Miombo Woodlands inspire colour and drama….

Our unique Miombo Woodlands inspire my art at this time of year as we head into our Zimbabwean spring colours…

Msasa abstract triptych, acrylic on deep stretched canvas

Msasa leaves will soon burst forth in all the deep warm tones of a Northern hemisphere fall!

msasa triptych, acrylic on canvas-each panel 3 x 2 feet Lin Barrie

Interspersed with splashes of brilliant red from the Erythrina trees

Msasa trees are found in the Miombo areas of Africa…


Fun facts:

A “Touch of the Wild in the Heart of the City”, Harare’s Mukuvisi Woodlands is an inspiring place to walk, dream and hold art shows! Plus view the spring colors for the next few months…

You might very well see Guinea Fowl,

guinea spots acrylic on canvas board, 51 x 41 cm Lin Barrie


and the endangered and elusive pangolin might very well be here among these trees…!

Old Gold Pangolin, acrylic on loose canvas, 57 X 93 cm Lin Barrie


The most wonderful drives through colourful woodlands at this time of year are towards Mutare from Harare, on the way to “Gordon’s” of Mutare.

And onwards to SeldomSeen for best birding…and flowers…

plus Tony’s Coffee Shop for best cake in the glorious misty Vumba Mountains…

A road trip towards Chinoyi from Harare, plus the route south from Harare to Chivu, Zaka, rewards long-distance travelers with vistas of deep glowing colour from the miombo species along the way…..

Posted in Africa, African flora, African Safari, african wildlife, art, art exhibition, beauty, bio diversity, birding, Birdlife Zimbabwe, birds, conservation, eco-tourism, landscape, Lin Barrie Art, Pangolin, rural school,, wilderness, wildlife trade, zimbabwe | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Ivory Trail, following in the footsteps of giants….

Starting from Chilo Gorge Safari Lodge on a cool morning in May,

Clive and I, plus the Chilo camp team of Victor, Richard and Chef Peter Chisasa, depart for the south of Gonarezhou, passing the gorgeous Chilojo Cliffs..

fording the still-full and  challenging Runde river en route

(with just a little help from the Gonarezhou Parks Tractor…!)

En route I discover wonderful varieties of flowers and we spend a night at gorgeous Centre Pan, still unusually full of water due to our extraordinary rainy season…

In the deep grandeur and solitude of an African Sunrise,

(even though I collect voracious leeches on my legs as I stand in the water to take this photo!), we decide that this will be a special place to bring our guests on the return route…

Departing Centre Pan, our route is graced with the autumn/winter colors of the bush,

a slinky cheetah…

and numerous dazzling Golden orb spiders, whose sparkling stands of web lace the trees…here is a female with her food cache, (and if you look close you can see her attendant tiny male bottom left..!!)

We are planning to meet our special fly-in guests at Mbalauta shortly, for a tented camp adventure..The Ivory Trail!

a legendary trail of Baobabs and Elephants..

Greeted by gentle wild things, we set up camp with the Chilo staff at Rossi Pools

a spectacular camp site set on a cliff of rock and aloes overlooking the Mwenezi River…

Peepholes …from a rock hyraxes viewpoint…


I contemplate the new day….today Clive is due to pick up the guests from the Mbalauta airstrip..

Staff are excited by new horizons…new adventures…

and prepare the dome tents for the guests


little finishing touches…

Clive collects the guests- dear friends Garth Thompson and the Foremans, with whom we share a night at Rossi Pools then start The Ivory Trail in earnest…

exploring the unique Mwenezi River potholes and waterfalls…

rock landscapes constantly catch my eye


and spectacular lichens abound…I feel a painting growing in my head…

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Moving onwards, Centre pan is home for the next two nights of our safari, and I am honoured to share this special place with legendary guides Garth Thompson and Clive Stockil…

together with dear friends the Foremans…

We tuck ourselves into cosy tents each night…

surrounded by the flowers and stunning colours of autumn…

Homemade lemon curd on toast starts the day at Centre Pan…

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(spot the kitchen tent and supply vehicle tucked away unobtrusively….)

After breakfast I stay in camp while Clive and Garth take the Foremans exploring. I sketch the scene with my favorite old stick, acrylic and left over filter coffee. (Strong the way Garth likes it, this la Lucie coffee is perfect for sketching!)

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the finished sketch…

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On to the next adventure, Clive picks up his hat….

(What would he do without it?!)

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Staff bid farewell to Centre pan…

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and load up their vehicle for the trip to the Runde River…

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En route …..


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we are greeted in stately fashion by this gentle giant….

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Next destination, Director’s Camp on the Runde River, where we find that our intrepid staff have already set up a dining area…

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and a kitchen…

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Gorgeous late afternoon light shines on the newly minted camp..

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what a site!

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Garth finds special time to read and ponder the pink cliffs..




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I find endless colors and inspiration …looking up at our camp on the bank..

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and down over the wide sands of the Runde River as the sun lowers…

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reflecting the golden cliffs in the waters of the Runde…

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The next morning brings mist and atmosphere for breakfast…

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plenty more filter coffee…

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and blankets are necessary for the morning drive…

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I happily stay in camp…

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and begin an early morning sketch of those cliffs that endlessly intrigue me..

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elephants are always somewhere in the picture at the cliffs…

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The evening brings a stunning, surreal full moon rising over the cliffs, a quarter bite out of it as it hovers against the jagged edge of the cliff profile…a wonderful night followed by another very chilly morning..

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What a space for a few days rest..just us and the elephants..

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(strangely now that I have finished the cliff painting, I notice that I have a “moon” watermark in exactly the same place as the moon rose that night!)

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Next part of the Ivory Trail…On to Mahove Camp further down the Runde River…

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Mahove means “Fish” and it is also the name of a special camp on the wild Runde River….

Mahove means “Fish” and it is also the name of a special camp on the wild Runde River….

Here is an afternoon view of the that wild and fish-filled river from Mahove tent number 4, just to whet your ‘appetite”!

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comfy tents create a warm welcome…

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The rich Runde waters are home to fish, crocodiles and turtles galore,  which brings to mind food, prey and predators, catching and eating….

…some edible soft-shelled turtles are highly prized in Changana culture, presented to the Chief who confers favours on lucky subjects after such a gift…

Giant Kingfishers nest in the steep bank below tent 1  at Mahove camp, belonging to Chilo Gorge Safari Lodge,  and here is the male, resisting the attempts of a coucal to pinch his bream meal..



Saddlebills and African skimmers…yellowbills and martial eagles, vultures and parrots, egrets and owls…all can be seen from the “lounge” on the banks of the Runde at Mahove! birds galore …

great egret, by Lin Barrie, acrylic on canvas board, 46 x 61 cm

Elephants abound…here is a majestic bull with Kundani Hill as a fitting backdrop…

and shortly after come some buffalo….

as we sit having a cheeseboard snack in camp…

Lala Palms and baobabs grace this place….

Vegetable ivory drops from the palms to decorate the camp, here in a view towards tent 2,3 and 4…tucked away in the riverine trees and hardly seen!

even elephants hardly acknowledge the presence of the tents, and here a pachyderm strolls past tent 4..

wake up early to a view that beckons…

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adventure awaits…

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every walk reveals gorgeous flowers..such as this Morea edulis

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more butterflies

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and baobab landscapes delight in every direction…lots of inspiration for my field sketches..

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Baobab ridge near Mahove:

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Exploring the areas around the camp are fascinating now at the end of a very wet season…waterlily pans abound…populated by waterbirds and fish, seething with life….

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The prolific white waterlilies that we see this year are subject for a painting:

White waterlilies diptych, acrylic on loose canvas:

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here is a close up:

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Thinking fish and food…. here is my Grannie’s recipe for something delicious, adapted by me and cooked by camp chef Titus over a slow bush fire….

Mahove Pickled Fish

2 kg Tilapia, tiger fish or any firm fleshed fish- preferably thick fillets, skin off.

4 large onions, thinly sliced
1 heaped tablespoon curry powder, or to taste.
(for the brave, add fresh chillies if desired…!)
2 bay leaves
10 curry leaves
black pepper

Gently fry the onions in a little oil in a frying pan/saucepan, till translucent.
Add curry powder, bay leaves and curry leaves, fry a few minutes more to release the flavours of the curry and leaves.

Layer this onion mixture with the fish fillets in a fireproof casserole dish, using water or fish stock to cover.

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Season the layers with salt and pepper. Cover and gently poach for about half an hour over a slow flame.

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Remove from heat, carefully drain the stock into a bowl, keeping the cooked fillets

To the stock add 1 cup good quality malt vinegar, plus chutney, apricot jam, or gooseberry jam to taste. Add a tablespoon of sugar if necessary, to achieve a good sweet/sour flavour…

Mix 1 tablespoon flour or cornflour to a thin paste with some of the stock, then stir it into the stock, and heat gently till simmering and nicely thickened in a separate saucepan.

Pour the thickened sauce over the cooked fish fillets, shaking gently to evenly distribute the sauce. Pack into sterilized glass jars to keep in the fridge up to one week, tasting better every day as a cold salad dish.

preferably eat this whist having a glass of chilled wine on the banks of the Runde River….

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Bringing the Outside In; Greenery and landscape inspires me this month…

Bringing the outside in…my paintings currently are reflecting the landscapes around me, pulling the feeling of being outdoors inside…

and I am tickled that current decor trends embrace this greenery theme…Strelitzias being very prominent!

We have seen water water everywhere here in Zimbabwe this last rainy season….and I have been sketching glorious waterlilies in my world, such as these in a small pan in Gonarezhou National Park on my recent camping trip…

geese and lilies


and these, on the dams at Borrowdale Brooke Estate in Harare, where I have my art studio:

Water lilies , Acrylic on stretched canvas, 130 x 100 cm, by Lin Barrie


A rainy season above and beyond all expectations in Zimbabwe has brought moody skies and brilliant green landscapes to my canvases this year…and so I think I will focus on all this green for The Industry Girls Network Design Indaba soon to be held in Zimbabwe!

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Such as “Acacia”, acrylic on canvas, 3 x 4 feet, ….


Having just been to Decorex in Cape Town, and looking forward to showing my work at The Industry Girls Network Design Indaba , I am doubly inspired by the wonderful use of green, green, green!

Living up to the Decorex 2017 theme, ‘Make your space your living dream’, visitors to South Africa’s premier décor, design and lifestyle exhibition were immersed in natural fabrics, revitalising tones and quality products all centred around a vision of reclaiming a space of sanctuary, disconnected from the relentless noise and distraction of the modern world.

Bloom, curator of Decorex, said she and her creative team are taking on the ‘unplugged’ movement which seeks to create a nurturing space that encourages self-reflection, away from the digitised world that demands constant attention, draining energy and overwhelming the senses.


“There is a big move towards nature, drawing inspiration from it in the various textures and colours, as well as incorporating natural elements such as wood and plants into the home,” explained Bloom.

Real delicious monsters and strelitzias adorned the stands at Decorex, as table settings and as overhead arrangements…and gorgeous garden stands abounded…


Leather and plastic recycled lookalikes became awesome lamp fittings…

Geometric cutouts…


Organic cutouts….


These leather leaves were stunning in their simple impact, seen here behind the Painted Wolf Wine tasting Station at Decorex…


Something interesting…The Rose Gold and metallics Trend – used in home and décor accessories, as well as cutlery –  adds such a touch of understated glamour to any space…..

metallics are big this year…

The Decorex Designer Spotlight showcased the work of iconic Cape Town designer Dylan Thomaz

Dylan on the Expresso Show…

one of his gorgeous “outdoor rooms” from his Facebook page…

dylan thomaz


Some lovely exhibits of art were on display at Decorex, and I know the Zimbabwean Design Indaba version will compare very favorably!!!!


A trend that I saw at Decorex, and love- the use of small spaces with plants. As we tend to focus on large pieces of furniture like sofas & tables, corners of our homes are often left a little neglected. Even in the hustle bustle of a kitchen, adding an array of fresh & different textured plants makes for impact.

This is something that The Safari Collection by Jane Taylor embraces so cleverly, using wonderful locally basketry:

the safari collection

gorgeous baskets by The Safari Collection….


Literally go wild – the splash of green, whether actual plants or a fun cushion,  looks amazing in any room.

So fresh, you could eat these cushions…


All the senses were indulged at Decorex….Jeremy Borg of Painted Wolf Wines featured ….


Chef and Wine Maker extraordinaire,  here is Jeremy creating his mini Bunny Chows, featured at a food and wine pairing at Decorex…a visionary, with a burning passion to develop Painted Wolf Wines into an exceptional organisation, true to his mantra ‘Persistently remarkable, remarkably persistent’.

the message from Decorex…

Go Greenery….

Bring the outdoors in…..

Don’t be afraid to play with whimsy and colour!…..



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Burnt Earth and Wild dogs go together…..

My artistic collaboration with Burnt Earth ceramics at The Studio is wildly exciting, and involves Wild dogs!


Ceramics was aa deep interest for me at art college, and at last I get to combine it with my wild dog art….Yay!

I am happy to say that part proceeds from all the wild dog pottery sold will go towards the two admirable wild dog initiatives in Zimbabwe, African Wildlife Conservation Fund, and Painted Dog Conservation.

Watch this space for the final result….here are some teaser photos!


IMG_0434.jpgWe will have a pop-up exhibition of my paintings and ceramics at The Studio during the whole month of April.

Such as this platter, “Portrait 1”

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My painting, “The Hunters”, acrylic on loose canvas, 2 metres long!:


The Grand opening will be Friday 31st March, and Saturday morning 1st April, at The Studio, together with Burnt Earth ceramics, Painted Wolf Wines, and “The Rugged Kitchen” (Yum!)


Much of my work on show will be inspired by the deep red colours of Mopani leaves in winter, wild dogs’ eyes, and rust red ceramic tiles….here is a detail from my painting, “Portrait” , acrylic and oil bar on stretched canvas, see my art blog page for details of this and all current paintings…

Portrait, acrylic:oil bar on canvas, 76 x 51 cm  close detail  lo res.jpgInspired by “Fudge” ….a gorgeous deep red tile colour, by Burnt Earth….


“Pep Rally”, acrylic and oil bar on stretched canvas, 130 x 100 cm:

Pep rally, acrylic:oil bar on canvas, 130 x 100 cm lo tres

“Thinking Mopani Thoughts”, acrylic and oil bar on stretched canvas, 130 x 100 cm

Thinking Mopani Thoughts, acrylic:oil bar on canvas , 130 x 100 cm lo res.jpg

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Pangolin awareness is gaining momentum…. Jewellery, Literature and Paintings..This is “How We Roll!”

Pangolins are on a roll in this blog…. endangered and trafficked  world-wide for food, magic and medicine, they NEED our help!


The work of Lisa Hywood of the Tikki Hywood Trust in Zimbabwe, is never ending….. conservation, education and legislation challenges abound….

Pangolin in Your hands, acrylic on craft paper, 65 x 91 cm lo res.jpg

and is the inspiration for a concerted effort to conserve Zimbabwe’s Ground Pangolin (Manis temminckii), before it is too late..

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Visit my Lin Barrie Art pages to see my pangolin paintings, part proceeds to benefit Tikki Hywood Trust…

‘Art by Lin Barrie’:

Lin Barrie Art:

Rose Gold Pangolin,
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Patrick Mavros Junior has created stunning Pangolin pieces, high fashion art mixed with Conservation….



Part proceeds from all sales of Mavros pangolin jewellery contribute toward the Tikki Hywood Trust in Zimbabwe…!!!




I have always enjoyed painting pangolins, and am lucky to have seen them up close and personal, in a sheltered environment and also in a truly wild environment…I saw this gorgeous girl last year in a truly wild place….

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Pangolins provide endless graphic inspiration for me, and I have decided that the part proceeds from my pangolin paintings sold will also contribute towards Tikki Hywood Trust.

Two of my current art works are hanging for viewing and sale in the Mavros showroom in Harare, go and take a look ….

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Rolled Silver Pangolin by Lin Barrie

acrylic (with metallic silver), on stretched canvas
3 x 3 feet

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This is a detail from my larger painting Rolled Silver pangolin,

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Red Earth Pangolin in the Moonlight by Lin Barrie
acrylic (with metallic silver and rose gold) on stretched canvas
3 x 3 feet
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While you are wandering entranced around the beautiful Mavros showroom,  browse the exquisite silver and gold Mavros creations…

Talented father and sons create timeless pieces of silver art….

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…such as this pangolin ring…

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Silver rolled pangolins for your coffee table..

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a pangolin feast for the senses!



Sarah Savory has written two very entertaining and yet wonderfully educational books, (never easy to combine those two aspects, but she has cracked it!)

“What on Earth is That?!”

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and “That’s How We Roll”…

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Her children share her passion for animals, environment and books…here is Luke’s drawing of a pangolin, (note the ants!) done during the Pangolin Weekend held at Chilo Gorge Safari Lodge last year



Sarah read her books to the entranced children, and “Pangolin Protector” certificates were the hit of the day….

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She kindly  visited the local Mahenye Junior school for a reading…donating books to their little library…



Pangolin Day is coming soon…..


and another pangolin weekend is happening, date yet to be advised, but will be hosted by Sarah, at Chilo Gorge Safari Lodge this year…

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Posted in adventure travel, Africa, african wildlife conservation fund, animal rights, anti poaching, art, art collaboration, art exhibition, beauty, bio diversity, books, childrens art, Chilo Gorge Safari Lodge, clive stockil, community conservation, conservation, conservation education, conservation news, conservation publication, cultural beliefs, eco-tourism, education, endangered species, gonarezhou national park, hunting, jewellery, Lin Barrie Art, Pangolin, Patrick Mavros, Poaching, rural school,, safari, Save Valley Conservancy, tradition, travel, Uncategorized, wilderness, wildlife trade, wood sculpture, world pangolin Day, zimbabwe | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Njuzu of the Save River; Mermaid or Myth…you decide, I know what I believe..

The Njuzu of the Save River , as told by Nzanza Sekai in his recent excellent article on the Save River and Birchenough Bridge, called “Celebrating Rain and the flooding of the Save River”…


is a story long told by the Xangana elders and told by Clive himself many times over the years to awed guests and fellow travelers at Chilo Gorge Safari Lodge…Clive calls the River Spirit an Njuzi……


The Save River is vast and flooding now, and this is the fabulous sight of the Chivalila falls just above Chilo Gorge Safari Lodge…


This is the view down towards the deep (bottomless?) pool at the base of the Falls, that the Xangana people call the Njuzu (NJUZI) Pool…


as you can see, any unfortunates who fall in there are unlikely to come out….

These are Nzanza Sekai’s words:

The pool of the mermaids or dziva renjuzu on Save River cannot be seen at all when the river is in flood as it is now. When I was growing up here in the village, my grandmother, Mbuya VaMandirowesa, said Save was a sacred river. It was managed and controlled by the ancestors.

These ancestors have their emissaries or messengers called njuzu or mermaids. Njuzu, according to Mbuya, are not black like us. No. They are European women who dwell in big dark pools within the river. This is how we are related to white people in the ancestral, spiritual world. Njuzu can possess a person and give him or her the knowledge of herbal medicines and the ability to tell the future. Such a person is known to have Shavi renjuzu.

There was a traditional healer, or n’anga in our village, called VaMasenda. Mbuya said his ability to heal and also to tell events that will happen in future came from experience gained when he lived under water with njuzu.

As a young man, Masenda was fishing on the banks of the river Save one day. Then he slipped and fell into dziva renjuzu. Those who saw him fall came home and said Masenda had drowned. The elders said that was not drowning at all. Masenda had been summoned to the land of the mermaids by the ancestors.

They should not cry and believe Masenda to be dead. Instead, the people should wait until a spirit medium tells them to brew beer, go to the dziva renjuzu, and play drums, asking Masenda to come back. When two or more seasons passed by, Masenda came back at dawn. Beer was brewed and a ceremony to celebrate his new extraordinary skill to heal and tell the future took place.

This photograph below is my own version of a Baby Njuzi, spotted at Chilo Gorge reception area a few years ago, on April Fool’s day, and may not fit the standard view, but the reeds growing out of his/her back are a strong component of many versions of how an Njuzu or Njuzi might look…

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Posted in Africa, African child, african wildlife, amphibians, bio diversity, Changana people, Chilo Gorge, Chilo Gorge Safari Lodge, clive stockil, community conservation, conservation, conservation education, cultural beliefs, culture, eco-tourism, fishing, food culture, gonarezhou national park, great limpopo transfrontier conservation Area, Greater Limpopo Transfrontier Park, initiation rites, Lin Barrie Art, Machangana culture, reptiles, SAVE, Save River, Shangaana people, spoken tradition, theatre, tradition, travel, Uncategorized, wetlands, wilderness, zimbabwe | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment