BULAWAYO MEMORIES

Early days - 1906 Lord Selborne (the high commissioner) visited Rhodesia

In February 1906 Lord Selborne (the high commissioner) visited Rhodesia. He inquired into the various grievances of the settlers against the Chartered Company; held an indaba with Matabele indunas in the Matoppo Hills, and at Bulawayo had a conference with Lewanika, the paramount chief of the Barotse.

In the following year the Selborne Memorandum was published, advocating integration of Rhodesia into a British-led South Africa. What had been Seventh Avenue was changed to Selborne for the occasion.

Discontent with the Chartered Company Government had been growing stronger and the visit of Lord Selborne, the British High Commissioner, provided the people with an opportunity for airing their grievances. When his train arrived at 8.30 a.m. the Southern Rhodesia Volunteers under Capt. Boggie formed a guard of honour. Lord Selborne and his wife were driven in a motor car to the Court House via Livingstone Avenue which had been colourfully decorated with streamers, overhead and between the gum trees. At the Court House P. G. Smith presented the large Reception Committee before Grace Hurrell presented Lady Selborne with a bouquet. Lord Selborne met many deputations throughout the morning and afternoon. At a banquet that night, the High Commissioner made a long speech and the dinner finished at 11 p.m. The Police had engaged an extra 300 natives to hold burning torches, lighting the route for the visitors to the station on their departure after the banquet. Nothing was recorded of the outcome of the deputations.

The Selborne Hotel was originally built in the 1930’s on Selborne Ave, Bulawayo and is one of the oldest hotels still in business.


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