Tuesday, 5 October 2010


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It was when Gungunyana was still intent on one of his raids that Baron Rezende approached Mr. Magnus Jeffreys to lead an expedition into Manicaland in 1888.

Jeffreys and chosen numbers of the expedition left Barberton for Delagoa Bay. Here he met Mr. Maritz, who asked him if he, and a few others could join his party, as he had also obtained a concession. Jeffreys had no objection to linking up with them. Bora (or Binguay) as it was then called was of little importance and was not a port of call. Therefore Jeffreys booked on s.s. Carland, steamer, for the island of Cheloane, situated about 55 miles south of Beira. From there he managed to obtain accommodation on a small tug for Beira. He spent one night on the tug, and I quote, "The little craft also carried a cargo of cockroaches and a fair amount of other undesirables".

It was necessary as the heavy .rains were about to set in, that Jeffreys and his companions should make a start as soon as possible and Baron Rezende decided to accompany them into the interior. Native carriers had to be obtained to carry provisions which were made up in about 60 lb. parcels, but as Gungunyana was on one of his raids, carriers were therefore afraid to go into Manicaland.

Their luck was in to a certain extent, because a small paddle boat built in Yarrow on the Thames arrived in Beira (Bera). It was consigned to the Corrpanhia de Mocambiquo for use on the river Pungwe - Busi.

After three weeks completing their arrangements they took to the paddle boat with two lighters carrying their goods. The party consisted of Rezende, Jeffreys, Maritz, Harrington, Harris, Dr. Simoos, Luther, Westlane, Holderness, Deneys. Arnold and Lourenz.

It was arranged that two hundred carriers would join them on reaching a specified island - Manangora.

0n arrival, there was a delay as no carriers turned up. After two weeks the party struck camp and continued by the same paddle boat on its next journey to M'Tanda Chiqua. On arrival they found the surrounding country abounding in game and lions. Misfortune again struck as a runner arrived with a message that on account of Gungunyana*s marauding party into Manicaland it was advisable not to continue. The disappointment was great, but Rezende and Jeffreys decided to continue on alone. The rest of the party decided to remain near the village of Gorongoza (now a game reserve) to await the end of the rainy season, before receiving further instructions.

Jeffreys and Rezende could only muster nine carriers, four of whom were personal servants and out of that number three of them deserted, being terrified of meeting Gungunyana's impi. Too often they passed kraals deserted by the Manicas, and temporarily occupied by the raiders, whilst-they were completing their acts of devastation.

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Jeffreys and Rezende progressed as best they could to the old Macequece. The pace was slow, but at last they arrived at Revue. Their luck was in,, owing to the Portuguese having obtained a promise from Gungunyana that he would not interfere with Europeans. This was the reason they had not been molested. It is interesting to note that just before Jeffreys and Rezende entered Manicaland Umtassa withstood the raiders, who had demanded a levy of two hundred head of cattle. Umtassa, a wily old chief, had built his kraal on the steep mountain Chimbazi, which was practically impregnable. Added to this, the defenders had collected quantities of boulders, placed in position ready to roll down the steep slopes. This prevented attackers from scaling the hill. They had also sealed off, by barricading, any passages or likely entrances with heavy tree trunks and boulders. Umtassa was then an old man, almost blind, and had to live in a dark hut. A Portuguese flag was flying on the summit of the hill notifying that he was under the protection of the Portuguese.

Jeffreys and Rezende were hampered by the heavy rains. Exploration was difficult owing to the very thick bush and long grass which covered this area. It seems they retired to the old fort of Macequece, (which was unoccupied) and took refuge there. This gave them the opportunity of investigating its past history. They discovered that in its early days it had been a main centre for marketing gold and slaves, before being dispatched to the port of Sofala. The fort had, unfortunately, been attacked by tribes from the south, the result being they got away with quantities of gold. Rezende and Jeffreys obtained a few of Umtassa1s men, and did a great deal of cleaning up inside the fort. Whilst removing the stones from one of the further bastions they came across nineteen human skulls which wore in a fair state of preservation, but crumbled away when exposed.

The remains may have been either white men, Indians or Negroes. The furthest Rezende and Jeffreys explored was to Umtassa's, by way of the Revue and what is now known as the Divide and Penhalonga. The provisions which they had brought with them ran out, as raiders had cleared the country of all the crops and other sources of food, so that the men had to resort to mealie meal. After their months of hardship they were weary and weak with malaria, and would have succumbed to it had not a French Engineer arrived by canoe with quinine. When able to walk, the men proceeded to Mapanda where they found the engineer had left his steamer, and so were able to return to Beira. On arrival they arranged for carriers to travel to where they had previously left all their goods, and sent word to the remainder of the party to travel on to Macequece as soon as weather conditions permitted. As it happened they could not return again into the interior until July on account of floods. So the party arrived back at the Old Fort just before Mr. Maritz and the remainder of the party got there, several of them having developed malaria returned, and eventually left the country.

Jeffreys, Harrington and Harris were soon out prospecting. It is a credit to them, for it was in October that the two mines were discovered in Manicaland. The one Rezende, and the other

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Penhalonga, the latter named after Count Penhalonga of Lisbon, and that area took its name from him. The success of Rezende is well known - it produced a good quota of gold for many years, but unfortunately little of those prosperous days remain.

After having pegged the claims, Mr, Jeffreys returned to Barberton after leaving men to take care during his absence. His syndicate sent him to London, and he formed a syndicate in Paris to mark the Penhalonga mine. In 1891 Mr. Jeffreys returned once more to Manica, as it was then known, with another party of ten whites, after engaging a steamer to take them up the Pungwe from Beira. "This country was then flooded" he remarked "from the Zambezi to the Pungwe." Of the 1888 party only two men were still alive - Mr. Maritz and Mr. G. Arnold. Of the second party none remained.

End of Chapter

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Recompiled, by Eddy Norris, from a copy of the booklet made available by Neill Storey. Thanks Neill.

The recompilation was done for no or intended financial gain but rather to record the memories of Rhodesia.

The family of the author have given permission for ORAFs to load this booklet onto the Internet.
Thanks top the family and special thanks to Heather Curran.

Thanks to
Paul Norris for the ISP sponsorship.
Paul Mroz for the image hosting sponsorship.
Robb Ellis for his assistance.

Should you wish to contact Eddy Norris please mail him orafs11@gmail.com


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