The British Empire Library

Oxford to Zimbabwe: A Life's Recall

by Andrew Hunt

Courtesy of OSPA

Review by F.E. Taylor (Southern RhodesialZimbabwe. 1951-1991)
To the best of my knowledge, this is the third book written by Anglican Priests who have served the Church in the Manicaland Province of Zimbabwe. The magnificent scenery of this Province, varying from hot, lush steamy valleys to invigorating highlands could be the source of inspiration for these books. To have lived and worked in that environment is indeed a privilege.

This book by Andrew Hunt is a remarkable recall of a very full life, tracing his career through the Dragon School, Harrow, Balliol, Saskatchewan in Canada, Cambridge, London, Leicester and Rhodesia/Zimbabwe. His life's achievements are recorded in a conversation style which provides easy reading. It is not difficult to imagine oneself sitting in Andrew's home, being served with tea by his wife Pat and regaled with gusto by Andrew of anecdotes of his interesting life.

Those interested in life in Rhodesia in the years leading up to Independent Zimbabwe may be disappointed at the lack of political comment and conflict in this book. Hints are to be found of Andrew's own political and social leanings, but these are subservient to the purpose of the book, which plainly sets out what he has achieved and how things happened from birth to his retirement in Oxford.

From a privileged life in early years, through privation in Canada, ordination as Deacon at St. Paul's Cathedral, and service in the Church of England in the wartime England, Andrew finally arrived in Rhodesia. There he experienced the vagaries of life as a Parish Priest until his appointment as Headmaster of Bernard Mizeki College, the peak of his career. This was followed by many years in Mutare (Umtali) as a teacher and return to Oxford after self-imposed retirement at the age of 71 in 1985.

This book will be of great interest to those who knew Rhodesia/Zimbabwe in the years immediately before and following Independence in 1980. A further book dealing in more depth with political events in those years would have been an interesting sequel to this entertaining autobiography. Sadly, Andrew Hunt died in January 1995, his passing leaving a gap in our socio-political knowledge of Rhodesia/Zimbabwe in the years surrounding independence.

British Empire Book
Andrew Hunt
New Cherwell Press


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