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The Journal of the Rhodesia Study Circle - Issue No. 69

The squared circle postmarks of Northern Rhodesia 
Part 2
     v. 20, no. 1 (69), p.4–7;

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Leaving out Kasempa for the reason given in Part 1, there remain 13 squared circle postmarks which have so far been discovered.  These can be divided into three groups - those of Bomas which have long ceased to exist, and the very names of which have often been forgotten, those of Bomas which are still known by the same names but where the sites have been moved from where they were originally, and finally those of Bomas which still exist.

The first group of what may be called abandoned Bomas consists of Kapopo, Mirongo, Mwomboshi, Nawalia, Satkontwi and Sitanda.  I do not know when the squared circle was first used or last used but my own examples date from August 1903 to December 191.  Let us now go through the above list of six post offices:-

1) Kapopo Some information about this place appears in the Journal of the R.S.C. Vol. 9 (No.4 page 64).  There is also a reference to this place in Vol. 6 of the Northern Rhodesia Journal (also called for this volume only the Zambia Journal) page 296.  'This was the first Boma established in 1900 by F.E.F. Jones to cover the Hook of the Kafue area.  It was about 37 miles due west of the present Walamba siding on the railway in the Ndola district.  It was closed in 1906.'  My staff list of 1904 gives a staff of two, namely F.R.F. Sor??? Native Commissioner, and his Assistant Native Commissioner J.F.F. Johnson. When the above article was published in the Journal of the R.S.C. in December 1959, only three squared circle postmarks of Kapopo had come to light, one of them dated FE 8 04 and the other My 26 04 (the third being indecipherable).  This was a very small station and the postmark must be very rare.

2) Mirongo N.R.J. Vol. 6 (quoted above) at page 303 gives the information that this place was about 70 miles east of Chinsali in the Sena Chief Chiwala's area.  This is incorrect as it is some 20 miles south east of Isoka in the Wiwa Chief Kafwimbi's area.  I say this with confidence as I visited it myself in the Forty's and found a three roomed roofless house with an enormous fig-tree growing out of the bedroom floor, and nearby a few rubber trees which had been planted by its first occupant.  Later I heard that the house had been pulled down and its bricks used for other buildings and the repair of the road.  Mirongo was opened in 1897 by a famous early character called 'Bobo Young' who later moved to Chinsali.  His assistant Josselin de Jong remained at Mirongo ???? 1904 ???? and the place was abandoned in 1907.  This information is from the N.R.J. but my staff list for 1904 does not list Chinsali at all and shows R. Young at Mirongo and J. de Jong at Katumbi.  Postmarks of Mirongo must also be very rare indeed and I have not seen one.

3) Mwomboshi According to the N.R.J. (p.300) this place was ten or twelve miles down stream of the railway bridge over the stream of this name.  The Boma was built by Shekleton, and J.E. Stephenson (Chirupula) was its first Native Commissioner.  It was opened from 1902 to 1906 when the railway reached Broken Hill and a Boma was opened there.  Mwomboshi was the headquarters of the West Luangwa Province and in 1904 had a staff of 5, Civil Commissioner P.H. Selby and his clerk J.M. Thomson, Native Commissioner Stephenson and his two assistants E.R. Murphy and B.F. Bishop.  There was also a Doctor called Martin.  In the following year there were a number of changes and Willis, Moffat, Thomson and a Dr. Cole were stationed there.  There were no doubt some traders too, and this postmark should not be too uncommon and I have two of them one dated AU 22 03.  Another official, Barker, who had played cricket for Yorkshire, died at Mwomboshi about 1906.

4) Nawalya This Boma was on the right bank of the Munyamadzi River about 12 miles above its confluence with the Luangwa River, and the site is now in the Mpika district.  It was called after a female chief of that name, and on her death the heir was called Kazembe.  The first official at Nawalya was H. Croad, who was relieved in 1901-2 by W.E. Methuen Savage who built a very solid stone and clay house there with walls more than two feet thick in the Arab or Portuguese style.  It stood on a narrow rocky or shingly beach terrace overlooking the ancient lake bed of the Luangwa valley.  Methuen Savage died in 1902.  C.R.E. Draper and J.E. Hughes had short spells there.  W.P. Kennelly was there from 1902-3 to September 1904 and was followed by P.E. Hall who in turn was relieved by C.R. Rennie (who died in 1969) in April 1907.  The Boma was closed in 1908 though it was reopened in 1911-12 by a sleeping sickness commission.  Most of the above information has been obtained from an article in Vol. 1, (part 5 page 55) ???????? Postmarks ???? rare indeed and I nave not seen one.

5) Satkontwi This pace was some sixteen miles north east of the Kapalala ferry on the Luapula River in the Fort Rosebery district.  It was established in 1901 by George Lyons and abandoned in 1903 - it does not appear in the staff list of 1904.  It must be one of the rarest Northern Rhodesian postmarks, if not the rarest, for it seems to have been a one-man station and was only open for about 2 years.  The Boma itself was on a backwater of the Luapula and the house which was built by Lyons was wattle and daub, and would very soon have washed away after it was abandoned.  Sokontwe was the hereditary title of the local Ushi Chief.  The Boma site was hacked out of dense forest and surrounded by a square fence of Euphorbia, which a few years later was described as being 30 feet high and 30 feet broad.  If anyone is interested there is a description of this place in a book called Eighteen Years on Lake Bangweulu by J.E. Hughes.

6) Sitanda This Boma was built about 86 miles west of Broken Hill and about 10 miles east of the Kafue River.  It was called after local Chief whose name in these days would be spelt Chitanda.  It was opened in 1902 by C.R.B. Draper and closed in 1906 when Broken Hill was opened.  In 1904 the Native Commissioner was V.P. Reid.  The Lenje tribe were known to be difficult in the early days and when Reid went on tour, they pulled out the pegs from his tent.  Reid knocked the biggest offender stone-cold.  There were a number of tough Australian prospectors in Lenje country and Chitanda sent word that if they did not go away he would drink their blood out of their skulls.  Being Australians a few of them went straight to Chitanda's village and told him in typical Australian style what they would do to him.  So Reid and the Australians soon tamed Chitanda (See Article on Mwomboshi by Chirupula Stephenson in N.R.J Vol. 6. p71.)

The squared circle postmarks of Northern Rhodesia, 

Part 1    This is Part 2      Stamps Page       Home Page     Part 3


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