Seven Matobo Facts
In July, 120 years ago, during the bloody battle of the Matopos, the Matabele impis, armed only with assegais and the occasional muzzle loader, surely perfected the use of guerrilla warfare.
- In July, 120 years ago, during the bloody battle of the Matopos, the Matabele impis, armed only with assegais and the occasional muzzle loader, surely perfected the use of guerrilla warfare.
- Their hostile, granite terrain (Described by one battle scarred veteran at the time as a battle ground worse than Afghanistan) was used effectively to kill 100 men from a modern colonial army, fully equipped with arms and munitions, forcing Cecil John Rhodes to sue for peace.
- Colonel Baden-Powell, one of the colonial scouts in the battle and subsequent founder of world Scouting, formulated his plans for the tracking and nature craft movement for boys, sitting under a tree in the Matopos. He was hugely influenced by another colonial scout, active in the Matopos, an American, Francis Russell Burnham, who introduced Baden-Powell to woodcraft and techniques used by indigenous American peoples.
- The brightly colored triangular kerchief won by Scouts came from Burnham’s experience in the American west. Baden-Powell adopted it for his movement as a practical wilderness Item.
- Having bought a Stetson in nearby Bulawayo, Baden-Powell rather than denting his hat down the middle as was customary, poked two fingers in the crown and thus the boy scout hat was born.
- In 1907, A kudu war horn from , a Matabele warrior, taken by Lord Baden-Powell to England, was sounded to rouse young scouters from their beds on Brownsea Island to begin their nature craft day.
- The Karanga referred to the Matopos region simply as the “Madombo”, the hills, but legend has it that Mzilikazi renamed them “Matobo” from their resemblance to bald heads.