How The World Boy Scouts Movement Was Born in the Matopos
Nick Baalbergen Writes:-
A letter dated 1933 from (Lord) Baden-Powell on the inspiration which gave rise to the global Scout movement. It was extracted from the publication titled Occupation of Matabeleland - A Souvenir, dated November 1933.
OCCUPATION OF MATABELELAND SOUVENIR
Extract from the Orders of the Day :—
The Queen has been graciously pleased to approve of a medal being granted by the British South Africa Company to all officers, non-commissioned officers, and men of the Regular Forces, Bechnanaland Border Police, and British South Africa Company's Forces who were employed in connection with the operations in Matabeleland between the 10th October and the 24th December. 1893.
End of Certificate
Lord Baden-Powell of Gilwell,
the Chief Scout.
Recalls how the World Boy Scout Movement was Born in the Matopos.
THE BOY SCOUTS ASSOCIATION,
25, BUCKINGHAM PALACE ROAD.
THS MATOPQS AKD THS BOY SCOUTS
I suppose there is no more damnable oountry in the world for Scouting in than the Matopos.
But without scouting little could be done in the way of coming to grips with the enemy there.
The men of the Rhodesian forces rose to the occasion when, in 1896, the Matabele took to their fastnesses there.
With extraordinary pluck and endurance those Rhodesians succeeded in finally putting an end to their resistance in spite of the appalling difficulties of the terrain.
Their action taught me a lesson which has "borne fruit since then, not only throughout our Empire but in foreign lands as well. The spirit that makes a scout is the spirit that makes a man of the best type. The selfless devotion to duty, the exercise of keen-eyed observation and clever deduction, the patience and pluck and initiative involved in playing the game for their side and not for themselves exhibited by those Rhodesians showed me the qualities which ought to be encouraged in our boys as an essential part of their education.
The three Rs are all very well but they don't make MEN.
In these days of modern inventions, which tend to mollycoddle our lads, such training is more than ever necessary.
Boys long for adventure. Frontiersmen are their heroes. So it needed no great imagination to visualise that, give them the name of Boy Scouts, and teach them Scoutcraft and backwoodsmanship. You would have their enthusiastic response and you could mould them, body, mind and spirit, onto the desired model.
Thus it has come about that the spirit of the Pioneers of Rhodesia is not confined merely to their successors in the oountry but has spread itself across the world in ever-growing force amongthe onooming generation of all nations.
End of Letter
Thanks to Nick for sharing these memories with ORAFs.