A First for Que Que and Rhodesia


Barney and Dora Kahn of Que Que imported the first Cadillac into Southern Rhodesia

A First for Que Que and Rhodesia

The Gaika Mine,  two km (just over a mile) south of Que Que on Chicago Farm included a series of claims named the Gaika, Robin Hood, Zulu, Golden Quarries and New Accident.  During its life time a total of 23, 000 kg of gold was produced from 2, 626,671 tonnes of ore, with an average recovery of 8.7 g/t.  It was probably the most extensive ancient workings in the country.

A First for Que Que and Rhodesia

Barney and Dora Kahn ran the Gaika Concession Store. Mr. Kahn advertised everything from men’s shirts, socks, shoes and tennis shoes in particular.  As well as being a livestock and grain dealer he sported a range of wagons and Scotch carts. In its heyday, in addition to the concession store, Mrs. Kahn ran a butchery with supplies of fresh meats (all cuts): mutton, pork, veal, poultry and sausages.  On Thursdays fresh fish: soles and haddock, kippers too, were on offer. Altogether the businesses were successful.

Mr. and Mrs. Kahn decided this success was deserving of a car.  Nothing less than the best would suffice.   They visited the local show rooms.  Wilsons’ Garage sold Vauxhalls and Bedford trucks. Watts Garage carried Ford products.   They went further afield to Gwelo’s S & S Cars to see the new Vanguards, Triumphs and the latest Studebaker models.  They ventured further to Salisbury to look at the symbol of better motoring: Austin, The Car You Could Depend On, at Byrom Motors, and to Puzey and Diss Motors with their Morris Oxfords.   They viewed the new Humbers, Hillmans, Sunbeam-Talbots, Commers and Karriers at Kimptons.

Shopping for a car is a time consuming and exhausting experience.  Nothing met their expectations.  They were looking for something to symbolize the lifetime of hard work.  They wrote away for brochures.  They studied the statistics.

Mr. Kahn imported the first Cadillac into the country.  The formidable one-two punch was the tailfin styling and the overhead-valve V-8 engine. Mrs. Kahn liked the idea of  ‘slipper pistons’.  They both liked the look of the new hardtop convertible body. The car could clock 0-60 mph in around 13 seconds and easily top 100 mph!  They couldn’t wait.

Delivery by sea and then overland from South Africa took some time.  Mr. Kahn set about getting an automobile license for himself and his wife.  All went without a hitch.

The car finally arrived amidst much fanfare.  But Mr. Kahn was unable to drive it home. He did not know how to drive.

Mrs. Kahn learned, in time, to go forward.  She never did conquer reverse.

Many thanks to Ed Goldberg.   The bones of this story are taken from the transcript of his recorded interviews with old Que Que residents that contributed to the rich tapestry of life there.