So farewell then, Whisky Bill

The world wouldn’t be in the kak it is in today if more men like “Whisky Bill” Davidson had been running it.

He wouldn’t like kak, southern Africa’s word for shit; he would prefer ‘cactus,’ the world is in the cactus, the cactus has hit the fan. Bill never swore, and certainly not within earshot of polite company. Bill was an English gentleman of the old school and if you didn’t know him you are poorer for it. 

Whisky Bill, Billy or plain Bill, known for being a connoisseur of fine Scotch, died of heart failure in England on Tuesday at the age of 86. After a life of travelling the world and many years in Zimbabwe he had been ailing for some time. He was one of a kind – quietly spoken but forthright, knowledgeable, generous and, not least, he dressed like a true gentleman, almost always immaculate in collar and tie or in a neat safari suit, something rarely worn these days 

When all else around him was going to the wall, Whisky Bill remained steadfast though he was never overly censorious of others who wavered.

William Albert Davidson 14 July 1936 – 18 April 2023. 

In Harare as a company director and estate agent Bill kept sanity and standards in the property market during some of our more torrid economic times. He won the hearts of many and to me he was a wonderful friend. He took me to gatherings of a lunch club known as the Battered Mealies (for those familiar with the Matabeles of western Zimbabwe) and we regularly took part in a 9-holes golf school on Sunday mornings.

We went to functions and events of the property world, Bill and I.  For a property man, Bill’s sense of direction wasn’t the finest. Once he took an architect friend to view a property, both got lost, they never found the site and by lunchtime they headed to The Red Lion at the Harare Sports Club for a debrief.  As a rule, and unless going to a luncheon he had taken the afternoon off so he could enjoy it to the full, Bill never imbibed much before sundowner time.

As an old Africa hand, Bill had lots to talk about, he debated  history, geography and politics and he was never shy to take on wagers in the Red Lion’s leather-bound Betting Book. In the Red Lion itself he was hugely popular and since Tuesday tributes from past and present members have been pouring in. All our condolences go to Bill’s daughter Sandra and his family.

So farewell then, Whisky Bill. You once owned and ran a couple of hotels in Britain. There must be Scotch up there where you are going and the accommodation will be to your liking. The child of one Red Lion regular has even called you “a cool dude.” 

As a young athlete and boxer, you sparred with British heavyweight champ Henry Cooper who only missed beating Mohammed Ali by a whisker. Both of them might be up there too.  


1 Response

  1. Allen Pizzey says:

    Wish I’d met him.

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