Back to All Events


  • University of the Third Age (U3A) 232 Adelaide Street Brisbane City, QLD, 4000 Australia (map)

It will be a pleasure talking to U3A Brisbane after a memorable visit in 2014. This time I’ll be running two workshop sessions - the first from 9’00 to 10’30 am, the second from 11’00 to 12’30 am. Open to Members of U3A only.


This session will incorporate relevant readings from the book designed to bring to life the historical events which occurred in this, the last of Britain’s colonies, during its short existence from 1890 to 1980. This first book of the Zambezi Trilogy covers the period from the formation of the Matabele Kingdom in 1840, to a few months after the Unilateral Declaration of Independence (UDI) from Britain in 1965.

With the wagon trains of the Boers armed with guns hot on their heels, the AmaNdebele King Mzilikazi moved an estimated 20,000 people north across the Limpopo River.

The Horns, Book One of the Zambezi Trilogy, is based on hours of research conducted over an eight-year period. From this research I have attempted to distil a variety of historical ‘truths’ from the oral stories of the Ndebele people, to written reports of early hunters, concession seekers, miners and missionaries. Other information was gleaned from early administrative reports by the British South Africa Company, then as it became the self-governing colony of Southern Rhodesia from 1923.

This first book concludes a few months after the above mentioned UDI.

Pictured above (l to r): King Mzilikazi of the Matabele; his close friend, missionary Robert Moffat; Founder of Rhodesia Cecil Rhodes; Prime Minister of Rhodesia Ian Smith

My next task was how to tell the story in a way which was riveting enough to keep readers on the page - away from the desiccated ‘absolutes’ of many vested interest historical reports.

Fortunately my best friends as a very young child were three Matabele boys, each taking extraordinarily different paths in life.

They ‘came to life’ telling the story for me with their debates and arguments taking on a life of their own. I merely wrote them down!


The world rejoiced with Zimbabwe in November last year, as in towns and cities all over the country, streets filled with dancing, singing and delighted citizens to celebrate the downfall of a man once seen as the new country’s great hope.

There have always been questions about this ‘coup which was not a coup’ - among them, why was the world’s media present in vast numbers, when the international media had been excluded from any reportage on Zimbabwe for decades.

From an understanding of the status quo as at the deliberations leading to the first election under majority rule in 1980, we will explore what sequence of events led to bringing the ‘bread-basket of Africa’ to it knees in under 40 years

What safeguards were implemented to take this young country safely into its new identity?

What happened in Matabeleland?

What was the trigger for the destruction of the economy?

What has happened since and what is the situation in the country now?

Pictured above: (l to r): Robert Mugabe at independence in 1980 and shortly before ‘the coup’ in 2018; Current president Emmerson Mnangagwa - and mystery man, General Chiwenga.