The Boy Scouts Association of Zimbabwe
Firelight Magazine

Province of Matabeleland

Being a Scout in Matabeleland is fantastic

The views and opinions expressed by authors do not necessarily reflect the official policy of the Boy Scouts Association of Zimbabwe.

February 2001



Insist on discipline, strick, quick and obedience in small details.

A nation to be powerful and prosperous must be well disciplined and you only get discipline in the mass by discipline in the individual. By discipline I mean patient, obedience to authority and to other dictates of duty. This cannot be achieved by repressive measures, but by encouragement and by educating the boy first in self discipline and in sacrificing of self and selfish pleasures for the benefit of others. This teaching is largely reflected by example, by putting responsibility upon him. Discipline is not gained by punishing a child for a bad habit but by substituting a better occupation, that will gradually lead him to forget the old one.

BADEN POWELL (1857 - 1941)



Scouting is a great Movement, but that’s not all!!

We at Fire-Light have no doubt that Scouting is a powerful movement, and that it has many untold success stories especially in Matabeleland. Many of us have invested time and money into it. Such that when Scouting is criticised we become angry and perhaps defensive. We refer in particular to the November issue which many found "negative". Brother Scouts, our great movement is part of a society which itself is subject to criticism.

We at Fire-Light are committed to Scouting but we ask that when areas of improvement are raised, let us not be quick to be on the defensive. It is important that we critically analyse issues be it at Group, District or Provincial level.

For instance the rate of unemployment is 60%. Do our shrinking number of Leaders have anything to do with this. Perhaps what is required is a programme that teaches the value of work, the skills of finding and keeping employment, self employment and entrepreneurial skills, etc. This is a challenge to all of us.

It is a fact that the socio-economic factors will always affect the social fabric in a community, hence institutions like Scouting need to keep on developing and making improvements. To ignore this is to make Scouting irrelevant to its beneficiaries and run the risk of even greater isolation.

I attended a training meeting in South Africa recently and what struck me was the amount of human resources at their disposal. Why are we not able to recruit and retain adult leaders?

Brother Scouts as we celebrate the birth of Baden-Powell let us do more for Scouting by engaging ourselves in discussions, debates, etc.

Finally fellow Scouters it is an submission that Scouting is a great movement but that’s not all!!

Good Scouting.




This is a report on what the Beavers of 8th Hillside Colony have been up to during the past year. We have a very full and varied programme and try to incorporate as much as possible in it to keep the interests of the boys at heart. We certainly seem to manage this judging by our numbers. We have 15 regular beavers, a nice number for this age group.

We started the year off celebrating our 2nd birthday party with a huge cake. During this term we visited the Mabukuwene Nature Gardens and had a stroll around and some fun and games up in the rocks. We also took part in the annual B.P. service. We took part in some of the activities that were organized and went for a swim in Mini Maleme Dam. This seemed to be the highlight of their camp. The Beavers enjoyed collecting the most beautiful tadpoles.

The second term was just as busy and full of fun. In the middle of June we took the boys on a camp at Gordon Park. The Beavers did an obstacle course with a difference. They were firemen and had to put a fire out on the other side of the donga after completing the course set up in the Bowl (for those who know Gordon Park). The Beavers climbed a rope ladder, slid down a pole, loaded a rope, water and ladder on to the cart and pulled Mother Beaver to the next section. Here we carefully but quickly crossed the Rope Bridge, ran to the benches and swung on the rope before crossing the donga to put out the fire. What fun to then put the fire out and have a water fight. We also climbed Iffi and slid down the streams on our buts.

At the end of the second term we took food to the animals at Chipangali Wild Life Orphanage. We spent the afternoon playing and petting the animals in the Lady Di Centre. This was our "Good Turn".

During the third term we visited the Bulawayo Museum and had a picnic tea in the gardens Most meetings were spent swimming at Mother Beaver’s house and making a mess in her kitchen. We made some tasty goodies.

At the end of the term we went camping at Gordon Park, a nice way to end the year off. Our first morning there we climbed Shumba. What a climb for Mother Beaver! The beavers, Shaun and Travis our two Scout helpers, went ahead leaving me to plod on. Once on top the boys stripped to their jocks and had great fun swimming in the ponds up there. The Scouts soon joined us and a war broke out. The boys had great delight in wetting the Scouts. The descent was far easier.

During the course of the afternoon we decorated our makeshift natural bush Christmas tree. Sometime during the night we had a visit from some very kind person, Father Christmas. He left a few gifts under the tree for us. There was such excitement the next morning when we found all these parcels and the footprints of his reindeer. He dragged his sack down the kopje. Many parents joined us for a lovely afternoon braai lunch before we returned home.



Attention all Scout Leaders in Hwange and Gwanda Districts.

The Matabeleland Training Team will soon be visiting your area to conduct a combined Introductory Course/General Information Course.

The Hwange course is set for 24 March 2001. So "Be Prepared".

Basic Woodbadge Course : 10 -11 March 2001 : Gordon Park, Matopos.

Cost : $250.00.

All adult Leaders who have attended a General Information Course are eligible to attend this course. For entry forms, contact Provincial Headquarters.









Starting out in a new year is something like the beginning of an adventure of exploration into unknown country. You feel gay and in good heart, wondering what thrills are ahead, never quite knowing what to expect, but if you are a wise person ;you will have planned your route and equipped yourself so that you are prepared for the journey and able to deal with any emergency that may soon crop up. That I am sure is the way to go forward in this new year of 2001.

B.P, who gave us this great game of Scouting, believed in the power of smile and that is why he gave us the eighth Scout law.

I will tell you a story of the Scout who always whistled to show that he was happy. He got a job in a film studio but he only lasted a day. You see, he was sent to one of the stages with a message and feeling on top of the world he started to whistle. Nobody would have complained about that in an ordinary way, but it so happened that they were shooting a scene and his shrill whistling was picked up by the microphones, this ruining the "take", That little whistle cost the studio hundreds of thousands of dollars and the boy his job.

This is therefore to tell you that, there is a time and place for everything and we should remember that particularly when we feel like singing or whistling.

May I start the new year with a "Thank You" to all my brothers in Scouting. Your kindness and remembrance of me has warmed my heart.







The year ended on a high note with the revival of the Gwanda Scout Group.

The group led by Prince Kanyama did what is beyond compare, having a total of about 5 patrols invested including Cubs.

On 4 August 2000 the boys made history when the group had its first weekend camp. With a total of 25 boys attending, we had the time of our lives. Some of the boys had never experienced camping and they enjoyed every minute of it. The lessons we learnt will always prove invaluable to all of us.

During the course of the year, several boys were awarded proficiency badges in swimming, musician and First Aid. As a result of the hard work displayed by the Scouts, a prize giving day was organised and the following Scouts awarded prizes:-

Scout of the year : Mkhululi Ndema Ngwenya

Patrol Leader of the year : Calvin Dube

Best dressed Scout : Thembani Kona

Cub Scout of the year : Simon Mabuka

The year ended well for the troop, but there were also some goodbye cries from the Grade 7's who were going to Secondary Schools.

Finally the Troop would like to send many thanks to Miss M Madlela, Headmistress of St Christopher School, Mr J Nyathi, Deputy Head and also Mr J Ncube and Mr L Moyo, members of the school staff.

Happy Scouting!!







As one of the lucky winners of Assegai we were awarded an opportunity to go to Masiye Training Camp and take part in some of the activities there.

We were split into groups and went to various bases. The different bases were abseiling, raft building, swimming, canoeing, zipline (fufie slide) and a rope course. We also attended some lectures, craft making and drama bases. At the craft base we made a necklace using beads. At the drama base we made our own skit. We chose to sing a song in Ndebele.

We attended their church service on the Sunday morning in their beautifully painted outdoor chapel.

I enjoyed going on the zipline. It goes from the top of the kopje across the dam.

I would advise all the Scout Leaders to take their Troop there for a day. It was really great.

To organise your visit, go to the Masiye Training Camp office located at the Salvation Army Hostel on 12th Avenue, in Bulawayo.




I am writing for the Cubs during the next few months. Do Cubs ever get to read or see Fire-Light? I doubt it. I once challenged them to a competition with a prize, through Fire-Light and had no response at all, but hopefully there may be an Akela (Cub Scout Leader) who may find these thoughts useful for her/his Pack meetings.

The thoughts and ideas are not my own entirely. They mostly come from a book called "Letters to a Wolf Cub" and were written to a boy called Jamie, here is the first, with adaptions.

Dear Jamie

Your mother has told me that you are hoping to become a Cub Scout. I am glad to hear that you are to be in Brown Six, I was in Brown Six myself and I was proud of it. Of course the other sixes are just as good really, but we don’t tell them so.

When this letter was first written, Cub Scouts were called Wolf Cubs and your Akela will tell you the reason as this is one of the stories you have to know before you are invested. It is the story of Mowgli.

Mowgli was a little Indian boy, living near the jungle. A tiger called Sher Khan came prowling around and put his paw on the hot embers of a fire and howled. Mowgli was frightened and ran away into the jungle where a family of wolves found him and looked after him with their own little wolf cubs.

Mother wolf taught Mowgli lots of little things about the jungle. He was taught to do them properly just as you will learn from your Akela, so that you can do the bigger things later on. Gradually Mowgli was able when still quite a small boy, to hunt in the jungle for himself and find his own food and to run and keep up with his brothers, the real wolf cubs.

And now one more very important thing before I finish this letter to you. You will have seen the Cubs in your Pack making a circle and then squatting down and giving a yell and probably you noticed that your Akela was standing in the middle. Perhaps the Brown Sixer told you that the yell was called the Grand Howl and that you would be allowed to join in it when you had made your Cub Promise. Well I want to try and tell you something about the Grand Howl, because it is something which all Cubs look upon as very important and the way they do it tells their Cub Scout Leader (Akela) and other people too, how they are enjoying their cubbing.

When Mowgli was rescued by the wolves, they took him to the Council meeting of all the wolves of the Pack. The Council meeting was held at night time round a big flat rock. All the wolves sat round the rock in a circle. Akela, the head of the Pack took up his place on the top of the rock. The wolves all threw back their heads and howled out a welcome to him. Now we Cub people do the same thing. The whole Pack gets into what we call a Parade Circle and gives its Grand Howl to welcome the Akela. This really happens among real wolves, a soldier in India actually saw it!

Mowgli was taken to the Council rock to be accepted by the whole Pack of wolves and shortly I hope, you will be admitted into the Pack’s circle in order to make your Promise as a Cub Scout and be admitted a full member of the Pack. But first you will have to know what the Grand Howl is. But I am afraid that will have to wait until my next letter. Let me hear sometime how you are getting on with the learning of everything and I will try and write to you again soon.

Your friend








On the twenty-second of this month we commemorate the birth date of our Founder, Lord Baden-Powell. B.P, as he was affectionately known, was certainly a man of many interests and during his life time he was involved with many people, firstly as a soldier of the British army and secondly as the founder of the world’s largest youth movements, the Boy Scouts and Girl Guides. Having been actively engaged in many small wars in India and Africa, he had every right to comment on the futility of such conflicts between nations and so in developing the Boy Scout and Girl Guide movements his emphasis was on peace, of understanding, of accommodating, of respect for one another and of our environment.

B.P. wrote a few "Last Messages," one of which I have chosen to end this month’s article with, for I feel we all need to be reminded of our Founder’s vision when he was still directing the course that Scouting and Guiding should take. In reading his message, do not say to yourself, Ah, but times have changed this no longer applies. If you do I will counter this by stating that only our material world has changed, not our innermost needs, our desire to be loved and love in turn, to be helped and help in turn and most importantly to enjoy our lives to the fullest.

I am not sure when he wrote the "message" but I can only guess it was in the 1930's, many years after it had been established.

"To MY BROTHER SCOUTERS AND GUIDES: Cecil Rhodes said at the end of his life (and I, in my turn feel the truth of it), ‘So much to do and so little time to do it’.

No one can hope to see the consummation, as well as the start, of a big venture within the short span of one life-time.

I have had an extraordinary experience in seeing the development of Scouting from its beginning up to its present stage.

But there is a vast job before it. The movement is only now getting into its stride. (When I speak of Scouting I include in it Guiding also).

The one part which I can claim as mine towards promoting the Movement is that I have been lucky enough to find you men and women to form a group of the right stamp who can be relied upon to carry it on to its goal.

You will do well to keep your eyes open, in your turn, for worthy successors to whom you can, with confidence, hand on the torch. Don’t let it become a salaried organization; keep it a voluntary movement of patriotic service.

The movement has already, in the comparatively short period of its existence, established itself onto a wide and so strong a footing as to show most encouraging promise of what may be possible to it in the coming years.

Its aim is to produce healthy, happy, helpful citizens, sectarian and national, and to substitute for it a broader spirit of self-sacrifice and service in the cause of humanity; and thus to develop mutual goodwill and co-operation not only within our own country but abroad, between all countries.

Experience shows that this consummation is no idle or fantastic dream, but is a practicable possibility - if we work for it; and it means, when attained, peace, prosperity and happiness for all.

The ‘encouraging promise’ lies in the fact that the hundreds of thousands of boys and girls who are learning our ideals today will be the fathers and mothers of millions in the near future, in whom they will in turn inculcate the same ideals - provided that these are really and unmistakably impressed upon them by their leaders of today.

Therefore you, who are Scouters and Guiders, are not only doing a great work for your neighbour’s children but are also helping in practical fashion to bring to pass God’s Kingdom of peace and goodwill upon earth.

So, from my heart, I wish you God-speed in your effort.













Bobomaster Production © 2000