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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Leabridge Rugby Challenge

 The Leabridge Rugby Challenge, in its inaugural year is seeking to raise the profile of Zimbabwe schoolboy rugby across the region. We are delighted to be playing host to 3 of South Africa’s top schools with bookings for more next year, to include sides from Zambia and Malawi. We want to give the opportunity for the Zimbabwe school teams to both play against and witness the best that South Africa has to offer, and show further to the South African sides that rugby is a real talent in our country, as well as to showcase the wonderful place to visit that Zimbabwe is. We have a rich heritage of Zimbabwean born players making the Springbok side, from Ian Robinson and Ray Mordt in the 1970s, to more recently Gary Teichmann, Adrian Garvey, Bob Skinstad , Brian Mujati, and of course, Tendai “Beast” Mtawararira. Some of our finest government schools, including Churchill and Prince Edward will now have the chance to pit their skills against the South Africans….who knows the next ‘Beast’ could be tearing the up the fields in two weeks time. We are also delighted to be showcasing the talent of the Mbare rugby Academy, whose U14 side have played their St John’s equivalent twice and beaten them twice. There are some real stars coming through, let’s all pull together and put Zimbabwe schoolboy rugby back where it should be. Massive thanks to Raymond Kazembe and his team at Leabridge Technologies for making the event possible.

Regards & Stay Safe

Phillimon Mavhura

Physical Address
Leabridge Technologies
Rapid Response Division
26 Harvey Brown
Milton Park
04 792474
04 2933257/8

Monday, June 25, 2012

Croc Attack


A great many hunters who come to Africa each year will spend some of their time along the shore of a lake or one of the great rivers like the Zambezi. A day or two spent fishing is the ideal way to unwind before, during or after a hunt. Now, most of us who have the Africa bug have watched one of the many documentaries on the Masai Mara and the great wildebeest migration, and part and parcel of this annual cycle is the havoc crocodiles wreak on animals swimming across the rivers - in many ways, the giant reptiles are the ultimate predators, being so good at what they do that evolution has passed them by for over a hundred million years. They are the embodiment of stealth, cunning and sheer terror. If I wake in the middle of the night and I happen by chance to recall one beautiful spring day on the Zambezi, fishing for chessa in the Kariba gorge a quarter of a century ago and the croc that materialized from the depths literally at my feet I won’t fall asleep again soon. They lay just millimetres below the water’s surface, and they are able to approach their victims to within inches before a mighty sweep of the tail launches them missile-like out of the water to seize their unsuspecting quarry. They retreat back into the depths, where they will perform the “death roll”, a manoeuvre in which the croc spins its body in an attempt to tear bits of meat from the prey. Should the poor creature still be struggling, it is dragged beneath the surface, and patiently held till it drowns. Many hunters from Europe or the United States have grown up in wilderness areas where nothing really bites. I spent every spare moment of my youth in the Sierra Nevada mountains or the Nevada desert. No predators lurked beneath the water anywhere, and to catch a glimpse of a black bear or a mountain lion was an unexpected treat. Not soon the Dark Continent. Recently along the shores of Kariba at Charara a night fisherman was seized by a crock. His friend rushed in to help and was taken by another. One man survived. Ant Williams interviewed the fortunate one in his hospital room:

“Sitting at the hospital bedside of one Lourens Erasmus recently, the hair on my neck prickled with these images as he related his story. The victim of a crocodile attack early in May at the National Anglers’ Union of Zimbabwe’s Charara site on lake Kariba, he survived a vicious mauling which had all the hallmarks typical of these beasts. Zimbabwe being what it is, the rumour mill had sprung into action, with all sorts of inaccurate - even ludicrous - stories surrounding the tragedy emerging.

Lourens (aged 53), a Selous farmer, and his good friend visiting from South Africa, Frank Trott (aged 72), had been at Kariba for a week of bream fishing. Returning to their lakeside Cloven Hall chalet - sighted on the point at Charara - they prepared dinner as the sun set and a full moon peaked over the eastern horizon. Although the bream fishing had been good, Lourens who had never caught a silver barbel wandered down to the water’s edge outside the lodge, scouting for a safe and comfortable spot to set up for a bit of night fishing. Kariba had been rising, and water had started flooding the still green grass of the shallow flood-plain. Walking a few metres along the bank in the almost ankle deep water, he stopped at a point where thicker Kariba weed marked deeper water. Curiosity satisfied, Lourens turned to walk back to the lodge. It was just after 8pm.

From behind him, the water exploded in a spray of weed and debris, as a croc which had been laying in the thicker weed watching him, launched its attack. In a split second, Lourens now laying in the water, was held firmly in the crushing jaws of the croc. Its top jaw clamped across his lower back, with the lower jaw piercing his upper right thigh between his legs, the croc easily overpowered him and dragged him backwards into the water. Once in deeper water, the reptile began its death roll, flicking Lourens head over heel several times. As it stopped, Lourens’ head broke the surface and he was now almost chest deep in the lake. In spite of the shock of the sudden attack, Lourens realised a croc had him, and remembering stories that poking at an attacking croc’s eyes will trigger a release, he reached down locating the bony ridge above its eye. As he pushed his finger deep into the eye socket, the croc began shaking him again forcing Lourens to abandon his attempts. Unable to move, he called out for help.

Somewhere out on the water, and across the bay, several people were answering Lourens’ cries for help. Frank, unaware of what had transpired over the previous couple of minutes, ran out to see what was happening. “A croc’s got me” said Lourens... the silver sparkling water calm around him as he stood motionless in the croc’s grip. It would seem the croc believed its prey to be submerged and drowning, and was content to lay still gathering its strength before devouring its victim. Without hesitation, Frank waded in to help Lourens, reaching out for his hand. As they touched, Lourens felt something brush past his free leg, at which point Frank exclaimed he too had been attacked. In a second, Frank was dragged into deeper water and disappeared from sight.

A deathly silence fell over the moonlit night again and  Lourens cried out once more, and was answered by a cooperative fisherman somewhere out on the water in a small boat. Paddling toward Lourens, he called reassuringly. As the small 10' boat came alongside, Lourens latched on and manoeuvred himself around the stern to grab on to the transom. Daring not to move too much, Lourens was handed a section of broomstick like wood by the fisherman - probably a piece of a broken paddle. Carefully directing it down, Lourens probed to find the croc’s open jaws, and in one movement, plunged the stick into the croc’s throat. He was released immediately and clambered on board the little boat.

Back on the shore, unconcerned by his injuries - or not even fully aware of their extent, Lourens quickly got to his truck and launched Frank’s boat. Aided by his rescuer, they scoured the bay for almost half an hour trying in vane to find Frank. Weak from shock and now in pain, Lourens had to withdraw from the search, and was rushed to the MARS clinic in Kariba by Francois Bernadie (Charara’s manager), where he spent three days before being moved to Harare. Following several skin graft operations, Lourens expects to make a full recovery. Tragically, Frank was killed by the crocodile and while his body was not recovered, National Parks did shoot a croc they identified as the culprit.

It is easy to become complacent on and around our many lakes and dams, and especially so at Kariba. Many is the time, I and others, nonchalantly wade into the water while launching or retrieving boats, or indeed while fishing. How close, and how many times has danger been lurking only metres away? I shudder to think... Lourens knows though.

Frank was known as a true and selfless friend, and will be missed by the many people who knew him. We join others in extending our sympathies to Frank’s family.”

You have come to Africa to hunt - but be very careful you don’t become the hunted!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Dear Family/ Friends/ Business associates/ Acquaintances and everyone I know…
Dorothy Duncan Centre is facing imminent closure… In fact they have already been advised to do so for the end of June. Having done my Service Project (service to community) there in 2003, I deeply feel it is my responsibility to keep it going… Unfortunately I can’t do this alone; I write to you in an appeal for any assistance in any form… cash or kind… We really and truly need a miracle. I appreciate that times are extremely difficult for everyone… But please please help me in an effort to keep this home open.
All we need is 1500 people to donate $10 a month to keep them going….
There will be a fundraising Classical Concert on the 16th of June 2012 at 6.30pm at St. George’s College in The Loyola Hall; as an initial fundraising effort.
 Please come in your numbers. I promise to sing well and from the heart! Would really appreciate any support in whatever way you can!
Nigel Hopkins (OG class of 2005)

Classical Recital
In Aid of Dorothy Duncan Centre

Saturday 16th June 2012
Loyola Hall
St. George’s College

Nigel Hopkins – Tenor
RenĂ©e Mostert – Piano
Harmony rogers – Cello

Favourites of:-
Donizetti, Leoncavallo, Puccini, Schubert, Stradella
Pergolesi, Durante, Handel, Mendelssohn, Benjamin Britten & Mozart


Nigel E-mail Signature new

Saturday, June 9, 2012

4x4 Notice

Our next Main Circuit meeting will be held on Sunday 1st July and we are very pleased to welcome Toyota Zimbabwe as our sponsor. We will have more competitors than before, and increased advertising should see a bigger crowd as well. The sweep has been resurfaced, and we have asked the contractor to do Tingles as well, although they are committed to work on the kart circuit, so Tingles may have to wait until after our July meeting. I encourage everyone to go out during the week and take a few runs around the sweep to settle the surface. Especially the bike guys, I am sure that you will want to have the gravel swept away before raceday.
The Vintage and Classic Club are using the Main Circuit this Saturday 9th for a run, so please note that the circuit is CLOSED on that day. We are hoping that allowing them to have a run will generate some interest in racing amongst their members, and that the traffic will help the new surface on the sweep.
There have been some unpleasant scenes at the Main Gate as people attempt to enter to practise without paying while other events are being held. I am pleased to say that those involved have not been Sables members, but it is worth stressing that when an event is being held at the complex, the organising club has effectively booked the whole complex. They can charge any fee that they like at the gate, and in fact are entitled to insist that all other tracks are closed. I suggest that if you want to practise during another event, you pay the required fee at the gate, and then check with the Clerk of the Course that he is ok with you being there. After all, if you do hurt yourself, he will have to send his ambulance to pick you up. It is only good manners after all. And obviously do not run around in a rally car if there is an event on, as all the access roads become public roads.
You will all have noticed how crowded the pits are becoming now that we have more competitors. It is a great situation to be in, but it does mean that we will have to tighten up on a lot of things or people are going to get hurt. We just do not have the manpower to put marshals everywhere, so we need you to help us by looking after your pit and the people in it. Please do not allow smoking and drinking around you even if you do not know them, and especially do not allow children to move around unsupervised. Imagine if one is hit. Also, please park sensibly, and understand that we will have to limit the number of vehicles that you bring into the pit area. We are going to try and make Sables corner more attractive to those not competing, by moving the bar and catering down there, and having the music and jumping castles there as well. That should free up some space in the pits.
I have been approached with regards to running some Supermotard events at our race meetings. Would anyone like to assist Gary Grainger in setting up a track?

Remember that we on the organising committee are always willing to listen to helpful suggestions if you buy us a beer. If you want to winge then the complaints dept is on the 42nd floor and the lift is broken. Please use the stairs

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Molly Hockey

It is with sadness that we inform you of the death of Molly Hockey, aged 98, formerly of Highlands, Harare. Wife of the late Reg. Hockey, Mother of Jean Gregory and of the late Beverly Kirby.

Molly left her mark in Zimbabwe, with her tireless efforts on behalf of the SPCA and the department of Wildlife.

A positive, courageous lady whose fighting spirit and generous hospitality will not be forgotten by her family and friends.

Molly's daughter:  Jean Gregory
jeanbgregory@googlemail. com

Molly's niece:   Judy Hatty:


Just to let your readers know I had intruders in my house on Saturday afternoon around 3 pm.  I heard a noise in my bedroom (I was next door at my
laptop) and thought it was the cats so walked in and there was a man standing in my room.  I shouted at him to get out of my house and he backed
away and ran towards the gate. I took a short cut out the front door and got to see his face.  Medium build, mixed race, light coloured, very black
hair and eyebrows, heart shaped face, and smartly dressed. The all weather jacket was good quality and at the back was a zigzag design with a
big blue “Z” in the middle of a circle.  I just saw the back leg of another guy  go out of the pedestrian gate of my big gate.    In no time at all I heard
a car pull away.
Looked around, nothing missing except two extension plugs ripped out of the walls! How weird is that?  Thank God I had just put my handbag away
which I had left on the bed – for sure he would have run off with it.  Now I do not know if they had a key to that inner gate or if my domestics
were careless (which they deny of course!). Vigilance is the key word here.

Animal Cruilty

Yesterday VAWZ lost their fight to prevent the 15 puppies and the adult Boerboel bitch from a hellish journey to the Congo, final destination - a pet shop. This after 3 days of harrasment, intimidation, and threats of arrest  by the driver and the owner's "connections", who managed to convince the Police, Zimra and "our attorney", that VAWZ had confiscated the puppies so that they "could sell them to their friends and make lots of money". 

A charge of theft was made against Meryl at Borrowdale Police station, she was continually phoned by CID & eventually went voluntarily to the Police on Friday morning, where they finally admitted she did not have a case to answer.

The owner's "representative" went to the VAWZ office in a very threatening manner - when told that the owner could be charged under the Cruelty Act - stated "never - he is untouchable".
The puppies were then moved out to The Friend Foundation, where staff there were also subjected to threats of arrest & intimidation if they did not hand the puppies over - they were brilliant & stood their ground.

When VAWZ contacted the private vet in South Africa who had signed the health certificates - he said that he was not at all surprised to receive a phone call from Zimbabwe, & had been expecting it. The vet said that he had been reluctant to sign the papers knowing the puppies were going in a vehicle to the Congo (a distance of 2,776ks) - but said the owner's representatives had been harrassing his staff for the paper work. 

A senior Govt vet who is responsible for issuing all Permits for the movement of dogs in and out of Zimbabwe, when shown the photos of the vehicle and the pup's travelling conditions -  supported the action that VAWZ had taken in removing the puppies, and said that "the vehicle was totally unsuitable".
Unfortunately another Govt vet told the Police that VAWZ did not have the right to confiscate the puppies as "they were in transit"??

Finally, at midday on Saturday after VAWZ Inspectors had managed to get the accused to pay an Admission of Guilt fine (for Cruelty) at Mabelreign Police station, the Police informed Meryl that they were now in charge of "disposing" of the dogs & they were accompanying the driver out to the kennels so that they could be handed over to him. When Meryl protested, Police said they would then " take her back" to Borrowdale Police station.
VAWZ Inspectors watched with very heavy hearts as the pups were loaded back into the same truck, the Beorboel bitch literally being thrown in the back - at one stage the driver taunted them by waving the puppies in their faces.

VAWZ would like to thank all those wonderful folk who contacted them offering the pups a home in Zimbabwe - they received over 200 emails, phone calls & phone messages, also appreciation & thanks to those people who dropped of donations in cash & kind. - Just too many to reply to individually.
Our thanks too to Chisipite Vets for treating & looking after the pups for their first 2 nights in Zimbabwe, & also to Christine, Marylou & staff at The Friend Foundation who even under severe pressure, especially on Friday evening when we had a "stand off" situation at the kennels -  refused to hand the pups over - even though the Police had been brought there by the driver.

Finally our Thanks to the Police at Beatrice who actually apprehended the driver at one of their road blocks, & facilitated the confiscation of the puppies at the Police station. They asked us to prepare our docket in order for the case to go to court.................but that was not to be due to interference from "interested parties".