3 – The country club

HYENAThe country club was the epicentre of the relatively small white community, barring wife swapping, it was the only entertainment available.

When walking back to your car at night from the Dodoma country club, you would feel and hear scorpions being trampled beneath your feet. One night my mother left the club early after a row with my father and walked along the tree-lined path towards the car park. A cackle (group) of hyenas started to surround her, she didn’t notice them at first and when she did, she let loose a venomous rage which had been reserved for my father. The hyenas were no match for her wrath and they duly scattered. It was lucky my father was absent.

There was an incident at this very same club when a man committed suicide. He hung himself from one of the trees, the next morning they only found the upper torso, as the hyenas could not reach that high.

When I was a little older, at another club in another country, my parents didn’t have an ayah (nanny) to look after me. So, they went to the club and locked me in the car – I was supposed to cross my legs and sleep. Childcare officers would have had a field day. After about an hour, the reason for locking the doors was obvious, as lions would wander amongst the cars.

One drunken night, my young parents along with some other miscreants decided on a drive up to the ‘Tank’ for a swim, this is where the water supply for the community was located. On the way, a couple of lion cubs were illuminated by the headlights. The ladies of the party got out of the car and picked them up, my father suddenly had a sobering thought – where you see lion cubs, their mother is usually a few paw prints away. He hastily shepherded the ladies back into the car just in time.

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