A potted history ...
Kidnapped at an early age by a father who didn't know me and a stepmother
who didn't know of me and spirited away to the dark continent, there to be
sold into bondage.
Leaving Soni Prison Camp (250 miles in the middle of nowhere) some years later and
after spending several months in Verbier (8 months apparently
but a complete blank in my memory), I was then delivered to an English prep
school accompanied by a siege mentality.
I lived in
Dar-es-Salaam in the early 1960s. This was the Capital of the East
African country, Tanganyika which then changed its name to Tanzania when it
joined with Zanzibar. I went up-country to my boarding school in the
mountains. It was a long trip for me and I either went by bus if the bridge was fixed or I went by train. A few of us would travel together in this way
without any adult looking out for us in an age range between 6 and 12.
The bus would
take us direct to school (although when we got to the river. we had to
unload the bus and walk across) but the train terminated at Mombo and we had to get
a bus anyway. I remember even now the long haul up the escarpment to Soni
and unless the driver had his wits about him, the hairpin bends could be
lethal. The route from Soni to Lushoto was a much more forgiving one and
when my parents visited me at school, we would spend a weekend at
Hotel in Lushoto.
The school I went to was called
although the pupils (inmates) knew it by another name, Soni Prison Camp! It was a
catholic boarding school for boys of all nationalities. It was next
door to a place, which we knew as Karimgees but which is now known as
year, the school was a
staging post(CE9 - Soni) for the East African Safari Rally and
one of the pupils', Michael Shankland's father,
Bert, drove a Peugeot 404 in
the rally winning both the 1966 and 1967 rallies. Quite who decided to use
the school as a staging post, I don't know but it only happened once.
Back in Dar
(as Dar-es-Salaam was affectionately known) we lived in a house
called 'Villa Capri' at the junction of Bagamoyo Road and Old Bagamoyo Road not far from Oyster Bay and not
much further from the city
centre. My father worked for the ILO and later, the UNDP. At the
top of Old Bagamoyo Road was a Drive-in Cinema.
school holidays, I would, as often as I could, meet up with some
school-friends, Charles & Anthony Young who later having left St. Michael's,
preceded me to
Belmont Abbey in Herefordshire
via it's prep school,
Hall in Derbyshire. Sometime after I left, Alderwasley Hall ceased
to be a prep school and became a school for handicapped children.
I recall 1964 and the
in Dar. The barracks were up the road from where we lived. I was
sitting on the veranda, reading a comic, when I heard a helicopter and
looking up, saw it fly very low over our house. I remember thinking if
I stood on the flat roof of our house, I could have reached up and touched
it. I waved to a man standing in the doorway and he waved back to me
and it made me feel happy. Many years later I learned that the helicopter
HMS Centaur and was engaged in landing 45 Commando to quell the
mutineers. I remember seeing a ship on the horizon a few days earlier
whilst playing at the Gymkhana with a friend. A Policeman asked me if I
had any sense inferring that we shouldn't be outdoors during this period of
unrest. I didn't have any money (cents) with me, so I replied "No".
MP3 version of National Anthem