By 1966 Gisele, my father, Klavs, Bill and Mombasa had faded into the past like a frozen, transparent image that was getting smaller and smaller on the path behind me. I had moved on. Whenever I combed my hair in the morning I can still see the scar on my forehead where Klavs bit me. The scar reminded me of how I had mercilessly taunted him with bits of coconut husks and one day he taught me a lesson I would never forget. "Let bygones be bygones" I thought.
And so the Zimbabwe years passed by. We lived on the top floor of Jorosa Court flats on Selous Avenue and 8th Street in Harare. Compared to Kenya, Zimbabwe was a highly developed country with modern supermarkets and tall modernist skyscrapers. Unfurnished flats continued to be the norm. My mother never spent money on anything she regarded as non-essential. Like furniture! But there was always money available for travel or if I wanted some item of photographic equipment or art materials. These were items that were much more readily found in Zimbabwe than in Kenya. I had a small darkroom and I went through a phase of building ever larger and more complex radio controlled model aircraft. I was particularly proud of my Goldberg Tarus twin engined model and I almost worshiped the (then) cutting-edge integrated circuitry of the Kraft proportional R/C gear that controlled it. So much so that the gold-anodized Kraft transmitter and my camera gear were always on display in pride of place on top of our new TV.
But it was only on school holidays that I was able to follow my true interest - which was anything that involved the African wilderness. Encouraged by Manuel I read as many of the memoirs and journals of explorers that I could lay my hands on. From their pages I got an understanding of how much wildlife and wilderness still remained in Africa. I dreamed of traveling to the same wild places. I cannot explain why or how it happened but I became quite fanatically opposed to the way Game Reserves and National Parks were now being developed for mass tourism. So much so that I had a flaming argument with Manuel and didn't speak to him or Aunt Francis for months afterward. It was my opinion that tourism development were ruining the purity of the African wilderness experience - rules such as no driving off road, no walking, fences around camps etc. It seemed to me that I was witnessing the end of the wilderness in Africa. It was at this point that I began to diligently record all that I saw through photography with my Miranda Sensorex SLR, my pencil drawings and my first attempts at paintings.
The Show: 18 ►