Henry Levy

by Daphne Levy

My father, Henry Levy (known as Harry to all his friends) emigrated from Glasgow as a young man in the early 1900’s, and arrived in the Rhodesias. He had an introduction to his father’s cousin, Isaac Wolffe, who lived in Bulawayo. After working for a time on the copper belt in Northern Rhodesia, he joined the Goldfields Mining Company and became secretary of one of their gold mines (the Wanderer Mine) near Selukwe.

During the first world war he served in the Rhodesia Regiment in German East Africa. Returning to Britain on holiday, he met my mother, Ethel Baker, who came from Manchester. They were married in Cape Town in 1926 and during the first years of their married life had to contend with harsh living conditions in those early colonial days.

After many years on the mine, my father was transferred to Goldfields head office in Bulawayo. He died in 1954 and is buried in the Jewish cemetery in Bulawayo. I was born in Selukwe in 1931 and went to boarding school in Gwelo (the Convent) and later to the Girls’ High School in Salisbury, after which I studied for a science degree at Rhodes University in Grahamstown, SA.

Memories of my childhood in the mining communities round Selukwe, and at boarding school, are very happy ones. Selukwe was a sleepy little town, where my mother would do her weekly shopping. The mayor of Selukwe was Jock Smith the butcher, whose son, Ian, was to become so politically involved.

There were a few Jewish families in the area, mostly traders. Names like Katz, Grill, Rabinovitz, spring to mind. Immediately prior to world war 2 there was an influx of German Jewish refugees, who temporarily settled on a ranch outside Bulawayo belonging to a Mr. O’Connor. I recall visiting these families with my parents and listening to the dreadful stories they had to tell.

How fortunate I was to be living in that part of the world at that time! In 1956 I left Rhodesia to live in Britain. My mother had passed away and I felt the need to be close to my immediate family…. aunts, uncles, and cousins. In 1961 I married Anthony Myers, a Londoner. We live close to London (in Pinner, Middlesex) and if any old Rhodesians remember me, as Daphne Levy as I then was, I would love to hear from them via the website.

Daphne passed away on 2nd July 2019.