Aspects of Celia's life in Rhodesia in her own words
'What I remember
are the bad parts, crossing the line, going over the equator; on most
ocean liners they do a ceremony where Neptune arrives. I can remember
hiding, absolutely terrified, in the cabin. ... When we arrived in Cape
Town we had to get a train to Bulawayo ... on the boat you stop off
at different places and in Madeira my mother bought me a doll, which
was almost my height ... 2½ to 3 foot high. Waiting on the quay somewhere
in Cape Town I had my photo taken with this doll [amusing] a
little baby, a young girl who was also going up to Rhodesia. ' She describes
the almost rural childhood she experienced in the suburb of Queens Park
West with nostalgia, and the relaxed, outdoor lifestyle that existed
for the white community at that time, relatively free from social class
snobbery and crime.
Did you miss Rhodesia?
terribly. Oh yes, oh, I pined everyday almost, from then to
now. That's why when I went back in 1993, it was fantastic. I
this feeling - although I was born here, I don't feel this is home - I
felt that was home, because that's really all I knew as a child,
I grew up out there, I
don't remember too much about England before I went out, and I can remember
so much out there.'
on the Play button below to listen to Celia Rowell talking about
her homesickness for Southern Rhodesia.
was educated at Newmansford Junior and St Peter's
Senior schools. Leisure activities included singing in St. Margaret's
Church choir, and Guiding. She enjoyed a camping trip to the
Zimbabwe Ruins, when the
Guides were taken on an educational visit to an asbestos mine!
describes preparations for a trip to the Victoria Falls with
her parents in the rainy season
when aged 7 or 8. '... and of course the mosquitoes were
flying well, so we had to have quinine, and you have to take a dose
of it before you go ... and quinine
in those days was the little yellow tablet, exceedingly bitter, and
to get me to take this quinine they used to try all sorts of things
because I couldn't
just swallow it down because the taste was vile. ... so they used
to mix it up in rice pudding .... or dissolve it in drinks ... they
would find bowls of mouldy
rice pudding under the settee that I'd flung under there ... and
then when we were about to go, the floods came and we couldn't go.' They eventually went in
the dry season when the bridges weren't covered.
talks about the car trip down to Cape Town in their Fiat 500, that
she and her mother (+ 2 guinea pigs,
2 white rats, and 2 tortoises) made, before boarding the ship to
return to Britain. 'Somebody
was going to drive us down and then he had to back out at the last minute, or
a couple of months before ... so my mother said 'we have no alternative you're
going to have to go for your license', but of course I wasn't old enough, so
we forged my birth date! My mother told a lie, the first one I have ever known
her do in her life - God, she said a few prayers that day, I bet. ... I mean,
I'd been driving since I was 11. ... she didn't tell anybody we were doing it,
she never told my father we were going to do it, but he guessed." She passed
the test and "... we wanted to bring that car home with
us, so I had to drive it down. I loved it.' The 1800 mile journey took them about a week, and
they collected Mobil stickers from petrol stations on the way down. She's
got them all somewhere.