Sharon B

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About Sharon B

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    Advanced Member

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  • Category 1
    Resident in Africa/Former resident
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  • Gender
  • Location
    Cape Town
  • Interests
    Geology, Wildlife, Conservation, Environment,
  1. These pictures are exceptional. I live in Cape Town and I sooooo miss Africa!! These are my two contributions to the leopards page.
  2. Twaffle, thank you for your comments... Solitude is 1500mm x 1000mm - Greeting Eye is sold but the original was about 800 x 600 - my ex has a HUGE print of this one in his large thatched house. Prints of any size are available, too. I use acrylics. :-)
  3. Sorry, Matt... I think I made the same mistake with mine... TOOOO BIG!
  4. Sorry GW ... I forgot. But elephants should always be posted BIG I will remember next time
  5. These are really, really stunning pictures. The only contribution I can make at the moment are two paintings that I have done. Until I finish sorting through all my Dad's Amboselli slides of Ellies.
  6. I love your story... I am writing as much of my life of growing up wild in Africa to leave for my kids and grandchildren. You should be doing the same. Your story is beautifully written.
  7. Matt, maybe you can clarify a query I have... do my pictures show a Klipspringer or a Dik Dik? I confuse the two.
  8. Thank you, Matt and twaffle.... I also love your stories of your childhood and your memories run parallel to mine, TW. I was 13 years old in 1962 so I am probably a little older than you. My parents became very good friends of Toni when she was in her sixties, perhaps even in her seventies. Toni’s husband had passed away and Toni refused to give up her island. She became well known for the care she gave orphaned and injured animals. To cross the river we used a cage made out of metal mesh, swinging out over the turbulent water. The Africans pulled on the ropes to bring us safely to the other side. Toni had tame antelopes including a klipspringer. A lot of her income was derived from donations and paying guests She had photographs of famous film stars that had stayed on her island dotted around her home. A unique orchid was found on the island that had never been found anywhere else in the world. Also new insects were discovered there. The island was a Garden of Eden - very, very special and romantically intriguing. She had a resident hippo that lived upstream and sometimes at night you could hear it grunting and stomping around the garden and monster crocs were frequent visitors, too. My mother used to stay on the island and take care of all the animals when Toni went away to the Big City, Kampala for supplies. I remember a story she told us at dinner one evening about keeping croc eggs in the bath – I don’t know if she was going to feed them to the guests for breakfast, or what! – but they hatched in the night and she had baby crocs everywhere!! I also remember helping my mother to bottle feed a young dik dik. Toni was an eccentric old lady and everyone had the utmost respect for her. We eventually moved away from Kyerwa and relocated to Kilembe Copper Mines in 1966 and at the time, I was in England at boarding school. My mother never told me what happened to Toni and her island after that. Toni Nutti and the Royal Drums Toni Nutti was born at the turn of the 20th century. She was a petite, Italian, pioneering woman of formidable character with a mop of unruly wiry hair that she later always kept tied up in a bun. She and her husband arrived on the coast of East Africa around 1925 and travelled on foot westwards through Tanganyika heading towards The Mountains of the Moon (the Ruwenzories) where the gorillas hide out, with bearers carrying their goods and chattels. They circled the southern edge of Lake Victoria and followed the lake northward, where they stumbled across the torrential Kagera River. This 400 km-long river is the most remote headstream of the Nile and originates near the northern tip of Lake Tanganyika. It meanders its way north creating the natural border between Burundi and Tanzania. It later starts flowing east where it forms the boundary between Uganda and Tanzania until it disgorges itself into Lake Victoria. They camped along the banks every night and one particular spot downstream from Kikagati caught their fancy. They set up camp and settled for a while. They became familiar with their surroundings and the local natives. One day it occurred to them that there was something strange about the increased rapids and the movement of the waters of the river. They explored further and discovered that they were in fact not looking across to the other bank but to an overgrown island that had escaped the attention of earlier cartographers. It was hazardous crossing to the island but when the waters subsided they excitedly entered the river upstream and watching for markers that they had set on the bank they drifted down to the island, moored and began exploring their find. The island was probably about 500 meters long by 300 meters wide and when the rains came the island was surrounded by turbulent and dangerous rapids. This may be her island… I retrieved it from Google Earth and it is the most likely island because I seem to remember it was about 10 miles east and downstream of the Kikagati border post. They made an even more exciting discovery whilst they were wandering around the island that would make a huge impact on their lives. The young couple returned to the northern bank of the river where their camp was and started making plans to travel some 200 miles to Mengo, Kampala. Their mission was to get audience with the ruling Kabaka of Buganda. When Toni Nutti and her husband were presented at the royal court, they reported their discovery on the island. The ruling Kabaka was so grateful that he gave them the island as a gift. It turned out that at some stage in the previous reign of the Kabakas during a period of instability and uncertainty, the Royal Drums had been hidden away for safe keeping. They were hidden on an island, but the island couldn’t be found again. The secret place was lost and the drums were never retrieved, until the Nutti’s discovered them on the Secret Island. I have read some other articles about Toni Nutti on SafariTalk, but my recollections of her stories are somewhat different. I have endeavoured to retell the tales as I heard them on our numerous visits to her island and I have tried to keep them as true to my memories as possible. I have not embellished them, but I hope I have captured the essence of Toni Nutti and her amazing pioneering life. I was 13 – 17 years old when we frequented the island. But I think perhaps the idea that she came out to Africa to marry a Count may have been confused with Karen Blixen’s identical story, because this is not how I remember the story at all. I am not totally sure what happened to her husband, but I was always under the impression that he had died. That Obote deported her is perfectly believable because she was friendly with the Kabakas and the Kabakas’ kingdom was abolished by Obote at about the same time. I have recounted the story about the lost Royal Drums as I was told it around the dinner table one evening during one of our visits. She may very well have been a Countess – I cannot dispute this part, but I prefer my memories of her telling us that the Kabakas had given her the island in gratitude for finding the Royal Drums… and besides it makes a far more intriguing story, and that may have been her intention all along. I would love to hear other stories about her.
  9. When I was twelve years old my father was an engineer on a very remote tin mine, Kyerwa, in North-West Tanzania near the border of Ruanda Burundi. My father and the mine’s geologist (Roy Basham) decided to make a boat trip up the Kagera River, which forms the border between Uganda and Tanzania, to take photographs of the wildlife in and alongside the river. They took me with them. The river was in flood but they were confident that we could do it. We probably would have succeeded if the outboard motor had not stalled. We were swept back down-stream to our starting point where the ferry crossed the river. The ferry was one of those wonderfully primitive affairs with a steel cable running across the river and the cable was somehow hooked through the ferry. A team of able-bodied young men used to pull the ferry across by hauling the cable to the accompaniment of loud chanting and laughter. On this day, however, the ferry was out of service because of the flood and the steel cable was about a foot under the surface of the water. The small motorboat drifted down until it hit the cable and then it capsized. My father and the geologist were thrown onto the cable but when I came up for air I was already a few meters away in the racing rapids of the flooded waters. I climbed up onto the bottom of the capsized boat just as the anchor caught some rocks on the bed of the river. The boat went under completely and left me in its swirling wake to swim frantically for the nearest bank – needless to say - the opposite bank. I made it to the other side amidst cheers and applause from the audience but It took a lot of money as well as a lot of cajoling to get the ferrymen to bring the ferry across the raging waters to fetch me! From that day I was always known to the natives as “Memsahib Samaki”, meaning Fish. I later found out that a family of crocodiles lived a few meters downstream and another family of hippos lived nearby, upstream. Had I known that at the time my swimming would have been even more frenzied! My parents were good friends with Toni Nutti and my mother used to 'babysit' the island and the orphans when Toni went off to the Big City... Kampala. I remember her fascinating and exciting stories that she told around the dinner table. She was an amazing woman.

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