Monze Education Fund
and Guide to Monze
|Fort Monze - Personnel|
Men recruited into the BSAP were mostly recruited from the UK by advertising in local newspapers. A typical recruiting campaign would specify that:
"A few young men are
required at once for the BSAP. Applicants should be between 20 and 25 years of
age, minimum height 5' 7" and inflated chest measured 35". They must
be British Subjects, single, able to ride and pass a medical examination in
Typical duties of the fort personnel included visiting local villages, arbitrating in disputes, checking the activities of European traders, verifying the credentials of game hunters and upholding the law generally. On one hand they represented King Lewanika's extended patronage South of the Kafue and North of the Zambezi, in the territory's capacity as a Protectorate. Certain matters were dealt with in King Lewanika's name or at his court, and others in the name of the administration. Slave trading had been virtually abolished in these parts by this time although there were occasional reports of slave caravans which patrols would investigate.
On the domestic front fort personnel were responsible for trading for feed and provisions, most maize (for their horses, oxen, cattle, donkey and fowl), supplemented with game hunted locally (antelope, zebra and buck mostly). Personnel tried their hand at growing an acre of maize and planting sunflower oil seed. Besides these more recreational activities there was drill, shooting practice and supervising the making of roadways fit for wagon or Scotch carts to travel on.
Despite the activity at the fort, there is at least one recorded event of lions attacking domestic cattle owned by the fort when let out for grazing. Lion spore was found around the horse stables which no doubt prevented further loss.Personal accounts of life at Fort Monze
William Harding's Diary Entry
William Harding recorded in his diary the events of Christmas Day 1900.
The police had a full dress parade with inspection. All dressed in their blue tunics and the main event was a sports gala in the afternoon. Chief Monze arrived with 10 of his advisers and about 200 subject villagers besides. Everyone brought presents. The sports gala was held in the valley below Fort Monze. There were 8 events open only to the police and most of them participated. Everyone seemed to enjoy the spectacle. The police were given their rations which they enjoyed. In the evening the visitors were given presents, including 2 goats to Chief Monze and another goat besides. His advisors were given flour, and beer was made available to everyone, who seemed to thoroughly enjoy the day.
Albert Rice's letter home
Albert Ernest Rice was one of nine children born of Emma (nee Hurley) and Frederick Robert Rice, a gardener by profession. Ernest left home about 1895 to go to South Africa. Ernest was a part of the Bulawayo Field Force (under Capt. Luck) until July 18th 1896 during which he participated in the Shangani Patrol and several other engagements. Time expired with the BSAC Police (under Capt. Cradwell) on 19th October 1896. He attested on 21st August 1897.
He then joined F Troop of the Matabeleland Mounted Police (a precursor to the BSA Police). He subsequently was transferred to B Troop based at Gwelo. In August 1899 he was re-attached to F Troop based in Sebungwe District and wrote a letter to his parents whilst on patrol at Monze on 28th August 1899 with Capt. G. V. Drury. During this patrol the first Police Fort was established at Monze.
On Sept 25th he applied for a Rhodesia 1896 medal which was subsequently awarded on 28th Feb 1900, a matter of two weeks following his death. The medal was forwarded to his father in England. Ernest died of blackwater fever at Esheta, No. 2 Camp Sebungwe, on the 14th February 1900.
Aug 28th 99
Tpr. Ernest Rice
Dear Father & Mother,
You will doubtless be surprised to receive this letter from me and to still know that I am alive and living ! I wrote to Sidney in 1896 and a received no answer. That was after the Matabele war. I must ask you to forgive me for not writing before but I have been up here in some of the most wildest parts of Africa where I could not send a letter to you ! I am in the Police now having had a rather good situation offered me ! My life was been a very adventurous one and I have been through many strange parts of this country where no white man has ever been !
I cannot write to tell you of all my doings as it would fill a book but I am still alive and in good health! I have made some money too but I lost a lot last year I have still a few hundred pounds which I have left you father and mother and Amy and Clara and in case of my death you will get it from the Chief of the Police who will send it to you ! I have also a large piece of land in Matabeleland about 2,000 acres which I think will turn out to be very good in time to come when the country gets more populates ?
I sincerely hope you are all quite well at home and still in the best of health? I don't know if I shall ever come home but if I do it will be in about 2 years from now but if I do I shall let you know ? I am sending this down by a runner so I do not know whether you will get it ? It is 500 miles from here to a Post Office ? So hoping you are all quite well I remain
Your loving son Ernest
I hope all my sisters and brothers are quite well and tell Monty should he ever wish to roam to write to me