Picnic in the Matopo Hills Zimbabwe Bird
Aspects of Alison's life in Rhodesia in her own words.

'We had a very keen teacher who taught us all the Morris dances ... and I can remember doing it with these long wooden swords ... I also learned to play the violin at Evelyn so there was one of those festivals in their quadrangle, where I was stood in the middle with a couple of other girls, playing on the fiddle. ... a lot of very important opera singers and companies, Sadler's Wells, the Halley Orchestra, all came to perform [in Bulawayo during the Rhodes Centenary Exhibition in 1953], and because Evelyn School was not far from the exhibition, we had the most wonderful thing ... the orchestra came and practised in our hall, and we were able to go and sit in the gallery quietly and listen to them and watch - Sir John Barbarolli conducting the Halley Orchestra in OUR Hall!'

'When I first started going to Baines [School] I can remember being teased a bit ... little boys used to jump out or chase me and I came home quite upset. Poor old Ali, the servant boy, chased them with a carving knife, to protect me. His wife was Edna and they were Muslims, so they had to have a certain day to go to their church, and then Dimiano, the younger servant was Roman Catholic, so he had another day to go to church. ... later the older servants went back to Nyasaland and Dimiano stayed. He quite often got into trouble; I don't know whether it was drinking too much or smoking too much dagga, but HE had to be bailed out of goal by Mum, poor old Dimiano. ... he used to imbibe in something around about Christmas and then he would blame the black spirits that made the plates and dishes jump out of his hands, and get broken on the floor - evil spirits were large in his life!'

She enjoyed the sense of community in St Margaret's church, and her involvement with the choir, Sunday school, amateur dramatics and also the youth club on Friday nights. She remembers walks around Hillside Dams, family picnics in the Matopo Hills, and there, with friends at New Year, watching the sunrise over World's View, Cecil John Rhodes' burial place.

'Going down [to Training College] was one of the most exciting times of our lives because it involved a train journey, of 3 days and 2 nights, getting all the way from Bulawayo to Grahamstown. The train took so long - it stopped at so many stations on the way and we used to get out and we used to dance on the platform, and then back in again, we used to sit up half the night chatting to the boys and other girls who were going down to Cape Town University on the same train. So it was just a train completely full of students, so you can imagine what a wonderful time we had.'

Click on the Play button below to listen to Alison talking about the train trip down to training college in Grahamstown.

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Eveline School Festival programme

Programme for the Festival of Song and Dance

Dimiano and Agnes

Dimiano and his wife Agnes in Bulawayo

St Margaret's Youth Club advert

Advert in the Church Newsletter

Alison as a student

Alison as a teacher training student