MAX HOPPE INTAF AT CHIWESHE
I had three stints in Chiweshe. The first was in 1973 with 2 Independent Company and the next two with Intaf in charge of the protected village 19. The first stint was for three months from December 1974 and the second in September 1975.
I had the opportunity of going to university on a cadetship (reduced salary) and during the vacations would work in the operational area. The upside was that I was paid my full DO salary and had the added bonus of receiving danger pay.
What can I say, I was young and had no sense of my mortality and had a sense of adventure.
These are not all the pictures I took. Even though they have been in albums, they have suffered from the effects of time and mildew and require much touching up. As soon as the rest are done they’ll be posted.
I made a lot of friends at Chiweshe but sadly some of them never survived the war and I pay tribute to three stalwarts I met and got to know there – Gerald Ross (ADC), Arrie Verbeek (the enthusiastic DC from Binga come to learn about the PVs) and Piet van Oudtshoorn (regular Intaf cadet doing his national service).
After a quick search I managed to find a map of where Musarara 19 was situated. Nothing to really show there was ever a PV in the area. It looks like the concrete floor is all that remains of one of the living quarters. I think that may have been the DAs barracks.
The flat rock shown by the marker can be seen in the photo with the caption, “River running through the PV, flooding its banks- January 1975.” The school is also visible in that picture.
The strong point – December 1974
Our living quarters at Musarara 19, overlooking the PV and the surrounding countryside. I never considered this to be a particularly secure position. It was built on a gomo and all that was done was to place sandbags at the front of the buildings. Luckily we were never revved.
Notice how dry the countrside is. You can clearly see the perimeter lights that surrounded the PV – September 1975
Veld fire in the adjacent farmlands – September 1975
Musarara 19 during the rainy season – Jan 1975. Quite a contrast from the earlier pics from the dry season
Bryn Price Interesting photos.i never realised that the huts in the Chiweshe PVs did not have steel frames. In Centenary they were steel framed with corrugated iron roofs. The tribesmen, or maybe Tribeswomen then used poles to build walls and usually a lean-to kitchen on the side. The poles were seldom plastered with mud due to the hot weather in the valley.
For those who did not notice…… there is a dog below the picture.
That was my dog Shumba. He became quite a legend in Cheweshe.
On one trip to Chombira I was warned to keep an eye on him, because there was a rather large tomcat that had a reputation for beating up dogs. My response was not to worry about my dog that he could take care of himself.
“Don’t say I didn’t warn you,” I was told.
I attended the meeting and when it came time to leave I found Shumber sitting at the base of a tall skinny jacaranda, slavering to get at the rather large and chastened tomcat that was clinging to the few tiny branches at the top.
On another occassion at the PV when I left him behind, when going off on R&R a bolshi young villager took a swing at the vededette. Before anyone realised what was happening Shumba had the fellow on the ground, holding him by the throat. It was not a stranglehold but a rather gentle hold, with a few warning growls as if to say, “Don’t move buddy, or I’ll cause some serious damage.”
That was the second time that I know of that he pulled that stunt.
The result of that incident was that I could go anywhere with impunity with Shumba beside me. He was also invited to go on patrols by the vedettes and and always willingly accepted.
I don’t know where that poster came from but it was very popular and guys would visit us at PV 19 just to come and check it out.
River running through the PV, flooding its banks- January 1975
The flat rock to the left of centre can be seen on the map, in this album.
We had some fences to repair afterwards – January 1975
Dip day at Rosa dip – January 1975
The road leading from PV 19 to Rosa dip. Sept 1975. There was also another PV at the end of this road, but I cannot remember which one it was.
Sundowner time at the strong point was always a pleasure. A time for a few beers and to shoot the breeze. Sept 1975