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Monze Education Fund

and Guide to Monze

Monze Basic School
History of Monze
Chief Monze
Fort Monze
- Personnel
- Patrols
- Fort Location
David Livingstone
School History

Brief History of the life of Fort Monze

Establishing the Fort

Commanding Officer: Capt Drury Nov 1898-May 1899

The original Police Post at Monze was established shortly after Capt. Drury and his Detachment of BSAP Police arrived on 9th November 1898 - then located at a different site surrounded by swamps about a mile North of the village and krall of Chief Monze. When Drury's Troop was relieved in May 1899, they left one of their members buried there. This police fort was some 9 miles away from the present site and memorial.

Commanding Officer:Capt Carden May 1899-August 1900

Captain Carden then assumed command but his Troop began falling sick at the rate of 4-5 per day with fever and so it was decided that the fort be re-located. Carden's Troop retired South of the Zambezi to convalesce, leaving at least two of its members buried there.

Commanding Officer: W. Harding Sept 1900-April 1901

Major Colin Harding first head of the embryonic Barotse Native Police force arrived on the 3rd August 1900 to discover the serious state of Carden's Troop. Major Harding and Capt. Carden  selected a suitable new site for the fort on a plateau with potable water (where the present ruins are situated) and directed that a temporary site nearby be established. Sergeant Macaulay was left to deputise as the Barotse Native Police had no spare officers

Chief Monze provided twenty recruits for the new Barotse Native Police Force. Major Harding then set off on the 5th August, with Captain Carden returning to Bulawayo with what remained of his troop. Sergeant Macaulay remained in charge of the new Fort, with Trooper Lucas, by now seconded to the Barotse Native Police, together with several locally recruited police. During the course of the next eight to twelve weeks the new Fort Monze took shape.

Chief Monze provided a labour force for building the fort ramparts and buildings. When Major Colin Harding returned to Fort Monze later in September he was pleased to see the building progress made under Sergeant Macaulay's direction. The new fort had an excellent stable, good quarters for the BNP, suitable huts, storehouses and grain bins for every conceivable requirement. In fact the area at the time was a source of plenty of game for feeding the Fort's personnel. Major Harding recorded that he was treated, on his return from the 8 week trek, to a variety of delicacies procured as a surprise by his NCO's, including pigeons, various fowl, milk and meat - from which were produced pies, omelettes and other delicacies.

Major Harding then set off with Trooper Lucas and fifteen of the new recruits, taking a tribute from Chief Monze for King Lewanika, to Lealui, near Mongu.

Major Harding hands over responsibility to his brother

On his way to Lealui, Major Harding had a pre-arranged meeting with his brother William at Nanzeela mission. William Hallett Harding had been acting as his secretary up until this point. Will Harding had also been commissioned to update and prepare maps for the administration and Royal Geographic Society.  Short of staff, Major Harding charged his brother with the responsibility of running Fort Monze and its patrol area. Before parting company William Harding was told to visit the copper mines just north of the Kafue river before returning to Fort Monze. This was the last time the two brothers were to speak.

Will Harding took his patrol to Renungwe where he met Mr. Baragwanath, a partner of Mr. Lewis, at an exploratory copper mine.Will Harding's patrol then took him back through N'kala and he reached Fort Monze on 5th November 1900 where he assumed command. A few days later Harding was instructed to visit Victoria Falls where he was to participate in a survey team meeting.

Blackwater fever takes hold

In March 1901 Trooper Lucas fell sick to black-water fever whilst out purchasing grain in the Gwembe area. Harding rode out to attend him and once Lucas was fit enough  to make the journey back (a few days later) they returned to Fort Monze. It wasn't long before William noticed he had the same symptoms of black-water fever. A messenger was sent to Kalomo instructing  Trooper Franklin to attend as soon as possible. Unfortunately William Harding succumbed, dying on 11th April 1901.

Col. Colin Harding heard of his brother's sickness whilst visiting the Kazangula area and headed directly for Fort Monze. On reaching Kalomo he received news of his brother's death. When he arrived at Fort Monze, he found Corporal Franklin close to death and within a day or so a second committal service was held at Fort Monze's cemetery, with a partially recovered Trooper Lucas leading the firing party.

These tragic events led to the temporary closure of Fort Monze, owing to the shortage of officers. Captain Carden briefly commanded the fort. Fort Monze was finally decommissioned in 1903 by the Acting Compiler of Census F. W. Mosley although it was used briefly as a trading post until 1904. The memorial there today was erected in 1904.

The legacy of Blackwater fever

The location of the cemetery is about 0.6 Km from the Fort Monument. Here the police troopers lie at rest, with O.C. William Harding, all of whom died of black-water fever.

Name Name,Rank & UnitAttestedAgeDate
Alfred William Welch 636 Trooper B.S.A.P.16/03/198932 years4th January 1899
Montague George S.Hare 595 Corporal B.S.A.P. 26/01/1897 32 years 3rd July 1899
Josiah Norris 348 Troop Sergt Major B.S.A.P. 01/11/1896 30 years 1st December 1899
(Albert)Ernest Rice 780 Trooper B.S.A.P. 21/08/1897 23 years 14th February 1900
William Hallett Harding Officer Commanding B.S.A.P. n/a 34 years 11th April 1901
Benjamin Chas Franklin 786 Corporal B.S.A.P. 29/09/1897 28 years 30th April 1901

Black water fever is much less common today than it was before 1950. At the time of the fort's occupation quinine was the most likely form of treatment for malaria - Black water fever was more likely to develop in people who have taken quinine.

Blackwater fever is an uncommon complication of falciparum malaria, caused by Plasmodium falciparum, is the most dangerous form of malaria and can be fatal. It is caused by the rupture of large numbers of red blood cells, which releases blood pigment (hemoglobin) into the bloodstream. The released hemoglobin is excreted in the urine, which turns the urine dark, hence the name.

What became of Fort Monze's key men ?

Col. Colin Harding did service in West Africa and served as a Battalion Commander in WWI. He authored three books and died in England in January 1939, buried at Montacute, Somerset.

Sergeant Macaulay transferred to service in the administration in Northern Western Rhodesia, also as a magistrate. He returned to the UK expecting a job in the prison service. The advent of WWI took him to the Western Front where he served in the King Edwards 1st Horse. His shooting skills set him up for duties as a sniper. He was killed in action.

Capt. Carden did service as acting Administrator in North Western Rhodesia, Commandant of the NRP. He was killed in action at Gallipolli, 1915.

Trooper Lucas - nothing yet known.

King Lewanika visited King Edward VII at court in London, 1902. He died on 6th February 1916 at Lealui. His descendants preserve the traditional heritage and ceremonies of the Lozi peoples. His line continues to this day and the Lozi people celebrate the famous traditional Ku-omboka ceremony which has now become a favorite tourist spectacle.

Colonel Harding

Colonel Harding

Sgt Macaulay

Sergeant Macaulay

Trooper Lucas

Trooper Lucas


The cemetery in 1905
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Copyright©Monze Education Fund 2006