Home Articles Tales of Zambia Life at ZAF Livingstone - Page 7
Life at ZAF Livingstone - Page 7
Monday, 23 November 2015 10:32
Article Index
Life at ZAF Livingstone
Page 2
Page 3
Page 4
Page 5
Page 6
Page 7
All Pages

In hindsight I am quite surprised that I returned from Africa without disease, injury or even worse. I spent much of my spare time in the bush, often sleeping under the stars, had three very close calls with elephant - when only rapid application of reverse gear saved the day. Whilst boat fishing out of Chobe, hippo attacks became almost par for the course on each outing. I spent much of my spare time river fishing on the Zambezi and, whilst I always took care not to stand too close to the river where the water was deep, there were enough africans taken every year to ensure one maintained awareness. They used to say that for every one croc you see, there are likely to be nineteen others that you don't. Well, I saw quite a few, including one from the air when doing a low-level up the Zambezi in a Beaver with Flit Clayton which, and I exagerate not, would have bettered seventeen feet! Otherwise, Bhilharzia was ever a threat in slow moving water – it was prevalent amongst the local africans; mosquitos were rife although malaria was uncommon, and where you found buffalo you invariably found tsetse fly. I never suffered sand-jiggers under my toenails, nor did I have a single tick in my time there, although my girlfriend's dog needed to be dipped for ticks every month. In contrast, I expect to have a few ticks here in Germany (my home) every year. I don't know – perhaps it was the Buku brandy in Africa! One other ailment springs to mind; that being of a more personal nature. The local currency in Rhodesia /Zambia included a throwback to English currency of old – the silver threepenny piece. It was known to one and all locally by the African term „ticky“. Some ten miles out of Livingstone was a small hamlet by the name of ticky-village. When I asked about the origins of the name, I was told that in ticky-village you could buy twelve fish for a ticky …........... and twelve women for a fish! When an RAF Regiment squadron were detached to Livingstone shortly after UDI, the fishing at ticky-village went into a spiral – as did the workload of their RAF MO!

Almost fifty years have passed since I left Zambia to its own folk. In the meantime, most independent African states have demonstrated beyond any argument that although white rule/colonialism or call it what you will did ensure a reasonable living standard for the blacks, independence ensures nothing of the sort – except for those milking it off at the top. During my (colonial) time in N Rhodesia if you employed a black, not only did you have to pay him a minimum wage but you also had to provide his family with a large sack of mealie meal (maize flour) and a small sack of dried kapenta (fish) every month. That ensured that his family had food after he had p----d his wages away in the beer halls during the first three days of every month. He then returned to work, to resume his duties. Remember, this was law under colonialism. Decades on and those laws have fallen by the wayside as the african hand continues to be extended for free handouts to all who will listen. The Africa I knew is gone – lost to time.

Post Script: I recently made contact with V--, who was my best mate at Livingstone for a while. He had a romance with the daughter of Dave Habbershaw, owner/proprieter of the Fairmount Hotel. V-- went back to UK (tourex) some months before me, and when he had got himself set up, Dave's daughter joined him in UK. I didn't know at the time, because I had lost contact with V--. Anyway, they were married some weeks later, by which time I had been back in UK a few weeks. Dave Habbershaw and his wife travelled to UK for the wedding, did a few other things they needed to do, then flew back to Zambia – landing at Lusaka intending to take an internal flight back to Livingstone. ENTRY DENIED, and all possessions etc in country, confiscated! No argument – take the next flight out of here! Dave being Dave started again in SA, and got back on his feet, but …...... I do miss Zambia, but not the politics.