From the past, Saxon rises again?
Our “Public Eye” column in newspapers and magazines was quite well-liked in Zimbabwe, as modesty would have it said.
Let’s see if Saxon stands the ravages of time in an upcoming serialisation of snippets beginning right here. Ghosts from three decades past will need some annotations.
Muammar and Israel, the person
Col. Gaddafi was another of our allies, and when he came to town he put up a Bedouin tent in the garden of the government villa where he stayed. Gaddafi had one problem though: in the manner of the early Christian missionaries, many Zimbabweans were given Biblical names and the chief steward at Gaddafi’s villa happened not be a Jeremiah or a Moses or an Ezekial, but an Israel.
No offence meant to the individual concerned, said the Libyans, but the colonel couldn’t possibly, under any circumstances, be served his tea by Zionist Israel.
Israel was quickly reassigned to other duties.
Then there was the young German executive who came to spend a couple of years in Harare. Everything was going swimmingly until his housemaid wanted to go on holiday. Her uncle, a former hotel cook with years of experience in service, volunteered to stand in.
No problem with that until the German family found out the uncle’s name was Hitler. There had obviously been a shortage of missionaries in the area where he was born in the 1930s, when our only newspaper had headlines about the rise of Nazism. You’ll also find many Winstons of poor old Uncle Hitler’s generation when the tide began to turn in World War II and Hitler was no longer hammering the kith and kin of our white settler classes.
Our Germans couldn’t possibly have a Hitler in the house. Hitler! Bring on the breakfast!
My other pseudonyms were Andrew Cameron standing for Scottish ancestry like mine and Joseph Kamau, a Kenyan name as common as Smith or Jones in Anglo Saxon history which our paymasters wanted to use long before diversity of race made its play. And there’s a clue – Andrew Saxon is of Anglo Saxon stock in Africa. Why hide behind a false name? Vicissitudes of the times still for me to explain.
Watch this space. Next: Ian Smith and Fidel Castro, known as “Comrade Castrol” by some of us who thought the Cuban missile crisis between JFK and Khrushchev was all about oil desired by big gas-guzzling American cars.