Picnic in the Matopo Hills Zimbabwe Bird

Aspects of Esther's life in Rhodesia in her own words

'... but George was waiting at Bulawayo, that was a Wednesday... I went and stayed in the Palace Hotel and on the Thursday or the Friday I met my bridesmaid, the man who was giving me away at my wedding and the best man. And we were married during Lent, on the 12th of March 1938. George had already joined the choir of the church so the choir insisted on coming to the service and I remember, this is probably silly of me seeing it, but I can always remember walking down that aisle. My feet had swollen and I was hen-toed - walking down the aisle. We went - and George had made some Scottish friends, and they said they would lend their house for a reception, and we had this little reception ... then we took a taxi to the Matopos Dam Hotel which was very very tiny, very. And coming from a large city to this little place but everything was beautiful ... no people around ... you didn't feel lonely, you felt the place belonged to you, you know.'

Click on the Play button below to listen to Esther talking about her marriage to George and their honeymoon in the Matopo Hills.

She mentions George's hard work, particularly the extra hours teaching in order to save money, so that, in time, they were able to build their own home near a good school. They had 2 girls, Olivia and Lindsay who both went to Baines Junior and then Northlea Senior Schools.

'I finished up as treasurer of the school PTA, and when I think of it now, I must have had lots of energy, we were always on the scrounge because the Government only supplied so much, and we had to supply the rest, and I remember - Rhodesians go in a lot for sports and you must have sports fields; well if you have sports fields you need water and there was no water. We paid for our water and we had to pay ... a diviner to find us boreholes and he never found them. Eventually after spending money that the PTA had to collect from here, there and everywhere, wherever they could scrounge, they got water. But the schools, I'll say this, the schools that I had anything to do with in Bulawayo were excellent .' She added that 'Rhodesian children were mannerly. If you came across a little boy, a schoolboy, he lifted his hat to you'.

'To start with ... I was afraid to be in the house with them [male African house servants] ... but I got used to them. ... some were good, and some not so good, some were very honest and others were not.' She regretted she never learned Sindebele apart from a few phrases ' .... and I think that was where the European made a mistake, they should have tried to learn the African languages'. She missed Herbert's help (her last employee) when she returned to England.

What else did you miss about Rhodesia when you came back here? 'The weather ... oh, the weather '. She also missed her garden, the fruit trees and the flowers. She grew flowers for the church 'arum lilies, agapanthus, red-hot pokers ... and roses'. Her fruit trees in Bulawayo included 'grapefruit, pomegranate, lemon, fig, mulberry, paw paw, orange (a waste of time), avocado pear'. In Salisbury she grew 'bananas, guavas, loquats, peaches, granadillas and mangoes'.

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Wedding Day

Esther and George's wedding

Rocks in the Matopo Hills

Matopo Hills

Lindsay in school uniform

Lindsay in Baines School uniform

Northlea School Crest

Northlea School badge