Geological Details about Zimbabwe from Bob Atkinson:

Gold in Zimbabwe occurs almost exclusively in the green stone belts as hydrothermal deposits. These green stone belts are normally composed of volcanic and sedimentary rocks (schist) that have been squeezed up and squashed into long linear belts by massive granite intrusions. This squeezing caused them to become highly fractured and faulted. Gold in solution along with numerous other minerals was injected into these faults and shears. Then, provided that the right minerals such as iron were present in the surrounding rock, gold, along with other minerals, would have been precipitated out. The hydrothermal solution was water under high pressure and temperature in which the gold and other minerals were dissolved. Silica was common in the solution and as the temperature and pressure of the water dropped was precipitated out as quartz, a white, glassy, hard rock. These were generally the veins that were mined. Green stones are therefore very old rocks dating from 2500m years and older. The prospector would therefore walk around and look for outcrops of quartz veins and sample them to determine whether they contained gold. Remember that the quartz veins were more often than not barren because for the gold to precipitate the right minerals had to be present in the surrounding or host rock. This was all fine provided that the green stones were exposed on surface. However large areas of them had been buried under a layer of Kalahari sand that had been transported in by wind. This was, in geological terms, a very recent event. This sand could vary in depth from a few meters to tens of meters and gave no indication of what lay beneath.

….As the gold deposits are associated with metallic sulphides these would show as magnetic anomalies. However there are numerous other factors that create similar anomalies so we were looking for a combination of factors.

We eventually found a magnetic anomaly that was backed up by enhanced traces of gold and associated minerals from the nearby ant hills but not by the foliage sampling. However 2 out of 3 was considered good enough to sink a small test shaft through about 30m.(100ft) of sand cover. This exposed a small gold deposit and proved the theory.

Terminology & Usage

About the terms “cookboy” and “gardenboy”.  I am writing in the period 1946-the early 1960’s when these terms were in common usage and not considered derogatory.  I want to remain true to the times in the place I oncecalledhome.

The term Native likewise was in common usage at the time…hence Native Hospital, Native Affairs Department and Natives.  Later these terms went into disuse with the rise of Black Nationalism.

47 Comments

  • Alan Smith

    Reply Reply April 26, 2011

    I am of Pioneer decent in Byo ,but visited my great aunt and uncle Edie & Herbert Mitchell on their farm in Que Que in the 50’s.Edie’s sister Emma Bassett was my grandmother’s sister.Their father Albert Hill arrived in Byo in 1880’s and helped in the burial of Cecil j. Rhodes 1902

    • Diana

      Reply Reply April 26, 2011

      Alan, I remember a Clyde Mitchell about my age in Que Que. Any relation? I see you must be a true blue Rhodesian fisherman! Great history being a member of the Pioneer Column no doubt. Do you have any letters, memoirs or photos of the time to share? I wonder if you attended the Central African Rhodes Centenary in Byo in 1953 and have any anecdotes to share?

      • Alan Smith

        Reply Reply April 27, 2011

        Hello Diana, Sorry , Hubert Cecil Armitage Mitchell arrived in Rhodesia as a boy ,Edith(nee Hill) was born in Byo 1896 during Matabele rebellion, married 1913 (survived Galway torpedo may1918)children: Phyllis (died as a child-fire),Hugh (Ginger),Fitzroy (Roy),Joan (Turner) Keith , adopted Betty (mar.Karinos) Patrick (Dairy farmer, Beatrice)Frieda ?( Ginger & Roy started Rhobolts.)
        I do not recall Clyde,however Hubert & Edie brought up many children over the years,folks would ask them to babysit and never return ! Photos of immediate fam.Hill,Bassett,Smith ?

  • Alan Smith

    Reply Reply April 27, 2011

    I attended Milton jnr school in 1953 and it was easy to bunk and go to Rhodes Centenary 1953,spent quality time there ,saw Sadler Wells Ballet ,also Milton snr
    left at 14yrs. Have travelled many countries, like you am American ,lived in FL 26yrs
    now retired in Cornwall UK .Just returned 2 months in game reserves in RSA .Am not pc savvy so do not post too many pics on FB.

    • Diana

      Reply Reply April 28, 2011

      Alan, I just managed to find a copy of the Official Central African Rhodes Centenary Guide Book and thought to add a chapter in my novel on it. It seems a great event lost in time. What were your special memories of the event?

      Diana

      • Alan Smith

        Reply Reply May 10, 2011

        Hello Diana,pleased you found the CARC guide book ,there must be more information on the web as folks are just getting computerised in their old age. My folks farmed on the Old Essexvale road, just past Lakeside and The RoundHouse Hotel which my grand parents Jack and Emma {nee Hill) Bassett owned.
        Well, when they opened the CARC opposite the beautiful Bulawayo Park ,they also erected hundreds of temporary homes on the new (Essexvale )Johannesburg road this caused congestion and an influx of visitors and immigrants to Bulawayo and the Federation. Kariba Dam was also being built ,this created a lot of interest as it was the largest dam in the world at that time. visit ORAFS Eddy Norris isdoing a wonderful job.I sent in images taken by my late Uncle Jack Bassett of Kariba http://rhodesiaremembered.blogspot.com/ and http://rhodesianheritage.blogspot.com/2010/02inyanga-with-special-reference-to-html . Will also be posting Rhodes burial 1902 in Matopos which my Great Grandfather Albert Hill participated,he also built The Midlands Hotel in Gwelo.

        • Diana

          Reply Reply May 11, 2011

          Alan, These pictures of Kariba are really outstanding! I will add Eddy’s link to my Kariba stories. He is doing a wonderful job. I look forward to more history from you. You have a treasure trove. Appreciate your sharing all this with me..
          I havent received the Central African Rhodes Centenary guide book yet, it is on the slow boat from Quagga Rare Books in South Africa who have been very good to me. I’ll be sharing excerpts from it in due course.

      • Pat Stuart Lorber

        Reply Reply April 14, 2015

        Hello Diana – re Rhodes Centenary Exhibition Bulawayo – my ballet studio provided supplementary dancers including me as the four small ‘black’ children in Aida, with Hilda Zadek and Constance Shacklock, as well as corps de ballet for Saders Wells performances. It was a wonderful experience for a child. Anyone remember? Now living in England.
        Regards Pat Stuart Lorber

        • Diana

          Reply Reply April 22, 2015

          Pat, what a wonderful experience for you. Do you remember any special incident with the Sadler Wells performance or the Exhibition that I could use in my next book?

          • Henry jones

            December 23, 2016

            Hi diana my name is henry cecil jones im mining 5km from leopardess along gwelo river ive found old tools buried under ground dating back to 1941 if there is any information you need in or around the area i would like to help the locals tell the place im in belonged to michell and scot

          • Diana Polisensky

            January 30, 2017

            Henry,

            Enjoy your unexpected treasure hunt. The West Brothers, Syd and Bill, owned the Leopard and Leopardess Mines in my day. I’m not sure when ownership changed hands.

    • Bruce Williamson

      Reply Reply March 8, 2013

      Hi Alan,
      I was looking for some info on gold mines around Bulawayo and ended up linking to Bob Atkinson’s article above (Bob is ex-Bulawayo and I have known him through mining for years). I then followed all the “Once called Home” commentaries and also read yours. My wife’s father is Tony Charles who left Milton +- 1938 and studied electrical engineering at Wits. After the war he settled in Joburg (was CEO of a large electrical co). Tony lives in the northern suburbs and will turn 91 in June. His big concern right now is to get his drivers licence renewed. He talks very fondly of his youth in Bulawayo.

      • Diana

        Reply Reply March 8, 2013

        Bruce, Lovely to hear from you. Bob Atkinson has been very generous in sharing many mining (and other) documents and information with me for the blog over the years, but I haven’t heard much from him since he retired! Alan Smith too has shared a number of photos and travel stories with me. He may be on the road in Africa right now…but I will send you his email address. Go Well.

      • Alan Smith

        Reply Reply March 11, 2013

        Hello Bruce,
        Sorry for the delay in responding ,we have been in Kruger National Park ,RSA for a month and touring Namibia for another month and have only just returned to Sunny UK . I knew the Howe Mine which is off the Old Essexvale road in the Blue Hills /Tuli Reservoir region not far from Bulawayo .My grandfather William “Jack” Bassett was manager in the 1950’s ,as kids we used to slide down the mine dumps and race the Cocopans . I also visited the Antelope , Sun Yet Sun and Turk Mines during that period Not sure what information you are interested in ?

  • Doreen Goldberg Traub

    Reply Reply November 8, 2011

    We lived at No 5 Old Bell Road in Kwe Kwe in the early 1950s. My Dad was a geologist on the Globe and Phoenix. Our next door neighbours were the Christesens who we used to play with as children.

    • Diana

      Reply Reply November 10, 2011

      Doreen, Lovely to hear from you. Ed and I have shared a lot of Que Que materials from the good old days there. My father had a high regard for your Dad while he was on the G &P Mine which is on record. Diana

  • michael sparg

    Reply Reply March 6, 2012

    Hi everybody , I am the son of Daniel Sparg and grandson of Maude Hiscock (nee Sparg). My old man lives up on the border of Namibia and Zambia at Katima Mulilo . Has a fishing camp there. Am looking to find if there is anyone who may remember him or have some old photos with him in.

    Michael

    • Diana

      Reply Reply March 6, 2012

      Wow! that sounds like an out of the way spot. I bet the fishing is great. I don’t have any pictures for you. The Que Que High School web site run by Valarie Jackson of Redcliff has a great interactive site. You might try that.
      http://www.facebook.com/groups/10851767875/

      • michael sparg

        Reply Reply March 12, 2012

        Thanks for that. I will try there. My Grandfather Vernon was a blacksmith, mechanic, inventor of things such as for pouring tar and sorting scree . He gave the idea to the roads department who patented it and he got was his name at the end of the machine. Will see if I can dig up some photos.

        • Diana

          Reply Reply March 12, 2012

          That would be great. Good luck with the search.

    • nigel prior

      Reply Reply June 2, 2013

      I vaguely remember that Danny Sparg was a friend and/or related to the Nicholsons…..Im sure my great friend Kenny who I grew up with, talked about him. Was he not friendly with Kenny’s brother George?….Was Maude Hiscock mot also Kens Gran/Aunt and did the hiscocks have a farm and store in Lower Gwelo….. Ken lives in Harare and I have his wife Donna’s email.

    • Diana

      Reply Reply June 3, 2013

      Michael, Looks like Nigel Prior is the contact you are looking for.
      Diana

  • MARGARET LINGARD/LOWRY

    Reply Reply April 28, 2012

    What wonderful memories of a very happy carefree childhood the stories and letters
    recall! My parents sister and I moved to Que Que in 1956 and I left there in 1980. My Dad..Jack Lingard and sister Helen were in quite a few of your Mothers pantos. As you say, happy innocent days..
    My father -in-law Alan Lowry had an office in Stanley House…he lived in Eastlands
    Crescent before moving to Hillandale. I worked for your Father and Drs. Browne, Ward and Crossley as receptionest for about 3 years. Your husbands grandmother…Mrs Derry…gave me piano lessons in a house at the end of Burma Road. I later learnt with Gail Lehman as did Lucille Keril, Ann Christiansen and Elaine Rousseau amongst many others!
    I later worked at the E.S.C. under Vernon Poupart and with Joan Smallman. My Mother worked in Slomans with Bill Owen…Susan’s Mother, Mr Macey, Janet Lang , Aggie Parker, Mary Fitt and Kay Whittaker to name a few!. My Dad is still going strong and when I visit him in Pietermartizburg we invariably end up talking about
    the “Good Old Que Que Days”

    • Diana

      Reply Reply May 7, 2012

      Margaret, Slomans seems to have employed so many! Glad you have good memories of your QQ days at Stanley house and earlier. Lucille is a music teacher in Boston. I visited her there last year.

    • Barbara Wetten(nee Bray)

      Reply Reply November 15, 2012

      Wow Margaret! you have really jogged a few memories there. June Fitt and I were quite good friends playing hockey and tennis together.Her Mom and mine went to Chaplin together! Ann Christianson took me for my first piano lessons and then I went on to Gail Lehman as well. I can still see a whole lot of us sitting in her living room doing theory_which I dreaded! I rememer Lucille and Elaine too. Ann had always had a heart problem and passed away very young- in about 1978.

      • Diana

        Reply Reply November 15, 2012

        Barbara, I have some lovely pictures of June and all the other ballet dancers in the Panto’s. (Sugar Bressler, Maureen Bowden and so on) Lucille Keril is still teaching music in Boston. I saw her just last year. It keeps her very busy.

    • Tony Knight

      Reply Reply May 19, 2013

      Hi Margaret I am Gail Lehman’s son and only remaining family member. I live in Canada and was shocked in 1969 to learn of her death whilst being treated at St Annes hospital in Salisbury. I remember the house where you all took lessons and vaguely recollect that Elaine Rousseau became a concert pianist in SA which made my mother very proud. David her husband is also deceased and I am trying to find out where she is buried.

      • Diana

        Reply Reply May 20, 2013

        Tony, A lot of people remember your mother, Gail Lehman. I hope the posting brings the information you are looking for. The Blog has connected many estranged families, lost loves and even lost photographs…from around the globe.

    • nigel prior

      Reply Reply June 2, 2013

      Hi Margaret….Where are you these days….The twins must have grown up and had children by now…..My Mom Ethne worked in the office at Slomans for years with Mrs Cambell.

      • Margaret Lingard/Lowry

        Reply Reply October 11, 2013

        Hi Nigel,
        Have only just seen your message!
        I have remarried and am living in the UK. Dave passed away
        About 7 years ago. The twins are both married and living in
        Australia. They have a brother who is 6 years younger also in Oz.
        I am sure that I will end there one day myself!
        Still good friends with Lorna Edwards.
        Have seen pics of you and your lovely daughter on Facebook!
        Fascinating reading this blog and seeing all the old familiar names.

        Regards. Margaret

    • Diana

      Reply Reply June 3, 2013

      Margaret Nigel Prior is wondering where you are these days…see his Note
      Diana

  • jean ennis

    Reply Reply March 23, 2013

    Hi there
    I am trying to locate anyone who new a Mrs Sarah Gilette who lived at no10 lynbrook flats, Founders avenue Que Que in 1969. She my grandmothers adopted sister. We are doin our family tree. Any infomation or memories of her would be wonderful to hear.

    • Diana

      Reply Reply March 23, 2013

      Posting this request I hope we will get some follow up.

  • Remnant

    Reply Reply April 28, 2013

    Been reading the post here, its as is when myGrand dad share it to us. My Grand father is Keny Ncube Thethe; wish he was here and I could be showing him this may he was going to meet his lovely buddies here: Great history here love it thank you a lot

    • Diana

      Reply Reply April 28, 2013

      Hello there, I am so glad you have found my blog and are enjoying a slice of Que Que history. Do send me a story of your family’s experience to broaden the scope of the blog. That would be a great addition.

  • John Roberts

    Reply Reply September 22, 2013

    Hi Diana
    What an absolutely fascinating site this is. So many detailed and personal memories that bring the whole place to life. I’m not very good on computers and I’m unsure how to try and tap into your correspondents’ memories. You may remember I’m writing a novel part of which involves a Scot emigrating to Southern Rhodesia in 1947 , farming near Bulawayo and then leaving with his family in 1980. I asked about arriving by train etc and received a reply from you but no-one else. Should I have posted my question in a different way? Now I have another question: from 1947 to 1980 how would a Scots farmer have addressed his African workforce and how would they have addressed him? First names? Bwana? Boss? I have no idea. Would house staff have worn uniforms? From some of your entries I have learned that many big farms/ranches had school and medical facilities for their workers – how did this work? I want my Scot’s character’s son to be born in 1965 in the Lady Rodwell Maternity Home in Bulawayo – are there any memories of that place?
    I would be very grateful for any help. I am reading books but direct personal memories are so much better. I have subscribed to your site and am receiving the new entries.
    John Roberts

    • Tony Knight

      Reply Reply September 23, 2013

      Hi John,
      During my time in Rhodesia 1957-1966 I lived in Salisbury and became friends with girl whose parents had a very large farm near Mazoe. They grew tobacco, and maize and raised “Afrikaner cattle”. They indeed had a school and medical facility on the farm.
      The thing to remember (I’m certainly no expert and only relate one experience from a long time ago) is that the medical facilty only consisted of basic first aid for farm accidents and illness not requiring the services of a doctor. The school would have been run almost voluntarily by whoever was able to impart some knowledge to the farmworkers children. The farmers wife would have arranged both of these facilities and been active administering them.
      I never saw uniforms per se but the “cookboy” was neatly turned out and likely provided with some form of clothing to ensure he was presentable.
      In my experience in Rhodesia bwana wasn’t used as it is a swahili word used in East Africa. Boss or “Baas’ or the diminutive “Baasie” was used to address the farmer or his children and the farmer would address the workers by whatever they said their name was. Most african workers had singular christian names often copied from English names. There were many Johns and Michaels etc. Some were a little more exotic like “sixpence” or Vasco (probably came from Mozambique)
      Don’t know if this helps and there are certainly many more qualified people than I on this site that could expand or refute what has been said.
      I would recommend you become more computer savvy and learn to “google” the internet where you will find all kinds of information

      • Diana

        Reply Reply September 23, 2013

        Tony, thanks for responding to John’s request. Another source of info is facebook. Bulawayo must have a site as well as the schools. Valuable contacts can be made there. Good luck with your search John.

    • Diana

      Reply Reply September 23, 2013

      John, see Tony Roberts for a response to your questions. All the best with your research. Keep me posted on your progress from time to time.

    • Alan Smith

      Reply Reply September 23, 2013

      Hello John,
      We farmed just 10 miles out of Bulawayo and the majority of our farm workers were from Nyasaland ( Malawi) who spoke Chinanja or fanagalo or se’lapalapa ,most had christian first names ,young boys were addressed as Mfana , Mompara was for whoever erred or did not listen to instructions, Mama was for a lady.Our cook always had an uniform and cap as did our Grandparents house staff ,nanies also had uniforms .
      In the 1940’s there were Ricksha’s in Byo ,but one would have had to arrange a lift or transport , Donkey Scotch carts were a mode of transport .
      I would suggest you write to Margaret Kriel I am sure she could enlighten you better. Alan

      • John Roberts

        Reply Reply September 24, 2013

        Dear Tony and Alan.
        I’ve replied to your individual emails. I hope you receive them. I forgot about this reply facility new to the site. Please let me know if you didn’t and I’ll send them again.
        John Roberts

  • Brian Allchin

    Reply Reply January 4, 2014

    hi, i have only discovered this web site,
    i would dearly like to make contact with a family that stayed on a dairy farm near Melindela the Cormack family, as also looking for a lady that stayed in Salisbury those years by the name of Lyn Goodfellow.
    if anyone knows these folk i dearly would like to make contact.
    thanking you and wishing all the best for 2014
    Brian

    • Diana

      Reply Reply January 16, 2014

      Brian the blog has connected an amazing number of friends, lost and estranged relatives, the stories are quite remarkable. I’m not actively posting at the moment pending the publication of my first novel based on our family’s Que Que experience ’46-’65. So readership at the moment is down, but you never know…

  • Brian Allchin

    Reply Reply January 30, 2017

    good day friends, I recall attending Fort Victoria in the years 1952- 1963
    attended the junior and high schools, I was a boy scout and recall one evening one of the scouts that came from a poor family helped the police with an arrest of a thief, he received an award for his accomplishment, there was also a young lady in my class I will not forget Gail Whitehead a relative of the prime minister Whitehead, she stated she would no longer eat chickens when we were taught how a chicken developed from the egg !!
    precious memories of those days, also assisted as a scout in uniform with the official opening of Kyle dam, that I had seen been built from scratch.
    Good ol’ days

    • Diana Polisensky

      Reply Reply February 19, 2017

      Brian,
      Boy Scouts does foster community awareness and involvement that lasts a life time. Savor the memories.

  • Gabs

    Reply Reply August 30, 2017

    Am in Zimbabwe in Kezi where most of German mines are..anyone who.knows them please contact me on my email ..there are a lot of secrets hidden here..this is.my email gabriellmoyo@gmail.com

    • Diana Polisensky

      Reply Reply August 30, 2017

      Gabriell,
      I hope http://www.oncecalledhome.com can connect you with past mine owners. I’d love to have you share your hidden secrets on the web site for all to enjoy. Contact me on email and we can work to bring the stories to the world.

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