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   Gerald Raath

  

Gerald Raath

House: Nicholson
Year: 1964-1967

I grew up on several farms close to Eldoret, Kenya where I was born and had my primary school education as a border at the Hill School, Eldoret. My father was a farm manager and moved around several times with his work. Attending Prince of Wales was daunting for me as I was rather small for my 13 years of age and the other guys were not exactly friendly to anyone. I remember being told I would serve as rabble first to Ian Silver then to Thande who were 6th form prefects. Silver was as mean and unreasonable a person as I have ever met. I had to run his bath, wash and iron his clothes, make his bed, etc. He would often mistreat me after drinking in the prefectís common room so I was glad to be transferred to rabble for Thande for a couple of years as he was more human. The Housemaster, Rev Peter Davies, heard I was good with horses so he asked (ordered?) me to train and check out their Shetland Pony for suitability for their kids to ride. Needless to say I am convinced the animal was completely psychotic as it took off with me hanging on bucking wildly and crashing through a barbed wire fence before depositing me on the ground. Rev Davies I was convinced hated me and one day called me into his office for cuts (again). He threatened me with my life if I didnít knuckle down and work hard as in his opinion I was slacking off. It worked and that year I got a cup for my improved Latin marks.

I left Nairobi School prematurely to help my father on the cattle ranch. I subsequently worked as a trainee ranch manager for the East African Wattle Company at their Soy Estates cattle ranch which I enjoyed thoroughly. Learned much about cattle as I personally had to learn to dehorn, brand, castrate, vaccinate, medically treat and even perform minor surgical operations among my many duties. As a young 21 year old I decided that cattle farming would trap me and as I had an adventurous spirit I needed to be free to travel so I decided the time had come to move on.

I left Kenya in 1971, emmigrating to South Africa where I lived until moving once again to Canada in 1999 with my wife, Glynda, and four children. In Canada we have worked in a franchising business since 1999. See www.sureslim.ca

We were able to make several trips to Kenya over the past years mainly as a tourist to the wildlife areas of Masai Mara, Samburu and Tsavo. My son Rowan and I hitch hiked (mainly using public transport) to Kenya from South Africa over a 3 month period in 1992 and afterward I did 2 more trips in my Land Rover via Mozambique, Malawi, Zambia & Tanzania. Taking photos on the Tazara train in Dar es Salaam was a scary moment for my 12 year old son Rowan when he was stormed and roughed up by a dozen Tanzanian soldiers being accused of spying for South Africa. My still fairly fluent Swahili allowed a suitable bribe to be negotiated for his release.

We have been privileged over the years since leaving Kenya to travel to numerous countries around the world and had too many adventures to count. I will relate two of the more exciting trips here:
  • In 1992, our Landy caught fire in the Kalahari near Nxai Pan, Botswana. Being miles from any used roads and having used all our water to try and extinguish the fire my 2 children and I were forced to walk 35 km in search of help and water. In a severely dehydrated state after 1Ĺ days we eventually came across a safari vehicle who rescued us and took us to a village at Nata 200km away.
  • A few weeks later the small mono hull yacht we were in was knocked down in a 70 knot hurricane 30 miles off the Mozambique coast. Having lost our steering, sails, rudder and all electronic navigation equipment we were battered around relentlessly for 3 days bailing the water which almost sunk us before being able to limp to Richards Bay.

    Visiting Nairobi School in 1996 was quite something. It was strange to see the old Nicholson House buildings, classrooms (with the temporary prefab ones still going), chapel and sports fields that seemed less grand than I remembered them. It seemed that the honours boards in the main School entrance hall recording the Heads of School from my day seemed so far back. I guess 40 years later is 'far back'!

    I would like to thank Roderick Butler, Dave & Hettie Tooley, Vic Baxter, Stephen Njiro, Jules Sylvester and the others from my time at Prinso who took time to exchange emails with me. I would like to know what happened to Dave Masheder, Reed, Oguk, Mike Orphee, James and Charles Wheeler and many others whose names are dimmed by time.

    1972 - Gerald Raath newly arrived in South Africa
    1972 - Gerald Raath newly arrived in South Africa

    1991 - Gerald Raath game viewing in Botswana
    1991 - Gerald Raath game viewing in Botswana

    1992 - Gerald Raath lost his 'Landy' in a fire in Botswana
    1992 - Gerald Raath lost his 'Landy' in a fire in Botswana

    1994 - Gerald Raath with AK47, Mozambique
    1994 - Gerald Raath with AK47, Mozambique

    2001 - Gerald Raath and son, Rowan
    2001 - Gerald Raath and son, Rowan

    2005 - Gerald Raath rafting in Utah, USA
    2005 - Gerald Raath rafting in Utah, USA

    2005 - Gerald Raath on the Great Barrier Reef, Australia
    2005 - Gerald Raath on the Great Barrier Reef, Australia

    2005 - Gerald Raath on the Great Barrier Reef, Australia
    2005 - Gerald Raath on the Great Barrier Reef, Australia

    2005 - Gerald Raath
    2005 - Gerald Raath

    2006 - Gerald Raath on the Jasper Ice Fields
    2006 - Gerald Raath on the Jasper Ice Fields

    2006 - Gerald Raath in Alaska
    2006 - Gerald Raath in Alaska

    2007 - Gerald Raath with Rhino horn and dart gun, south Africa
    2007 - Gerald Raath with Rhino horn and dart gun, south Africa

    (Registered - 15th January 2003 & updated 20th February 2007)

  • If anyone wishes to contact Gerald, please e-mail webmaster@oldcambrians.com to obtain his contact details