Posts tagged ‘Entebbe European Cemetery’

December 14, 2011

Of Uganda’s Jewels, Conservation and My White Men Zombies

This was the fulfillment of a dream and the beginning of a new era of preservation. That night, the lions roared, and Ken Beaton and I jumped over the moon.

(Mervyn Cowie – Kenya’s first director of National Parks, on birth of East Africa’s first National Park- Nairobi National Park 1946- 1950.)

Under this ruined headstone at the Entebbe European Cemetery lie the remains of Kenneth De Planta Beaton. The man whose pioneering efforts set up Uganda’s jewels, the Queen Elizabeth and Murchison Fall parks, is discarded and forgotten.

Ken Beaton (1905 – 1954): a naturist, a conservationist, to some a fantasist; a man born of Africa, with a heart for Uganda.

(Read obituary below)

I have learned pitifully little about Ken Beaton, despite the depth of his work and the reach of his legacy.

This is what I know:

He was born to Captain Duncan Beaton and Alice De Planta in Malawi.

December 11, 2011

Of Oil, Stones and Wisdom in Uganda and My White Men Zombies

zom.bie noun \ˈzäm-bē\
: my learning, my living, my growing
: Homo Coprophagus Somnambulus
: a mixed drink made of several kinds of rum, liqueur, and fruit juice
***

Here lies Arthur Delmar Combe: prolific mineralogist, volcanologist and petrologist.

You are excused if you have never heard of A. D.  After all, who was he but the man for whom the mineral ‘combeite’ was named? So what if the discovery combeite in 1957 has led to important medical developments in biocompatible bone restorations as well as numerous orthopedic and dental innovations?

The sinking, stinking Entebbe European Cemetery is the final resting place for this former Assistant Director at the Uganda Geological Survey who had  a heart for the ageless stories of stones. The beautiful black block of Ankole granite used to fashion his headstone was a loving tribute to his pioneering work in mapping the crater lakes of southwestern Uganda and his discovery of potash-rich deposits in Toro.

Now, like much of Uganda’s inglorious past, Arthur Delmar Combe lies forgotten … and we wake to a grey dawn.

I have discovered pitifully little about A. D. Combes. An excerpt in the journal Nature from July 16, 1949 sheds some light:

December 10, 2011

Weeping for My White Men Zombies

Despair? No. Emptiness. No! Fancy? Maybe doom … maybe fortitude.

Mourned at the graves in the European Cemetery in Entebbe. Saw the face of inevitability, not in my mortality, but again and again in the shameful decrepitude of my nation.

They are not my zombies, but they are. Not my past, but my wretchedness.

… When I have seen such interchange of state,

Or state itself confounded to decay;

Ruin hath taught me thus to ruminate,

That Time will come and take my love away.

This thought is as a death, which cannot choose

But weep to have that which it fears to lose.

– William Shakespeare; from Sonnet LXIV

Entebbe European Cemetery: The perfect idyllic resting place …

... so idllyic that a shallow, open public piss palace has been erected on it.

***

zom.bie  noun \ˈzäm-bē\

usually zombi
  1. : my past, my reality, my end
  2. : a mixed drink made of several kinds of rum, liqueur, and fruit juice
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