Magqubu and I had
surveyed all the wilderness trail routes.
He knew what was at stake
because he would be the eyes and ears of the trail party, and if anything went
there were still officials who opposed
The Natal Parks Board head office reported that no one in
the public had shown any interest in making a reservation.
the usual news stories of stopping development of
Rudden, a newspaper friend
on the Sunday Times, took some beautiful photographs in the game reserve and
wrote, "Adventure at a Pound a Day."
Placards emblazoned with these
words appeared throughout South
On Monday the switchboard of the headquarters of the Natal
Parks Board was jammed with calls from people trying to make
Wilderness trails had arrived.
For the first time
people were going to be walking trails in the wilderness inside a game reserve
among wild animals and sleeping out on the veld.
This was a
Heretofore visitors to game reserves and national
parks throughout most of eastern and southern Africa were required to stay in a
vehicle and many bureaucrats were against the idea of allowing walking into the
On March 19, 1959, Magqubu and
I lead the first official wilderness trail in the Mfolozi game reserve for the
Natal Parks Board.
Magqubu led the trail party of six people along
the steep path down from Momfu
Cliffs to the Mpafa River, then followed the rhino paths south to Mahobosheni,
where the donkeys had taken the mess kit and the tents.
It was getting
dark, and we all relaxed because we only had a hundred meters to walk to the
There was a faint sound in a nearby wallow, and I turned to see
the glint of light on the horn of a black rhino.
Before I could even
shout the black rhino came storming toward us, snorting and crashing through
The hikers performed undreamed of physical achievements,
pulling themselves up into trees with one hand or scattering in all directions,
shouting at the tops of their voices.
When the black rhino had gone and
everyone was together again, we found no one was hurt beyond a few scratches
and a sprain, Magqubu said, "The amadhlozi were with us today."
he was right. If the black rhino had killed anyone, the bureaucrats against the
trails would have ensured the concept died an early death.
Later in the evening Magqubu laughed and laughed.
He showed how
the black rhino charged and the acrobatics of the people going up the trees,
their shouting and their running.
I was to witness this many times.
It was hilarious to see white people scatter when a black rhino
This was his cinema.
Magqubu was animated by this
category of excitement.
He liked nothing more than to see people running
pell mell for the trees when a black rhino threatened.
it was funnier if in their haste they climbed a thorn tree.
would bob up and down and his hand would slap the earth.
on all the sounds the people made, stifled "yips" of fear, swear words when
thorns hooked into flesh, the different actions when running.
missed nothing, and his nuances bit to the bone.
His descriptive powers were used until
everyone was laughing.
Magqubu was never crude, but he was very
I did not dare tell some of the people the names Magqubu gave
Magqubu's eyes and ears missed nothing, the names were often
Throughout history men and women have been
entranced by wild Africa.
great depth of soul, people are gripped by its
strange, brooding spirit.
Greeks, Arabs, and
Romans took expeditions into its
The Arabs said, "Once you have tasted of the waters of
Africa, you need to return to have your fill thereof."
The Romans said, "Ex
Africa semper aliquid novi"
(Out of Africa always something new).
Part of their empire extended into North Africa, and they were affected
by the rhythms of this ancient continent.
They captured many wild
animals - lion, rhino, and elephant - and took them across the Mediterranean to
the great Coliseum: They used cannabis to calm the animals.
wild Africa influenced many of the great men and women of our
Theodore Roosevelt hunted frequently in Uganda.
FC Selous was Theodore
He had once hunted at Ndumu.
He had a great
influence on Theodore Roosevelt's life.
They spent weeks together in
the African wilderness hunting rare species for the Smithsonian Institution.
One can imagine the long conversations they had around the fire at
night, with lions roaring, hyena whooping, elephants trumpeting, jackals
In the morning, when
the thermals swirled, they would have
listened to the fish eagle, its long call piercing the stillness, echoing over
Theodore Roosevelt was
the rock upon which the conservation movement was built in the USA.
was due to him that America became the leader in environmental protection, the
establishment of national parks, and wildlife management.
You need only
glance at the index of Bill S 1176, the 1957 Senate hearings about the National
Wilderness Preservation Act, to see the profound influence Theodore Roosevelt
had on conservation in the US.
He foresaw the conservation problems
that were to face America.
Theodore Roosevelt was the driving force in
the America Bison Society.
It was estimated that there were sixty
million bison on the plains when Lewis and Clark crossed the North American
continent in the early 1800s.
Theodore Roosevelt had difficulty in
finding eight hundred bison in 1900.
I can imagine that in his
mind's eye he saw once
again the vast herds of African
buffalo and antelope, and the memory drove him on to save the remaining
In 1908 Theodore Roosevelt brought all the state governors in
the United States of America to a conservation conference, and it was from this
conference that the National Park Service became established in 1916.
There is hardly a country on Earth today that does not have a national
park, and the African experience of Theodore Roosevelt was the motivating
Theodore Roosevelt and FC Selous kept up a correspondence until
FC Selous was killed by a sniper's bullet in Tanganyika in World War I.
Roosevelt said, "Aggressive fighting for the right
is the noblest sport the Earth affords."
Many conservationists have
been inspired by these words.
Why is it so many people have been caught
in the spiritual web of Africa?
Is it not because it was here that
mankind took its first steps and emerged from the dark forests to walk upright
into the savannah?
In a BBC interview with John Freeman, Carl Gustav
Jung said, "We do not come onto the Earth tabula rasa."
million years of evolution in Africa is
imprinted upon the human psyche, perhaps this leads to a deep yearning to
return, to see the red earth, to hear
the cry of the fish eagle, roar of the
lion, and trumpet of the
was another man whose life was changed by the African experience.
In the autumn of 1925
Carl Jung visited Kenya and Uganda.
Carl Jung came to learn something
about the archetypal nature of man.
Carl Jung wakes, traveling in a
train, at sunrise, and on a steep red cliff he sees and describes in
Memories, Dreams, Reflections "a slim, brownish-black figure...
motionless, leaning on a long spear. ..."
It gave Carl Jung
an intense sense of
"I could not guess what string within myself
was plucked at the sight of that solitary dark hunter. I knew only that his
Earth had been mine for countless millennia." -
had reconnected with his own interior Africa, and he always referred to Africa
as "God's country."
For the rest of his life Carl Jung emphasized how
important the African experience had been to him and his work.
Jung's psychology has influenced Western thought by making people aware of the
importance of archetypal images in
subconscious thought and
their symbolic effect in dreams.
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