Bindura is situated in the Mazoe Valley 89 kilometres northeast of Salisbury and is on the railway line that goes to Shamva. It served as an agricultural centre for the mixed farming that took place there and was used by the mining community of Trojan Mine. Trojan Mine was the largest producer of nickel in Rhodesia.
The DCs office played a major role in local government administration and also in the training of Intaf regular members. DC Stan Fynes-Clinton started the Cadets course and was responsible for running it. See the page on the Bindura Course for details.
1957 to 1960
Bindura was one of the many small Rhodesian towns and villages in which there was a Native Commissioner’s office. Despite its rather unfortunate name - which in Shona means “Bitch on Heat” – it was a pleasant and friendly town and District, about sixty miles from Salisbury.
Bindura was a prosperous tobacco and mixed farming area, and there were also some mines. There were two Native Reserves : Masembura and Msana. Both were very picturesque and well watered, and had reasonably effective Councils. They were basically good agricultural areas, and Msana in addition produced fairly good cattle. Relations between the farms and reserves were generally good. .
The rolling granite hills of the Reserves (Masembura in particular) contained caves with rock paintings and other relics dating back to the pre-Occupation era. One particularly interesting painting showed that the early inhabitants had herds of fat-tailed sheep – a fact not generally realised.
Employees on the farms and mines were mainly migrant workers from Nyasaland and Mocambique. Many had “mapoto” wives (temporary arrangements in which the ladies looked after the pots –hence the name - and comforts of the gentlemen) but some were legally married to local or foreign women. This could give rise to complicated civil cases involving custody of children where one party came from a matrilineal culture, and the other patrilineal. Decisions were based primarily on what was best for the children in the shorter and longer terms. A large amount of the office’s work originated in the farms and the town.
In addition to their numerous administrative duties, the Native Commissioner and Assistant Native Commissioner were also Assistant Magistrates, a role which sometimes brought them into conflict with certain local farmers.
During the period September 1957 to December 1960 the following were on the staff :
H.E. Sumner. Native Commissioner
Lewis Walter. Assistant Native Commissioner
Mike Beresford. Clerk
Dave Mirams. Clerk
Gertie Lindop. Secretary
Jack Robertshaw. Land Development Officer
David Chima and William ? were the Pass Office clerks, and accomplished interpreters in the many languages spoken on the farms and mines
(Some names missing. Please submit additions and corrections to the Webmaster))
Note: Jim Robertshaw, son of Dimmy and Jack Robertshaw, was killed in action in Mudzi on 16th September 1978. He was a District Officer. Dave Mirams was killed in action on 2nd January 1979. He was then District Commissioner, Mrewa. Bindura was his first station on appointment to the Native Department.
The article written on the period 1957 to 1960 was kindly written and supplied by Lewis Walter
The district was adversely affected by the war. The main route to Mount Darwin goes through Bindura and when the war escalated in that district all the security forces passed through Bindura. The Rhodesian Women’s Service established a stop off point for the forces and supplied hot food, coffee and a variety of other supplies for them. A number of protected villages and keeps were constructed to assist in the war. Several incidents including landmines occurred in the district.