I'm interested to read that Diggeden was an A stream pupil. It corroborates my theory that intellect is like nuclear energy. Carefully harnessed, you get a nuclear power station otherwise you get a nuclear bomb. Regards, Will.
When I worked at Immigration Headquarters, amongst other things, I ran the deportation section and visited the Main Central Prison regularly. As his sentence was nearing an end and he was certainly not going to try any more escapes, Diggeden became a "trusty" and worked in the prison office. Several times, on visits, it was customary to have tea and Diggeden would serve all and sundry with their tea (yours truly included). It was only after a while that the prison authorities realised that as a trusty and working in the office, Diggeden had access to the telephone when no-one was looking. He had quite a good racket on the go, organising dagga for the inmates!!
He was an extremely likeable character and when his sentence was finished and he was leaving for England I'd love to know who paid for his ticket!), the prison officers drove him to the airport to say "cheerio"; and they did so in uniform. The press got hold of it and photos appeared in the Herald showing "Diggeden being deported" by the burly uniformed prison officers a couple of whom were quite senior. The … hit the fan and there had to be explanations as to what had happened as Diggeden was a citizen by birth and therefore immune from deportation.
Ah well - I didn't have to explain ... and we all lived for another day! Dick
I remember Aiden Diggeden well from my time as a Prison Officer at Salisbury Prison . I had many a conversation with him whilst on night shift, he was housed in the max section. I was locked in the section with him although separated by his cell, the cell was fully open in the front comprising grill like security. He was articulate well mannered and very likable and at face value given his circumstances seemed a real gentleman, from all accounts it was so. At the time I conversed with him his deportation was imminent, most of our discussion revolved around his new life. I had lived in Bulawayo as a youngster of about 8 years old and remember one of several of his escapes, asking my Mom to lock up the house in case “Diggeden came.” I’m some how saddened at his passing; he was a modern day likeable villain from all accounts it seems.
I went to Chaplin during the Aiden Diggeden Era, though he was a few years my senior.Some of my recollections :
During a girls relay race at the school gala, a line of girls and some teachers were standing along the edge of the pool madly cheering them on, Diggy (nick-name at school) and a friend appeared from no where and pushed the lot into the water as a prank. If all the church bells rang throughout Gweru on a Friday night, you could safely assume Diggy and a mate would be ringing them one at a time with the police in hot pursuit, needless to say they never managed to catch them doing this. He was always up for a prank, but I do not recall him being “drop-out” material at school. He was extremely athletical, particularly in water sports, but never in team sport, as he was too strong as an individualist character.
During Zimbabwe’s independence, apparently the British government offered to take him and attempted to reform him in their prison system as they felt the Rhodesian system was unable to cope properly with such a habitual criminal. Well they didn’t manage to do much better either ! I have often told my kids “Diggy” stories as they grew up. Jack
Like most of us that were around in the 60s remember the legend of Aiden Diggeden. Can’t remember what he looked like, has anyone seen or have a photo? Did he get married and have a family?
This would be of great interest with photo in Bamba!. Regards Jan
We surely could make a movie of this – an Oscar Winner! We must have a producer out there or someone who knows one who can get this amazing Zimbabwean story out to the rest of the world. Come on Zimbabwe……. It is our time for an Oscar. Thelma
Greetings Tererai, I was intrigued to learn that Diggeden was still with us until last week, not least because I was news editor of The Herald when he was at his peak (so to speak). Just three comments – I have to admire your diligence in research . I don’t agree that we hope not to see his like again as we all need our Diggedens and our Ned Kelly’s for our instincts towards “lovable rogues” to lighten hundrum lives a little. Thirdly, he doesn’t seem to have escaped back through the Pearly Gates. Not yet anyway. Regards, John
I am reading with interest about Aiden - and I remember him being talked about as a child. What would be also very interesting to know is what his family life was like and his upbringing. Disciplined, a gentleman, loyal to a friend .... all wonderful traits .... what a fascinating character and a bit of a Robin Hood. Wonder if any readers know more of his background. Kind regards Julie
Even with all those words at our disposal it is sad that the F word is used so frequently as a sort of a “catch-all”. Graham
Vocabulary and correct grammar are separate issues. The less correct the grammar the more difficult it is to understand any communication.
I love this debate. I’ve just finished reading a novel called THE WAYS OF THE WORLD by ROBERT GODDARD, set just after the First World War. It’s a great read and the language and grammar are well worth noting as well – incredibly well written and reflective of how English should be spoken! Regards, Peter
Splitting the infinitive was my mother’s pet hate, and, therefore, became mine! But it is now acceptable and in fact sometimes intensifies the point you are trying to make, as in Norma’s comment: when all the young ask for is to be understood and to not worry about being correct. And it is also fine to start a sentence with “And” or “But” instead of perhaps the words “Also” and “However”. It makes for variety! Roseanne
What a wonderful entertaining story. So enjoyable to read something like this there were true legends in those times