Conversations with Swiss Missionaries in Barotseland 1940-1972

Rhodesian Study Circle

Conversations with Swiss Missionaries in Barotseland 1940-1972 (with photographs and watercolours by Claire Bornand)

A new publication of the RSC by member Ian Menzies (who resides in Geneva and farms cattle in Zimbabwe). This is a much smaller publication than recent Memoirs;  it is about a rather intimate encounter with one of those brave women who journeyed to Central Africa as missionaries in the middle of the 20th Century and is entitled: Conversations with Swiss Missionaries in Barotseland 1940-1972.

Conversations with Swiss missionaries’ is the story of a young nurse – Claire Bornand –  from Geneva who sets out for Barotseland in 1940. She travels through Vichy France, through post Civil War Spain and eventually to her station on the Upper Zambezi. Many of her veteran colleagues are ill or exhausted and she soon finds herself taking responsibility for a clinic and treating thousands of patients. In her diary, she records Lozi customs, she photographs scenes on the Zambezi and botanical observations in her delightful series of watercolours. The 40 page book is based on interviews, documents bequeathed to the Geneva Ethnographic Museum and Paris DEFAP missionary archives.


  • Title: Conversations with Swiss Missionaries in Barotseland 1940-1972 
  • Author: Ian Menzies
  • Available from late July, 2020.
  • Prices:
    • PDF – N/A
    • Print Copy (Members Only) – UK £8 including P&H; Europe £10 including P&H; International £12 including P&H
    • Print Copy (Non-Members) – Add £2 to the above

To place an order, complete the ORDER FORM.

Journal of the Rhodesian Study Circle: No.278 May 2020

Vol. 70 No.2 May 2020/No.278

  • Editorial
  • Chairman’s Report
  • Members News and Information
  • Book Review
  • Matters Arising
  • Members Ask
  • Rhodesia 1890-1924. The Postal History and Stamps of the British South Africa Company. Display to the Royal Philatelic Society London 20 February 2020 By Colin Hoffman RDPSA, FRPSL
  • Reports of RSC Meetings:
    • Melbourne (14/3/2020)
    • Harare (8/2/2020)
    • Johannesburg (22/2/2020)
  • Overprint Oddities, a sign of Zambia’s Postal Woes? – Adam Goulding
  • Three interesting ‘historical’ documents – Adrian de Bourbon
  • The Gwelo ‘M’ Post Office – Mike Hughes
  • Bulawayo brochures, publicity items in which postal rates and times are shown – Rob Burrett
  • Queen Elizabeth II material ex Archives – Patrick Flanagan
  • Preamble to the Colours and Printings of the Rhodesia Double Head – Stephen Reah-Johnson and Simon Hensman
  • The Chaos at ZIMPOST in 2019 – Geoff Brakspear
  • Some interesting BCA / Nyasaland items – Patrick Flanagan and John Shawley 
  • Rhodesia Admiral Postal Stationery Cards – Andrew Wilkie
  • 1915 Registered Linen Parcel Tag with 2/6d Die II Plate 3 State 3 (SG Unlisted); two strips of three and one block of ten and four single copies – Allen Kirkpatrick
  • 1959 Rhodesia & Nyasaland 2½d Fairbridge Memorial – Dave Cooper
  • Some further thoughts about the postcards published by the Paris Missionary Society in Barotseland – Sean Burke
  • The British South Africa Company, King George V Admiral Series. Rediscovering
    the Origin of the Portrait – David Spivack and Colin Hoffman RDPSA, FRPSL
  • Early map of Bulawayo 1896 – Mike Barter
  • Early revenue usage of Rhodesia’s first stamps – Mike Barter
  • Memoir 32: McNeil’s Giraffe: The African Sketches of a Scottish PostmasterAnita McCullough

Encyclopaedia: Zimbabwe 2000-2021


Zimbabwe 2000-2021




Journal of the Rhodesian Study Circle: No.277 March 2020

Vol. 70 No.1 March 2020/No.277

  • Editorial
  • Members News and Information
  • Matters Arising
  • Members Ask
  • Members Share
  • Reports of Meetings and Exhibitions:
    • London (16/11/2019)
    • South West England (20/10/2019)
    • East Rand Stamp Show (4-7/9/2019)
    • Harare (19/10/2019)
    • Melbourne (23/11/2019)
    • London (18/1/2020)
    • Johannesburg (23/11/2019)
  • Proving Position for the Double Head 1/- RSC-F1 (6B) – Simon Hensman
  • Further examples of P.O.W. mail – Keith Harrop
  • Closed contray to regulations  – Keith Harrop
  • An Interesting Find of the Perf. 15 2d RSC ‘C’ Double Head – But How Unusual Is It? – Robert Gallimore
  • Kalulushi, Chibuluma Mine and the Congo Crisis – Adam Goulding
  • The Die II 6d Plate 4, State 2, Printing – Allen Kirkpatrick
  • Rhodesian Railways Prepaid Newspaper Parcel – Keith Harrop
  • Northern Rhodesia to The Gold Coast by Air Mail in 1935 – Peter Wingent
  • Rhodesia Postal Stationery Revisited – Wayne Menuz
  • Something from the Archives
  • UMCA Postcards – Series 1B – Colin Gardiner
  • UMCA Postcards – Series 8 – Brian Coop
  • Zimbabwe Airport Departure Tax/Fee – Adrian de Bourbon
  • Southern Rhodesia King George V Sheet Numbers – James Gavin
  • Postcard Forum: Anglo-Boer War Era Postcards – Andrew Wilkie
  • Some examples of Boer War and Censored Mail in Rhodesia – Paul Peggie
  • The Oswald Marsh Legacy – Andrew Wilson
  • Remembering Catherine Anne Maeve Marsh (1916-2019) – Colin Fraser
  • 1965 UDI Cover to Kenya – Keith Harrop
  • Sam Kelly: Mixing business with pleasure – Sean Burke
  • Rhodesia UDI Imperforate Stamps/Presentation Cards – Dave Cooper
  • Southern Rhodesia Post Office Savings Bank
  • Sakontwi – The lonely outpost on the Laupula River – Adam Goulding
  • Unusual Tobacco Cover from the United Tobacco Companies (South) Limited – Walter Herdzik

Journal of the Rhodesian Study Circle: 2020 – 2029







The Pre-Federation Posts of Northern Rhodesia – W G Nodder

The Pre-Federation Posts of Northern Rhodesia

W G Nodder

Rhodesian Study Circle: Memoir 32 – McNeil’s Giraffe: The African Sketches of a Scottish Postmaster

Rhodesian Study Circle

McNeil’s Giraffe: The African Sketches of a Scottish Postmaster

Memoir 32, McNeil’s Giraffe: The African Sketches of a Scottish Postmaster (ISBN 978-1-908365-09-5) is the quintessential North-Eastern Rhodesia back-story shedding light on the Edwardians of the Tanganyika Plateau. Postcards, photographs – and Jim McNeil’s irrepressible creativity – reveal the many commercial hopes, and the administrative and domestic challenges of the era.

This account gives a new voice to the second-wave pioneers of NER and BCA who followed the terrestrial telegraph line, developed the missions, took the lake steamers and relied on the postal system for their well-being and sustenance.

Mporokoso’s native commissioner and poet, Cullen Gouldsbury, says in his 1908 book ‘An African Year’, that the “especial charm of Plateauland … is the drive, deeply implanted in the human breast, to be, as it were, a Triton among the minnows. Man who in London or Glasgow would be chained to a wholly uninteresting office-stool, unnoticed and unknown, rises here in his own small sphere, to the dignity of a plenipotentiary.” This man surely was Jim McNeil, postmaster and telegraphist of Abercorn.

“I found it an enthralling read … absolutely fascinating and accessible … an astonishing bit of sustained research; no stone unturned …rooted in diary entries and personal letters and illustrates the lives of some remarkable people … a really great run of rare photographs.” Richard Rathbone, Emeritus Professor, Department of History, Religions & Philosophies, SOAS.

Visit to see a slide show of many of the items found in this book.

Uncle Jim’s Giraffe: the African sketches of a Scottish Postmaster – … (



  • Memoir: 32
  • Title: McNeil’s Giraffe: The African Sketches of a Scottish Postmaster
  • Author: Anita McCullough
  • Prices:
    • PDF – N/A
    • Print Copy (Members Only) – £20+P&H
    • Print Copy (Non-Members) – £24+P&H

To place an order, complete the ORDER FORM.

RSC Journal: No.276 December 2019

Vol. 69 No.4 September 2019/No.275

  • Editorial
  • Membership News and Information
  • Obituary: Rev. David Hubbard
  • Book Reviews
  • Matters Arising
  • Members Ask
  • Members Share
  • RSC Meetings and Exhibitions:
    • Cape Town (16/02/2019)
    • San Francisco (26/04/2019)
    • Melbourne (02/05/2019)
    • South West England (02/06/2019)
    • Stockholmia (26/05-02/06/2019)
    • London (29/06/2019)
  • ‘Silver Queen Flight’ – England to South Africa – Keith Harrop
  • Two Afternoons with Lamar Stout
  • A morning in early May with the £1 Double Head in Napa, California
  • Rhodesia Admirals – Allen Kirkpatrick
  • Postcard Forum – Andrew Wilkie
  • Some postcards of possible interest – Colin Hoffman
  • Unadopted Rhodesia & Nyasaland essays – Keith Harrop
  • Some items of postal history from the BSAC Admiral period – Derek Lambert
  • W Ellerton Fry and George Washington Wilson – Colin Hoffman and Sean Burke
  • The Pre-Colonial Bulawayo Posts, 1875-1893: Some research findings – Ian Johnstone
  • The source of the image for the 1905 Victoria Falls issue – Colin Hoffman and Sean Burke
  • Early air dispatches from Livingstonia, Nyasaland – Brian Coop
  • First day cancel on a Rhodesia Admiral – a new find
  • The Development of the Rose of Sharon and Shamrock Mine – Christopher Cooksey
  • Possibly the earliest reference to the ‘OD’ flaw on the 1d Double Head – Derek Lambert
  • The Reuters Private Telegraph stamps of Matabeleland – Part 3 – Julian Schamroth
  • The first post office of Marandellas – Mike Barter
  • Some interesting research findings for our archives
  • New Insights into a BSAC Admiral Rarity – SG 256b – How many exist? – David Spivack
  • Remembering Stan Carey and Arcturus – Dave Cooper
  • Stanley Gibbons BSAC Admiral Catalogue Listing update

RSC Journal: No.276 December 2019

Vol. 69 No.5 December 2019/No.276 & Supplement

  • Editorial
  • From the Chairman
  • Annual Conference 2020
  • Membership News and Information
  • Obituaries: Richard Barnett, Gary Brown, David Lee
  • More on Memoirs-in-the-making
  • Zimbabwe post offices and postmarks, The first decades – The Derrick Byrom Legacy
  • Matters Arising
  • Members Ask
  • Members Share
  • RSC Meetings and Exhibitions:
    • Melbourne (7/9/2019)
    • Johannesburg (24/8/2019)
    • MICOPEX, Wisconsin (22-23/9/2019)
    • NZ National Philatelic Exhibition (28-29/9/2019)
    • Cape Town (8/6/2019)
  • Early revenue usage of “Rhodesia’s first stamps” – Mike Barter
  • Stanley Gibbons 2020 ‘Part 1’ BSAC Admiral Catalogue Revisions – Summary of Listing Changes – David Spivack
  • Adventures with the Penny Double Head: The terminal sufferings of the benighted 85B – Bob Gibbs
  • Early Farm Share Certificate Matabeleland 1894 – Mike Barter
  • The cover on the cover of this Journal – Peter Wingent
  • The Southern Rhodesia WWII Triangular Censor Handstamp – Keith Harrop and Mark Loomis
  • Mashonaland Mails 1890 – Colin Hoffman
  • Alluvial Certificates of Registration – Christopher Cooksey
  • Joseph Dobson – First postmaster in North-Western Rhodesia, at Mongu – Mike Barter
  • The RHODESIA ‘Large Arms’ Postal Stationery Cards of 1896 – Andrew Wilkie
  • Transmission by air within the USA – Keith Harrop
  • Mail from S. Rhodesia to Prisoners of War in Germany and Italy – Christopher Cooksey
  • UDI – No Service – Keith Harrop
  • Postcards of the African Lakes Corporation – Stuart Ross
  • Two unrecorded FPO covers – John Shawley
  • Mother Patrick – Mark Loomis
  • Malawi Today – Stuart Ross
  • A remarkable Family of Collectors – Dave Cooper
  • Postal Voting for Overseas Residents – Keith Harrop
  • …something new out of Africa 284 Missionary postal history from Kalene Hill
    and Ndola – Paul Peggie
  • A letter from the King – Patrick Flanagan and Sean Burke
  • Postcard Forum: W. Rausch, Photographer – Andrew Wilkie
  • Airletters of Nyasaland – Adrian de Bourbon
  • Supplement: The BSAC Admirals – A Philatelic Bibliography – David Spivack
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