Focus Limited

Focus Limited


The postcard was produced by Focus Limited of Gatooma. Focus Limited was the business of William Kenneth “Ken” Buchanan (1923-2009). (His photograph is shown above, taken circa 1944. He was an Aerial Photographer with the Fleet Air Arm.)

Scottish-born Buchanan was an Aerial Photographer in the Royal Navy’s Fleet Air Arm serving from 1942‑1946 in Tangier, Malta and Gibraltar. Demobbed from the Navy in 1946, he returned to Scotland where he was hired by Blake Dalrymple who was planning to establish a documentary firm business in Southern Rhodesia. Dalrymple was the son of a highly successful Ayrshire coal-owner and he had produced educational, documentary and travel films before the war.

Buchanan moved to Africa with the Dalrymple family in 1948 and a film studio and housing estate was constructed on Wick Farm a few miles north of Gatooma on the Salisbury road. Buchanan married a local girl, Joan (nee Groenewald), in 1950 and they had two sons, both born in Gatooma.

Around 1957 Dalrymple decided to move his film company to Rewlatch, Johannesburg, renaming it Cine Union (the name reverted back to Films of Africa when the Union of South Africa became a republic).  Ken Buchanan chose to return to Gatooma with his family and opened his photographic business, Focus Limited, sharing the premises with Richard W. “Dick” Peel, another former Films of Africa employee. Dick Peel operated an optician business as well as writing editorials for the Rhodesia Herald.

In 1958 Ken Buchanan persuaded the printer and publisher of the Gatooma Mail, Joe Burke, to add photographs to the Gatooma Mail; from 1912 until then there were no photographs published. A colleague of Buchanan, Mr. Benny Leon who lives in Harare, recalls seeing the Pasi Dam picture in the newspaper, and the postcard was possibly printed by the Gatooma Mail.

Focus Limited closed its doors In 1960 when Dick Peel moved to Salisbury to work full-time as a news editor for the Rhodesia Herald. Buchanan joined the Gatooma office of The Old Mutual insurance company, but continued as a freelance photographer until he and his wife retired to Scotland in 1988.

R. Campbell Buchanan



  • See RSCJ 291