Thursday, July 30, 2020

RGI/GI combined Marrieds V Bachelors circa 1940

RGI/GI (combined) Bachelors v Married circa 1940


Back row” Lazarus Fernandes, Carvalho, Rex Rodrigues, Braganza, Rommel D’Souza, Alex Rodrigues

Middle row: Tony Pereira, A Hendricus, Balthasar Gomes, Frank Dias Querin Menezes, Joe D’Sa

SeatedL Marian Gama, D J Paes, Vince D’Sa, Tamatur Braganza, Victor Lobo, Manuel Mendonca, J B Caldeira: on the ground S C Mendes, A C D’Souza.

Standing back 5th row: Gracias, A P Fernandes Michael Fernandes, George

Back 4th row: Leo D’Mello, Paul Fernandes, Joe D’Mello,

Back 3rd row: Mario Carvalho, J B Caldeira, Balthasar Gomes, A Hendricus

Back 2nd row: P C D’Mello (umpire), Will Fernandes, Maurice Gracias, A C D’Souza, John Gracias, Joe Mathias, Joe Lobo, Gaudence Almeida (umpire)

Seated: N Quadrus, Jack Mendes, Vincent D’Sa, Carvalho, Victor Lobo, Manuel Mendonca, Frank Dias


Wednesday, July 29, 2020

The many faces of Ben Mkapa, the late president of Tanzania/John Nazareth/Trevor Grundy

Two stunning reads, worth a bit of your time.

A clinical examination of the life and times of the former president.

The Elvis fan by John Nazareth

Ben Mkapa (President of Tanzania 1995-2005) – Death of an Elvis fan

Ben Mkapa died on Friday July 24th, 2020. He had a reputation of having worked “diligently to turn around Tanzania’s economic fortunes” that culminated in the country become a lower middle income country by the World Bank recently.

But Mkapa was young once and this is his story.

Mkapa attended studies at the Makerere University College (it was then part of the University of London) graduating with a BA in English in 1962. Among his collegemates were Peter Nazareth (Professor University of Iowa and Uganda’s foremost author), Adolf Mascarenhas (Professor University of Dar es Salaam), Henry Kyemba (former Principal Private Secretary to President Obote, and former Minister in the Amin government), Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o (Kenya’s foremost author), Bhadur Tejani (Kenyan author – and the Uncle of Canadian MP Arif Virani).  John Nagenda (Uganda cricketer and writer).

Educational institutions is where the different races got a chance to mix and be friends in pre-independence East Africa. Ngugi in his memoirs “Birth of a Dream Weaver” (2016) said that as a Kenyan this was the first chance he had got to befriend other races – Kenya being strictly separated as a colony unlike Uganda. (Uganda’s separation was more a state of mind. People kept their place, but were not compelled to.) He was delighted that when he put up his first play at Uganda’s National Theatre, several Asians volunteered to play roles in it.

Friends in Makerere took part in many group activities – the Makerere Jazz Club (where Nazareth was President). They hosted Louis Satchmo Armstrong when he visited Uganda 1960. (Ugandan weren’t used to autograph hunting at the time, but when some presented Satchmo with their autograph books, people grabbed any piece of paper to get one. Some even used Bronco toilet paper. (For the uninitiated, Bronco was not the soft toilet paper we have today. It was hard and could be written on. Many of us used it as tracing paper.)

There was the Elvis Presley fan club that was pretty popular too.


Mkapa was a popular man in Makerere. His friends nicknamed him “The Cat” a play on his name (paka = cat in Swahili).

Fast forward to 1995; Mkapa has just been elected President of Tanzania. Professor Nazareth wrote to Mkapa a few months later to congratulate him and renew their friendship.

To backtrack Professor Peter Nazareth had launched a university course entitled "Elvis As Anthology" in 1992 at the urging of an African American colleague from the University of Iowa? The course became a worldwide phenomenon with Nazareth interviewed on radio and TV in the US, Canada, Germany, Israel, Australia, Thailand… Nazareth intended it to be a one shot deal. It continued for over 20 years.

So in his letter to Mkapa he tells him about his Elvis course – “Are you interested in seeing some of it?” “Of course!” So Nazareth sends the course. A few months later Tanzania released Elvis stamps!!!


Which reminds us that behind famous people or icons are real people with sometimes simple likes as dislike. Mkapa’s tenure was not without controversy, but Tanzania came out better for him. Besides his economic prowness was the fact that he followed the example set by Tanzania’s first President, Julius Nyerere – two terms and you are out. This is something one rarely sees in the world today.


Honorary Ben Mkapa RIP.



John Nazareth

28 July 2020

Thursday, July 16, 2020

Moira v Batu's XI Nairobi December 4 1954

Four Lobo brothers, Joe, Victor, Francis and Johnny Lobo played for Moira as well as Blaise D'Cunha

Monday, July 13, 2020

A Spice of Life in India -- Marilyn Rodrigues

“A Spice of Life in India”

By Marilyn Rodrigues

Namaste/Namaskar—'The spirit within me honours the spirit in you.’

My journey to incredible India indeed ignited my spirit and inspired me to embrace and celebrate all that this vast and colourful country had to offer.

An assault on the senses is the only way to describe a place as vibrant and as varied as the sought-after spices that flourish across its land—from my tiny ancestral state of Goa to the lush land of Kerala and up along the northern ‘Golden Triangle’—India is a showcase of energy, industry and life!

The adventure began in Betalbatim, Goa where grand Portuguese-inspired mansions in shades of turmeric orange, mustard yellow and red capsicum, peppered the rural landscape. Clove-brown water buffaloes could be found partially submerged within the swampy rice paddy fields accompanied by salt-white egrets. And, soft golden nutmeg-hued sand cushioned my path on the beach that stretched as far as the eye could see. Even the crabs had an impact with the many coriander-shaped designs that they created just beyond the sea’s reach.

Goa introduced me to a world where the car, motorcycle, bicycle and tuk-tuk scattered like tossed cumin seeds, horns incessantly beeping, crisscrossed the roadways. Further, I was overwhelmed by the extent of the Catholic churches in Old Goa. They were all stunning; glorious and gracious structures, some with garlic bulb-like domes which dotted the tree canopy.

After a few days in Goa—Panjim, Margao, Betalbatim, Benaulim—I flew to Cochi, Kerala at the strong recommendation of friends. This city is located on the south-west side of the country.

The cinnamon-shaded soil that coated the soles of my shoes in Goa continued in Kerala; an Arabic, Chinese, Dutch, Portuguese and British-influenced state. From the Chinese fishing nets that extended over the Arabian Sea like star anise; to the tamarind-tinted backwaters of Alleppey; the iridescent green tea covered plantation hills of Munnar and the exotic conservation area of Periyar Sanctuary—Kerala is like the masala of it all! I thoroughly delighted in the beauty and topographical diversity of this part of India. The fifth oldest Jewish synagogue in the world is also surprisingly located in Kerala.

Flying from Cochi through Mumbai and onto Jaipur, in Rajasthan, took an entire day. Yet Jet Airways made things quite seamless and enjoyable. Chai following a curried chicken and rice lunch contributed to my satisfaction and taste buds!

The walled city of Jaipur was painted pomegranate pink in 1853 in honour of the royal visit of Prince Albert. The current Maharaja—Sawai Bhawani Singh—resides here in a massive City Palace where he receives guests (including tourists) regularly. On the steep, winding road to Jaigarh Fort, the arid, barren grounds up the hill are home to allspice-toned boars, bright cardamom-coloured wild green parrots, flamboyant peacocks with chanothi leaf-like feathers, mace-pigmented & crested Brahminy Mynas and dark vanilla-tinted monkeys. The largest cannon on wheels in the world, that can fire a range of 35 kilometers, rests here as well.

It was thrilling to next find myself on the back of an Indian elephant who was adorned with a saffron-shaded blanket. Amber Fort was the destination. The vantage point was spectacular and the experience outstanding as I rocked back and forth with each gigantic step; holding on tightly!

Before leaving Jaipur, I was treated to a passing view of the Palace of the Winds—Hawa Mahal; another gingery-splattered structural asset. I also had the chance to see some brilliant gemstones polished to perfection and could not resist in bringing one home—a crystal clear, certified blue topaz which hails from Rajasthan’s lovely capital of Jaipur.

And then, my driver navigated the car safely to Agra, in the state of Uttar Pradesh, after passing herds of not only holy cows on the highways but also clumsy-looking camels!

The most beautiful, most romantic building in the world is in Agra, a jewel in India’s crown of history and architecture—the breathtaking Taj Mahal. So unbelievable that this grandiose building was constructed as an elaborate tomb for love lost and yet millions gravitate to it to proclaim love for one another. Magic exudes from this sugary-coated castle of the departed.

Not too far away is the, just as remarkable, red sandstone Agra Fort which goes on and on like fields of red chili plants. The lace-like walls offer a strong yet visually delicate backdrop for selfies. And the camera doesn’t get a break as the grounds include a Fish Palace, where the emperor entertained himself by fishing; the Gem Mosque, which housed the Shah’s harem of women, the Royal Chambers; the Palace of Mirrors where the women of the court bathed; the Vine Garden and…the fort is endless and enchanting.

A ride in a rickshaw-type of vehicle pulled by a camel was memorable but so were the elephants, monkeys, loose dogs, cows and people I viewed along the roadway. The sensation was overwhelming.

My final destination was Delhi which introduced itself 2 hours in advance in the form of a thick, yellow, fenugreek seed-coloured haze. Pollution from nigella-hued brick factory smoke spewed non-stop beside the highway. This capital city offered me as a tourist a chance to shop in a maze of bazaars. Chandi Chowk was chaotic and treacherous, but bargains were to be had in a market that sold not only live chickens, car tires and shoes but also spices and carpets. A Maharaja spicy chicken burger at the Mcdonald’s allowed me to step away for a few minutes, from the pandemonium.

Delhi’s Red Fort was interesting; a visit to Jama Masjid—the largest mosque in India, valuable, and I was honoured to visit the site where a burning flame memorializes a world idol, Mahatma Gandhi. Yet, hands down, it was the lotus flower-shaped Baha’i Temple that provided me with pause, delight and a welcome reprieve from hectic Delhi.

It is said that over 50 spices are contained within a proper Indian curry. So, it is no wonder that this extraordinary country exudes a similar variety in landscapes, people, architecture, religion, wildlife and food! Salutations Mother India. Your spirit is enlightening and so very engaging. Namaste and thank you, until I return again.


Thursday, July 9, 2020


Rosalind Mascarenhas (Fortunata Rosalina Fernandes)
14 October 1937 -- 25 June 2020

Rosalind was born in the coastal village of Anjuna in Goa on the Arabian Sea. Her early years living and growing up in Catholic Goa and the famous Anjuna beach with its ‘laid back’ atmosphere certainly influenced Rosalind’s appetite for strong values, a good life of traditional cuisine, fun, and adventure. Rosalind was the only girl amidst her brothers. With her violinist father’s support of the Choir at St Michael’s Church, Rosalind grew her own talent with singing both at church and social gatherings. With her mother, she enjoyed the love of flowers, especially the Jasmin which they used to make into garlands. Rosalind married Rui Mascarenhas who was from Mombasa, on 20th January 1958. Their early married life started in Dar es Salaam during the '60s. Life with husband Rui’s cousins created delightful memories.

Egged on with Rosalind as a daring crusader, the families enjoyed beach gatherings and feasting on authentic home-produced delights. Rosalind was but a young mother and of course had a zest for life and play when she first came to Mombasa in 1966. With husband Rui and her four boys, they lived in an apartment on the floor above where Rui’s parents and siblings had been living. The warmth of the extended families across two dwellings was a lifestyle that was reminiscent of village Goa. Rosalind and family were soon part of the Barry Road neighbourhood in Ganjoni. She took part in street games like seven tiles, hopscotch, cricket and many a game punctuated by a quick halt to let the traffic go by. Rosalind’s love of cooking, especially traditional Goan sweets made her even more popular.

These were the early years of Kenya’s independence from Britain. Most Goan and Indian Asians went through the angst of thinking about their futures, especially their very young children. This was the time of emigrations where families and friends prepared and departed for distant shores. Rui led his family’s exit by moving to Mossley, Lancashire, UK in 1967. The Mascarenhas’s (Rui’s Dad and Mum) and D’Souza’s (Cosmas and Rose) were long time family friends and then found themselves as street neighbours where the bonds grew stronger. 1968 was the year that both families had planned to emigrate to the UK. Tragedy struck in the guise of a road accident on the final weekend of Rosalind and her boys’ departure from Mombasa.

Sadly, this cut short a full physical ability for an active young Wife and Mother of four incredibly young boys. Rosalind was bed bound and eventually evolved a life from the wheelchair whenever this was possible. Even in those early traumatic days following the calamity, Rosalind showed a strength of purpose, faith, hope, duty, and commitment to her family. Conversations and letters of exchanges would show the emotional roller coaster of unprecedented hope and despair and struggle that Rosalind herself was managing. Plans were made and on 28th July the D’Souza’s left Mombasa. They joined the Mascarenhas’s in Nairobi and together boarded the plane headed for Gatwick Airport, London. Rosalind was medically cared for on the plane whilst each of her four boys was looked after by the D’Souza children.

The two families were met by Rui and his sister at Gatwick Airport outside London. In multiple taxis, they headed for London Euston Station for the train journey to Manchester Piccadilly. The very emotional reunion then saw Rui and Rosalind head via ambulance to the then Lodge Moor Sheffield hospital. The rest of the entourage proceeded to Mossley. Rosalind’s initial years in the UK were inextricably linked to the spinal specialist care at medical centres, and latterly the Sheffield Northern General Hospital. Those early periods saw an unending array of hope, will and disappointments in helping Rosalind adjust to such physical limitations and consequences of paralysis. The will power, determination, courage, strength, responsibility, and leadership Rosalind demonstrated left everyone who met her in absolute awe. Anything that can be said of how Rosalind’s poise, presence and inspiration affected others is truly an understating of the reality.

Rosalind was special because she was truly herself. Her impact on others, from everything she loved, cared for, shared, and helped with, elevated her in all who knew her and came to know her as nothing short of a wonderful phenomenon. Some triggers for happy memories of Rosalind the wife, mother, grandmother, mother-in-law, sister, aunt, friend include: Her fruit cake and batika coconut cake, Christmas sweets, her fish curry, her laugh, her nails, her love of Elvis Presley, how she was always wanting you to eat more. The huge meals and then chocolate at the end! Her Woodworking and Canework skills, her love of flowers and gardening, her incredible agility with the wheelchair, her beloved Cockatiels and budgies – two favourites being Joey and Jeanie.

Above all, when Rosalind was talking to you, it was as if she was looking and communicating directly to your heart. Her sense of humour, her laughter, her unreserved directions, and sheer energy to perform and achieve is surely an inspirational story of iconic measure. Rosalind resonated with dignity, grace and magnanimity that surely is a model for us all. Rosalind is survived by her loving family: Husband Rui, her sons and their partners and her grandchildren.

PS: We are in unprecedented global pandemic times. This significantly impacts any intentions to formally farewell a loved one both culturally and legally. A compliant private funeral will be held at Mossley Cemetery. At some stage after that, the family will make available a tribute in photographs via internet accessibility for those family and friends who wish to pay their respects and reflect on Rosalind the person they remember. Please register your interest to have this access to:

Thursday, July 2, 2020



SHORTLY after midnight on September 18, 1961, the world was stunned by the news that a chartered DC-6 aircraft carrying the UN Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjold (only the second man to hold the post at the time) had crashed near Ndola, then Northern Rhodesia, Zambia today. Fourteen other people including other UN employees also lost their lives. Hammarskjold was on a peace-keeping machine in the newly independent Congo. At first pilot error was blamed but it was not long before people were talking about foul play. That is the way it stood until last year when The Guardian scored a great exclusive in finding the man who was responsible for the crash. A Belgian pilot Jan van Risseghem was identified as the man who shot down DC-6. He was never brought to justice, he died before that.

ONE of the first people at the scene where bits of the DC-6 had come down all over the place was Adrian Begg. At the time he was a policeman and later turned his skills to journalism. We worked at The Nation in Nairobi. Like so many people at the paper, he was a delightful chap. I tracked him down to an old folks’ home in Victoria but have not been able to find any more about him. Below is his report on the horrific crash site scene:


It began as a normal, quiet Sunday shift at Ndola’s central police station, where I had been stationed as a young assistant inspector since completing my training six months earlier – but it soon became obvious there was something big on the go. Officers were being called in from home, and in the early afternoon I was sent with a squad of other officers to secure Ndola Airport and put it in security lockdown in readiness for VIP arrivals. The word quickly spread among us that Dag Hammarskjöld was expected.

A twisted propellor and the charred remains of an engine. Investigators were able to deduce that the plane was operating under normal approach power when it crashed.

My job was to secure the airport car park, outside the perimeter fence, and at one point I was ordered to stop the waiting media posse from following Katanga’s rebel leader Moise Tshombe, who was being taken to a nearby government residence to await Hammarskjöld’s arrival. As Tshombe’s car swept past I used the simple tactic of driving a police Land Rover across the road, forming an effective blockade which brought the media convoy to a screeching halt. It wasn’t a popular move – a couple of the journalists were mates of mine.

It was a long, boring wait. Nobody seemed to have any idea what time Hammarskjöld was due, and very little information was filtering through to those of us on the ground. A plane landed we thought must be his but we learned later that it was the British politician, Lord Lansdowne, who had also come from Leopoldville.

Then, around midnight local time, another plane arrived over the airport. From where I was standing near the boundary fence, parallel with the runway, it was low enough to see the cabin and navigation lights, all of which were on. It headed away towards the west. Sometime later the runway lights were turned off and a senior officer, Supt. Bob Read if memory serves me correctly, came out of the airport building to tell the police on duty outside that we could stand down. We asked him why the plane hadn’t landed and he just shrugged and said that apparently Hammarskjöld had changed his mind and gone elsewhere which, we learned later, was the official line set by Lord Alport, the British High Commissioner, who had taken charge of the arrangements that day.

I went back to Ndola Central police station to knock off, and before going home for the night a few of us were sitting around in the control room drinking coffee and chatting about the day’s events (or non-events, in the case of Hammarskjöld’s arrival). Marius van Wyk, who had been on security duty at the house where Tshombe was staying, arrived somewhat excited about what he had seen – a bright flash that lit up the sky soon after Hammarskjöld’s plane flew over. This started us speculating that something had happened to the plane.

 A United Nations logo adorns one of the few recognisable pieces of wreckage. The DC6 was painted in its new white livery only weeks before the fatal crash when it was bought by the Swedish company Transair for charter to the UN for use in its Congo mission.

Marius was sufficiently convincing for me to phone the airport to report what he had seen. (Why I got the job of making the call, I’m not sure. Probably because I was nearest the phone). When I failed to get through, another officer, Keith Pennock, and I drove to the airport which was then in darkness and apparently deserted (it was after 3am). We went to the control tower, which was open, and found the radio operator asleep. We woke him, told him of our concerns, and he said we should tell John Williams, the airport manager, who had just returned from an overseas holiday and was staying at the Rhodes Hotel in Ndola. We rang the hotel but got no answer, so Pennock and I then drove there. Williams wasn’t overjoyed at being woken up and I still recall his exact words when we told him what Marius had seen, and our concern that this might mean the plane had crashed: “That just doesn’t happen. VIP planes don’t crash.” He told us nothing could be done in the middle of the night and there would be no point ordering an air search before first light.

Did Williams know more than he was letting on that night? I don’t think so. Obviously, he was irritable at being roused from his bed by two very junior police officers, but my memory is of a man grappling with a situation that was spiralling out of his control. I believe he genuinely wanted to believe, as he told Keith Pennock and me, that the plane would turn up safely on the ground somewhere in the morning.

Because we weren’t happy about Williams’ apparent lack of concern, I phoned Mufulira police and suggested they send out a road patrol to search in the area Marius had indicated. Then we phoned one of our senior officers to report developments and to get his permission for Ndola police also to send out a road patrol. Between them, the patrols would cover the road between Ndola and Mufulira and hopefully, might be able to spot burning wreckage.

(All three of us were very junior officers. I was 20, Keith, as I recall, was 21, and Marius would have been about 22, so we were taking quite a lot on ourselves in going against the advice of an experienced airport manager that there was no cause for concern).

It is to my eternal regret that our patrols failed to find the crash site that night as we might have been able to save the life of Harold Julien, who was still alive at that time, and perhaps even Hammarskjöld himself, who according to some sources, may have survived for a short time after the crash.

A searcher picks his way through the wreckage, which was strewn over a wide area.

On Tuesday, September 19, the day after the discovery of the plane, I volunteered to assist the team working on the ongoing search of the wreckage and took a number of photographs of the devastation using Kodachrome 35mm slide film (these images have since been digitised). While I was searching I found a body, believed to be that of the Swedish security guard Pvt. Per Persson. The bodies of the other victims had been removed the previous day, and because of initial confusion about the number of people on board, Persson’s body, well hidden beneath the debris, had been overlooked.

The body had what appeared to be bullet wounds and my recollection is there was a 9mm sub-machinegun in the wreckage nearby, which we surmised was the cause. He could well have been holding the weapon on his lap when the plane crashed or maybe even have been loading it preparatory to landing in what he would probably have considered to be alien territory (there was no reason why the gun should have been kept loaded during the flight, but obviously he would have wanted to be prepared for anything once they landed).

The soldiers’ wounds remain one of the mysteries of the crash, and like so many other questions that are still being asked, we don’t know all the answers even after fifty years.

My view? As someone who for many years was a journalist and who, during a brief career as a policeman had a very minor role on the fringes of this tragic and momentous event, I’m tempted by the theory of Ockham’s Razor. This tells us that when there are many competing hypotheses, the simplest explanation is usually the most reliable.




Basher Hassan, one of the best, always!

  Basharat   (Basher) Hassan As a kid growing up in Eastleigh and its environs in Nairobi, Kenya we had our own sports heroes but it was no ...