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Born in Bulawayo

Updated on December 27, 2015

Memories of Bulawayo

Where is Bulawayo? Well, when I was born the country of my birth was called Southern Rhodesia and was part of Rhodesia and Nyasaland. These days the country is known as Zimbawe. What has not changed is the name of my hometown...Bulawayo.

I chose this picture even though it is a scan of an old calendar and by no stretch of the imagination is it a perfect quality. It represents the jacaranda trees I so loved and if you notice the tall building that seems to appear at the end of the road, that was the flat my Mother and Grandmother lived in after they sold their property. This was Kennilworth Towers which overlooked the Ascot Racecourse. They lived on the eighth floor. The trees you see lining the street is part of Centenary Park which is on either side of the road.

The wide open streets are a feature of Bulawayo. These are my memories...and a bit about me.

Photo from 1984 calendar and taken by the Zimbabwe Tourist Board


The Jacaranda

This glorious tree is a blaze of lilac / mauve during September and October. The jacaranda tree was first introduced into the county from South America in 1897. Its flowers are bell shaped and it signifies the start of the warmer weather. I used to love the jacaranda display.

In Rhodesia / Zimbabwe we never referred to Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter. We had the wet and dry seasons. It definitely did get cold, especially at night but usually the sun shone during the day. Yes, we also had frost which burnt the plants.

Photo Corel

Bulawayo 1900

Bulawayo 1900
Bulawayo 1900

This photo was sent to me some time ago and I am unable to credit the source. It has been scanned from a publication

Please note that unless noted otherwise photos are my personal photos or from friends.

Have you ever visited or lived in Bulawayo?

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Wide Streets of Bulawayo

Wide Street of Bulawayo
Wide Street of Bulawayo

Bulawayo is the second largest city in Zimbabwe and is is in the province of Matabeleland.

The streets of Bulawayo are very wide as you will see in this picture taken from a 1982 calendar. This was so that a span of 16 oxen could turn in the street. The streets were designed in the grid system by Rhodesia's founder Cecil John Rhodes.

Photo by Sue Romily

Have you ever seen such wide streets?

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World's View at Matopos - or Matobo

Worlds View
Worlds View
Matopos - World's View
Matopos - World's View | Source

The Matopos National Park is about 35 Ks south of Bulawayo. We used to see the New Year in and then head to World's View to watch the sun rise. The stunning rock formations and balancing rocks are a sight to see!

Matopos Hills were a favorite of ours to visit in the weekends. World's View is where Cecil John Rhodes is buried.

Gosh I miss this.

The top photo was from a 1981 Calendar and taken by Alan Allen. However, I have been informed this is not the Matopos World's View at all. The following photo was taken by tfengreen on Flickr. This is at the Matopos!

Lyn at Matopos in the 70s

Lyn at Matopos in the 70s
Lyn at Matopos in the 70s

Radio Matopos

A local radio station in Bulawayo in the 1970s.

Balancing Rocks at Matopos

Mother and Child Balancing Rocks
Mother and Child Balancing Rocks | Source

The Shangani Patrol Memorial


Situated at World's View anlongside the grave of Cecil John Rhodes.

African Sunset

African Sunset
African Sunset | Source

Nothing beats an African sunset in my books. When I was growing up I used to refer to the beautiful colours of a sunset as prune juice and custard! Can you see it in this photo? Perhaps not a romantic description really...

My most vivid memory of a sunset was one that made my heart ache with its beauty. It was many years ago while visiting a friend who worked at a mine. The antelope that was silhouetted against the lovely colours of the sky added to this great feeling of aching beauty. I only wish I had a camera at the time...imagine the sunset viewed against the red earth of Africa with a beautiful animal silhouetted at very close quarters. Stunning!

Down Memory Lane

If you lived in Bulawayo watch out for Eskimo Hut...a favorite meeting place when I was living in Bulawayo! And watch out for the ice cream vendors on their bikes.

Couldn't see any pictures of my old school St Peters (SPUDS we called it). Come to think of it I didn't see Hillside and Leander Schools either - - perhaps because they were junior schools. My brother's school Hamilton is there. The Mater Dei Hospital is there too...that's where I was born. Yes, born in Bulawayo!

Bulawayo's Forgotten School: St Peter's Diocesan School - Known as SPUDS to those in the know!

Bulawayo's Forgotten School: St Peter Diocesan School, A Historic Preview, 1911-1977
Bulawayo's Forgotten School: St Peter Diocesan School, A Historic Preview, 1911-1977
Firstly I have to admit to not having read this why review? Well, I just came across it and thought there may be others interested in reading about their old school, after all there is very little out there about the school that has a place in many hearts. A reviewer on Amazon indicated that she enjoyed the read and the memories it evoked. However her criticism is that most of the period that she attended St Peters (1950-63) did not appear to be covered. I'm not sure what was missed but can see this as a disappointment. If you can overlook this fact you may still enjoy the read. Do you remember Sister Ethel Mary and Miss Swart? They're there! Did you notice that it's written by a man? I seem to remember boys allowed in the junior years ( I think) but it was really a girls school. Maybe this accounts for lost information.

If you attended St Peter's please share a little memory with us...

The years I left St Peters our end of year dance was cancelled because of food poisoning!

Did you go to St Peter's in Bulawayo?

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At Ascot Centre

At Ascot Centre
At Ascot Centre

Ascot Centre is near the Ascot Racecourse. It is alongside Kennilworth Towers...the one noted in the introduction.

At my Ascot Flat (1970s)

At my Ascot Flat (1970s)
At my Ascot Flat (1970s)





At Hillside Dams

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Ducks at Hillside DamsHillside Dams
Ducks at Hillside Dams
Ducks at Hillside Dams
Hillside Dams
Hillside Dams

Khami Ruins

Khami Ruins is 22 ks from Bulawayo and after the Great Zimbabwe Ruins is the most important historical ruin. It overlooks the Khami River and is believed to date back to the 17th century. Artefacts found at the site indicate a Portuguese missionary presence exited in by-gone years. Who built the ruins is not known but there is some thought that the Rozwi part of the Karanga Tribe were responsible.

The name Khami means slow running.

Photo Bulawayo Publicity

Zimbabwe map
Zimbabwe map

Map used with kind permission of the Nations Online Project

You will see from the map that Zimbabwe is a separate country to South Africa. It seems that many people assume it to be part of South Africa but it has never been South African!

Zambia used to be Northern Rhodesia and Malawi (not shown here but to the North of Mozambique) was Nyasaland.

Please be respectful when commenting here. I know this can be a 'hot potato' to some. But whatever you think Rhodesia did exist and was loved by many, both black and white.

Do you sometimes call Zimbabwe Rhodesia?

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Please let me know that you dropped by and share your comments. Thank you for sharing my memories.

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    • Robert Levine profile image

      Robert Levine 

      3 months ago from Brookline, Massachusetts

      Lynette, when did you leave Zimbabwe--before or after it became independent?

    • profile image


      9 months ago

      Ahhh....Bulawayo. City of my Soul. Found love there and have never forgotten.

      Northlea School, Hillside, the Airport, Rio Hotel, QPE, Killarney, Eskies, Ascot, Datsuns and flying over those roads. Jacarandas, Flamboyants, Centenary Parl, the fountain on NYE.

      Je T'aime Bulawayo

    • profile image

      Lynne Addison Doran. 

      15 months ago

      I was a pupil at St Peter's Diocesan School until 1974. I have many fond memories of Bulawayo, visits to Centenary Park and riding on the miniature railway and trips to the Eskimo Hut when we were allowed out of school!

    • LynetteBell profile imageAUTHOR


      4 years ago from Christchurch, New Zealand

      Hi Malcolm. Thanks for the visit. You certainly stirred a few memories. I was thinking about Talkies just the other day. Do you remember The Cavern? I worked there in the evenings.

      You are right about that being Selbourne Ave with the park on both sides...half way up as you say.

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      Lived in Bulawayo between 1960 and 1976, and spent my formative years there. Went to school at REPS, Milton High, and CBC. Great memories. I too recall Radio Matopos, and was chuffed that Bulawayo had its own easy listening radio station like Radio Jacaranda in Salisbury. I even appeared on the Tele 5 club once at the RTV studios in Morningside. Eskis was always a pit stop for us, and when I was older, Fritzs was the place to hang out on Saturday nights, along with Talkies (Talk of the Town night club). I remember the Kenilworth Tower where you lived, as Milton High School is right next door. There was even a small cinema there, although I think I only saw one movie there. I really enjoyed the SkyView Drive-In on the Jo'burg road, but most of the movies I saw were at the Palace, the Monte Carlo (later the Rainbow Vistarama), The Royal (later the Kine 600), and the Astor (later the Elite 400).

      That picture of the road to Ascot I think is Selbourne Avenue, with the Centenary Park half way up.

    • LynetteBell profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from Christchurch, New Zealand

      @gavin-brown-1654: Thanks Gavin. I'll see if I can get a better picture. One that is in Matopos!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Beautiful pages and pics. Thank you for sharing.

      Just one thing - the calendar may have got it wrong, the "World's View" pic of the Matopos is actually of the Chimanimani Mountains which also has a "Worlds View".

      Thanks again

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I enjoyed seeing your pictures and getting to know a little about you and Bulawayo.

    • Chocolatealchemy profile image


      7 years ago from London, United Kingdom

      Great Lens - thanks for the trip down memory lane. I lived in Gwelo (now Gweru) for 3 years before going back to South Africa - went to Cecil John Rhodes Primary School and for a short while to Chaplin High School. I have such fond memories of a very beautiful country!

    • balancebydesign4u profile image


      7 years ago from Arkansas

      One of the things I love about Squidoo is that we are such a diverse group from all around the world. I very much enjoyed reading about your life in Africa. Thanks for sharing!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Thank you for the tour and education on Bulawayo. It would be wonderful to travel and see places like this. I may have to settle for traveling the world on Squidoo. :)

    • favored profile image

      Fay Favored 

      7 years ago from USA

      I'm so glad you included your personal photos. It adds so much warmth to Bulawayo and the people there. Thanks for sharing this with us.

    • LynetteBell profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Christchurch, New Zealand

      @Kailua-KonaGirl: Hi Konagirl. One of my recent visitors was upset about your comments regarding 'greedy, violent, ignorant men'. I am commenting on her behalf. Perhaps your comment is a bit generalised as Africa is a large continent made up of many countries and is not a country in itself. Certainly some dictators in power fit the description but that does not mean all African men the same. As in many countries around the world there are people of all types...unfortunately itâs the dictators that steel the limelight and cast the dark shadows on the peoples they rule.

    • ajgodinho profile image

      Anthony Godinho 

      7 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I've never been to Zimbabwe, but I do know a friend who is from there. In fact, she is there right now and will be returning in March. Thanks for giving us a tour of Bulawayo! Wishing you all the best for the New Year ~ stay blessed!

    • i Dia1 profile image

      i Dia1 

      7 years ago

      I must admit, I never knew much about this country aside from the unrest and financial problems that were in the news. This city is beautiful and those jacaranda trees are gorgeous. It must have been hard for you to leave. Thank you for sharing your memories and these lovely photos. I hope you find others from your city.

    • tedwritesstuff24 profile image


      7 years ago

      Funny when countries change names. I mentioned Rhodesia to a 20 something the other day and just got a blank look! I will definitely go there, probably when there is a regime change. Fingers crossed soon ;-) Thank you for sharing.

    • Kailua-KonaGirl profile image


      7 years ago from New York

      Africa is such a war torn country full off greedy, violent, ignorant men that I have gotten over my desire to visit. You are so fortunate to have seen a better time when growing up in Rhodesia. Jacarandas are such gorgeous trees and I can surely understand the beautiful memories you have of them. Your photo images and recollections are wonderful and so enjoyed reading your 1st hand perspective. *Squid Angel Blessed*

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Love the old photos of you! Great story.

    • Gloriousconfusion profile image

      Diana Grant 

      7 years ago from United Kingdom

      Very enjoyable trip to Africa - it was such a wonderful place to live in and brought back many happy memories of my childhood - the wide open spaces, constant sunshine and informal way of life.Angel Blessings

    • LynetteBell profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Christchurch, New Zealand

      @anonymous: Elsie...I have to agree!

    • LynetteBell profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Christchurch, New Zealand

      @anonymous: Thank you Robin. I appreciate your comments, especially as you never went there but have an understanding.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Thank you for the wonderful tour.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I was just looking around squidoo and happened upon your article quite by accident. It brought up many emotions and reminded me of Rhodesia. I have never been there and grew up in the US but I remember the unrest growing up and I only now understand the truth. What a touching article; a beautiful part of history that has been forgotten by most and a part of African history that should be shared and remembered forever. Thank you.

    • indigoj profile image

      Indigo Janson 

      7 years ago from UK

      I admit I'd never heard of Bulawayo although I knew of Rhodesia (i.e. before it became Zimbabwe) so it was fascinating to hear about this city where you were born and grew up. This felt a bit like time travel.. I'm sure you'd find it much changed but on the other hand the beauty of Matopos and the stunning Jacaranda in bloom must be timeless.

    • thesuccess2 profile image


      7 years ago

      Blessed: Great Travelogue Lens

    • tonywarde lm profile image

      tonywarde lm 

      7 years ago

      Great lens, thank you! I was brought up in East Africa, so this lens brought back many wonderful memories - and those that others have mentioned , commented on, herein.

    • RawBill1 profile image


      7 years ago from Gold Coast, Australia

      I love the Jacarandas here in Australia too. They are one of my favourite trees. Awesome tale of your upbringing. The personal touches make it very special.

    • randomthings lm profile image

      randomthings lm 

      7 years ago

      This was a great story, Well done. Thanks for sharing it with us!

    • LouisaDembul profile image


      7 years ago

      You reminded me of Ethiopia and the jacaranda trees. They are so beautiful! Nice introduction to Bulawayo!

    • juditpaton profile image

      Iudit Gherghiteanu 

      7 years ago from Ozun

      beautiful lens about Zimbabwe...i did live years in the Jackaranda City - Pretoria, and is so good to remember how is when the whole place is full of those flowers...

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      How interesting! I love hearing people's stories like this! Blessed by a SquidAngel!

    • FunMoneyBusiness profile image

      Sharyn Read 

      7 years ago from ... either in the kitchen or at my laptop...

      I used to work with a Ziwi (a Zimbabwean that became a Kiwi) who was finally able to bring her widowed mum to live with her in Auckland from Bulawayo... they would enjoy seeing your precious photos - thank you for sharing!

    • Keepingscore profile image


      7 years ago

      Part of what I love about Squidoo is you never know what you are going to see next. Your story was fascinating, had never heard of Bulawayo and nearly all the news from that area today is far less positive. Nice work.

    • Millionairemomma profile image


      7 years ago

      The photos added a nice homemade touch! Wonderful! Quite touching.

    • bilafond lm profile image

      bilafond lm 

      7 years ago

      Very nice lens. Bulawayo means to us in Pakistan, a cricket match :). Thanks for Jacaranda Tree information. You know what . My home address is 16 Jacaranda Club Avenue. and we have all Jacaranda trees which are growing fast. Like all the pictures in your lens

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      My first real boyfriend was Rhodesian and I loved him dearly. I spent a holiday in Rhodesia in 1970 and it was then the most beautiful country on God's earth!

    • namcam profile image


      7 years ago

      This all makes me very nostalgic. I was also born in Bulawayo, in the early 50s, though I later lived in other parts of Zimbabwe. It's great to see some of the old familiar names in your photos, like CABS and Swift. Thanks for sharing.

    • ItayaLightbourne profile image

      Itaya Lightbourne 

      7 years ago from Topeka, KS

      A wonderful glimpse into your world! Great job on this article. Loved the photos and especially the balancing rocks. Amazing. :)

    • Alethia LM profile image

      Alethia LM 

      7 years ago

      I have never heard of this place before but it looks really beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing your experiences!

    • SheilaMilne profile image


      7 years ago from Kent, UK

      I remember the jacaranda trees and frangipani too. You've brought back so many memories for me.

    • IMKZRNU2 profile image


      7 years ago from Pacific Northwest

      I would love to visit some day. Also I love the Jacaranda grandparents had one at their house and they are beautiful.

    • Ninche profile image


      7 years ago

      Thank you for sharing, I enjoyed reading your lens and pics are so lovely!

    • Laura45 LM profile image

      Laura45 LM 

      7 years ago

      Thank you for sharing about yourself and offering me the chance to learn about your birth land Bulawayo. Great reading, and pictures.

    • hntrssthmpsn profile image


      7 years ago

      What a great read, and really spectacular photos! It was cool to see a Jacaranda tree, which I've come across in books but never seen. It's as lovely as I imagined it to be!

    • mihgasper profile image

      Miha Gasper 

      7 years ago from Ljubljana, Slovenia, EU

      Beautiful presentation of your hometown. Jacarandas are really astonishing.


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