Friday, 18 October 2013

Roger Bull Remembers

By Roger Bull

I have been reading through the ORAFs newsletters and I thoroughly enjoyed the piece on travelling in Rhodesia and along those damn strip roads.

With my first job with The Rhodesian Farmer I remember driving the company Mercedes 190D up to then Northern Rhodesia. Drove through the Zambezi escarpment on the old strip roads stopping at those tsetse control hangars where some old guy would spray the most vile insecticide in the car and then lurch around the vehicle with his net to catch stray tsetse flies.

And whilst in Lusaka for the agricultural show I interviewed the man who was to become the first president of Zambia-one Kenneth Kaunda. All at the tender age of about 19. I still have the photograph of Kenneth somewhere when I interviewed him with that strange hairstyle.

I read the piece about a wife being saved from a lioness. Len Harvey the man in question was a good friend of mine from the days when I worked for the Min of Info and used to go often with the National Parks guys on assignments in the various national parks.

Len used to meet up with me at some month's end when they got their long weekend out of the bush. I remember that he always had a roll of bank notes stuffed into one of his pockets and would never allow me to so much as buy a drink. When he finally did get married I think he was in his forties. And that incident with the lioness happened after they had been on honeymoon and were spending their first night in the pole and dagga hut somewhere in the old Wankie Game Park.

The story goes that the hut did not have glass windows and the rogue lioness jumped into their room and Len saved his wife's life by jumping on her where the lion attacked him instead and was ultimately shot by Willie de Beer.

Im sure that this is the same Willie De Beer who took me out in his open SWB Landie as I was trying to get good photographs of a herd of buffaloes. I distinctly remember being tied to a crossbar in the rear of the open Landie whilst we we went hell for leather through an enormous herd of buffalo somewhere in the Wankie Park with me trying my level best to get images of stampeding buffalo with the Hasselblad Superwide camera. I think I might have managed a couple of shots before being overcome with dust.

And Len Harvey also was a great help. Once we drove in his very early model SWB Landie which I seem to recall had such long range fuel tanks fitted that he could probably have driven non stop to Cape Town.

And how about the time that "Big Jim Fowler" who was a presenter of some wild life program in America was given carte blanche to film in any national park. The idea was to show Big Jim as the man who darted the elephant or rhino or whatever else was going to be darted and put the identification tag on the animal. But of course it was all done by the game guys with cutaway shots of Big Jim to give the illusion that Big Jim was the MAN.

I was taking the still images for the Min of Info and I used to have a silent giggle to myself whilst this was going on but hey those were the days of sanctions and we needed tourists to come and see our wildlife. So I guess it was all in a good cause.


Thanks to Roger for sharing these memories with ORAFs
Thanks to Mike McGeorge for the 'heads up' on Roger.

Comments are always welcome, please mail them to Eddy Norris at

(Please visit our previous posts and archives

Suggested reading

Ref. Rhodesia
Run - Rhino - Run
The Humans Are Coming with Guns

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