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Caracal posted a topic in Safari talkWhen I visited Sheilah yesterday she had her parents’ photo album to share with me. I was intrigued by the above photo. It was taken in February 1931. That’s Sheilah on the pony. The photos had been stuck onto the album pages but I said to Sheilah that if we could prize the photo off and if she agreed I would take it home and see how it scanned. Sheilah was able to carefully prize it off and we found the following written on the back by Sheilah’s mother:- Bobbie the Pony Spark the Dog “Sheilah” 3yrs old Feb 1931 @ “Kazangula” River & “Wankie” the Messenger “Spark” was taken by a Crocodile that afternoon at the river Kazangula is on the Zambezi in Zambia about 70kms west of Livingstone. Wankie is in the Messenger uniform – a fez, tunic, shorts and bare feet. We discussed the role of messengers in the early days of European settlement in Zambia and their amazing achievements. Sheilah said they were very proud of the uniforms that were issued to them. We talked of the feats referred to in the book Vet in Africa Life on the Zambezi 1913-1933 by John Smith edited by Tony Bagnall Smith. One such feat was when John Smith gave his messenger Mohenda an urgent message to be taken from Sesheke to Livingstone. After collecting three assegais Mohenda set off at 9.00am and delivered the letter at 7.00pm the very next day after apparently stopping only three times to eat and drink a little. All this bare foot traversing rivers and crossing all sorts of country with all sorts of wildlife. The author says the distance was 180 miles. Today’s references say Sesheke is approx. 200 kms or 120 miles from Livingstone and maybe that’s a more direct route. Either way a phenomenal achievement. Sheilah was born in Livingstone. Her father was a vet who worked with John Smith and was then appointed to head a research station at Mazabuka. Sheilah gave me permission to upload the photo on Safaritalk if it scanned OK. I emailed the photo to her yesterday afternoon and she was very pleased to see how it had scanned. I will return the photo when I visit next week. I have been visiting Sheilah for approximately 11 months now – she is a wonderful lady with a phenomenal memory and has many great stories told and to be told.
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