Beyond the Malachite Hills: A Life of Colonial Service and by Jonathan Lawley

By Jonathan Lawley

What desire is there for Africa? because the heady and hopeful days of decolonisation the tale appears to be like certainly one of unrelenting catastrophe -- revolution; brutal army dictatorship; ethnic clash or even genocide; civil conflict; state-threatening corruption; financial failure; and, in areas, the total breakdown of nation and society. And all has been compounded by way of common mess ups -- drought, famine and the scourge of AIDS. yet there's one other, much less stated, tale of Africa; throwing off the colonial earlier, embracing modernity, studying quickly, gaining in satisfaction and self-confidence and embracing the the most important administration functionality; all this within the context of fruitful collaboration with Europe and American enterprise and, more and more, with the emerging Asian financial superpowers. Jonathan Lawley paints a shiny and convincing photo of good political, social and fiscal development. past the Malachite Hills is a striking testomony to his long-lasting and profound involvement with this usually misunderstood continent.

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I wondered whether we would be safe from lions, which could be heard roaring all round. I was reassured by being told that even were lions to wander through our camp in the night, we were in no danger as they were healthy and well fed. The chiefs were not reassured so easily, and they were relieved to be allowed to spend the night in a sort of stockade nearby. Overall their reaction to the trip was to be deeply impressed by the quantity of game and to wish that somebody could come and shoot some of it for them.

It took us into direct touch with ordinary village people through meetings with all the adults in all the villages. The drill was that the cadet DO or DC would sit on chairs with the chief and his clerk facing the village headman beside his people all sitting on the ground. The names of male residents contained in a large leather-bound register would then be read out and ticked if present. If a man was away working, say in Bulawayo or the copper mines, or on a social visit, a note would be made.

The Africans drank virtually nothing. Soon the path broke out into open grassland and there in front of us was a wonderful herd of fat zebra. There were lots of impala too and small groups of kudu. There were not many baboons, suggesting the presence of plenty of leopards. After about three hours’ walking, we arrived at a flat area of about 40 acres, bare of trees and bushes, indeed of virtually all vegetation. The ground was covered by a discoloured crust. This was indeed a rare salt pan to which, before the arrival of the white men at the turn of the century, people would travel for days to collect supplies.

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