From Rhodesia to Mugabe's Zimbabwe. Chronicles of a Game Ranger, by Nick Tredger
From Rhodesia to Mugabe's Zimbabwe are chronicles of sadness and loss written by Nick Tredger, a former Rhodesian game ranger, now living in South Africa.
Starting again from the beginning
In December 1976 a group of about 20 guerrilla insurgents crossed Lake Kariba from Zambia at Chete Gorge in the west and made their way cautiously across the wild and broken country of the valley until they reached the first kraal nestling in the lap of the escarpment. They rested there for a day, eating well off the slaughtered goat and mealie-meal porridge provided by the terrified villagers. The following morning they followed the Mucheni River into the escarpment and by nightfall were concealed in a little gully close to the junior staff village at Chizarira HQ. In those days, the staff lived in entirely separate entities; the officers and their families lived in comfortable thatched cottages while the junior staff in traditional African pole and mud thatched huts, the complex was spread over about ten hectares. It is doubted we will ever know who assisted the insurgents, whether their help was voluntary or forced? Indeed, we rarely knew who was on whose side in that terrible and confusing war. Either way, the guerrillas had picked a perfect time for most of the senior staff were off station, Christmas was only a few days away. Two young National Service soldiers had been detailed to look after the station and they were camped on the veranda of the warden-in-charge, Bobby Thomson, sited on the edge of the Mucheni gorge. With a mere four and a half month's of military training behind them, who can blame them for stealing away into the darkness when faced with a formidable group of well-armed enemy? The miracle is that they managed to escape at all, but they did by climbing down into the gorge and up the far bank, from where they had a ringside view of the destruction that followed. National Parks staff were not transient as a rule. Although often transferred with sometimes maddening regularity, their station was their home and their houses contained everything they owned and treasured. For some, like Peter Thompson the Chizarira ecologist, their homes were also their laboratories. His contained masses of data and information that he had collected on black rhino over many years of painstaking study for a PhD in zoology. The staff houses were burnt to the ground that night. The thatched roofs blazed with a terrible heat and the two young soldiers cowering behind the shadow of a rock on the far side of the gorge felt the heat on their faces. The guerrillas danced, laughed and fired shots into the air, the tracer bullets like extra sparks from the burning houses, streaking into the night sky and dying there, spent bullets, spent dreams. I think the first flicker of the candle flame of Bobby and Peter dimmed a little that night. Aspirations and ideals like so many sparks, like so much smoke, burnt up and was gone in the night. For six months Chizarira was left to the whims and fancies of the surrounding Batonka. It had always been a hallowed place for them because a giant serpent reputedly lived on top of the escarpment and was said to have swallowed many a hunter. The fact that these simple people had probably fallen prey to lion or hyena while checking their snares, was never considered. Times, however, were changing. Greed and fear are two of the strongest forces on earth and when fuelled by politics and terrorism, are capable of overriding the oldest established traditions and superstitions. [...]
This is an excerpt from From Rhodesia to Mugabe's Zimbabwe. Chronicles of a Game Ranger, by Nick Tredger.
Title: From Rhodesia to Mugabe's Zimbabwe
Subtitle: Chronicles of a Game Ranger
Author: Nick Tredger
Cape Town, South Africa 2009
ISBN 9781919854373 / ISBN 978-1-919854-37-3
Softcover, 17 x 24 cm, 320 pages, numerous bw- and colour photos, maps, English
Tredger, Nick im Namibiana-Buchangebot
Chronicles of a Game Ranger in the wildlife refuges of Rhodesia and Mugabe's Zimbabwe