This book is the first part of an historical series of novels that span the 20th century,starting in 1897 and running through to 2005. It charts the course of four families that make up an unique Mashona Clan that includes both black and white members as well as various tribes from Central Africa.
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During the formative years of British East Africa and Central and Southern Africa quite a few young men were sent away from England by their families because they were, in the opinion of those families, beyond the pale. They were instructed never to darken the shores of Britain again and to ensure their agreement were awarded a periodic stipend that was remitted to a chosen bank in the destination country. This periodic payment gave rise to the term 'Remittance Man” and this book shows what it was like to be such a person.
Set in the late 19th Century it tells the story of one young 'Remittance Man,' his triumphs and travails as he makes his way in the booming country of South Africa during the Boer War. His peccadilloes continue on the Diamond Fields of Kimberley and he moves on to the new country that is being settled and which lies between the Zambezi and Limpopo Rivers. The country that has just been christened Rhodesia after its founder, Cecil John Rhodes.
Along the way he befriends two other men, one a stranger in Southern Africa and the other who was born there. One is a Canadian and the other a Zulu.
Together they journey into the unknown. They meet with a Rosvi youth near Belingwe in Rhodesia and all become firm and life-long friends.
This book is the first in a series chronicling the life journeys of four families and the way they effect the future of not only Rhodesia but of the country that is now in existence, Zimbabwe.
She was in town when they struck. She had gone in to fetch some groceries and take in some samples of her artwork to the gallery. She had left both the kids with her grandparents.
Her husband was on the farm somewhere when she left. That was early in the morning. She had been living on the farm since 1982 when her mother, defeated by the prospects of facing an Independent Zimbabwe with only a 17 year old daughter decided to go back to England to be with her family in Oxfordshire. Her father had been killed in action in 1979 when the helicopter he had been in was shot down near Mtoko.
Her mother had been thinking about leaving ever since, although truth be told she had been wanting to go from the moment her daughter had made an appearance a few minutes after Ian Smith had declared independence in 1965. She had grown up in the years of the Bush War and it had been normal for her father to leave every so often to fly in the border areas, risking his life in defence of his homeland.
Despite the prevalence of attacks and land mines in the Centenary farming area and the ever present threat of terrorist attacks on the farmstead during her childhood she had visited the farm and stayed during school holidays regularly during the formative years of her youth.
She was in her final year at school when her mother left and it was agreed that she would stay behind until she was settled in England. That day never arrived...
...Thus it was that she was shattered to see one of the Charolais bulls being carted off the farm on the back of a truck. It had obviously been slaughtered recently and a feeling of foreboding took hold of her. Then she came within sight of the homestead and she saw her husband's 4 x 4 pick-up truck parked outside the front door. At first she was relieved but as she drove nearer she saw his lifeless body sprawled on the steps of the old house. He had been hacked to death.
With a scream she ran into the house fearful for her children. Tom aged six and little Lucy who was only three. She screamed again as she saw her maid, also hacked to death, and who had obviously given her life to try to save the children who lay dead in her arms. Their heads had been hacked open. By the large open fireplace she could see her grand-parents lying in grotesque positions by the hearth. The built-in safe was open and its contents rifled. The farm ready cash supply had gone. She could smell burnt flesh and recoiled in horror as she realised that they had been tortured, presumably to get the combination of the safe.
Fearfully she glanced around her. The whole house was silent. She quietly felt her way through the gathering gloom to explore the rest of the house. The guns, normally kept in the safe in the hall were gone as was all the ammunition. The kitchen was empty and no evidence of food preparation was present. She could hear a low sobbing moan but couldn't place what made the sound or indeed its origin. The dogs that normally rushed out to meet her were not there. She made her way towards the bedroom and the moans became louder. In the main bedroom, her grand-parent's, she saw a female figure lying on the blood-stained covers. It was the cook, a plump middle aged woman whose jolly features Lorna had been familiar with for as long as she could remember. Her throat had been slashed. The strange moaning sound came from the gap in her throat. Blood was bubbling out and had spread over the pillows.