Falcon Old Boys-May 2013 Newsletter





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May 2013


Dear Old Boys


With the second term having just begun there are a few matters to update you on:


  1. Old Boys weekend will be held at the school on the weekend of 20th July. Note that this weekend will coincide with sports fixtures against Peterhouse as there are both home and away fixtures this term.


  1. The annual touch rugby tournament will be held at Peterhouse on the morning of Saturday June 1st, and will be followed by sports fixtures against Peterhouse in the afternoon. Hopefully we can at last wrestle “The Beast” floating trophy from the Petreans! David Crouch will be putting together the FOB teams – please get in touch with him if you would like to play (david@dominussport.co.zw).


  1. 2014 will be the 60th anniversary of the school, an excellent chance to get your year group and old mates back to the school. There are a number of events lined up to commemorate this and we will advise dates as soon as they are set.


  1. The annual golf day was held at Borrowdale Brooke on March 8th. Once again there was a full field with many FOB’s taking part.  Congratulations to Simon Rudland and team for a notable victory!


  1. The Falcon 2012 magazine has been published and once again is an outstanding publication. You can follow this link on the Falcon website to download a copy: http://www.falconcollege.com/download-falcon-college-magazine/


  1. Our sincere thanks to the Old Boys who generously contributed to the MacDonald’s farewell gift. They will be travelling to the Masai Mara in August to see the annual migration, thanks in a large part to the generosity of the Old Boys.


  1. New Committee members. David Crouch, Lloyd Mlotshwa, Edward Leared, Kudzai Chiota and Graham Riley have all joined the committee in the early part of 2013. Beck Edwards will be stepping down from the committee and we thank him sincerely for his efforts.


We look forward to seeing many FOB’s throughout the term.


Best regards


Mike Lashbrook

Falcon Old Boys, Zimbabwe





Having just received another Christmas card from the UK. I realize that it must be Easter, and the end of the 1st term!  Although I am sure that many Form 1’s may disagree, this term has flown by, wind assisted by the fact that it was a bit shorter than usual and thus more had to be crammed in.

Our new crop of eage, fresh-faced Form 1s arrived in over sized blazers, creamy, unscuffed and ‘unsmiling’ vellies, and so far have survived, though many were convinced that the end of ‘grace period’ was equivalent to a death sentence.  I am always amazed at how quickly they learn the lingo and within a few weeks are fluent in ‘Falcon speak’ and thus become unintelligible to teachers, parents and other normal human beings, but feel incredibly cool and accepted.

Within the first few weeks of term we had hosted an Open Day and Junior School Cricket Festival. Both were well attended and the cricket final was hotly contested by St John’s and Ruzawi, with the rural Ruzawians coming out tops.

Both the Natural History boys and the LVI Environmental group had trips to the Malilangwe Conservancy in the lowveld which proved invaluable to their understanding of the bush and environmental issues.

The cross country season saw lots of brightly coloured, pink cheeked, gasping and sweaty boys of all ages slogging up and down the Esigodini hills.  Relay Cross Country was won jointly by Chubb and George Grey, and the School Course  ended in a downpour with Chubb managing the reduced visability,  muddy conditions, and spray caused by ‘large road users’ the best, to win overall.

Highlights of the athletics season were Relay Day, which was won by Tredgold, and Founders Day when Tredgold were beaten into 2nd place by a well deserving Hervey who dominated the track events.  Both days were well supported by parents and old boys and were ‘Falcon at its best’, with the grounds looking fantastic and track and field events teaming with athletic and enthusiastic young men.

Our annual Cultural Weekend was again a great success with both boy’s and girl’s representing schools all over the country attending an action packed weekend.  The less inhibited took to the stage on Sunday morning to ‘strut their stuff.  Be it acting, singing, dancing or playing a musical instrument.  Isn’t it amazing what a Falcon boy will do when the chance of impressing (or at least getting the attention of) the fairer sex arises?

The Form 1s had their 3 day Adventure Course in Quiet Waters where they had a chance to work together (or not) as houses to solve various challenges,  find their way around orienteering courses (or not) , sleep out under the stars, make fires, kill and cook supper and generally enjoy time away from school and worrying about which ‘ Excuse me’ was going to walk around the corner!

Our play this year was an adaptation of the movie ‘Ice Age’.  Turned into a musical and once again supported by fantastic costumes, singing and music from our own band and singers, and with some excellent individual acting performances, it was a great success, giving all the boys involved another unique Falcon experience!

We welcomed new members of staff this term.  Caroline Fenwick, who’s son Justin was here several years ago, and Ross and Kayla Waghorn.  Ross was a Hervey boy back in the early 2000’s.  He and his American wife Kayla are a wonderful breath of fresh air and have considerably lowered the average age in the staff room!

Sadly we are losing Pete and Jackie Stewart who are moving up to Zambia and will be sorely missed in so many aspects of College life.  Joanne Gous who has always been the quiet and helpful backbone of the admin staff is moving on to a job with old boy, Jimmy Goddard, in Shangani.  We wish them all well.

In an attempt to improve our communications with the outside world we are in the process of having a fibre optic cable installed to the College which will hopefully speed up our internet, while a cell phone tower now sits on the hills beyond Quiet Waters ready to ensure every smart phone ‘app’ is instantly available. Power cuts permitting of course!

We finished off the 1st term with the boys getting their head (hands and feet) around the winter sports.  The rugby boys have already had a very successful tour in South Africa, and the 1st XI hockey  and soccer boys go on tour later this these holidays.  We hope that you will be able to come along and support some of our matches next term….. remember how cold winter in Esigodini is? Wear your woolies!

Brigitte Randle




QUIET WATERS – beginning of 2013 from Heather Macdonald


I often start off with a weather report – what happens on the weather front is so important to us – but I thought this time a poem would reflect the changes of a new year.

Laraine Oosthuizen (King), known to many of you as Reg Querl’s secretary, has taken to writing poetry, and so I am starting off with one of her new poems because it seemed so appropriate and an alternative to the weather! I am sure you will enjoy it.


BUTTERFLY by Laraine Oosthuizen

From chrysalis emerging

Wings still furled, trembling

Sunshine warming

Wings stretched, lengthening

Butterfly flower seeking

Of nectar drinking

Joins hundreds flying

Soaring, mating

Soon eggs laying

Then lies dying

Eggs hatching

Caterpillars growing

For food scavenging

New chrysalis forming

Butterfly’s life cycling


There have indeed been many butterflies flitting around for a while, increasingly so as the rains improved and the heat abated.


Last year we had a long dry season, with poor rains in the summer and some scorching heat later in the year. I would love to know what affects the Acacia blossoms since there seems to be little relation to good or bad rains, but we did not have the floral display of 2011, and the blossoms were very patchy. There were few glorious Acacia galpinii or Acacia nigrescens flowers as we had last season, though the Acacia karoo along the wetter patches have done their bit. It is a pity that we do not have any Acacia sieberiana on the property since the specimens along the road to Bulawayo were truly magnificent when they were in blossom – I guess making up for the paucity of the others. I am of course incorrectly writing about Acacias since that name has been appropriated by the Australians and we are meant to use the genus name Vachellia, but it is hard to change old habits!


By Christmas the park looked as if it was still the dry season. There was little grass growth; shoots of greenery which had sprouted were rapidly turning blue and becoming shrivelled in the area which had been burned in November, and many of the trees were slow to allow their leaves to unfurl. We had had some rain, including one good shower, but generally the precipitation was too infrequent and too inconsequential to make much impact.


However, New Year brought some lovely soaking rain and we have had several days of sogginess in the first weeks of the term. While welcome, the rain has still not generally been in great quantities unlike some of our surrounding areas. Pierre Heymans showed me a recent rainfall map of Falcon College and the College area looks like a white island in a sea of deep blue. (A website many of us refer to because it specifically has Falcon College weather forecasts is a Norwegian one. I would love to know if it was set up by Matthew Reed (George Grey) since he lives in Norway and who else would specifically target Falcon for a weather forecast?)


The bush has been transformed with its new verdant covering; Piet my vrou, who was rather quiet for a while, emerged in full voice again as did the Black Cuckoo; the frogs’ chorus is deafening at times and so are the Christmas beetles and crickets. The mozzies, which plagued us all before the rains, seem to have mostly dispersed. Longden’s and Mbonisa weir, both of which had lost an alarming amount of water, have benefited from some run off, and all in all the magic of rain has been a blessing. But, we need lots, lots more!


There have been several young impala born, though we thought a little later than normal and perhaps not as many as usual. There are two young wildebeest, however, which is very exciting and a couple of young giraffe made an appearance. Sadly, one was found dead, as was the young zebra born last term; with no apparent injuries it was hard to know what the problem was. With the rains the game has dispersed and become hard to see as the grass cover has strengthened, and we do not have giraffe near our house very often now, though the odd zebra and groups of impala pass by every so often. Regular visitors to the pan in front of our house are the baboons who offer endless amusement – as long as they stay on the other side of the fence and do not leg it into our gardens and out again with a pawpaw under each arm as was once witnessed!

There has been a great hatching of baby tortoises and they are seen regularly along the roads. Several small pythons have been found and maybe it was one of the parents who attacked and devoured a hapless bushbuck near Quest not too long ago.


Pumula camp site has as usual been much used by parents, FOBs and visitors to the College. The gardens looked very bedraggled before the New Year as the trees were slow to sprout their new greenery and the little grass growing in front of the chalets was attracting warthog, duiker and impala. We are happy to have them mow the lawns when they are lush and thick but…! After the rains though they are now hard to keep tidy with all the growth, but would rather have it that way.Improvements are slowly being done to the large entertainment area and the refurbishment of the open gazebo, and it is hoped that what is planned for both projects will be completed this year.

In the August holidays there was an exciting new development when solar panels with lights were added to Umnondo and Chelicuti chalets. Each chalet has lights inside, on the veranda and near the braai site. These are a great boon and are supplemented by the excellent solar lanterns bought from Econet, with which each of the these and the the other chalets is supplied.


If you are driving to Falcon, on the straight stretch before you get to the Ncema Bridge, you will see ahead of you on the hills a new cell phone tower. This was constructed in the third term, sited on top of one of the hills in the wilderness area of Quiet Waters. If you drive up the tortuous, winding road to the tower, you are rewarded by a stupendous 360 degree view. The battlements of the Matopos rear imposingly beyond the Esibomvu hills; the moody and much loved Mulungwanes line the east with Balla Balla peak sharply looming in the south; the plains beyond the Mulungwanes stretch away towards Shangani, while clearly in the north can be seen historic Inthabanendi.


In my last report I asked if anyone could explain why the Dychrostachus sinerea all round Quiet Waters and beyond could be dying off so dramatically. No-one has offered an explanation, and now we have another puzzle. In the last year we have lost many Comiphera of all species, and it seems as if we could lose them all. We had 5 beautiful specimens in our garden and they all died during the year. Their bark split open and cracked all the way up the trunk, effectively ring- barking them and in a few months they were all dead. The same has happened all round the College, but it is especially noticeable near us where there were many of these beautiful smooth, green-trunked trees. There is no outward sign of what could have caused this so I have another plea for an answer!


As always, FOBs are most welcome to come and visit. We have had several call in in the last few months, and it is always great to see you. Nigel Dorwood and his family were here just before Christmas, camping under the stars, and they loved every moment.


Heather Macdonald







Life of Dr.Mike Cowen, Phd (Cambridge), Bsc Economics (London)

Professor of Economics and Head of the Institute of Development

Studies at Helsinki University, Finland

(1945 to 2000)


He was at Falcon from 1957 to 1962 and resided in Oates House. On completing his “A” levels he went to the University College of Rhodesia and Nyasaland in Harare where he obtained his Bsc Economics Degree. It was here that he was influenced both academically and politically. He was arrested, along with some of his colleagues, for leading a protest  in front of the Parliament buildings against press censorship by the Smith Regime leading up to UDI.

In 1965 he leaves Rhodesia for England and works as a Supply Teacher in Woolwich, South London before going up to Cambridge University on a Commonwealth Scholarship. This was to undertake a graduate course of Diploma in Development Economics at Sidney Sussex College which he completes in 1967.


In 1968 he leaves the UK for Kenya to undertake research for his Phd and is based at the University of Nairobi Economics Dept. where he both lectures and works with the Institute of Development Studies. He then moves to upland Kenya (Karatina) where he lives on a Tea Plantation and undertakes his research on the Wattle tree industry in Kenya. He speaks both fluent Swahili and the Kikuyu dialect.

In 1978 he returns to the UK and spends a year at the Institute of Development Studies at Sussex University and in 1979 is awarded his Phd from Cambridge University. He then moves to Swansea University in Wales and teaches economics for a short period before becoming a lecturer at the London Guildhall University in the City of London.  He eventually becomes a Reader in economics in 1993 and is responsible for creating innovative under-graduate and post-graduate courses and programmes. At the same time he instigates and teaches an economics programme at Birkbeck College which is part of the University of London. He also writes both articles and presents papers for various international and national publications. In 1996, in conjunction with a fellow academic from Queen’s University, Ontario, Canada publishes an academic book entitled Doctrines of Development which achieves international acclaim.








In 1988, the City University was threatened with closure and was to be merged with a University in Essex. As Chairman of NATFHE, which was the lecturer’s union, he and his colleagues fought the closure by providing a viable and sustainable strategic plan which was successful in keeping the institution intact. I believe that about this time he sought the help of Robert Jackson (Ex-Falcon) who was politically connected with the Ministry of Education.

In 1995, he is seconded from Guildhall University to become acting Director of the Institute of Development studies at Helsinki University, Finland, whilst continuing to supervise Phd students back in London.  He travels extensively throughout the European Community presenting Papers at various universities. In 1998 he is appointed Professor and Chair at IDS, University of Helsinki.

He passed away in February, 2000 after a short illness and leaves his wife Riitta and sons Adam and David.  Adam is a Corporate Lawyer working for a major financial company in Australia and David is about to complete his Economics degree at Turku University in Finland.


I am sure he will be remembered by many of the Old Boys of his era.


By Ken Cowen



My brother Mike passed away in 2000.


For my part, I was at Falcon (Oates) between1961 to 1966. I graduated at Middlesex University in London in 1972 in Hospitality Management and held senior management positions in various five star hotel properties in the UK and Canada. With Intercontinental Hotels I worked in London and various countries in the Far East before becoming a Hospitality Consultant in the UK and then in Vancouver, Canada where I now reside.


Our legacy at Falcon are the Cowen Cup’s (Inter house junior rugby & Open group individual medley), which were presented by our late parents in the early 60’s!




Ken Cowen
























SAT: 11.5.13 HARARE Hockey vs PE @ PE – 1st and 2nd teams.
SAT: 11.5.13 HARARE Hockey 1st Inter-zonal tournament @ St. Johns
SAT: 01.6.13 HARARE Rugby & soccer, all teams @ Peterhouse.
    O.B’s Touch rugby @ Peterhouse.
SAT: 08.6.13 HARARE Rugby & hockey 1st and 2nd teams vs St Johns @
    St. Johns.
SAT: 15.6.13 HARARE Soccer 1st @ St Georges.
    Rugby 1st vs Churchill @ Churchill
SAT: 06.7.13 HARARE Hockey 1st vs Eaglesvale @ Eaglesvale
SUN: 07.7.13 COLLEGE TOUR de Falcon
FRI: 19.7.13 BULAWAYO O.B’s dinner @ The Kraal
SAT: 20.7.13 COLLEGE O.B’S DAY:  All rugby vs Peterhouse @ College
    (no other sports being played that day)
FRI: 26.7.13 HARARE Hockey 1st vs St Georges @ St Georges
SAT: 27.7.13 HARARE Rugby & Soccer 1st vs St Georges @ St Georges


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