Members of the staff of the Department were invited to attend this important event and Lewis Walter, who was an Assistant Native Commissioner at the time, accepted. He wrote this article and took the photographs that are on this page.
When Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother visited Southern Rhodesia in July 1957, a most impressive event was the Royal Indaba arranged by the Native Affairs Department at Matobo, in the Matopos Hills.
After inspecting the Guard of Honour provided by the Kings African Rifles, the Queen was escorted to a seat in a thatched shelter, with other dignitaries. There followed a few moments of deep silence, and then the Matabele Royal Salute "BAYETE !" rang out from tribesmen posted in the surrounding hilltops. Another short silence, and the thousands present rose to their feet and roared their approval.
This was followed by a slow and dignified procession as the Chiefs from all over the country, some frail and elderly, approached and saluted the Queen.
The Chiefs then presented Her Majesty with a beautifully made wrought iron fire-screen embodying two elephant tusks, two Chief's badges, and a Headman's badge. Below was an inscription from the Chiefs to the Queen. She then addressed the gathering, and this was followed by tribal dancing during which armed warriors rushed up to within a few feet of a graciously smiling and unflinching Queen.
This was probably one of the last and most impressive truly Colonial events in a fading Empire.