The Old Colonial Boy

On his return to Africa in 2016 after an absence of 53 years, JMW found himself seen as Methuselah since he met no African in Zambia who was alive in 1960 when said journalist landed in Lusaka, then the capital of Northern Rhodesia. Indeed when he told the natives that he had attended rural rallies by Kenneth Kaunda, now venerated as the “Father of the Nation” after 25 years as President, in the early 1960s, they were agog seeing JMW as the ghost of Northern Rhodesia past. “Bwana” Wade, as he was known in those pre-historic days knew all the local politicians of those times since the journalists on the Central African Post were the conduit between the black nationalists calling for independence and the colonial administration. Now the Post has died and its Cairo Road offices are just a fading memory because for every person living in Lusaka when JMW first arrived, there are now 23 inhabitants as Lusaka has metamorphosed from a small town to a giant city.

Strangely, though he made many visits to game reserves in the 60s, JMW never managed to see a lion apart from a “tame” one in a circus. A safari swing through the South Luangwa valley, rectified this in 2016; the first lion he saw was happily copulating, he then saw many more, though none of them sex-crazed. Lions were lazy buggers, a pride spending much of its time asleep; it was the lone leopards who demanded attention as these two images show. The first is of a leopardess marking out her territory in daytime beside the river. The second is a searchlight photo of a leopard climbing a tree at night. The poor bugger managed to shin 50ft up only for the roosting guinea fowl she planned to eat for dinner getting wind of her imminent attack and flying for their lives. The beast got nowt.