A.R. (Tod ) Talbot
Primary Development Officer – Lower Gwelo
1958 – 1976
My grandfather, Mr. Tod Talbot, was employed by the Department of Internal Affairs from 1958 to 1976.
Tod Talbot was the Primary Development Officer for the Lower Gwelo and Que Que TTL’s during this period, and was resident in Lower Gwelo. His residence, office and workshops were between the Lower Gwelo road and the northern boundary of the Lower Gwelo Seventh Day Adventist mission. The house and workshops are still in existence and are possibly incorporated into the SDA mission and college facilities.
PDO Tod Talbot and his wife Thora at their home in Lower Gwelo in the late 1960s
The DC based in Gwelo was Mr. Hunt, and the Lands Development Officer was Mr. Cyril Wyatt. My grandfather’s DA was Sergeant Kembo Lugwalo.
The Chiefs of the area were Chief Mnindwa, Chief Sogwala and Chief Bunina Mkoba. My grandfather attended the burial of Chief Mkoba. The traditional burial included the slaughtering of two oxen, and Chief Mkoba was wrapped in a black ox hide and buried in the seated position within the kraal boundary.
In addition to his normal duties, my grandfather designed and constructed a reinforced concrete bridge, of significant span, over the Ngqamu River. This bridge was named the Talbot Bridge during the official opening ceremony presided over by the DC. The construction of this bridge defined the practical knowledge and capability that my grandfather possessed – and probably highlights the capabilities of Intaf PDO’s in general! The bridge replaced a low level river crossing, which used to be regularly impassable during the rainy season, halting traffic along the Lower Gwelo road to and from Gwelo. Not surprisingly, due to its robust construction the bridge is still in use. Unfortunately the plaque commemorating the opening and naming of the bridge has long since been removed.
My grandparents experienced some “close calls” in the area during the rise of the nationalist movements and consequent political disturbances in the early 60’s, with either Police intervention, or my grandfather’s astuteness, saving the day. During the early to mid-70’s the area was generally quiet and I was fortunate to have opportunities to be able to accompany my grandfather whilst he conducted his work. My grandparent’s time in Lower Gwelo holds very warm and special memories for our family.
Tod Talbot retired in 1976 at the age of 66.
This information is provided, in loving memory of Tod and Thora Talbot, by their children - Beryl and Elizabeth, and grandchildren - Guy, Paula and Sandi.