‘…hardly any Jews!’, The Matabele Campaign 1896,
Colonel R.S.S. Baden-Powell, Methuen, London, 1897
The British in Africa seem always
to have verged on the comical. There was
BP chasing a Matabele girl
through bush. He was ahorse, she on foot.
In tranquillity, he sketched the scene – the girl
bare-footed and -breasted, himself at a
gallop – for publication. She escaped –
but Rhodesia was made safe for Cecil,
the continent for Aids and exploitation.
Jingoist, philistine, racist and snob,
was BP conditioned or conditioning?
The darkness at the heart of Africa
is white man’s metaphor.