The British Empire Library

The Early Postcards Of The British East Africa Protectorate/Kenya

by P C Evans

Courtesy of OSPA

Veronica Bellers (Daughter of CH Williams CMG OBE who joined the Kenya Administration in 1931. He became Provincial Commissioner, Nyanza and retired in 1957.)
The Early Postcards Of The British East Africa Protectorate
Postmen of the British Empire
For me, as a daughter of the Empire, this book is irresistible. The postcards are nostalgic, touching and fascinating.

There are postcards of Fort Jesus, Kilindini Harbour, a pretty Masai girl, Kikuyu men making tembo, warriors in full fig, baobabs, elephant, camels, dhows, trains and ships. There are even postcards from old Kisumu - not exactly a tourist trap. My twin and I pored over the pictures of familiar haunts where we spent our young years.

On the reverse side the handwritten short notes pose tantalising questions. Who were the writers? How did they live? And die? Were they happy? One at least was lonely: "Tell me how you think my sweet Betty is" he begged. Another was contrite: So sorry I have caused you so much trouble", while "Annie" wrote the news that "...we are both quite well and still getting on alright." Another proffered: "Upstairs in the big building on the left is where my teeth will be done".

It was extraordinary how the mail got through, whether it was to Britain, the USA, Europe or India. In 1911 a Mr de Sousa confidently posted his card from Molo to his friend Mr Forbes Palmer in Rawal Pindi. I wonder if such confidence would hold good today. Another card, with a photograph of an Imperial Airways Heracles airliner in flight, is addressed to Emmanuel Ohis Esq in Mauritius, with the hand-written instruction at the bottom "By air to Australia. Thence by sea" It left Kisumu on 7 December 1934, was postmarked SYDNEY 21 DE 34, and then ROSE BELLE MAURITIUS 21 FE 35.

The late Mr Evans, his wife and the East Africa Study Circle have produced a wonderful book and everyone who enjoys African history should have it on their shelves.

British Empire Book
P C Evans
P Chantry
0 9515865 6 4


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