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Times to remember Episode 3
Written by Frank Leslie Boswell   
Sunday, 10 July 2011 16:59
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EPISODE THREE 1956 to 1959

My immigration to Northern Rhodesia.

My first employment in Northern Rhodesia.

With my arrival in Northern Rhodesia until I got married I stayed with my parents in 123, Geddes St. (Kariba St.) My first stop was at the mines. I was informed that my chances of getting work in my line were rather remote. Of all their staff they only had two telephone electricians. My next stop was an interview with Stan Stollard the Divisional Engineer with the Rhodesian Post Office. The salary they offered me was not much more than I was getting in South Africa. The main reason being that it was less than two years since completing my apprenticeship. When I told Stan that I was not prepared to work for that salary he really made an effort to have my starting salary increased but head office was not prepared to budge. My Mom was rather upset with my decision to return to South Africa but we agreed that I would stay until my allotted time had expired.

Unknown to me Stan had contacted a telephone contractor Sammy Sampson and told him of me. When he offered me one hundred and eight pounds per month with bonuses I accepted his offer.

My employment with Sammy Sampson

I started working for Sammy on the 15th March 1956. We mostly did installations of telephones, switchboards and Dictaphones. The mines stipulated that no wiring would be secured to the residential walls. To compensate for this the residents had a choice of at least six different colours of indoor wire to tone in with the colour of their wall.

One installation that comes to mind is the erection of a pair of open wires from the smelter offices to the top of the smelter roof. At first I could not see the use of the springs on both ends of an existing pair of open wires. Once on the roof I soon got the answer. Every time the crane in the smelter came to a stop or started moving the movement of the steel constructed building was unbelievable. It later became necessary by using a rather ingenious method to strengthen the foundation under each of the buildings main supports

Another incident behind the smelters nearly cost me my life. I had to install a telephone behind the smelters. Walking between the smelters and the site I observed some large patches of tar in my path that looked like disused tennis courts. I was so relieved in seeing it as the high grass we were negotiating was soaking wet after a downpour. Approaching the nearest tar patch I noticed some water around the edge and I gathered speed and jumped over it. The next thing I knew I was just over waist deep in tar. Fortunately my assistant Soski who was big enough to play the part of BA (BeeAy) in the A team was there to rescue me. As I turned around in an effort to get out I realized I was sinking deeper. By the time he could get hold of a test phone I had in my outstretched hand the tar was shoulder height. Safely out with my shoes somewhere in the tar I had to make my way back to the smelters. At the smelters I was given loads of cotton waste and paraffin to remove most of the tar. Of course everyone on seeing me had a good laugh at my expense. Des Burns a complete stranger working at the smelters offered to give me a lift home after I was rapped up in disused Lime bags. Des put me in the boot of his Morris Minor and off we went with me holding the boot lid open. Instead of going straight home he did a detour through the town. Every now and then he would blow the hooter to attract the attention of the pedestrians. At Standard Trading he parked the car, as he apparently wanted to buy cigarettes. To be honest I am sure he did some campaigning as every now and then spectators arrived leaving only after have a good laugh at my appearance. Strange as it may seem Des Burns would become my foreman at a later date. See Episode four for more on Des Burns.