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  • Writer's pictureNondiarist

A Horseman Called Hammond

Who was he?

A huge character. A kind and thoughtful man with a cracking sense of humour. And a wonderful horseman.

He was also a man who, early in his career, made history in his country.

During his lifetime, his country went to war with itself, changed its name and became famous for all the wrong reasons. He knew recognition and triumph and some undeserved, desperate hardship but he also knew loyal friendship.

I knew him in the mid to late 1980s. Those were wonderful, mad, coming-of-age times for me and I made lifelong friends during the years spent at Nina Williams’s Henryd Riding School in Harare, Zimbabwe. Sian Brown, Nina’s daughter, is one of them. She writes of him:

“He was great character and friend in those days, and despite his penchant for the bottle he was unfailingly sensitive and so good with horses and all other animals. And a patient, encouraging teacher to any little kids interested in horses. He competed on all our horses in all sort of events. On my old character Nitwit, in showing and dressage classes, also Linguist, Ebony Dancer, Wizard, Mr Higgins, Sunlark, and so many others. He ably could school a horse from zero to elementary standard within a mere few months.”

Both Sian and I have long wanted to document his story. I’ve split it into four parts and I hope I’ve done him justice.

He was Hammond (Hamadi Josiah Chavangula), 1942 – 2017.

This is for him and it’s a story that must be told.

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