A Wonderful Welcome Back to Africa

A Wonderful Welcome Back to Africa

 The Freyburg’s holidaying at their modest seaside cottage, with the million dollar view at Pangani, Tanganyika.

A Wonderful Welcome Back to Africa.

The SS Iberia from Sydney docked in Mombasa on 19th July, 1961. Two of the ship’s gangways were lowered to the wharf: one for transit passengers, going on to Europe.  Only Tim Hughes and one other passenger were disembarking.

A Wonderful Welcome Back to Africa

An African guard said, “You will have to wait for two hours, until the Customs Officer starts work at 10am.” Tim wasn’t happy to miss the once a day bus inland leaving at 9am. He went back on board, put his two track bags in ‘his cabin’ and disembarked with the hundreds of transit passengers. Popping his transit card in his pocket he joined some of his English friends for ‘a day on the town.’ That evening he handed in his card, joined the on-ship dinner and dances, and slept in ‘his cabin’.

Early the next day Tim ate a large breakfast at his usual table.  After bidding farewell to friends he disembarked with his bags and walked out of the docks. He hired a taxi to the bus depot and was soon on his way to Moshi. What a thrill it was to see the massive cone of Mt Kilimanjaro getting closer.

In Moshi for business, his Uncle Brian flew him around the mountain to Ol Molog where darling Aunt Joanie and Tim shared wonderful warm hugs and kisses as she welcomed him back to their Ketembelion Farm. He had been completely around the world, taking nearly four years to do it.

Brian soon gave his willing young nephew some jobs, mostly repairing machinery, his favorite work. Greeted with enthusiastic shouts of, “Jambo Bwana!” (Big Boss) Tim found his limited Swahili was sufficient to enable him to communicate with the farm workers: a few words, then laughter from both sides, made it possible.

All the Freyburg children arrived home from boarding school: Robin, Sally, Barbara, Kevin and Jeremy. Tim enjoyed his seniority being their elder cousin.

“Horray!” As in the past, early August, a family holiday at their Pangani seaside cottage was arranged.  Brian and Joanie flew there in Brian’s Whizzer in a couple of hours.  “Lucky Mum and Dad,” said the kids.  Tim, as the driver, loaded children, servants and gear into the big Land Rover and embarked on the full day’s journey. Traveling at top speed, Kilimanjaro faded in the distance, only the snow-capped pinnacle visible above the clouds.  Two weeks of swimming, sailing and relaxing lay ahead.

Brian knew a ‘tame’ immigration officer who issued a two month visa to Tim, but he was not happy about the lack of an entry stamp at Mombasa. Brian warned, “Tim, don’t do that again!”

It was wonderful to be back in Africa.

But having lived in Australia for a year, a Commonwealth country,  he had taken the opportunity to become an Australian citizen: Britain was dismantling her Empire and Tanganyika would get its independence before Christmas.

Many thanks to Tim Hughes for this excerpt and photo from his unpublished manuscript Matambega and Son written in the 1980’s.