Listen to the most recent episode of my podcast: Bartels Rhodesian Memories Summer Rain https://anchor.fm/john-bartels/episodes/Bartels-Rhodesian-Memories-Summer-Rain-e2089ve
Beautiful Zimbabwe – An Invitation to Think Back with Deep Gratitude
Please read this post, think about it, and then play the music at the end.
Do you remember the classic film “Out of Africa”? Mozart’s Clarinet Concert: Adagio was played as Meryl Streep and Robert Redford flew over thousands of pink flamingos in Central Africa. Heart rending. The Concerto has inspired this post about Zimbabwe (then Southern Rhodesia) in the 1950s. I was massively privileged to grow up there then, in Bulawayo, Matabeleland.
Did you live in Zimbabwe in the 1950s? I invite you to quietly think back.
Do you remember? The hot summer days. Hotter and hotter towards lunch time. The clouds building up. Getting darker and darker. So dark you had to put the lights on in the house. Then, the searing crack of lightning.followed by a massive clap of thunder. Too close for comfort. The sudden deluge of rain pounding the corrugated iron roof of the house. And outside, the downpour so heavy it became a thick white curtain. Half an hour. The storm was over. Out came the sun. The bright African sun. Running water everywhere. The ditches full. Flowing muddy water. The rain drops shining like thousands of glinting diamonds on the green grass and on the tall green mealies at the back of the house. And the smell! The wonderful smell of fresh rain on the rich African soil. Look up. Towering massive white clouds fill the sky. And there, miles away high in the clouds is a slow moving dark dot. You look carefully. It is a slowly circling vulture. Thank you Africa for the gift of growing up in the palm of your hand.
There is so much more to write about. It is emotionally draining to write this post so I will stop. I hope you understand. You of course have your own memories. Treasure them.
How do I feel? Please let the music I am playing speak to you. Thank you
Thank you Africa. Thank you Mozart.
Star gazing in Southern Rhodesia
I was very fortunate to grow up in Bulawayo, in the British Colony of Southern Rhodesia.
At about age 12 I bought a book containing monthly star maps of the night sky as seen from the southern hemisphere.
I still have the book.
On crisp moonless nights I used to put a canvas covered chair in the garden and sit there with my star book reading it with a torch.
The mass of stars was astonishing.
The number of stars seemed to grow as I sat there!
I was smitten.
The Southern Cross, the Pleiades and Orion all became lifelong friends.
These memories will be with me forever.