S.C.R. Barnard part 3 .
What follows now about Bvekenya, is from other sources read as well as from " The Ivory Trail " authored by T.W. Bulpin
After his decision to become an Elephant hunter the young Barnard moved to the Maluleke and seek his fortune he moved and found or learnt about characters like Alec Thompson the shopkeeper and the assistant William Pye, the tumble down shop being of corrugated iron with a lean to veranda, trading mainly ivory and other spoils of hunting for food, clothes, ammunition and of course . . . . liquor. “ Only Jones “ , Pat Fay a Irishman who had been pensioned from the police station at Sibasa who was quite fat, it was told after returning from an unsuccessful expedition quite lean and famished, indulged into eating some roasted beef until he ate himself to death. Buck Buchanan, Hendrik Hartman was another, he became a short lived partner of Bvenkenya, as well as a few “ Blackbirders “ amongst others Theodore Williams, Jack Ford an Australian and ex Rhodesian policeman, Jacob Diegel, John Dart,, The Hungarian called Wieder and the Swede called Colesen. Jack Lambert, was another, he loved the bottle and often wandered off into the bush after spending his revenue on the liquid supplies, he did this once more and was never again seen. Johnson was another.
Blackbirding was labour recruiting, the blackbirders would go out and find individuals willing to work on the mines and then recruit them. The recruited would run away from their kraals as they were afraid that their wives would bewitch them. The blackbirders were paid a fee of seven pounds per head were paid by the mine owners for each labourer recruited. The labourers were paid half their wages at the mine and the balance kept in reserve and paid to them at the WNLA office at the border once they had completed their term of contract.
Many a night was spent on the route from Crookes Corner under the Baobab at Baobab hill and other spots in the vicinity.
Barnard decided to hunt differently – the honest way, he would obtain his game licences and do it the right way, Afterall he was an ex policeman and a law abiding citizen.
He set off with his meagre equipment a( a rifle, a riding mule four donkeys and a few provisions ) into Portuguese East Africa along the traders path to Sofala in the second season of drought, his immediate destination being the Portuguese administrative post at Massangen on the banks of the Great Save River, where he intended getting the required permits and licences to start off his career as Elephant hunter about 220 km away. There were except for a few Shanganes no other travellers on the dry barren thirsty route, rid of game.
After fourteen days of dusty thirsty travelling he reached his dreary ramshackle destination, with very little water, washing was out of the question, his two week old beard, matted hair and dusty appearance matched that of his hosts Amorina the yellow complexioned (result of quinine swallowed down with the aid of large doses of brandy) well set and flabby, Chef de Post and his assistant called Mangone.
Young Barnard walked into the office where the two officials were passing the time drinking gin, sharing a grubby tumbler. In the back office a Shangane policeman (Folage) was busy interrogating a suspect and was speeding up the process using his boot and the suspects ribs.
The conversation was held in broken Shanganese as it was the only common language they shared. The Portuguese seemed speechless at Barnard’s unknown request, and produced a piece of paper indicating that no game licence or permits could be issued as it was out of season., Barnard could only shoot for the pot and nothing more . . . .
Barnard spent the evening with Amorina and Mangone, who questioned him about his origin and equipment, they even counted his money, eyed by Forage.
The following Barnard set off after breakfast, on his return journey eyed by the three.
Barnard considered going into Rhodesia and then possibly move further but the reigning drought, made him realise that it would be useless, as along the Great Save even where there was a bit of water, game was scarce. He reached a suitable spot and decided to make camp and remain a few days. Apart from a few scraggy, famished Shanganes, who survived on roots and berries, there seemed to be no danger. There was some game around his camp and he felt quite comfortable, but uneasy. He spent about thirty days at this camp, then – he did not notice the human shapes stealing through the bush upon him, while he was dozing off one evening.
The human shapes crept upon him and attacked him, awakening him with the glancing crack of a knobkerrie on his skull. Barnard jumped up and attacked his assailant recognising Folage from the Portuguese post. During the fight Barnard stuck his thumb into the eye of his attacker, who then let go and fled.
Barnard escaped and after a half hearted chase the followers returned to his camp and rounded up his belongings and set off.
Barnard decided to get to the Makhuleke as soon as possible and set off, post haste, half naked – the sun scorching him and the thorns grabbing at his skin, a group of passing Shanganes offered him some clothing, a bit of food and a spear. The only relief he got was when he soaked in the moist mud at a waterhole, when his dried out body seemed to absorb the moisture like blotting paper.
On this return journey he saw his first Elephant. He heard a commotion in the bush with lots of grumbling, trumpeting stamping and trampling, he went to investigate; he saw an Elephant being worried by a Honey Badger at a little water hole. The Elephant would approach and the Badger would defend by charging and biting the big feet and then hastily giving way, the Elephant retreating and then repeating the process with the Badger spluttering and cursing and standing it’s ground, just giving way to the stamping feet and waving trunk., eventually the Elephant saw the terrible looking shape of the onlooker, took fright, turned around with a squeal and fled with the Badger hurtling through the bush in hot pursuit.
Arriving at the Makhuleke Barnard had a good wash and a meal and slept for a day.
Telling Thompson the story about the Elephant and the Badger, the latter remarked that Barnard must have had a bad fever.
Barnard decided to return and as he was not successful in obtaining the permits and licences he required, he was going to do it in any case and on his own way. When Thompson heard that Barnard intended going back he said the fever must be much worse than he originally suspected.
I participate because I care - CUSTOS NATURAE
No to Hotels in and commercialization of our National Parks.
No to Legalized Rhino and Lion trade.
Done 144 visits to National Parks.
What a wonderful privilege.
Last edited by gmlsmit on Tue May 26, 2009 5:18 pm, edited 3 times in total.