1926 - 19441944 - 19521952 - 19591959 - 19691969 - 19891989 - 19991999 - 2004



Bernard  travelled by sea, as was the practice then, to Tanganyika, where he was sent to Tanga  High School,  then the only high school in the territory that prepared Africans for university  entrance. There was no university in Tanganyika, the few Africans who qualified went to Makerere University , Uganda, or to UK. Tanga HS had originally been built by the Germans, pre-WW1, and was solidly constructed, and located not far from the sea. 

Bernard  taught geography; he liked his students, got on well with his African and British colleagues, but had problems with the top administration in the Department of  Education.  (All of us who were “on the periphery” of the colonial service had varying degrees of problems with
the directives that came from Dar-es-Salaam, the capital. We felt that WE , who were familiar with  the local conditions, knew what the most appropriate policies were, and that the senior officials at Dar-es-Salaam were plain wrong.)

Tanga 1954

Tanga High School - 1953 - (insert is Bernard)

After one year, Bernard was entitled to local leave, so in 1953 he drove, with two friends,in his little Hillman Minx, via Nairobi, then in the midst of the Mau-Mau insurgency, to  Gulu, northern Uganda, to see a contemporary from London University. The journey covered about 3,000 kms, and  went well, except that while in Uganda the eruption of a volcano  closed a road, forcing  them  to make a detour of several hundred kms. Such a journey would today be much more hazardous and unpleasant.


( This heading is not egotism on my part: both Bernard and I believed that we had “met our destiny” in July, 1954, when we met at the Tanga Yacht Club, and soon afterwards decided to spend our lives together. I was  then a District Officer, stationed partly in Tanga, and part of the time at Handeni, about 120 kms inland.)

After our meeting, Bernard and I spent as much time  in each other’s company as we could, given the necessity for  discretion , because our relationship was not socially   - or legally – approved. When I was in Tanga, and could manage to get away from the office for ½ hour, I would go to a small Indian café, not frequented by the “Europeans”; this was opposite Tanga H.S., and I would wait, agog, for Bernard, in the morning break  to come striding across, in his colonial white shorts and white shirt.  We would drink  fresh lime juice, and eat a bhajia, then rush back to our respective jobs.

We also managed to spend many week-ends away, at “safe” houses, or at remote locations. These included the hill station of Amani, in the  Usambara Mountains, where the old rest house was little used. Amani, which also means “Peace” in Swahili, has a double significance for us, and our personal car number plates, both in California, and in South Africa, use “Amani”. Driving up to Amani in my short wheel-base Land Rover, we used to stop for a skinny dip in a clear mountain stream, just off the road,When we visited Amani 17 years later, all the trees on the hillside had been cut down, for timber, and the streams were all dry. Alas.

Bernard and I often sailed in Tanga Harbour  at week-ends, in borrowed yachts. Once, we won a race, with Bernard crewing for me  in Daphne Ainley's "Dainty".

We visited Colonel Boscawen’s fantastic estate near Moa, on the coast,  not far from the Kenyan border. A friend described his home as “ a cross between a grand English country house, and the Wallace Collection”. It was indeed extra-ordinary ,as was the owner. Unlike most sugar-cane planters, Colonel Boscawen had left vistas in the shrubs and cane so that from his verandah, there were splendid views of the sea. Bernard and I introduced Col B to the excitement of undersea goggling, to the consternation of his old boatman, who kept muttering, “je, wewe ni Mzee, usiendelea!”(“I say, you are an old man, do not continue with this”.)
Tanga, 1954
 Pangani , on the coast south of Tanga, was another refuge, where an eccentric English lady had a self-contained  beach hut, which she let us use. The water was carried by two donkeys, Nelson and Hardy, the latter making an distinctive noise when he walked, because of a KLIM tin attached to his hoof,   I was obliged by custom to call on the DC ( District Commissioner) at Pangani, but fortunately he –and, more important, his wife – liked Bernard and me, and thought nothing of our choosing to spend time on the beach at Pangani.

Happy days, happy memories.

During this period, Bernard was required to mark 1700 Senior Certificate examination papers in Geography, many of them written in ki-Swahili.. The papers had been written at schools throughout the territory. Bernard had a reasonable knowledge of Swahili, but teachers were not expected to be fluent, nor to mark hundreds of scripts in the language. Because I used Swahili constantly, I was able to help Bernard in this huge task : we spent many evenings poring over the scripts. Because of this imposition, and of other disagreements over policy, Bernard decided to resign at the end of his tour, in January 1955.

I went ahead to England, in December 1954, taking a flat in  George Street London (W1), where my mother joined me, followed by Bernard early in 1955. We had five magical months together in England, with Bernard walking me all over London, and then driving (in my Standard Vanguard van) to see the familiar places from his boyhood, and some new ones.

BULAWAYO       1955 - 1959

Matopos Hills near Bulawayo 1956

In May of that year, we sailed on the S.S.”Umtali”, to CapeTown,  then drove along the Garden route to my hometown , Durban. From there Bernard flew to Bulawayo, to take up his new teaching post at Founders High School,then the only high school that prepared  “Coloureds and Asians” for university,   in the Federation  of Rhodesia and Nyasaland.  ( I drove to Tanganyika, but resigned from the colonial service a year later, joining Bernard in Bulawayo.)

Founders High School, Bulawayo - January 1957 (insert Mr Riley)

Bernard found Founders HS congenial,and enjoyed his students, many of whom went on to university, either in Salisbury (Harare) or overseas. Bernard and I had high hopes –naïve as this may seem now, in 2004 –for the Federation, despite a series of clashes over racial discrimination.  Bernard also got on very well with his headmaster, and with his (mostly “Coloured and Indian”)  colleagues.  At that time Founders HS did not have a swimming pool – one was installed later. So Bernard persuaded the authorities at the Municipal Borrow Street pool to allow his swimmers to use the pool at specified times.  Despite the high sounding rhetoric of the Federation , about racial equality, there was still much de facto discrimination.. Bernard also had another victory regarding the cinema. The Matriculation set book for one year was “Henry V”, the film of which was showing at the cinema, which still pursued a “whites only” policy. Bernard simply bought 25 tickets,“for my students”. Then arrived , to the consternation of the management, which, faced with this fait accompli, grudgingly allowed Bernard’s party to sit in the balcony. Thereafter, Bernard took regular parties to the cinema, for matinee shows. He would take them all to our flat first, so that they could use the toilet and avoid the pathetic racist  cry, 
“What about the toilets?”

Bulawayo -1958
These may  now seem like insignificant victories,but we both believed in making a difference where we could, and not staging dramatic confrontations which achieved little.I was then working in the African Townships, under  the enlightened  and innovative leadership of Dr. Hugh Ashton,the ablest administrator,of  urban African Affairs, in Southern  Africa. The J M Macdonald Hall had recently been built, and Bernard joined me in promoting a series of events, many of them seen for the first time in an African area. The logistics were often daunting, but we did persuade both local  and visiting artists to  come to Mzilikazi, where the J M Macdonald Hall was located. Most of the local people involved had not set foot in an African area in all their lives, and were fearful at first. However, we managed to stage several outstanding events all enthusiastically received,  including : The Bulawayo Symphony Orchestra; Merle Park and Gary Burne, top Ballet dancers.(they, like other of our artists,  had been visiting Bulawayo,  dancing mainly for whites at  the City Hall,and  they readily agreed to dance for Africans too.); Visiting choirs from the U.S.; An exhibition of African art, the “Desfosses” school from the then Belgian Congo.

During his years in Bulawayo, Bernard was active in the Theatre Guild. He played, to acclaim,the leading role in T.S.Eliot's "The Cocktail Party", and appeared regularly in productions. 

We lived in the top (ninth floor) flat of James Court, a new block of flats, centrally situated, with grand views. Bernard furnished and decorated our penthouse with imagination and flair: we had complementary strengths,  interior decoration being  his domain.

In 1951, we attended the first annual exhibiton of the newly opened Rhodesian National Gallery in Salisbury (Harare) .Frank McEwen, the imaginative and controversial Director, introduced us to the marvellous world of Shona sculpture, then just starting.  Not being able, then , to afford the  sculpture,  we bought some small clay oxen.Ten years later, with the help of a legacy from my father, we bought thirty-three pieces, the nucleus of one of the best private collections of "First Generation Zimbabwe  Sculpture"

St Michael's on Sea 1959
Bernard and friend won the Fulbright Scholarship for post graduate study in USA - June 1959 - picture from Salisbury News
We had settled down in Bulawayo, with a lively and sympathetic group of friends, and were still reasonably optimistic about the future. We had even taken tentative steps to buying a plot of land on the outskirts of the city and building our dream home, when it became clear that war had started. We could not side with the increasingly right wing government, nor were we about to throw in our lot with the African resistance movement, so we decided that our future lay outside Rhodesia. We were greatly helped by our dear friend Lillie Rhodes, wife of Professor Willard Rhodes, of Columbia University  an ethnomusicologist then doing research in Rhodesia, in African music. Lillie took charge of our situation, telling Bernard to apply for a Fulbright Scholarship to study in the U.S. , and helping me to apply for a post at the University of Ghana, where my close friend Paul Baxter had encouraged me to join him.
We spent anguished days, wondering what to do,  but recognised that it would be best to separate for a while, in order to lay a solid foundation for our lives together, in the U.S., where we both wanted to settle. The separation was to last longer than we had at first envisaged, but we were able to meet frequently, and by great good fortune, as I explain below, Bernard joined me in  Ghana for a year. Bernard got his Fulbright Scholarship, choosing to go to Indiana University, and I was given a post in Social Administration at the University of Ghana. Bernard left Bulawayo for the U.S. in August 1959, and I went to Ghana one month later. 
Natal Coast, 1958

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