News about former students
"Where are they since Gwebi?"
Roy A. Bennett – not to be confused with the late MDC Member of Parliament who went to Blackfordby, but the movements of Gwebi's Roy Bennett are unknown.
Bery H.R. Brown – living in Harare after a successful career in security fencing.
Simon B. Brown – younger brother to Strath Brown Course 7. Now in Australia (brief biography below).
Ian D. Chapman
Colin Cleak – believed to have returned to South Africa.
Rodney R. Clyde-Anderson – joined Kaleya Estates in Zambia after National Service and ended up as General Manager of Zambezi Ranching Corporation but now semi-retired. See more details below.
Eddie A. Cock – now living in South Africa.
Eddie Graham Cross – worked on land resettlement in Gokwe district then graduated with honours in Economics at University of Rhodesia. Eddie became the Chief Economist for the Agricultural Marketing Authority, head of the Dairy Marketing Board, the Cold Storage Commision and then CEO of the Beira Corridor Group. He was a founding member of the MDC and is still the MP for Bulawayo South. He writes prolifically about Zimbabwean politics.
John Dendy-Young – spent a year at Forrester Estate then moved to Mkushi in Zambia until 1974. John and Carol are farming on the road to Franschhoek Pass and were running a very sucessful restaurant "La Petite Ferme' until selling it recently.
A. Desmond Downing – now living in Eastern Province, South Africa.
Patrick Dunley-Owen – living in Canada.
Dave A. Evans ‘Titch’ - killed shortly after graduating.
A. Graham Franceys – passed away recently. Farmed in the Midlands area.
Douglas Grewar - Doug worked in Zambia, Swaziland and South Africa (see below).
Norman D. Gullick
Vernon R. Hendrikz ‘Chibuku’ - joined the staff of the Animal Husbandry section at Gwebi but left in about 1965, it is thought, to return to South Africa.
Jerry J. Hoffman – returned to South Africa after graduation.
Robin S. Hughes – joined National Parks and was seconded to Tracker Combat Unit, the forerunner of Selous Scouts, during the war due to his linguistic, tracking and bushcraft skills. He was killed on pseudo operations in Chiweshe on the 18th October 1973. There is more information on the Gwebi Roll of Honour page.
Robert G. Kay – ran a large dairy farm close to Bulawayo in the Nyamandhlovu district but sold up and now lives in America.
David T. Lloyd-Jones – believed to be living in the UK.
E.Nigel Noyce – Afrikander breeder in Matabeleland but now living near Pretoria, South Africa
Roy J.R. Peattie
Hector A.E. Roberts
Allan B. Ross – died around 1965 when his car was hit by a train at a level crossing on a side road at the east end of Choma, Zambia
Rob D. Scott
Howard C. P. Shone
W. ‘Bil’ Sonnenberg – returned to South Africa.
Iain P. C. Stewart – returned to Tanzania after graduating but now lives in retirement in Marondera.
Richard ‘Dick’ R. Thurburn
A.’Tony’ T. Walker – successful Tengwe farmer but lost his farm in the land invasions. Now works at the Ruwa Country Club Golf Estate.
Andy B. Whitaker – older brother to Paul from Course 16. Andy passed away on 3rd April 2018 and there is a tribute below.
Geoff Wilkens – living in Harare.
Acknowledgements to Iain Stewart, Andy Whitaker and Tony Walker for providing this list through Colin Lowe.
Simon Brown (Course 11)
After graduating from Gwebi I went to work for David Smith, the Government Minister, on Hatcliffe Estate near Salisbury, that company was Smith and Wheeler. Then only three months later I moved to Pimento Park, Bindura, where I went into a partnership deal with them for six years before leasing one of the sections for another six years. I then bought a Ruia Ranch section near Mt. Darwin from Cullinan, and two months later the first terror attack occurred across the river! We never moved there and two years later I sold it to my manager Robin Crawford when conveniently I bought The Ridge and Malvern Farms in Bindura from John Browning.
I married Gail from Gwebi days in 1962 and we had four children. I grew 2000 acres of cotton and maize. During the war I flew for the Police Air Wing. In November 1979 we leased the farm out and emigrated to Australia and we lived in Sydney were I started a concrete pumping business. Although it was very profitable we moved to Alice Springs and went into the sand and stone business and Gail had a take away. Enough money was made to go farming again and in 1987 we purchased a bush farm in Tumut, NSW. I grew wool for four years until the world market collapsed. We had to abandon the farming and got into real estate in 1991. We discovered we were very good at this and moved to warmer climes and started a real estate business on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland. And here we’ve been for 28 years. Still have my Bindura farm (title deeds only) and have a depressing look occasionally on Google Maps. Both Gail and I are in good health and in a great place in life.
Simon Brown, Student Chairman. He came from the large and well known farming family of J.S. ‘Jim’ Brown and was the youngest son out of seven children.
Rodney Clyde-Anderson (Course 11)
Rodney was a pupil at Jeppe Boys High School in Johannesburg and was accepted by Gwebi to start his course in September 1959.
Rodney recalls that Dr Fielding was the Principal, Rod Mundy was Head of the Animal Husbandry section, someone who he only remembers as ‘Dolichos Lablab’ headed up the Crop Sciences Department and Bob Dimond, whose finger was missing, was in charge of the Mechanical Workshop. Simon Brown from Course 11 was elected as their representative on the Student Council.
Rodney said it wasn’t all work and no play for him at Gwebi and he represented the First Team Rugby for both 1960 and 1961 and those were the years when Gwebi and the University raided each other’s campuses. Rodney recalls a convoy from the University driving out to Gwebi to cause mayhem but were ambushed by the Gwebi students who then stripped them naked and dropped these townie types off in a remote bush area to make their own way back to Salisbury. Rodney also recalls the Gwebi boys raiding the Lady Stanley, a young women’s hostel in Salisbury, where they took souvenirs in the way of panties and bras off the washing lines. It didn’t take the Police long to work out who had done it and they came out to question the Gwebi students and recover the souvenirs.
A live band was playing at Meikles Hotel and Dick Thorburn and Rodney took over the band with Dick playing the piano and Rodney imitating Louis ‘Satchmo’ Armstrong and Marilyn Monroe. The hotel management called the Police but the two of them had a lucky escape and suffered no consequences.
Rodney graduated in October 1961 with a First Class Diploma and the Cairns Trophy for judging Jersey Cattle. Upon completing Gwebi he immediately fulfilled his military commitment coming out as a Lance Corporal. On the last day of 1961 he arrived in Mazabuka, Northern Rhodesia to take up a job as a Cattle Assistant on Kaleya Estate to start in January but by August he was retrenched due to a very bad season. Almost immediately he managed to find a job in Kabwe with Bob Burton where he stayed for five years.
In October 1967 he returned to Kaleya Estates this time as Cattle Manager where he stayed on after it was incorporated into Zambezi Ranching Corporation making his way through the ranks and by the late eighties he was the General Manager and now in charge of numerous ranches totalling 10,000 hectares and 28,000 head of cattle which stretched from Zimba, Kalomo, Choma, Mazabuka and all the way to Chisamba, north of Lusaka. The Susman Brothers and Wulfsohn, who were the major shareholders of ZRC, made the decision to unbundle this company and the other shareholders, which included Rodney, received assets in exchange for their shares resulting in Rodney taking ownership of Kaleya Estates which is where his whole Zambian journey had started more than fifty-five years previously.
Besides running his own ranch, now called Squares Ranch and which he admits is more of a hobby than a thriving business, he has remained Chairman of what is left of ZRC, called Wellspring Ltd. Rodney has retired as a Director of Zambeef, another huge agricultural conglomerate, but remains as a shareholder and is thoroughly enjoying his semi-retirement with his beloved cattle.
Provided by Colin Lowe with the help of Jill and Jim Hewitt who also farm at Mazabuka, Zambia
Eddie Cross (Course 11)
I was born and raised in Zimbabwe where I live and work today.
My great grandfather came out to southern Africa in 1867 as a Baptist missionary to the Eastern Cape. He played a significant role in the country of his adoption and founded several Baptist Churches in South Africa. My grandfather became a Magistrate and rose to become Chief Magistrate of the Republic of South Africa and at one stage played a key role in the Smuts administration that was defeated by the Nationalist Party in 1949, paving the way for the formal adoption of apartheid - an ideology that was to dominate South African politics until 1994.
My father left South Africa in the early 30's at the height of the depression and came to Bulawayo in Rhodesia where he became general manager of an oil company while playing a role in the development of the theatre in Rhodesia. He never left the country and died in his 80's in what became Harare, the capital of Zimbabwe.
I married Jeanette in 1963 and we have two children - Gary who is the Pastor at Northside Community Church in Harare and Susan, who is now married to Charlie Haley and they live and work in Harare. Gary is married to Sarah and they have 4 daughters while Sue has one son, Keith. All the grandchildren are in school in Harare.
We are all committed Christians and attend local Churches - Zimbabwe is a deeply Christian country and this has played an important role in the way we are resolving our problems as a country.
When I left school in 1957 I started work on a tobacco farm in the Headlands area. I did a season there and then moved back to my home Province of Matabeleland. There I took up a job on a small cattle ranch outside the City of Bulawayo in the Nyamandhlovo District. Two years later I went to Gwebi College with Course 11 and got a diploma in agriculture.
After a spell moving people from the basin of the Kariba Dam built in 1958, I went back to the City of Salisbury (now Harare) and completed a university degree in economics.
After fighting the 1969 National Constitution referendum, I joined the Agricultural Marketing Authority as an economist. In 1979 I was appointed as Chief Executive of the Dairibord followed in 1983 by appointment as the CEO of the Cold Storage Commission (CSC). Nick Spoel was the General Manager and the CSC was a very large corporation – 5 000 employees, 250 000 hectares of ranch land and a national network of abattoirs which could handle 2800 head of cattle a day.
The CSC was born in 1937 when the Rhodesian Government had decided that a State controlled organisation was required to handle the seasonal surges in cattle sales and to manage national export activity. At the time we were in the Sterling Zone as a country and as a consequence the main markets being serviced were the market for frozen sides of beef in England and the domestic market. The one abattoir in Bulawayo was augmented by a massive canning plant at West Nicholson run by the British company Liebig’s.
As the cattle industry expanded over the next 40 years, so the national activities of the CSC grew. Persistent losses eventually led to the recruitment of Nick Spoel from South Africa who had spent his whole life in the beef industry. In six months, Nick had the Commission making money.
In 1987 I resigned from the CSC to manage the rehabilitation of the Beira Corridor on behalf of regional States.
As an economist I had played a role in the transition in 1980 by assisting the two leading contenders for power (ZANU and ZAPU) prepare for government and then subsequently in the preparation for the first, post-Independence donors’ conference. I wrote the agriculture paper presented to that conference.
I opposed the policies of the former white minority governments in Zimbabwe and when it became apparent that the new regime under Mr Mugabe was little better, decided to join the opposition to try and get the country onto a sustainable path to prosperity and peace.
In 1999 I joined the Movement for Democratic Change and was made Secretary for Economics in 2000. I am now the Policy Coordinator General for the MDC and sit on the National Executive. In 2008 I stood for the Constituency of Bulawayo South and won the seat against several other candidates with a majority of 58 per cent. In 2013 I ran again for Parliament and doubled my majority, retaining the seat for another 5 year term. In Parliament I sit on both the Budget and Finance Committee and the Public Accounts Committee.
Extract by Steve Bennett from Eddie Cross website and posts on social media.
Eddie has subsequently resigned from the opposition party and has been an advisor to the new government that replaced Mugabe after a coup.
Doug Grewar (Course 11)
Born to a Scots father and an English mother, Douglas Grewar went to school in Lusaka in Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia). After finishing school at the end of 1958 he did his compulsory national service in the Federal Army at Heany Barracks, Bulawayo, after which he worked as a trainee with Smith & Bennett, the John Deere tractor agency in Salisbury, prior to graduating at Gwebi Agricultural College.
He joined Northern Rhodesia Government as an Agricultural Officer. His first position was Ranch Manager at the Mazabuka Central Research Station. Here he saw herds of thousands of lechwe and had to deliver rations by boat to some of the outlying herder camps along the croc and hippo infested Kafue River.
It was a pleasant life but Doug soon realized that he was never going to make enough to buy his own farm working for the government so he resigned and became a miner on the Copperbelt.
Doug started off at Nchanga Copper Mine but soon moved to Mufulira Copper Mine and married his first wife, Elizabeth, and they were blessed with a daughter. The young couple bought a 10 acre plot in Murundu, seven miles north of Mufulira near the Congo border and started vegetable, pig and chicken farming while he was still working on the mine. He was elected to be a shop steward in the NR Mineworkers Union.
In 1966, Doug refused an MCM demand to transfer onto local conditions at half wages, and was paid off with a ‘golden handshake’ or ‘copper chopper’ as it was called then. He started a construction company; bought Tommy Tucker Snack Bar for his wife and bought Charlie Higgs’ 600 acre Lake Farm near Murundu. He also leased 3300 acres of government forest land to graze cattle. His friend, John Glen, gave him his 10 acre plot in Murundu when he emigrated.
After his construction company collapsed due to the economic situation, Doug turned his big house on Plot 7 into a bar and turned the chicken houses into bedrooms. He called it ‘Motel California’ inspired by the famous Eagles song. It went fairly well until the Ndola breweries ran out of beer. He then sold the motel and invested in shops and flats in Mufulira.
The economic and security situation in Zambia became intolerable and the family decided to seek a new home. Doug left first, with his wife promising to join him when he had found a job and a house. He left with only a suitcase and £2000 emigration allowance, leaving behind property worth millions. He worked in Southern Rhodesia, South West Africa and Europe, before finally settling in Swaziland in 1968.
Doug’s first wife refused to join him in Swaziland, so the marriage ended in divorce. He eventually remarried and started a new family. He founded Amandla Construction, a building and civil engineering company that successfully completed many multimillion rand contracts, including the R3million Gege Police Station, that was opened by the then Swazi Prime Minister, Obed Dlamini. He also founded Cash Discount Centre, a trading company, and Amandla Investments, a property investment company.
Doug succeeded in creating work for over 200 Swazi citizens and soon his companies were turning over several million every year, more than replacing what he had left behind in Zambia.
Doug, whose Swazi name is Nkomoyahlaba, followed the traditional Khonta system to become a Swazi citizen, and unwillingly became involved in the Swazi version of politics when the people of his Myesisini Inkundla selected him to stand for a seat in parliament. He says he was happy that another Swazi, Anton Roberts, beat him.
In 1998, after the death of his second wife, Orah Nhlangalo, he moved to Vryheid, where his two sons were schooling and he had invested in several properties. Here he joined the Abaqulusi Residents Association (ARA). Over the years, Doug was treasurer, then secretary and finally, chairman. This year, Doug stepped down as chairman and the ARA merged with Afriforum, the human rights organization.
At 75 years old, Doug Grewar is still reasonably fit, and strong enough to coordinate the Paddadam Park clean up project, which was started while he was chairman of the ARA, and he is determined to see it completed. Grewar describes the project as a “cooperative effort between the Municipality and the community to turn what had become a rubbish dump back into a Garden of Eden.”
By February 2021, the dangerous, unkempt and uninviting criminal haven had been converted to the popular, pristine recreational facility that it currently is. However, the time had come for the indomitable force that is Doug Grewar to step down”
"Thursday will be my last meeting as an active member of the Paddadam Committee," he wrote on social media. "My health has deteriorated over the last 2 years and I no longer feel capable of performing my duties effectively. Tertius Gubbels has very kindly agreed to take over my duties as groundsman. I would like to thank you all for your efforts over the last few years. It has been a great pleasure to work with such a fine bunch of people. Without you Paddadam would have failed. The future of the Paddadam Renovation Project is now in your hands."
Paddy Harper of City Press has referred to Grewar as the “unofficial Mayor of Zululand,” while another publication referred to him as a “geriatric terrorist” once. He has been a human rights activist for most of his life, fighting for the rights of oppressed communities, improved service delivery and fair and equal treatment for all citizens.
Steve Bennett from the media.
Biography for Andy Whitaker (Course 11)
Andy was born in Johannesburg on the 18th June 1939 to Diana and Hendrik Whitaker. Andy grew up in Joburg attending King Edward VII Preparatory School and then to King Edward VII School. Here he distinguished himself in sport and he represented the school in athletics, rugby and swimming at the highest level, achieving full colours for 1st XV Rugby. His finest achievement was his appointment as Drum Major of the school Pipe Band. Andy signed up for the Air Force Gymnasium in Pretoria after matriculating with a good pass. Having fulfilled his military commitment he headed off to the United Kingdom to see how the other half lived and after a year of odd jobs returned to South Africa but soon left for the Odzi farming area in Rhodesia where there were many other South Africans also working on farms.
Andy’s next step was to enrol at Gwebi with Course 11. He graduated with a First Class Diploma and worked for Noel ‘Bundu’ Waller (C1) in Centenary for a few seasons during which time he married Sue Cosker in 1963. They had four children, Gary, Yvette, Ricky all born in Rhodesia and Celeste, born in South Africa. Sadly Ricky, the one son, was killed in an accident. Andy moved to Palm Block and worked there as a manager before returning to South Africa in 1968.
On returning to RSA Andy worked with the old Lowveld Co-operative (LTK) and he was stationed in Hoedspruit for a year or two and then transferred to Nelspruit LTK where he and Sue bought a house in Republic Circle.
In 1973, the farm known simply as ‘Peebles’ was purchased by Andy and was to become their home for the next thirty something years. Here Andy built up his successful farming business and became a well-respected farmer in the community. His passion for sport continued with golf and he was well known for his stance, his swing, his chirping on a back swing and telling outlandish jokes. White River Golf Club became a second home and he spent much of his spare time on the committee as a member, greens keeper, general organiser, Vice and then Chairman and finally as President. He sold Peebles to the Government and then leased another property and grew bananas and macadamia nuts which his son Gary now runs. Andy and Sue moved into a retirement complex in Nelspruit where they were very happy. Andy passed away on the 3rd April, 2018.
Andy was the older brother of Paul from C16.
Colin Lowe, Paul Whitaker and Tony Walker.
Students’ Association 1960 – 1961
Due to the excellent co-operation of all concerned, the Students’ Association has had an extremely successful College year. After a rather strenuous vacation, 32 Second Year students returned in good health to complete their Diploma Course (four having had the misfortune to drop by the wayside). The usual intake of 36 newcomers was duly welcomed in traditional manner and underwent a two-week initiation, concluding with an excellent concert for the benefit of their elders. The 36 First Years were reduced in number early in the year to 35 after losing a member who preferred a trip abroad. The Association, with an overall strength of 67, elected a committee of three Second Year and three First Year students:
S. Brown (Chairman).
D. Bosman (Secretary).
Association meetings were held periodically in the Great Hall. College matters and individual requests were discussed and matters needing attention were dealt with by the Warden or Principal. Captains, Secretaries and Chairmen of the various sports and activities were elected. To those concerned congratulations and thanks are offered for the high standard maintained and for the many successful results, particularly Rugby, with its outstanding unbeaten record. The traditional First Year – Second Year sporting challenge was won by the triumphant Second Years, much to the dismay of the struggling First Years.
The entertainments committee kept the College life in full swing by staging periodic dances, held to celebrate special occasions. Weekly film shows were held, to the enjoyment of everyone. These were run by Mr. Dimond in conjunction with the committee, to whom we are all extremely grateful.
Our appreciation is offered to the frequent guest speakers for giving up their time and taking the trouble to come out 18 miles to speak to us on various subjects. These talks, preceded by an Association dinner, were well patronised and popular.
During the third term the College was invited to take part in the annual Varsity Rag procession, the ‘theme’ being Television. The float from Gwebi in the form of a pig was entered and a good deal of enthusiastic effort was put into the making of it. The participants were duly rewarded by winning, this being the third year in succession that Gwebi has had the privilege of producing the winning float.
The College Warden and Matrons play an increasingly prominent role in daily College life, the former being held responsible for the discipline of hostel activity and he also acts in an advisory capacity in any matters arising of personal importance.
During the year many a ‘carless’ student has had the urge to hit the high spots of Salisbury. The journey there and back is undertaken by the skill of the student’s thumb and his ability to stop anyone kind enough to give him a lift. To those who have stopped, may our Association offer our sincere gratitude and thanks.
In conclusion it might be appropriate here to offer our appreciation to Dr Fielding and his staff for all they have done in providing us with a wider knowledge of farming on which to base our future careers. After all, perhaps theirs is not altogether a thankless task, as we hope results at the end of the final year will show.
Provided by Simon Brown