IN THE SHADOW OF NYAMINYAMI

This book covers the five year period (1964 – 1968) after Lake Kariba filled to capacity for the first time (1963). Kariba, at that time, was the biggest man-made lake in the world. The lake displaced 57 000 primitive iron-age Batonka people and hundreds of thousands of wild animals – and they were all, man and beast, required to find new places to live (together) in the hinterland away from the rugged and rocky lake shore. Man and wild animals lived cheek by jowl and human/wildlife confrontations were continuous throughout this period. The incidence of crop raiding by elephants and buffaloes was enormous; and there were several cases of man-eating lions. It was the author’s responsibility to deal with all these conflict situations.

Many elephants and buffaloes left the central valley floor and moved south into the commercial and tribal farming areas of Rhodesia.  They carried the nagana disease- bearing tsetse fly with them and cattle began to die from the disease in ever increasing  numbers. This necessitated a game eradication programme in the Sebungwe region during which – for four years – the author hunted elephants and buffaloes in extremely large numbers.

In this period, also, the author (under Rupert Fothergill’s tutelage) learned how to dart and capture black rhinos; and when Rupert was badly gored in 1965, the author took charge of Rhodesia’s black rhino capture operations. He remained in that position for the following seven years.

In 1964, the author had his first encounter with terrorists; and in 1966 he and his bushman trackers were employed for the first time, by the military, to track down a group of 10 heavily armed ZIPRA terrorists who had invaded Rhodesia from Zambia. This was the beginning of a long guerrilla war (The Rhodesian Bush War) during which the author and his Bushman tracker, Ben, were formally incorporated into the first group of what became the National-Parks-Volunteer-Tracker-Combat-Unit in the Rhodesian army. By the end of the war, in 1980, they had become highly competent "Hunters of Men".

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Nyaminyami
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