Arms Wide Open: INTO Bermuda – March 2019

Conference Theme: ‘Arms Wide Open’: Strategies for engaging with diverse communities

David Scott, Chair, National Trust Zimbabwe, was very privileged to be able to attend an INTO conference in the exotic location of Bermuda.

Our sincere thanks go to INTO, along with the Bermuda National Trust for the very generous sponsorship without which, NTZ would not have been represented.

Grateful thanks are extended to the following INTO Council members who made this trip possible:

  • Catherine Leonard
  • Oliver Maurice
  • Bill Turner (and his team)

Below are excerpts from David’s report to the Council.

The conference revolved around this theme encouraging all trusts to “look outwards” and “think out of the box about communicating with and providing inclusive services to the wider communities within which trusts operate”.

This forward thinking concept is, in my opinion, of some considerable importance to NTZ which seems to be perceived as “a vestige of a colonial past” and NTZ needs to be attracting the support of the wider community at both NTZ Council and Committee and community heritage/cultural activity levels.

An item of interest to Africans would be the rain water harvesting mandatory requirement by all residences and public buildings. The roofs are all painted white with a special paint and rain water is channelled into reservoirs built under all the houses. There is no fresh water supply (rivers) on the island so all water requirements are from rain water.

Delegates learnt a lot of the history, heritage and culture of Bermuda. The island consists of approximately 65 000 people in an area of approximately 21 sq miles. The Capital is now Hamilton.  We undertook trips to various areas of the island which included the World Heritage town of St Georges (the original capital of Bermuda).

Town Hall UNESCO World Heritage status

The conference was held over a 4 day period during which presentations, and breakout sessions took place in various historical locations. The Opening Ceremony was held in the World Heritage Centre facility. His Excellency the Governor Mr John Rankin, Deputy Bermuda Premier and Minister of Home Affairs the Hon Walter Roban and a video Bermudan welcome from Michael Douglas, a long term resident of Bermuda and various other officials, including the St George’s Mayor and Town Crier.

A typical St George’s street scene

Bermuda is a British Protectorate. We were hosted on the first evening by the Governor at his beautiful residence with spectacular views.

On Day 2 the theme was ‘Open to All – Whose Heritage Counts’. I presented a 5 minute talk on the difficulties experienced by NTZ in the hostile economic and political environment within which NTZ has operated. 3 other delegates gave short presentations on heritage and conservation challenges faced by trusts from Italy, Bermuda and USA. That evening deletes enjoyed dinner at Fourways Restaurant followed by long service awards to Oliver Maurice and Geoff Read for their amazing service to INTO.

Bermuda National Trust manages many sites on the island such as Bridge House and Tucker House.


On Day 3 delegates were given the opportunity to drill down with experts in conservation and to meet with INTO executive leaders on how to make the most of INTO.

The connections of Bermuda are very close from slave trade times and Boer war prisoners:


On the final day there was a round table on the workshop highlights where moderators reflected on the best things they have learned from the conference. Dame Fiona Reynolds closed the conference by giving a very interesting speech and announced the next ICNT host to be: Belgium.

I have included a few extracts from a blog written by Catherine Leonard (CEO of INTO), shortly after the conference which summarises the conference so well:

Three themes

For me, there were three themes running through the conference:

One has been the extraordinary diversity of what the NTs of the world do. We heard stories of biodiversity loss and invasive species, of historic site interpretation and building skills, of managing small islands and climate of heritage inventories and volunteerism; of building membership, fundraising and volunteerism; and of ensuring that the heritage preserved by INTO members fully reflects our communities.  What amazing organisations you all are!

It was a pleasure to share experiences, to listen to committed voices.  To remember that the things that concern us are basically the same.

Stronger together

The second theme is that we are stronger together.  Queen Quet’s song at the beginning “Walk together children, don’t you get weary” set us off on the right path. This was further underlined by Gus Casley-Hayforth who said how important it was to gather as communities and nations to be inspired.  (His speech is also worth a read and can be found here.)

Darren Peacock continued this by saying that no Trust is an island and that everything is connected.  (This was a theme of our 2011 Conference in Victoria where ‘Everything is connected’ is a Coast Salish saying.)

Open arms

And the third part is that we’ve all agreed how important it is to open our arms as wide as possible.

Gus talked about doing the right thing.  I’ve long wanted to quote Professor Dumbledore in a work context as I actually feel this applies quite well to a lot of us: “Do you know why I admire you, Newt? You don’t seek power or popularity. You simply ask, is the thing right in itself? If it is, then I must do it, no matter the cost.

We heard so many words of wisdom from Princess Dana, from being brave enough to say “no” to putting human dignity at the heart of what we do.

Fiona said that this was the most moving and important discussion INTO has ever had and I believe it is.   It hasn’t always been comfortable but why should it be?  We have an important job to do and need to be challenged at times.  Queen Quet talked about the democratisation of heritage “continuation” (rather than preservation, which should be reserved for jarring food!).  Dame Pamela Gordon-Banks was concerned that we don’t reflect the communities we represent.  And Jeremy Harris asked us to think about ‘universal natural rights’ and be more neighbourly with our planet.

The conference was a resounding success in all respects.

Huge thanks go to the community who participated in hosting and guiding conference attendees. The people of Bermuda are very kind and extremely hospitable. For example, the delegates were hosted in private homes one evening for a dinner.

All in all a truly memorable conference thanks to INTO and the Bermuda National Trust.



International Museums Day 2020



Equality : Diversity and Inclusion

As we have been marking International Museum Day today, some may wonder how we can incorporate this year’s theme of “Equality : Diversity and Inclusion” within the thick stone walls of a museum named after Cecil John Rhodes of 130 years ago – whose name this country bore for 90 years following white-settler occupation.

If we try to look at that period of our history objectively, we are bound to acknowledge that there was a philanthropic side to Rhodes’s visionconsider the thousands – of all races and many nationalities – who have benefited directly or indirectly from his legacy of Rhodes Scholarships for many decades; and the fact that the very land and premises of our much-admired little museum were bequeathed to this nation, in perpetuity, by Rhodes from his estate.

So, indeed, with Rhodes’s name attached to our museum, we confidently strive for a balance of what we can now regard as equality: incorporating diversity and the inclusion of all Zimbabweans’ interests in what is displayed within its walls. We aim to represent all facets of the rich human and natural resources, and often troubled history, of our uniquely beautiful country, showing how its people of all colours and cultures have contributed to what Zimbabwe is today – as reflected in our recently constructed Time Line covering centuries of local history.

Rhodes Museum has become noteworthy for its outreach work – particularly with regional rural schoolchildren, whose rich cultural heritage has been explored and revived – which has been rewarded with international recognition. At present the Museum houses a striking exhibition of wood-carvings and stone sculptures by the late Nyanga artist Jonathan Matimba, whose unusual, unique works have attracted the admiration of local and international visitors.

Looking forward, the Trust is working towards expanding the role of the Museum and plan to establish a Nyanga Information Centre and a 50-seat lecture-and- video educational facility at the Rhodes Museum, both facilities are sorely needed in the area.

Despite the challenges we are facing we remain, as all museums should, caring custodians of the past and vital visionaries for the future!

Guy Cary, Chairman


Cloudburst over the plains below

We take this opportunity to thank our many visitors, domestic and international, who have given their support and many kind comments on the most recent improvements to our beautiful view site.  Without their contributions, received via entrance fees and donations, we would certainly not be able to continue our development and maintenance of this very special and unique place.

The original little reception office built in the 1970s

           The Gallery as it stands today  

The Gallery has had a number of new extensions built over the last four years including two new display rooms and a toilet block to the rear.  Our latest addition is the covered veranda which was completed recently.

Work in progress…

  Foundations being laid                                                                               





New front door being made by local craftsmen

We formed an association with the National Gallery of Zimbabwe (Mutare branch) last year and have had several successful exhibitions to promote Zimbabwean artists. The NGZ continue to allow us to exhibit their artists’ works and as a result, many sales have been achieved on behalf of our young Zimbabwean artists.

Gill Honeyman (with Elizabeth Muusha,  Director of NGZ Mutare) taken  on a recent visit to the Mutare Gallery


Elizebeth Muusha with some of the works by artist Wilson Zuze – over 20 of his paintings were sold from the Gallery at World’s View               

 Some of the paintings that form part of our permanent collection: Nyanga Artists – Val Cameron, Edone Anne Logan, Cherrie Stead  and Gill Honeyman





The View has had a number of visits by delegations from various countries which have been hosted by the President’s Office, including The Marshall Islands and Equatorial Guinea. It is gratifying to know that World’s View is now on the agenda of our Government to showcase our natural heritage by bringing visiting heads of state to the Eastern Highlands.

The Hon. Oppah Muchingura, Minister of Defence and War Veterans’ Affairs signing the visitor’s bookon a recent visit to World’s View:

 “I just realised that Zimbabwe is such a beautiful country still to be discovered. With this visit I have the best impressions. Thanking the Trust for the zeal to maintain this place for future generations. Keep up the good work”.

Our battle continues with the illegal grazing of cattle on the escarpment; these pictures give evidence to the devastation caused by these beasts.

Inside the fenced area at the View                             






Outside of the fenced area! 

Illegal poachers with their hunting dogs are often seen in the area; this picture (left) was taken at the gates of World’s View over the Christmas holidays – the man in the foreground is carrying a sack of rock rabbits on his back!  The cattle in the background are part of a herd that are left to roam unattended and are forever being chased off the mountain by our caretakers, only for them to appear again a few days later.  All the game that used to wander the area has been completely poached out and even now it is rare to see a rabbit in your headlights when travelling the circular drive at night

Our third set of new gates has just been installed due to cattle damage, and fence repairs are an ongoing exercise.  The fence-line has been extended by 30 m to the south of the View.

Our appeal to Government to have the Connemara Basin put under protective management is almost ready for submission: our grateful thanks to Sharon Waterworth for preparing a brilliant covering document that outlines our aims and brings attention not only the problems of cattle and poaching but also the increasing necessity to preserve our montane grasslands, wetlands and indigenous species of flora and fauna.

We continue to make headway on the eradication of invasive species that have been taking over the area. Our wetlands are being threatened and the whole ecology of the area could be changed forever if steps are not taken to control the growth of pine, wattle and other invaders.  To date over 3000 pines have been removed from the escarpment by chainsaw, over 2000 by machete and countless numbers of saplings have been pulled by hand.   We would like to thank the board of Little Connemara for contributing towards this exercise and also some of the owners of the properties surrounding the Connemara Lakes for asking their own caretakers to help clear the areas opposite their properties.

The picnic areas are being put to good use and visitors enjoy the magnificent scenery and the gardens that have something of interest growing at all times of year.

The protea cuttings have now matured into strong sturdy plants and the ones grown from the Kirstenbosch seeds have been in flower and cuttings are being taken for propagating for our Plant Sales section.


We thank Mr Jim Dryburgh, a keen photographer and bird-watcher, for this selection of delightful photographs of proteacea and sunbirds taken on one of his visits to World’s View.

The World’s View Sculptors are producing many new pieces for sale in the Sculpture Garden. We are sorry to announce the death of their Chairman, Mr Xaviour Nyakete, who has been a great friend and contributor to the site. It is gratifying to know that his work has been sold to a number of international tourists and will grace many a home in far off lands.  Our condolences to his family and brother, Panganai, who has taken over the chairmanship of the Sculptors Committee.

The Gazebo and Sculpture Garden nestled at the foot of Nyamatoro (World’s View Mountain)

Our two caretakers at work in the gardens.


Arthur trimming edges                                                     



Luke tending to newlyp lanted hydrangeas at the entrance to the toposcope whom at (71) became the proud father of his 18th child in March!

Matirina and Arthur planting aloes on the slopes below the toposcope

Some of our smaller visitors


Before the Covid-19 lockdown we constructed a hands-free facility near the car park for visitors to wash their hands on arrival and departure. 






The Covid-19 outbreak, although we have not yet realised the true picture in Zimbabwe to date (April 2020), has already had a real impact on the number of visitors coming to the View. The lockdown has resulted in a 100% loss of income but it is gratifying to see that our people are taking full cognizance of the seriousness of the situation and staying at home!

We continue to keep the View site open albeit for maintenance and tending the garden with Luke on lockdown at home and Arthur, Matirina and myself doing what we can – at a respectable distance and with frequent hand washing!  The projects that we had intended to undertake have been put on hold and the finances to undertake these will now be channelled towards paying our two caretakers’ wages for as long as we have the resources.

Our thoughts are with all Zimbabweans and all those in other countries throughout the world who are suffering the loss of loved ones during this most awful time and look forward to the day when we can return to some normality and a brighter future.

Gill Honeyman

Chairman – World’s View Committee

Sunset – Mt Ziwa in the distance  



Tribute to Mike Kimberley

Tribute to Michael John Kimberley (2 May – 3 January 2020)

Eulogy for Michael John Kimberly by Hans Wolbert at the memorial service on 10 January 2020

Michael John Kimberly was born in Gweru on the 2nd of May 1934, his father worked on the postal service, his grandfather came to this country in 1895 with the pioneer column.  His childhood years were spent at Milton Junior School in Bulawayo.  The rest of his education was done in South Africa, where he passed his matric.

He graduated at Witwatersrand University in Arts and Law.  In 1960 he started practicing Law in Zimbabwe and continued working until his retirement in September 2013.  In 1961 he married Rose Lighton and had two sons Christopher and Richard, he was a hard working member of the History Society which he joined when he was in University.  He was one of the founding members of the Aloes Cactus and Succulent Society of Zimbabwe in 1969.  His acute knowledge in Law helped to legalise the Society.  He was not like normal gardeners in that he had a passion for the understanding and preservation of local succulents.  A lot of these plants are not really suited for the garden but his love for these plants truly made him a patriot of this country. Many of the existing laws in place to protect these plants owe their existence to Mike Kimberly.  His knowledge, in Plants and his social standing, brought in big names of the Succulent Plant World like Larry Leech, Darel Plowes, Alan Percy Lancaster, Susan Carter and many more.

His ambition and drive brought the society from strength to strength.  In 1975 he helped organise the First World Aloe Congress.  This was a huge undertaking and it put this country on the map.  In 1988 he organised the Aloe 88 Congress. He was the editor of 21 volumes of the internationally acclaimed Excelsa Journals plus four Taxanomic series of books.  The literature of these books passes well over the minds of the layman and there is serious doubt whether there will be any other volumes made without his drive and input.  He was also the editor of the Ingens bulletin the first of which was made in 1989.

I got to meet him and know him a little better about 11 years ago when I joined the Aloe Society.  I found him to be a very pleasant person full of witty comments which usually put a smile on my face.  He was very generous with his knowledge and always eager to further a person’s understanding in plants.  A few plants were named after him including an orchid where he was one of three Mikes mentioned in its name.  When we went on trips in the field he would walk around rather disappointed knowing that the soil in that particular area was not conducive to succulents but would liven up tremendously when he saw what he called “Sand Veld” in which we always found those unusual and interesting succulents dwelling there.  He had a very strong character and often tried to protect the Club personally which sometimes resulted in a few toes getting stood on.

In 2012 his beloved wife Rose passed away and I personally think that Mike started to slowly fade away from that time onwards.  His name will always be remembered at the Aloe Club, the world will remember his name in the Succulent World.  The world will be a lesser place without Mike, I wish him well with his journey, a journey which we will all have to start at some stage.


Tribute from David Scott: Chairman, The National Trust of Zimbabwe and on behalf of the NTZ Council and members

I first met Mike in 1985 in his capacity as the Legal Counsel for the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority. We worked extensively together on a project lasting approximately 12 months. Mike was an extremely determined, professional and thorough legal mind who was managing a very difficult project, in addition to his normal demanding position and amongst trying and extremely sensitive circumstances. That situation did not deter him from the project objectives and plan. It was a thorough learning experience from my perspective and an insight into the person he always was!! He introduced me then to Zimbabwe historical and cultural matters as he was heavily involved in the History Society of Zimbabwe, among other community and environmental areas.

Decades later, we met again when I was asked to join the Council of the NTZ where Mike had been on the Council for many many many years!! Mike took time out of his very busy schedule, then as a practising lawyer, to introduce me to the NTZ structure and its history. He kindly handed me documents giving a lot of background to NTZ.

Mike had an incredible memory recalling past matters that affected NTZ over decades. Mike was very supportive when I was elected as Chairman of the Council. We worked closely together on the NTZ Council, until he was no longer able to give of his time and then he suggested I visit him at home to discuss NTZ matters.

Mike was entirely selfless in his commitment to NTZ and all the honorary positions he held over many decades. I was very privileged to have met and worked with Mike, all be it only for a relatively short period of time.

RIP Mike, a dedicated community minded professional.


Tribute by Robin Taylor, Chairman, History Society of Zimbabwe Mashonaland and on behalf of its Members

I am sorry to have to tell you that Michael (Mike) Kimberley passed away on Friday 3rd January. Mike Kimberley joined the then Rhodesiana Society in 1955 while still a student. He served as secretary of the Society for eleven years and in turn held the positions of Mashonaland Branch Chairman and National Chairman. In 1989 he became honorary editor of Heritage and held this position with great distinction and ability until 2013.

Mike was a wonderful and dedicated supporter of our Society and he made a great contribution to the success of the Society.


Tribute by Edone-Anne Logan, The National Trust of Zimbabwe on behalf of Rhodes Nyanga Historical Exhibition and it’s Committee

Cecil John Rhodes, first came to the Nyanga area and fell in love with the rugged, isolated landscape.  He instructed MacDonald to purchase up to 100 000 acres (40 000 ha) of farmland. Later this became the Rhodes National Park.

The former homestead of G D Fotheringham on “Fruitfield” was selected by Rhodes as his residence (now Rhodes Hotel) and one of the first buildings he erected was a substantial stone barn and stable.

In 1970 a member of the Executive Committee of the National Trust of Rhodesia, and the Director of the National Archives, visited the barn and stable with a view to leasing it from the owners and preserving the historic site and artefacts.

The process was difficult and involved officials in many ministries.   The NTZ was determined however, and eventually, with the persistence of Mike Kimberley and others a lease was signed with National Parks and permission granted to open the renovated buildings to the public.  The Trust in the meantime had begun to collect articles of historic value, and the Archives made copies  – free of charge – of many historic pictures and documents.  This was the birth of the Rhodes Museum, now the Rhodes Nyanga Historical Exhibition – the only museum to be under the jurisdiction of the National Trust of Zimbabwe and the only museum of its kind in the country.


Tribute from close friends Ray and Sybil

Thank you for inviting us to contribute something towards Mike’s past contribution to the NTZ.

What comes to mind is that, in the early eighties, Mike phoned me in Bulawayo enquiring if I knew any of the manufacturers/suppliers of Bathroom suites in Matabeleland. As it happened I personally knew of a manufacturer of Bathroom Suites in Bulawayo and that I could assist.  I ordered the new bathroom hand basins and toilets for La Rochelle, Penhalonga, who were building 9 cottage type units on the Courtauld’s NTZ property for guests. I was able to arrange for an empty vehicle travelling to Harare to collect spares and supplies for Bulawayo Power Station, which I was responsible for,  to collect and deliver the sanitary ware to Harare, where Mike arranged for an empty vehicle travelling to  Mutare, to collect the items from Mutare and drop off the consignment at La Rochelle, thereby saving the NTZ the transport costs.

The other snippet is, when we saw the film ’Legal Eagle’ and then the ’Horse Whisperer’ with Robert Redford, the likeness was so uncanny that Sybil and I bought the DVD of the Horse Whisperer and took it to Harare and presented it to Rose and Mike, and started to call Mike, Robert. He was always referred to as Robert by us in Bulawayo, which he said he felt chuffed to be compared with the famous Film actor and Director.

It was the Kimberley’s, in the early eighties, that recruited us to become members of the NTZ, which influenced us to assist the NTZ wherever we could, which continues to date.


Lin Goncalves – Executive Council Member, The National Trust of Zimbabwe

I first met Mike Kimberley about 15 years ago, in his lawyer’s offices in Throgmorton House having written to him to find out more about the Trust and La Rochelle as I had close family memories of the Courtaulds through my parents and the area.

His dedication and interest were so effective and enthusiastic that I was invited to join the Committee and attended the very next meeting. Mike’s knowledge of the local flora, orchids and aloes/succulents in particular, remained my inspiration.

In Mike’s passing we have lost a great character, and highly knowledgeable authority on his passion of indigenous orchids and aloes.


Rob Burrett – Friend and work colleague – Some memories

It is with great sadness that I have heard of the passing of Mike Kimberley, one of the pillars of many voluntary organisations which have brought delight to many over the years. Mike was a man of diverse interests, dedicated to history and botany, his aloes in particular. He was always much more than an amateur, he was an expert in his own right. Criss-crossing the country in search of interesting plants, Mike and his late wife, Rose, would often go out to recover plants from areas that were to be developed, many of these found haven in his Mount Pleasant property.

I was privileged to know Mike in three of his many roles – the Aloe and Succulent Society; Rhodesiana, now the History Society of Zimbabwe; and the National Trust of Zimbabwe. It was in 1978 that I first met Mike. As a young school boy I was captivated by his historical interests and remember fondly the Rhodesiana Society historical steam-train run from Salisbury [now Harare] to Marandellas [Marondera]. If I recall the Kimberleys wore historical dress. Much later we met again, Mike and/or Rose editing the annual magazine of the History Society – Heritage of Zimbabwe. Under his guidance I was encouraged to write up my many and varied interests in the historical quirks of our country. Mike was always concerned that things should be recorded for prosperity in a published form. He would say that we all lose so much as people die or leave. In this way too, the family was actively involved in Excelsia, the Aloe Society journal. As I write I recall dropping by their home to leave my latest historical manuscript or some plant which I had recovered. We would sit on the veranda chatting about history and plants. My appreciation of aloes probably dates from those times and I am currently surrounded by aloes in my Bulawayo garden. One thing I still look out for is the rumoured WHITE Aloe excelsia from the Lowveld that Mike would often mention, hoping that in my fieldwork I would come across a specimen. Nothing yet Mike, sorry.

In the 1990s I was encouraged to join the NTZ by the late Helen Hyslop, another pillar of our Trust. It was at that time I got to know Mike in a somewhat different role in his efforts to safeguard the vulnerable properties held for all of us in the nation by the Trust. We did not always see eye-to-eye on matters, but all credit to Mike Kimberly and his committee for safeguarding what we have today. It is my sincere hope that the NTZ will see fit to commemorate Mike and Rose Kimberley in some permanent way.

I am sure there are many other sides to Mike and Rose Kimberley that I have not mentioned. I can, but only apologise. Mike and Rose had diverse interests and moved in several different circles. I can only give a personal reflection of where we came together. Zimbabwe, and the many societies which they founded and worked for over many decades, are all the poorer for the passing of this wonderful couple.

Rest in peace Mike and Rose.





Founded 1953


National Trust members are kindly invited to attend the HSZ Annual Luncheon, and for your support at any future.

Our speaker will be Dave Grant, the deputy head of Falcon College, an excellent speaker and fine historian.

I am, of course, fully aware of the current shortage of Zim dollars and the declining income of us all. We do need, however, to maintain the vibrancy, interest and fellowship of the Society, and it is important to keep-up events such as the one planned

Whilst I was hopeful of reflecting the cost of the luncheon in Zimbabwe dollars, with the recent escalation of rates and the likelihood of this continuing, this is no longer possible. The cost will therefore now be the ZW$ equivalent of US$ 23,00 at the RBZ rate of the day. This rate can easily be gleaned by accessing the website “market watch” alternatively you can contact me on my cell on 0772 265 884.

To give you some idea, the date on which I write this letter, 19th September,  the rate is 14.12 so the cost if paid today would be ZW$324,76.

I am sorry to complicate the matter but I know that you know we are all trying as best as we can to deal with the extraordinary challenges this country throws at us!

I do hope that many of you will be able to attend the luncheon, details of which are as follows:

Date:                               Sunday, 13th October, 2019

Time:                                 12 o’clock noon for 12.30pm

Venue:                           Cresta Lodge, Mutare Road, Harare

Cost:                             The ZW$ equivalent of US$ 23,00 per person    

Payable to:                     CABS, Account name: History Society of Zimbabwe

Account number: 1003139523

Booking deadline:           4th October, 2019

Booking and responses to:

There will be a cash bar available.

When payment is effected, would you please also give your name. When you notify me of your booking please indicate the number and names of others in your party.

I very much look forward to hearing from you and am sure we shall have a  very enjoyable and sociable luncheon on the 13th October.

Please kindly reply directly to me. My email address is as follows: Thank you.

With kindest regards

Tim Tanser

(National Chairman, History Society of Zimbabwe)

Best Regards

Charles Castelin

Membership and Communications Member

History Society of Zimbabwe, Mashonaland Branch









Tribute to Helen de Barsy Hyslop

A Tribute to a Wonderful Person – June 2019

Helen joined the NTZ in 1993 and became a member of the Executive Council in 2003. She was Chair of the Rhodesia Association of University Women (1970 -1980). One of her major local achievements, at that time, with other groups was the lobbying for separate assessment for tax of female spouses in 1977. Helen was a regular member of International Federation of University Women s Council in Geneva promoting graduate women’s and feminist rights over that period. The University was established in 1919 and nearly 100 years later it continues to advocate for women’s rights, equality and empowerment through the access to quality secondary and tertiary education, and training up to the highest levels. The goal is for 100% of girls and women worldwide to achieve an education beyond primary school. Helen was an alumnus of University of Witwatersrand in South Africa.

Tribute from David Scott – Chairman of The National Trust of Zimbabwe
We shall miss Helen terribly but her memory will remain with the NTZ Councilors and particularly Shirley and I forever.
Helen was very passionate about The National Trust. She was an incredible source of knowledge and her logical/practical/worldly wise common sense positively influenced all our Council meetings and activities. Helen, with the support of her sons, selflessly helped develop NTZ over many decades through some very tough times.
Helen gave me, personally, tireless support and encouragement in my capacity as Chairman of NTZ, especially at the outset when I first joined NTZ. Helen always made sure we were doing the right thing at NTZ, when we ventured down a new path!! We spent many hours on the phone before and after Council meetings, discussing various matters and “chewing the cud” together. I was always confident that Helen would have some great advice and suggestions to any challenge we faced. I shall miss her wisdom and experience but will recall “what would Helen do” when dealing with issues into the future!
Helen was an amazing human being who committed herself to the wider community over her entire life, without thought for herself. Shirley and I thoroughly enjoyed our (all be it too short) time with Helen.
Rest in peace dear Helen.

Tribute from Sharon Waterworth – Deputy Chairperson The National Trust of Zimbabwe
May Helen rest in peace. I extend my deepest sympathies to Hel en’s family at this very sad time.
Helen volunteered and worked for the Trust for over 26 years during which time her contribution was significant and she was instrumental to its success. Helen was dedicated to the Trust and she also chaired the sub-committee for Heritage Houses which was another of her passions.
I had the very real privilege of working with Helen over the past decade or so. It was actually Helen that introduced me to the Trust and invited me to join the Executive Council, which I fortunately did. Helen is an inspirational lady whom will be deeply missed for her professional input and wisdom. Always an active member Helen helped to steer the Council in the right direction.
Upon reflection it was so fitting that on World Heritage Day in 2018 that the Trust honored Helen’s enormous input to the Trust and in recognition by unveiling a plaque at Worlds view (a Trust property) in Nganya close to where Helen enjoyed many family holidays. I attended the celebratory event along with other NTZ Councilors which took place on a kopje (hill) at an altitude of over 2,000 metres, one of the highest points in Zimbabwe, where the escarpment drops 600 metres to the plain below. Fittingly, Helen’s plaque sits proudly above the clouds and birds flying.

As you can see the view from the plaque is one of peace and of extreme beauty and it seems endless. In addition to the plaque Helen was also given the honor of a Protea flower being named after her, both will be a constant reminder of a very special lady and of her contribution to the Trust.

Tribute from Edone-Ann Logan personally and on behalf of the Rhodes Nyanga Historical Exhibition and it’s Committee
The loss of Helen is a tragic loss to the National Trust of Zimbabwe, and in particular to the Rhodes Nyanga Historical Exhibition (Rhodes Museum). From the start of the ‘upgrade ’of the museum Helen gave the Committee encouragement, and with her practical common sense, advised on many matters. Her passion and vision for the work was infectious! We hope that her valuable knowledge and experience has not been lost as Helen was a good teacher throughout her life, imparting her knowledge freely to so many.
Helen was an absolute gentlewoman and an excellent example of the best of our older generation of women in Zimbabwe who developed the country in past years to its highest standards. She will be greatly missed by many but certainly not forgotten.
Our most sincere condolences to John and Charles, who have been tremendously supportive to their mother . May the Lord be with them in their loss.
Sincerely, All RNHE members and their families.

I shall miss Helen terribly as she more or less took me under her wing when my husband and I joined the Trust. She was so knowledgeable and ready to share that knowledge with us all.
To me she was truly inspirational and I remember well the long chats on the phone when we discussed all things pertaining to the Trust and to life in general. Helen was an amazing woman with many attributes but most of all a very kind heart.
My deepest condolences to her family, she will be sorely missed.
Rest in peace dear Helen.

Tribute from Gill Honeyman and the World’s View Team
So many years of wise words, advice and support from a very fine lady.
Will always be remembered by us all at World’s View for her kindness and generosity through good times and hardships. We shall miss Helen so much and have been privileged to have had her friendship over the many years that she has given of her unstinting support for all our projects and future goals.
Much love to John and Charles at this sad time from Gill, Matirina, Luke and Arthur.

History inspired fiction

The Trust would like to congratulate Louisa Treger on the successful launch of her latest book entitled The Dragon Lady recently heldin Johannesburg, South Africa.

As you will see from the photograph above Louisa Cleverly reproduced the famous black snake that Lady Virginia had tattooed down her leg in her late teens which in the early 1900s would have been a very flamboyant and brave thing to do.

If you are interested in experiencing both the natural beauty and rich history of La Rochelle country house, gardens, spa and organic farm home of Sir Stephen and Lady Virginia where the book was set please either click on the property tab on this site or visit their Website or email them on

Thank you





Book Release -The Dragon Lady: The Courtauld Legacy Continues

A visit to a historical National Trust Property called La Rochelle Estate inspired Louisa Treger author of The Lodger (Macmillan 2014) to write a book that has just been published by Jonathan Ball and Bloomsbury Caravel! It’s a work of historical fiction based on the lives of Sir Stephen and Lady Virginia Courtauld who built the unique 108 hectare property in 1951 as a retirement home. The French style tower and house, with Welsh slate roof tiles, is situated in the Imbeza Valley in Penhalonga. It was generously bequeathed to the National Trust in 1972 and one of the best known of the Trust’s properties in Zimbabwe see

La Rochelle Estate

The Dragon Lady tells the extraordinary story of Lady Virginia Courtauld, so called for the exotic tattoo snaking up her leg. From the glamorous Italian Riviera before the Great War to the Art Deco glory of Eltham Palace in the thirties, from the secluded Scottish Highlands to sultry, segregated Rhodesia in the fifties, the narrative spans enormous cultural and social change.

Ostracised by society for being a foreign divorcée at the time of Edward VIII and Mrs Simpson, Ginie and her second husband Sir Stephen Courtauld leave the confines of post-war Britain to forge a new life in Rhodesia, only to find that being progressive liberals during segregation proves dangerous.

Subtly blending fact and fiction, deeply evocative of time and place the story is threaded throughout with intrigue, this is a riveting portrait of a boundary-breaking, extremely colourful and unconventional character, who rejected the submissive role women were expected to play.

In 2018 Lady Virginia was celebrated on International Women’s Day by the International National Trust Organisation, see

Sir Stephen and Lady Virginia

In an interview with the Trust, Louisa explained that she was particularly interested in the personalities and relationships of Sir Stephen and Lady Virginia. She said that she wanted to share such an interesting story and display the Courtaulds’ generosity towards Zimbabwe. She consequently spent time researching thoroughly for the book and interviewed many people who knew the Courtaulds’ personally including some members of the Courtauld family. Louisa spent time at La Rochelle and at their previous home Eltham Palace a royal residence from the 14th to the 16th century and the childhood home of King Henry VIII of Tudor. The Palace in Greenwich, UK is administered English Heritage who manage and conserve over 400 historic buildings and sites in the UK. The Tudorian mansion, acquired by the future Edward II in 1305, was re-designed to the Modernist tastes of Sir Stephen and Lady Virginia Courtauld when they took up residence in the 1930’s, then twenty years later, in the 1950’s they retired in Zimbabwe. Louise studied historical information contained in the Mutare Museum and archives, and worked with English Heritage, The Courtauld Institute and The National Trust of Zimbabwe.

Book launch

The Dragon Lady is available now in all good book stores and on-line from and Amazon. Exciting news for us: it is also being released in South Africa in May 2019 with launches in Johannesburg on 16th May @LoveBooksJozi and at the Franschhoek Literary Festival 17th-19th May.

Other book events are being held in the UK and USA and Louisa will be at them meeting people and personally signing copies of her book.

More exciting news: Louisa is planning to visit Zimbabwe later on this year and The Trust will host an event to celebrate and honor her new book and her dedication for writing it.

The Trust is planning to create three historical documentaries based on the life and legacy of Sir Stephen and Lady Virginia Courtauld and their love for art, culture, music and beauty, but most of all their incredible philanthropic generosity, foresight and empathy.

About Louisa

Louisa Treger, a classical violinist, studied at the Royal College of Music and the Guildhall School of Music and worked as a freelance orchestral player and teacher. She subsequently turned to literature, earning a Ph.D. in English at University College London, where she focused on early-twentieth-century women’s writing and was awarded the West Scholarship and the Rosa Morison Scholarship “for distinguished work in the study of English Language and Literature”. Louisa’s first novel, The Lodger, was published by Macmillan in 2014. She lives in London, but her late mother was South African and Africa is in her bone and marrow.

Louisa Treger

You can tweet Louisa on and visit her on


Here are some stunning reviews of the book including one from our very own Tsitsi Dangarembga , a Zimbabwean Award-winning novelist, filmmaker, gender and cultural activist.

“Louisa Treger’s brilliant second novel is a daring blend of romance, crime and history, and an intelligent exposé of the inherent injustice and consequences of all forms of oppression.”

Tsitsi Dangarembga, author of Nervous Conditions

“Treger has captured the last days of colonial Rhodesia perfectly. It is not just Lady Courtauld’s story, but also the people fighting for the country’s future. And while the book may only focus on a small piece of Zimbabwe’s long complicated history, it does so with emotion and fire.”   Sally Partridge, author of Mine.

“If you like your books to immerse you in a different time and place, you’ll love this.”

Beth Miller, author of The Good Neighbour.

“A remarkable story about the bravery and compassion of a little-known couple at a pivotal time in the history of Zimbabwe. Treger switches elegantly between narrators, time and place, and wears her meticulous research lightly in this fascinating novel.”

Annabel Abbs, author of Frieda: A Novel of the Real Lady Chatterley.

“An evocative, beautifully written story with a mystery at its heart. Clever and compelling I couldn’t wait to find out who shot The Dragon Lady, but at the same time I was so immersed that I didn’t want it to end. Highly recommended”.

Claire Douglas, author of Do Not Disturb.

 “The prose is lyrical, vivid and compelling, whether describing the settings, the characters, or the suspenseful intrigue of the story’s plot. It comes as no surprise to learn of Treger’s deep love for Africa, which, in her own words, is flowing through her blood and marrow.”

Essie Fox, author of The Last Days of Eda Grey.

 “The perfect blend of fact and fiction and a brilliant evocation of a fascinating time and place, told with haunting clarity. A remarkable achievement.”

Rebecca Mascull, author of The Wild Ai.

 “A haunting, evocative novel that explores what it is to be an outsider with its portrayal of a truly remarkable woman. Louisa Treger vividly brings to life both the historical characters of Virginia (Ginie) and Stephen Courtauld, and life in 1950s Rhodesia, in a deeply moving blend of fact and fiction that is intimately personal while painting a broader picture of a divided society.”   Alison Layland, author of Riverflow.

“Louisa Treger brings Lady Virginia Courtauld passionately to life, cleverly blending fact and fiction, history and imagination, as is her forte. The language is gentle and addictive, and the story uncoils beautifully snakelike.”

Louise Beech, author of Call Me Star Girl.



S Waterworth

12th April 2019



Discovery of a Formerly Unknown Modern Zimbabwean Stone Sculptor – Jonathan Matimba

This special exhibition has been extended until Christmas 2018.

‘The Yawn Dog’, ‘The Mighty Eagle’ and ‘Hongwe’s Ponder’ are a few of the fascinating titles given to Jonathan Matimba’s sculptures on display at the Rhodes Nyanga Historical Exhibition Rhodes Museum) at present.  ‘Seed Pod’, ‘Morning Love’ and ‘Flying Dream’ describe some of the modern pieces of work, crafted by our Nyanga and Claremont sculptors, which are also on display, giving an interesting contrast to the onlooker. Most of the modern artists are sons or grandsons of famous sculptors of the last century – Mariga, Manyandure, Takawira, Sande and Chaudiringa, many of whom were brought up in the Nyatate area of Nyanga North, and sold their work locally and overseas.

At the Official Opening of the Exhibition in August 2018, Dr Jonathan Zilberg, Associate Research Scholar at The Centre of African Studies, University of Illinois, gave an exhilarating talk on the history of Nyanga sculpture, mentioning the importance of women such as Miriam Mbwaburi, who sold woven reed mats at the local hotels in the ‘50s. Miriam was encouraged by the Rural Council to establish the Nyanga Craft Village and to invite potters and sculptors to join her.

Dr. Zilberg explained to the audience, which consisted of local folk, sculptors and their families, some important points which make sculptures appealing to buyers.  During the exhibition he spoke with many of the artists, encouraging them and giving helpful advice

Since the exhibition opening Dr Zilberg has compiled a power point presentation entitled:

 Discovery of a  Formerly  Unknown Modern Zimbabwean Stone Sculptor –  Jonathan Matimba (1940 1994)

If you are interested in reading the presentation, you can do so as it is an open access document posted at

Please note:

The opinions provided by the author are not necessarily the opinions expressed by the NTZ.