Fifteen years ago, for two years, I worked in a university library in Africa with a healthy book budget. In fact, I found it difficult to spend all the money allocated to my subject areas of history and librarianship. The University of Botswana Library was well supported by the Botswanan government, which also put a lot of money into the transportation and health sectors.
I was more or less able to order as many books about African history as I could, and it was really enjoyable when the books arrived, were processed and placed on the shelves. I borrowed many of the books myself, and read them whilst sitting in our rented house on Letimoga Road, on the bank of the Segoditshane River. I say ‘bank of the Segoditshane River’ but it was more of a dribble of water, most of the time. Not like earlier this year, when it overflowed due to floods.
I read many books, especially ones about Zimbabwe, and this interest in Zimbabwe has continued to the present time, though nowadays I have to buy the books. I’ve just finished reading Bound for Africa, by Douglas H Hubbard Jr.
Hubbard was an American who, after serving in Vietnam, found himself working in a counter-insurgency role at the beginning of the end of white rule in what was still, then, Rhodesia. It’s a book full of fascinating details the likes of which are not usually documented. In fact, Hubbard saw little action against the enemy in Rhodesia, being more involved in the training process. It isn’t until page 268 that we find out, completely unexpectedly, why Hubbard’s time in Rhodesia came to an abrupt end. I won’t spoil it for you by saying what happened.