He had come to ask for
an alteration in the manuscript and it took some time to find out what was on his
mind. After skirting around the subject with great delicacy it appeared that he
would be greatly obliged if I could see my way to omitting reference to the fact
that his grandfather Kabaka Mwanga was as mad as a hatter. Since, although true,
this fact was not in the least important, I readily agreed and the Kabaka at once
wrote a charming foreword.
However what really boosted the sales was that I included as an appendix
the Uganda Agreement itself, and almost immediately after publication the terms
of that Agreement became a major issue and the easiest way to get hold of a copy
of the document was to buy my booklet.
So much for the origins of my last book which, although I can hardly
believe it, was written over fifty years ago. What has stimulated me into further
writing partly though by no means entirely concerned with Uganda?
I answer my own question by saying a combination of goading and
inspiration. To deal with the goading first, I have been surprised in my retirement
to discover that I have lived long enough to become the object of scrutiny under
the microscopes of eager beavers churning out theses for their doctorates. So far as
one can make out ploughing through the jargon the more critical the authors can be
of our efforts the better their chances. It seems we spent our time ruthlessly
exploiting the country for the benefit of the motherland. I didn't know that. It was
news to me. I said so if invited to comment but it didn't make much impression. I
wanted to shout "It wasn't a bit like that', but there didn't seem to be anyone
prepared to listen. I read a paper about the wives of colonial officers, who for the
most part played a tough and priceless supporting role; it was called "Villains or
Victims?" Yes, I have certainly been goaded.
As to inspiration, an extraordinary chain of events has led over the years to
a situation where I have before me an almost complete set of letters and diaries
written by a girl who worked as a personal secretary both in the Secretariat at
Entebbe, the administrative capital of Uganda, and in the District Commissioner's
Office in Mbale over the period from 1950 to 1952, in which she gives her Mother
and Father a vivid account of life in Uganda at that time as seen through eyes
which were more detached and critical than any of us who knew her then
suspected. Unedited extracts from those letters and diaries form the basis and the
heart of this article. To satisfy the curiosity of those who wondered why I chose
"The Flickering Lamp" as this section's heading in my original book, it comes from Winston
Churchill in his speech to the House of Commons on the occasion of the death of
"History with its flickering lamp stumbles along the trail of the past trying to reconstruct its scenes, to revive its
echoes, and kindle with pale gleams the passion of former
What is the worth of all this? The only guide to a man is
his conscience; the only shield to his memory is the rectitude
and sincerity of his actions. It is very imprudent to walk
through life without this shield, because we are so often
mocked by the failure of our hopes and the upsetting of
our calculations; but with this shield, however the fates may
play, we march always in the ranks of honour."
Many, various, and unlikely were the ways devised for getting to Uganda
during the Second World War and the years which followed. In 1944, for
example, I actually travelled overland all the way north from Capetown after a
rapid and anxious dash across the South Atlantic in an unescorted troopship past
the submarine infested waters off West Africa; and in 1946 flew from the Nissen
huts of Heathrow via Malta, Cairo, Khartoum and Juba to Kisumu in Kenya which
was as near as we could get to Uganda in a Dakota. How different from my first
voyage out in a British India ship in 1938, a green and wide-eyed cadet in the
Colonial Administrative service who had never ventured further from the shores of
England than a paddle steamer round the Isle of Wight.
The magic of such an experience is vividly described in Marjorie's first
letters home, but by this time BOAC
had established a service by flying boat from Southampton to South Africa.
"9th February, 1950, Grand Hotel, Lyndhurst. We are to be called at
6.10 a.m. Bus leaves at 7.15 a.m. and next stop Augusta, Alexandria, Luxor,
Khartoum and Port Bell.......
On board R.M.A. Somerset. The take off was pretty exciting as we taxied
all the way down Southampton Water in quite a rough sea.... It takes 5 hours 5
minutes to get to Sicily where we have tea and dinner.... We are slap over the
Sahara and what a sight it is. Nothing but sand and I should think one can see for
about a hundred miles. Had a good lunch at Alexandria, just on the edge of the
lake where we landed, and were served by Egyptians in long white robes and red
hats. Only stayed there for an hour. It's extremely bumpy and we are
continuously going up and down leaving our stomachs behind us. However, it's a
change! The overnight stop at Augusta was heavenly apart from being woken at
5.0 a.m. the next morning. My bedroom last night was gorgeous, overlooking the
bay; stone floors, shower attached and pink mosquito net. After a nine course,
dinner we took a walk in Augusta and I bought a bar of Italian soap as a souvenir
and some postcards. Felt I was dreaming it all......
14th February, 1950. We landed on the Nile at Luxor at 5.30 p.m.. The
Winter Palace is an enormous place with about 200 bedrooms and although the
furniture was a little old fashioned and the beds hard it really was quite nice. The
entrance to the hotel was super - just like a film; steps on either side leading to the
terrace and masses of mauve bougainvilliae, which is a very pretty creeper, also
flower beds of little dorrit and geraniums. My bedroom looked out onto the
gardens at the back and what a glorious sight The evening was heavenly, blue sky
and so clear and quite cool. The garden, was full of palm trees, lovely green grass
and flowers of all sorts and descriptions, red, mauve, golden and blues. Two men
rushed me off with them in a car to see the Temple of Karnak which is a pretty
fantastic place built 4,000 years agi and consisting of 1,000 acres......
On the take-off from Luxor, our engines failed and we drifted onto the
shore, hitting a drain pipe and ripping a hole in our hull, through which water
began pouring. Back to the hotel by launch and spent the whole day sight-seeing
at the expense of BOAC and how lucky we were. We were taken across the Nile
to the City of the Dead and all the tombs of the Kings and Queens including the
tomb of Tut-ankh-amen. All this by horse-drawn carriages through hills and
mountains of stone where no insect nor anything green lived.......
The trip from Luxor to Khartoum was just over desert all the way, but we
landed at Khartoum and had some lemonade then on to Port Bell, where we went
through Customs and I was met by two girls from the Secretariat. I am now
installed at the Lake Victoria Hotel, Entebbe, where I have a large room
overlooking the lake and it seems I'll be here indefinitely. At night the crickets are
almost deafening but in the morning the birds sing their hearts out. The journey
from Port Bell was lovely - such colour, beautiful flowering trees and everywhere lush greenery......
I'm not impressed with the way the natives are treated. All government
people in Entebbe and not many shops.... Went to the Secretariat at 8.15 a.m. and
saw a Mr. Cartland who gave me the day off....
Went to see the hostel. Everyone has their own bungalow with a garden
attached and a boy to look after one. We dine communally. But I may have to
wait for a month or so till I get there......
I think Uganda is marvellous, what I have seen of it. I had a tour of an area
of about 5 miles round Entebbe and the flowers are simply gorgeous - a truly
I've spent the whole day from 8.15 a.m. - 4.30 p.m. transcribing the
shorthand I took down yesterday which ran into half a notebook. It's beastly stuff
- all Government words and difficult phrases and I get hopelessly lost. It's much
harder than anything I've ever done. This rigmarole was the Minutes of the
Standing Committee on Finance - if that gives you a clue at all!. The lake flies are
ghastly. We can see them coming over the lake like black clouds, and they get
into everything. One simply eats them, they get into one's hair and in the office
they lie between the sheets of paper on the typewriter. They lie inches deep all
over the place until they are swept up......
Last night we picked up an African who'd been knocked off his bike by a
car and was lying on the roadside surrounded by Africans all laughing and doing
nothing for the poor fellow whose face was badly bashed in - one eye gone - mouth
cut to pieces and we think a fractured skull. We took him 8 miles in the back of
our car to the native hospital. Not nice - I don't think he'll live. Also saw an old
African sitting outside his mud hut with ankles tied together, dying of bronchitis
whilst all the others were just sitting watching him....... I like the Africans; some
are bone lazy and some are thieves (I lost a handkerchief last night in a few
seconds!) but while I write to you the little chap who brings me tea is cleaning the
bedroom, and is very good to me. He even washed my hairbrush the other day....
I wish I had more time to study Swahili because it's invaluable, and everyone speaks it.... It's awful here because one just doesn't think about the rest
of the world, or even England as we are so completely out of touch and this seems
to be a little world on its own. Work is looking up. The Acting Deputy Financial
Secretary has sort of adopted me, though this isn't the form really as we are still in
a 'pool' and have to chop and change about all the time. He asked me the other
day, when I brought a long screed into him for the Secretary of State, whether it
made sense. I simply told him none of it made sense to me and was just like the
dry articles in the Times which I never read.....
Yesterday I was taken to Jinja by a young married couple. It's 75 miles
each way and where the famous Ripon Falls are, just outside the town. Thank
goodness I'm not there - it's a scruffy place but famous as the actual source of the
Nile is a little further up from the Ripon Falls. This is where the Owen Falls are
and the new electric plant is being built which will help the Africans a great deal.
It's going to affect different lakes and sink villages so the Ripon Falls will change
completely.... More smoke clouds appeared out in the lake when we got back to
Entebbe, on the horizon - lake flies - and they will soon be with us by the
The 'Ladies of Entebbe' played a hockey match against the 'Women of
Kampala' - 30 minutes each way - and I have never been so puffed in all my life.
But it's a good thing to take plenty of exercise out here....
The Daily Mail duly arrived and thank you very much indeed for it. It
brings me much nearer to England and makes me forget all about 'this little world'
at Entebbe. I only hope it's not going to be too expensive."
It may be of interest to describe briefly the situation in Uganda in 1950.
The country was divided into four Provinces, of which one, Buganda, occupied a
special position under the leadership of His Highness the Kabaka, Mutesa II,
advised by the (British) Resident and his staff with headquarters in Kampala. The
Eastern, Northern, and Western Provinces were divided into Districts corresponding roughly to tribal boundaries. The Provincial and District
Commissioners and their Assistants were British administrative officers and their
main concerns were the building up of local governments, the provision of medical
services, the development of food crops and protection against famine, the
encouragement of cotton growing, and the preservation of law and order.
Education was still largely in the hands of the rival Protestant and Catholic
Administrative officers in the Provinces were said to be 'in the field' but all
were given a spell in the Secretariat at Entebbe to see whether they were more
suited to that type of work. Not unnaturally there came about a fairly sharp
division between the "bush-whackers" and the "Secretariat wallahs" and little love
was lost between them.
The Governor occupied a dual position. He was the representative of the
Crown, and he was also very much in charge of the Government of the country - a
benevolent dictator if you like. True, he was responsible to the Secretary of State
for the Colonies and through him to the British Parliament, but it was the general
policy of the Colonial Office to trust the man on the spot. When Sir John Hathorn
Hall was appointed Governor of Uganda in 1944 he quickly gathered around him
in the Secretariat a number of men who both agreed with his ideas and had the
ability to carry them out and he saw to it that when they moved on - or in one case
died - they were replaced by men of his choice. My own appointment as Assistant
Chief Secretary in 1950 was a rare exception; he asked the Colonial Office for an
officer he favoured from Tanganyika, to be told that he had a good candidate in his
own service - me. Perhaps that's why we didn't get on too well, but that's by the
The normal term of office of a Governor was five years, but in 1949 Hall
was asked to continue for another two years to enable him to continue the major
developments which he had initiated. It was a well deserved accolade, because
Hall's achievements during difficult wartime and post-war years were quite
In her letters Marjorie has referred to landing by flying boat at Port Bell,
the cement factory at Tororo, and the Owen Falls hydro-electric scheme. As to the first, there was an obvious need to develop an airport in Uganda, the ones at
Kololo (Kampala) and Entebbe being too small and dangerous for any but the
smallest aircraft. Sir John Hall was responsible for the development of the Entebbe
Airport, years later to become famous as the scene of the Israeli raid to free the
passengers of a hi-jacked plane. He also initiated the production of cement in
Uganda - we still couldn't get it in any quantity five years after the war had ended,
and it was desperately needed for roads, bridges and buildings of all kinds. He also
had the vision and drive to father the Owen Falls hydro-electric scheme, and
planned the development of factories along the bank of the Nile near Jinja to use
some of the power, including a paper mill fed by papyrus.
The Owen Falls scheme was interesting if only because it meant that the
Ripon Falls would be submerged, causing some heart searching since it would be
the end of one of the great historic sites of Africa. Over the Ripon Falls, first seen
by a European, the explorer Speke, on July 28, 1862, the water flowed out of Lake
Victoria starting the Nile on its long journey to Egypt. It was thus regarded by
most people, including Speke himself, as the source of the Nile, though some hold
that the River Kagera being the largest river flowing into Lake Victoria has that
These references to Sir John Hall's achievements are far from complete. He
deserves to be remembered for much more, including the initiation of copper
mining at Kilembe on the foothills of Ruwenzori and the extension of the railway
from Kampala to Kilembe, the formation of the Uganda Development Corporation
and the Uganda Electricity Board, and the arrangements for the marketing of
Uganda's most important economic crops cotton and coffee.
Hall and his team in the Secretariat were understandably preoccupied with
these great schemes and paid little attention to political development. He had the
Executive Council under his thumb and the Legislative Council was a rubber
Stamp, manipulated by the Financial Secretary through the Standing Committee on
Finance which was composed of the unofficial members of Legislative Council all
nominated and mainly businessmen and women from Kampala. It met for a total of
only about eight days a year without accommodation of its own and provided no
sounding board for African public opinion; that had to be expressed in other and
less democratic ways - through the District and Provincial Commissioners and the
rising voices of "agitators". Hall actually created a post Of Secretary for African
Affairs in the Secretariat which spoke for itself (and horrified me) since it clearly
indicated that no-one else in the Secretariat was supposed to have anything to do
with African Affairs. If this seems harsh, then it is worth remembering that Hall's
achievements were of inestimable benefit to the economic development of Uganda,
and provided the sound financial basis for the social and political developments
which were to follow. As Hall said himself when he left "I have produced the
money. Now my successor can have fun spending it."
Marjorie remarks in one of her letters that she can't think why there is no
future in farming at all, although the soil is very fertile. Clearly no-one had thought
of telling her before leaving England or after arrival the difference between a
Protectorate in which European settlement had long since been banned and a
Colony such as Kenya where it was encouraged. Indeed little trouble was taken to
prepare stenographers and personal secretaries for their new lives in a new country.
The necessary shorthand and typing speeds, a good character, and they were off,
armed only with a copy of Colonial Regulations and a fearsome list of tropical
diseases. Travel and tour operators did better in their brochures describing the
countries and peoples holiday-makers were to visit.
During their contracts they worked long and often unsocial hours and were
called upon to perform a wide variety of duties far removed from those expected of
a stenographer or personal secretary in England. They did it all willingly and well,
and it is a pleasure to record the tremendous contribution they made in the
constructive days when Uganda was deservedly called "happy".
"My most dreaded thing in life now is a sort of quarterly meeting of the
Legislative Council which is held in Kampala, and at which stenographers have to
take down the whole proceedings verbatim. The Governor and all important
people attend and it lasts for 1 or 2 days. Two of us go in together and take down
for 20 minutes - then we have an hour in which to get it back - then in again for
another 20 minutes. I think it's frightful and am simply dreading it. March 21st so
think of me. Work is grim, there is so much and the standard of work is so high. I
have never learned so many new words (especially Latin) in so short a time. It completely exhausts me....
I don't think anyone realises quite how very dangerous big game hunting
is. Probably just as well. One hears every week of people getting killed or hurt.
When I go down to Hippo Bay (4 miles away) in the evening I can see hippos ad
lib but never on land, only partly submerged on the edge of the lake. I'm hoping to
go to the Murchison Falls at Christmas where there are masses of all sorts of
animals. On my walks I see the fishermen who put nets out in the lake, singing
and dancing on the sand. I went out for a long walk from 5.0 p.m. to 8.15 p.m. and
they were all pulling their nets in. It was quite dark but I was so intrigued and a
little confused when they started trying to make me buy some fish.... Sometimes
whilst walking near the lake I just can't believe I'm here, on the equator,
surrounded by bananas growing, Africans and Lake Victoria. I have to picture the
map of Africa and Uganda sitting half way down!.....
Haven't seen the Governor yet. He rides about in a car with crests and no
number plates and is treated like Royalty. I ought to have signed his Visiting Book
on arrival but as this is usually followed by an invitation to dinner, and as my trunk
with evening dress is in it, has not yet arrived, I have not signed...
Here is the menu that we had at lunch yesterday when 8 stenographers,
picked from Kampala and Entebbe reported the proceedings of the Legislative
Council at Kampala, verbatim. The luncheon was great fun and there were 3 long
tables with beautiful bougainvilliae spread along the centre of the tables. We each
had our name typed on a card and I sat next to the Clerk of Council, Mr. Haydon,
who is a very nice young man and works in the Secretariat, and on the other side
the Labour Commissioner, Mr. Mathias, who was also very nice. We talked about
growing blackcurrants and strawberries! The amount of work we did was
incredible. Two of us went into this little Parliament for a quarter of an hour and
then had three quarters of an hour to get it all back on a typewriter before going in
again. I went in with an awfully nice girl and we got it all back verbatim.
Altogether we went in 7 times. Taking down a speech (or several as the case may
be) for a quarter of an hour is no joke, as you can imagine because one only has to
do 3 or 5 minutes for an exam! It was held in the Law Courts at Kampala and when
we got there, masses of Africans were awaiting trial (or as witnesses) and were
sitting around the corridors - some bespattered with blood, cripples, women and
children. All that we do is eventually printed, and goes down in history, like Hansard!....
Work situation is a little brighter and I am learning some new words!! Have you ever heard of putting something up as cockshy? I hadn't nor had the other girls and I had to ask what it was when taking down dictation! The dictator
looked astounded and said he must demand a higher standard of education. I took
much pleasure in telling him later on that none of the older and more experienced
stenogs knew either! I still do alot of work for Mr. Carlyle who is a very brilliant
man and with whom I get on reasonably well. Trouble is my work is so
complicated and I never understand what it's about. I told him so the other day
and so now, after he has dictated, he looks at me and says, "Clear as mud?"- and
Here I am installed in my own little bungalow. They are all in rows, and
each has its own little surround of garden, but my predecessor wasn't keen so I
have to start from scratch. My greatest joy is that at long last I can have a dog and
get one I did. I have also bought a bicycle and have a basket so now I'm really
organised and feel much happier....
The ADC from Government House rang up the office the other day and invited me to the St. George's Ball in kampala next Saturday. I thought it was Jolly decent of him, and told him so declining the invitation as I've been booked up
for some time to go with someone else. He then became a little embarrassed, or so
it sounded on the phone, and said but H.E. (His Excellency) demands!! This was
an invitation by the Governor, and one never dares to refuse. So I've had to cancel
my other date and have received a very grand invitation, crested, gold edging etc.
from the Governor and Lady Hall and am to have dinner with them. Felicity
(daughter) and two other married couples at the Governor's Lodge, Kampala and
then go on to the Ball. We have to "wear long gloves, decorations., tiaras etc." said
the ADC!! I shall be terrified. In the end it turned out that my other date had also been invited! I feel rather honoured as I don't think stenographers often get asked out like this - lunch at G.H. yes - but not this sort of thing....
I got home at 4.0 a.m. after the St. George's Ball where I was looked after
very well. We had a delicious dinner, sherry, wine, port and a six course meal then liqueurs. I went with Felicity Hathorn Hall and a policeman in the Royal car
(which has crowns on front and back). We danced and danced then out onto the
lawns to have a wonderful buffet supper. A baron of beef was taken round the
dance floor on a stretcher - stopped in front of the Governor who drank a pint of
beer without stopping - a tradition I think. Then at 2.0 a.m. we ate fried eggs and
bacon which ended a really heavenly evening....
H.E. and Lady Hall have gone to England for 5 months on leave so I am
very glad my invitation came before their departure.......
Horrible riot in Kenya, not Uganda this time....."
The Uganda riots of 1949 actually began on April 26th, a date I don't have
to look up because it was my birthday. I had my skull fractured while attempting
the legally necessary but otherwise useless task of reading the Riot Act to an
inflamed mob outside the Twekobe - the Kabaka's Palace. The riots were not
directed against the Protectorate Government but against the Kabaka and his
government, and knocking out a European was no part of their plan and sobered
them up a bit temporarily.
"It was just a common or garden appendicitis which has been aggravating
me since before the play in which I performed - "Love in a Mist". I recovered with
the Hendersons - he is Attorney General - and she was so kind to me. She has lost
4 children after they were born and eventually adopted Ian, now aged 12, who is at
Stowe. Years later they had Neil, now five and a half, who is still with them....
I left Kampala at 10.0 a.m. on Wednesday and arrived at Limuru the
following afternoon. Trains are just like U.K. and one goes along to meals which
are served by Africans, the stewards are Asian and the ticket inspector is European.
When we reached Kenya we felt we were in civilisation but instead of jungle there
were just plains for miles and then scrub, but when we got to within 50 miles of Limuru the scenery was beautiful and we climbed from about 3,800ft to 8,000ft.
The tribes vary considerably and at Kijabe the Africans have great holes in their
ears from which they hang heavy things - or masses of bracelets. Unlike the
Baganda, who carry all their goods on their heads (including mowing machines
etc), these people take all the weight by putting a strap round the goods which they
carry on their backs and round their foreheads, which I think looks most painful.
But here there were houses and many cars and English schoolboys and it
was altogether different. John de Mahe met me at Limuru in the old farm van!
They live about 4 miles from the station along a tarmac road, but have their own
drive which is about one mile and very muddy in the wet season. The house is
extremely nice and beautifully furnished. Pops greeted me in riding kit and I met
their youngest daughter, Valerie, aged 7, who goes to a day school in Tigoni which
John had built for her and about 19 other children!
I went into Nairobi this a.m. with John who takes the cream three times a
week. (They have 7 horses, 30 milking cows, 6 bulls, 4 dogs, 2 cats and a monkey).
There are only a couple of decent shops and the slums are awful. One long road.
River Road, is out of bounds to Europeans unless on the move. If you set foot out
of the car you are liable to get robbed! Pops took us to the races and we went into
the Trainers and Owners stand. I loved it and enjoyed the afternoon tremendously.
We went the 21 miles to Nairobi in the van - it's either that or a 1927 Rolls!!
They don't lead a particularly social life and only drink at the weekends
and then only before a meal. It's so cold - like England in February - without the
frost. I haven't seen the sun since I left Uganda......"
Visits to Kenya were visits to another world from which we returned with
mixed feelings of relief and regret. The country of Kenya needs no words of mine
to describe it. Loving Africa, many of us were tempted to retire to Kenya and some
did so; but loving the Africans too, the majority of us turned away from a country
where they were treated with such disrespect. Not that we did not understand and
sympathise with the European settlers in Kenya. After all, they had been
encouraged by grants to settle the country in the first place, and knew that the intention had been to make it a European Colony with a European Government.
Unhappily for them they were half a century - perhaps less - too late. Kenya might
- like the United States of America with its Indian reserves - have become heavily
populated with Europeans and highly prosperous, if there had not been a radical
change of attitude towards colonisation by the European powers; and that change
of attitude did not come about overnight. There was a long period of increasing
uncertainty, during which the European settlers were both praiseworthy empire builders
courageously hacking homes and farms out of virgin forests, and
villainous exploiters of the black man's cheap labour, according to your point of
view. No wonder they became resentful and difficult to deal with. And no wonder
we in Uganda charged with a different mission fought shy of any closer association
with Kenya than was absolutely necessary. We had to cooperate with them in
running the railway and customs services, and had literally joined forces during the
war, but otherwise our contacts were confined to discussions between the
Governors and between senior officials on financial and technical matters the
results of which were not binding on either side.
In the general election of 1950 in the United Kingdom the
Conservatives took over from the Socialists - with one curious consequence. The
appointment of Governors by the Crown was made on the advice of the
Government of the day, and Andrew Cohen with his Fabian and intellectual
background was right down the socialist street, just as Sir John Hall with his
diplomatic and financial background had been a perfect choice for a conservative
government. What is curious is that almost as soon as they had been appointed the
Governments changed, and Hall served most of his time under a labour
government while Cohen served under a conservative government.
An entire copy of the "Uganda Herald" dated 6th July, 1950, now appears
among the letters. Old newspapers wherever found - at the bottom of trunks, lining
drawers, or elsewhere have an irresistible fascination - and one can't help
browsing through them - adverts and all. Churchill on the importance of the
Korean war; Smuts ill; "Russia accuses U.S.A. and U.N.O."; miners strike in
Scotland; approximate arrival dates of ships at Mombasa; Austin A40 for sale as
new 380 pounds; and so on. And here is something interesting headed "Trade in Game
"Advertisements have lately been appearing in the Uganda Press stating
that all kinds of game animals are required by a collector in Kenya.
People interested are asked to send such details as age and sex of the
animals offered for sale. In view of these advertisements, it is as well
to point out that indiscriminate trading in wild animals is strictly
illegal. Anyone commencing operations of this sort without permission
is likely to find himself in trouble."
The leading article is devoted to "Democracy in East Africa" based on the
news item that four new African members had been appointed to the Legislative
Council "bringing the total non-official membership to eight Africans, four Asians
and four Europeans, who will work in cooperation with or in opposition to the
sixteen official members. All of the European and Asian members are nominated
by the Governor, and of the eight African members, six are elected through
Provincial Councils and the Buganda Lukiko, and two are nominated, with the
Governor's approval, by His Highness the Kabaka and - in alternate sessions - by
the Rulers of Bunyoro, Toro and Ankole.
The article goes on to criticise proposals made for changes in Tanganyika
and even more the comments of certain Kenya Europeans regarding them -
"But 'the people' of these East African territories are not the Europeans
or the Asians, who number less that one per cent of the total population.
There can be no democratic government if it is controlled by such a
There are few Africans who would claim that the Africans, in general,
of this territory have yet sufficiently advanced for the operation of a
democratic system of government.
In the meantime, Kenya and Tanganyika Europeans and Asians
should not press for a "democratic" government which would not truly
represent "the people" whose interests are at this stage best served
through an autocratic but benevolent Government by officials."
My own contacts with Kenya settlers were mainly confined to meetings on
the cricket fields of Kisumu, Kericho, Nakuru, Naivasha and Nairobi when I
captained a side of Uganda Europeans on a tour of Kenya; the hospitable homes opened to us around Thomson's Falls where we had spent week-ends away from
the OCTU at Nakuru; and in Nairobi I had been largely confined to the East
African Base Details Camp.
Back in Uganda the conservation of wildlife had by this time become a
matter of major concern for all but the worst elements in our societies, thanks to
the lead given by dedicated men and women. The camera had replaced the gun in
the hands of tourists and pictures, not stuffed heads, adorn the walls of the homes
of travellers. Admirable work was done by the Uganda Government through its
Game Department led by such men as 'Samaki' Salmon and Charles Pitman.
Thanks to their activities supported by legislation and a well enforced licensing
system there was plenty of game in Uganda.
Crocodiles were widely distributed throughout the country. Apparently
innocuous in some waters where humans were concerned, in others they were a
dreaded scourge. It was for this reason that the idea of enclosing part of the open
lake at Entebbe to make a safe bathing place was abandoned, and a concrete
swimming pool constructed instead. An enclosure was built on the Nile at Jinja but
was hurriedly abandoned when crocodiles were seen within the enclosure from the
bank above. Foolhardy bathers at both Entebbe and Jinja and elsewhere paid the
price in life and limb.
While therefore the preservation of game was the primary object of the
Game Department, it was also their responsibility to protect human life both
directly and through the protection of the crops upon which that life depended. The
damage done by marauding elephant or buffalo can readily be imagined; whole
banana (strictly plantain) plantations were uprooted overnight and the year's
supply of food vanished with them.
The Game Department at that time was also actively cooperating in the
creation of National Parks in Uganda, to provide long term security for the wildlife of Uganda and an attraction for tourists. The necessary legislation was passed
by Legislative Council in 1952, creating the Murchison Falls Park, the Queen
Elizabeth Park, and a Board of Trustees separate from the legislature and without
whose approval no changes could be made to the boundaries.
My own experiences of seeing game in many parts of Uganda included
giraffe, ostrich, greater kudu and warthog in Karamoja, colobus monkeys and
buffalo on Mount Elgon, and elephant in Acholi.
"The Minister of State for the Colonies, Mr. Dugdale, has been visiting
Uganda and there have been cocktail parties etc. at G.H. for him. He looks fairly
young but after being shown round the whole of Uganda was eventually so tired -
poor man. He adores sailing so Griff took him out on the lake and he thoroughly
enjoyed himself Mr. Brockway is also here living with Africans - an obvious
agitator with Communistic trends. Both these important people came to see H.E.
at the Secretariat so I was able to see them all from my office. I wonder what
Dugdale will say when he gets home and gives his report......."
To put it bluntly Lord Brockway, as he eventually became, was a pain in
the neck and infuriated us by confining his contacts to irresponsible trouble
makers. We wouldn't have minded so much his ignoring us if he had spent some
time with responsible Africans, but he didn't.
"David (brother) will settle down in Limuru quite quickly, I'm sure. He is
going to a similar life as it's not very different from England really. He would find
it a very different matter if he was plonked into Government Service! I maintain
the view that this can be and is an extremely unnatural life for most people. Of
course men like Clive and Rhodes did fine work but don't expect to find people
like them existing now. If you met the Governor you might have something in
common to talk about apropos the British Empire - but I can guarantee that
everyone else would laugh. Men died for Africa once, men were adventurous, they
walked up from the Coast - there is still a man here who did it before Uganda ever
became civilised. But the average Tom, Dick and Harry have no guts and no
interest, they are just a lot of Civil Servants deported from offices in England -
some living an almost surburban existence - others having a jolly good time while
some work all day and night terrified of their senior officers, and most of these
chaps couldn't care less about Africa or the natives. They don't seem to appreciate
the heavenly colours of the birds, the exciting lake in its' various moods and the
flowers in their multitudinous colours and the glorious sight of the sun setting in the west away over the hills on the far side of Lake Victoria. And Entebbe (which
is, of course, exceptional) is just full of these people and no one else. Only once
have I heard anyone speaking of the British Empire and he is a young,
administrative officer who has done some considerable amount of his first tour in
Guk and Moyo. He's got guts - he shoots elephant but he was once heard at G.H.
to say he always felt that all the Government people here would be able to do their
work much better if only the Africans didn't live here which just goes to show my
point about them being born into files tied round with red tape. That is why it's an
unnatural life and I only wish I were a man so that I could go amongst the Africans
and find out much more about them....
The clerk in this branch is an African called Mr. Darkness and the other
day he asked me for a book on English history. We invited him to tea at the
bungalow and Chub gave him a book. It was most interesting as his father was a
native of the Gold Coast and was sold as a slave to this part of Africa - ending up
as a slave in America. He is much travelled and quite a character. He seemed to
enjoy his afternoon and was overcome with our hospitality.......
I survived my Cost of Living Meeting last Wednesday, but was absolutely
dead beat by 9.0 p.m. They stopped for an hour at lunch and five minutes for tea
but otherwise went on solidly and I got a whole note book down - both sides! It
was quite interesting but there are two more meetings, one this Thursday which
will be dreadful as lots of representatives of the African and Asian Civil Service
are to be present. I produced my form of minutes which I thought would be
frowned upon, but no they were quite appreciated! It's a bit embarrassing being the
only female but although lunch was a bit of a bore the food was good.
My first Christmas abroad (1950) was spent at Kabale, in the west of
Uganda, at the kind invitation of the Assistant District Officer there. David was
also invited and we had a lovely time in very different country - 8,000 feet up and
mountains all round within sight of five volcanoes.
We had a trip soon afterwards to the Murchison Falls. It was a rough road
to Butiaba but we then boarded a boat and spent the night travelling up Lake Albert. After leaving the boat we walked in single file with Game Guards at front
and rear, fully armed with rifles, and suddenly heard the mighty roaring torrent of
the Victoria Nile as it rushes through a cleft only nineteen feet wide into the river
130 feet below. We were armed with binoculars and cameras and tried to get into
positions to record this spectacular sight. On our return journey by boat we saw
masses of game, crocs, hippos, hartebeest, Uganda kob, bush buck, wart hog,
buffalo, baboon, hyena, jackal, black rhinos, grey monkeys and a wonderful
assortment of bird life. Of course, there were numerous herds of elephant, bulls,
cows and tiny babes. No one visiting East Africa should miss a visit to this
marvellous place. The trip for 7 of us was 44 pounds excluding food which wasn't
Neither should they miss a visit to Treetops in Kenya. It is an unforgettable
experience . (This was the original Treetops where Princess Elizabeth was told of
the death of her father and that she was now Queen). I was fortunate to be taken
by a friend for a weekend and we had to book in advance as it is so popular. We
spent the night at the gorgeous Outspan Hotel in Nyeri where everything is so fresh
and English-like. The next day we were taken by landrover and again walked in
single file duly escorted by Game Guards, and shown trees here e
should it become necessary. They had slats of wood across the main
eventuality. We walked for about half a mile and saw this enormoous giant ficus
into which had been built a house. There was a wood stove, a dining
bedrooms and a long open balcony with lots of chairs and a rail where
rest our elbows whilst using the binoculars. We had a meal but no one could resist
the temptation of popping out on to the balcony to see if there were any animals
the salt lick below.
If you don't see either elephant, rhino or buffalo, your money is refunded
but we saw them all - by moonlight - albeit artificial! We also saw bush buck,
hyena, waterbuck, warthog and, as dawn broke masses of marvellous birds. What
a privilege and what a good idea to build this treehouse above a salt lick (but I
think the Outspan do put salt down occasionally!....
I have now completed half my tour and am well established in the
Secretariat as Greenwood doesn't seem to want anyone else to work for him. H.E. and Lady Hall leave for good on 8th October, 1951, and there have
been numerous parties for them; I appeared in one of the sketches at G.H. and have
acted as hostess and MC for a dance afterwards which ended at 3.0 a.m. Lady Hall
had a lot of bouquets and I think they had a good send off.
A.B. Cohen is a surprise to all of us. We think he will be all right though he
has no experience of being Chief Secretary or Governor's Deputy which might
cause some teething troubles but he's young and full of energy. Greenwood has
been awfully sweet to me recently and I'm sorry he is going as I've thoroughly
enjoyed working for him for 18 months. John Wild, whom I know, has taken over
from him as Administrative Secretary.
I am fortunate to know one of the Game Wardens, John Mills, and last
weekend he took me on a buffalo hunt when we shot a marauding buffalo, 5 guinea
fowl, one bustard and one francolin (African partridge). We shot the buffalo at
midday and were eating a roast joint that night at 9.30 p.m. He was shot with a
blunt nosed bullet straight through his heart. Altogether we saw 217 animals,
mostly topi, impala, buffalo, oribi, reed buck etc. and I identified 56 different
birds. We did most of the travelling by landrover because time was so short but
we did walk quite a lot and I got blisters so abandoned my shoes and socks - there
was an outcry from the Game Guards who wanted to carry me!' The following
day we found Lake Mburo after travelling through bush for two and a half hours
where a very old African kindly took me out on the lake in his dug-out canoe.
The following weekend John took me out on safari as he had received news
of crocodiles pestering the local people when they went to do their washing. We couldn't
find the crocs but I dug up a nest in the sand containing 74 eggs which
were hatching out as I picked up the eggs! Makerere College wanted some,
presumably for experimental purposes, so we had to rush back to Kampala with
live baby crocs in the back of the landrover.
My great ambition has been achieved - an elephant hunt. John had
received a message from one of his Game Guards that a herd were raiding shambas
only 88 miles from Kampala. This wasn't just sitting in a tree watching elephants
below us; nor was it sitting in a car travelling round a National Park or even from a
launch going up to the Murchison Falls - it was seeing them the hard way on a real
pukka hunt. It was the most exciting safari yet and I shall remember it for the rest
of my life. When we arrived at Mile 88 on the Hoima Road we were met by irate
villagers whose whole plantations had been raided for a week or more by elephant.
It was a sorry sight because the herd don't eat everything - just a bite here, a tree
down there and enough to break the grower's heart. John decided we must shoot
one and then they would go off into the wilds where they have plenty to eat but
would free these poor people from them. The Gombolola Chief from Butembe
came with us. We walked silently through 6 feet tall elephant grass in single file
for about 3 hours when suddenly I heard a noise which was unfamiliar. It was the
elephants' stomachs rumbling!! And then I saw what looked like a huge rock --
brown and grey no more than 25 yards away - elephant. I was told to climb an ant
hill which was 12 feet high, and watched the herd - bulls, cows with calves all
feeding as they wandered along. I tried to count the herd and got to 70! John took
out his sandwiches and began to eat and I have to admit to being a bit nervous as
they came quite dose, flapping their ears at the same time as each other, then
suddenly stopped as though they were suspicious of something. Finally, one was
shot and all hell was let loose - the others began screaming and rushing madly
around so a few more shots were fired into the air and, they finally made off...
When we returned to camp John admitted he had taken out an insurance on my life
for 10,000 pounds, which amazed me as the insurance for the flight out here was:
Death or loss of two limbs or sight of both eyes 1000 pounds
My new boss is quite a change from Greenwood. He is very keen on the
historical facts about Uganda and has written about it all. He is a very keen
cricketer and took Bradman's wicket before coming to Uganda. The Opening of
Entebbe Airport has recently taken place and there have been many people here
from the U.K. We had to act as hostesses and in the evening there was a cocktail
party and I found myself with the "Mirror" chap ~ George Bollock who was very
nice indeed and I felt sure he wasn't a Socialist. Eventually at 11.30 p.m. I
discovered he was a Liberal! He tried to get a 'story' out of me and invited me out
but I have no intention of going. The actual opening ceremony was frightful A
Viscount jet did a display then 3 Vampire fighters from the Canal Zone flew
abreast at 500 mph and displayed all their tricks....
If it's not cricket I'm typing, it's the Uganda Society or an official letter to London, John Wild seems to have a finger in every pie and I've only just got
home from work at 7.0 p.m."
No wonder Marjorie wrote of the danger of becoming confused when
working for me. It is quite true that I did wear many hats in addition to that of
Establishment Secretary - and later of Administrative Secretary. It is also quite
true that I was not terribly interested in the routine work of the department. The
number of increments an officer should have had for war service was important to
him and I would investigate any such issue, or have it investigated,
conscientiously, but it was not the sort of thing I had come to Uganda to do.
Fortunately for me better days lay ahead with the arrival of Sir Andrew Cohen, and
I was soon to be absorbed in the work of the Committee on the Recruitment,
Training and Promotion of Africans for Higher Posts in the Civil Service which he
set up and of which he made me Chairman. The object of that Committee, though
stated in different terms, was to make Heads of Departments wake up to the fact
that time was running out and would they please prepare and submit plans for
replacing European staff by Africans.
One of the few serious disagreements I had with Sir Andrew occurred when
with typical impatience he created a brand new department (of Community
Development) and staffed it with Europeans just as we were trying to reduce the
number of Europeans in the service. In any case my experience in the field told me
that a fraction of the money if made available to District Commissioners would
have achieved far better results.
The East African Salaries Commission under the Chairmanship of Sir
David Lidbury also sat during my time as Establishment Secretary and that was
something for me to get my teeth into, but at the time of which Marjorie was
writing I did find activities such as the Joint Editorship of the Uganda Journal and
the formation of the Uganda Cricket Association more to my taste.
Neither of these really had anything to do with the administration of the
government, but I do not recall that any of us felt guilty about using government
time, facilities and staff - to say nothing of stationery and postage - to promote them. Only a cantankerous senior officer in a bad mood would have objected, and
he might well have thought twice about it if the offending matter concerned
cricket, because the new Governor's passion for cricket soon became well known.
The personal secretaries and stenographers didn't complain to us, bless them; just
another case of "Theirs not to reason why......." - I have said it before and I say it
again that we couldn't have done as much as we did without them.
The Uganda Journal was the organ of the Uganda Society. One of the few
non-racial societies in Uganda its objects were "the encouragement of interest in
the history, culture and scientific knowledge of the country and peoples of Uganda
and neighbouring territories." The inclusion of literature was odd because none of
the peoples of Uganda or neighbouring territories had any written language when
the Society was founded. The Society did hold meetings and arrange lectures
occasionally but its most important activity was the production twice a year of the
Journal which ran to over a hundred printed pages of articles of a high standard
and permanent interest. My interest in the history of the country and the customs of
its peoples was known through the booklets I had had published and also through
the formation of the Acholi Association while I was in Gulu. The Acholi
Association also produced a Magazine modelled on the Uganda Journal but written
in the Acholi language and in subject matter confined to the Acholi people and
their neighbours. When the editorship of the Journal became vacant I was invited
to take over and did so on the understanding that there should be a joint editor to
look after the scientific contributions. Dr. Russell Lumsden and I, with the aid of
Marjorie and others, held the fort for a time.
I had also just been persuaded by leading Indians and Goans to try and
unite the many cricket clubs to form a Uganda Cricket Association with the object
of fielding a national side. It was a formidable task which had been tackled before
without success, the main difficulty being that all the clubs, the majority of which
were Asian, were racial and feared domination by some authority that might be
biassed in favour of one community rather than another. There was no African
cricket club though the game was played in a few schools.
This is not the place to give the history of the formation of the Uganda
Cricket Association or to dwell on the many hours spent, often far into the night, in
discussing its constitution, but there are some points worth recording as part of the general Uganda scene. The traumatic partition of India two years earlier had had
surprisingly few repercussions among the Uganda Asians, but cannot have made it
any easier to bring the Asian clubs together under one umbrella. The credit for
doing that belongs to the late Manubhai Patel without whose persuasive powers
and determination the Uganda Cricket Association would never have been formed;
nor for that matter the Uganda Sports Union and its magnificent stadium opened
by Her Majesty the Queen Mother in February 1959, much as that owed to the
imagination, drive and leadership of that outstanding surgeon and sportsman Ian
Although partition had not made matters much more difficult, they were
difficult enough. The Asian community did have its divisions, notably Indians of
different origins, Sikhs and Goans. Manubhai united them, and it was my role to
persuade the Europeans and Asians to join forces, and to persuade both that
Africans should form part of the Association from the outset - which involved the
creation of an African cricket club. I did not really suppose that I could achieve
what H.B. Cameron had done in the West Indies years before, but it was worth a try
if only as a means of bringing the races together. It was also an opportunity of
putting something back into the game from which I had taken so much. We did
succeed in forming the Uganda Cricket Association and I took the first Uganda
side to Nairobi to play Kenya in 1952.
"I've got to attend the three day session of the Legislative Council in
Kampala - one day practically kills me so I shall be dead after three days. We get
10/- a day for attending and 5/- for lunch so I will make 35/- altogether. The
verbatim report is printed like Hansard but when it's of special interest, the Uganda
Herald ask for a copy as we are typing it back. Mr. Tindall speaking about the
'feeling' between Nairobi and Entebbe Airports when the former had to close
down because of rain is quite amusing, also when Ralph Dreschfield got very
worked up with old Handley-Bird........There is much going on in the evenings
and to crown it all the ram never stops. 24" of rain in a few days, so I hear, which
has brought the Nsenene (flying grasshopper). There-was a broad grin over the
face of Dominiquo as he brought some in with my tea. They are delicious and
evidently only the Chief Secretary and I eat them - cooked, of course.....
Another bout of malaria over Christmas but I have been well looked after
and doped with quinine. Couldn't go to church because of this and last Christmas I
spent in Kabale where there was no church so I hope next Christmas I will be able '
to go to an English Church in England........
I have been posted to Mbale as they need a stenog there urgently. I was
asked if I objected but said no as I think I ought to have the experience of living in
an up-country station before I come home......
I'm in house No. 43 which has got a large garden and a frangipani tree by
the front door. If I walk across the garden I can see the snowcapped Mount
Elgon. There is an old Dover stove in my kitchen and Dominiquo and I have great
fun cooking on it. John Lindsell is the District Commissioner here and there are
about 90 Europeans scattered around the Mbale District. The heat is awful and
cycling around the roads is pretty exhausting. We work from 8.30 a.m. to 1.0 p.m.
then 2.0 p.m. to 4.30 p.m........
The D.C. and his wife took me to the County show of Bugishu at a place
called Bwagogo which was just like a small county show in the U.K. The Africans
have an enormous sense of humour and were displaying how to cultivate various
crops, and then showing a plot that belonged to a lazy man where just weeds were
I was taken to the Sipi Falls which is about 7000 feet, and got beautifully
cool; the air was fresh and we had a glorious picnic by the Falls on the edge of the
300 foot drop. My feet literally froze after being in the water for a few minutes.
How I wish we could spend every weekend up here. Another weekend I was taken
to Cheptui which is the Teso/Karamoja side of Mount Elgon and saw herds of
zebra, about 60 eland and some topi. Enormously exciting. I'm now determined
to do a safari on my bicycle for a week and have a route planned round Mount
Elgon. I would travel in the early morning and evening and rest during the day
taking a reliable Game Guard, and my dog, of course, plus a tent, a .22 rifle and a
bed of some sort. The only snag is the Dini ya Musambwa - an illegal society who
are anti-British and who have caused the death of more than one European. I
would have to ask permission from the D.C. who will make an awful fuss.........
What a terrible shock we have had - poor Princess Elizabeth out here
enjoying herself and suddenly is to be Queen of England. They went back via
Entebbe and I do hope everyone left them alone. We had a day of mourning and
everywhere was closed down but the D.C. made me work all day. When I asked
one of the Assistant District Officers if he'd heard the news, he retorted that he had
heard of a Singh-Singh man being murdered in Mbale - and he is representing the
Crown out here. The D.C. was really cut up about it but is about the only one
which goes to prove what I have said so many times about the type of person they
send out to run these countries nowadays. Evidently the BBC announced the
King's death before Princess Elizabeth was told, which is pretty disgraceful I think...
I am due some local leave but the D.C. makes such a fuss whenever I
mention it to him. He really is impossible. Greenwood was a poppet compared
with John Lindsell, and John Wild was, of course, an angel! Anyway I've dropped
some large hints as I've had no time off for 6 months and have been invited to visit
Karamoja which is North of Mbale... ...Dominiquo and his sister Anna Maria are
wonderful companions and we have a lot of fun together with my dog, Bess, my
cat, Kaura and two chickens which I call Archibald and Cleo. Dear little Ama
Maria with her soft voice and sweet face - how I shall miss her when I leave Africa...
At last some local leave! Beforehand I had to work very hard as the
Governor visited Mbale and I had to prepare speeches and take down his hour long
speech verbatim and get it back immediately afterwards. I literally flung it into the
D.C's house and took off to Tororo then Kampala where I met Peter Gibson (the
D.C. Moroto) and Rennie Bere the Provincial Commissioner, Northern Province. It
was like being let loose from prison to get out of Mbale and wonderful to get back
to the metropolis, Kampala. I spent two days with John Mills on a safari, then
back to Entebbe and to Mbale for a night before the trip to Karamoja with Peter Gibson. The DC sent a note asking me to cut my leave short thus missing 5 valuable days local leave - can you believe it?...
I wish I had the energy to describe this trip - 106 miles from Soroti and not
a car in sight. After we crossed the border into Karamoja there was a large notice which stated that this was a 'closed' area. The road became a mere track and
looked as though very few vehicles ever use it. There is just room for one car and
we passed over lots of dried up rivers so when the rains come the water reaches at
least 6 feet so bad luck if you get stuck on the wrong side ! They only have 35
inches of rain compared with an average of 80 inches in Entebbe. We saw ostrich
and kongoni in the flat countryside and then...my first Karamojong. He was
completely naked and by that I mean he hadn't a stitch on but that was on the road
and! never expected to see them like that in houses.
Moroto Mountain loomed up out of the plains and it just looks as though
someone had taken a chunk from Mount Elgon and set it down 106 miles away.
There are 13 Europeans here and the houses are tucked away under the mountain
all quite dose together. We stopped at the Boma to see if anything required
Peter's immediate attention and there were PWD men building something
absolutely starko! The women cover their lower quarters with goats' skins and
wear large quantities of steel rings round their necks. Both men and women wear
plugs in their lower lips which go right through to their mouths. The men have
mud packed hair which makes them seem taller than they are already and in order
to sleep they have a special stool on which to rest their necks so that their 'head
gear' won't get disturbed while they sleep. They live on milk and blood from their
cattle which they bleed frequently.....
Peter is going to try and get me a Karamojong spear (which he did and
which I still have). It's the remotest outpost of the British Empire I shall ever visit
and what a privilege to be here.........
I've just finished reading "Venture to the Interior" by Laurens Van Der
Post, a South African by birth. It's a novel-cum-travel story and parts are true.
This man is the first I've found who agrees with me about Africa, about the
Africans, about Government and last, but by no means least, about the Kenya
settlers. You simply must read it. The adventure on Mlanje might easily have been
on Moroto Mountain and the D.C. could have been any I know. His descriptions
of the vast plains of Africa and a sudden range of mountains arising out of them is
extremely good and expresses so much of what I have felt.....
I'm having last minute qualms about leaving Africa as I know once I've left I won't sign on again for another contract as a stenographer. I'd come out like
a shot on another more useful and interesting job - like an Assistant District
Officer - but that's not on in the Colonial Service. I suppose I could get married
but the right man hasn't asked me yet (and, of course, as you know, there is one in
the U.K.). But as short tours are coming in it wouldn't be as bad as two and a half
years so who knows.... I'm rather dreading coming home in some ways and think
it will be ages before I settle down but I shall get a job as soon as possible and, try
not to think too much.
John stayed on in Uganda until 1960 - meantime Marjorie
had a tour in Nigeria where she met and married Algar
Robertson. Unknown to us both our spouses died at
about the same time in 1975 but fortune decreed we should
meet again which we did and were married at the end of