NAIROBI NEWS JANUARY 10, 1920: ANOTHER TRAGEDY
The headlines of the January 10, 1920 issue of The Leader of British East Africa once again proved that the colony seemed to call to people in difficult straits and that the climate put severe pressure on them. A Mr. Lawson Walton had been found dead “at the soldier settler’s camp.” Mr. Walton was not the only European man living at that camp. Another man, a Mr. Oxland, passed the tent on the afternoon of December 31, 1919 and saw three native askari outside the tent. Mr. Oxland had stopped to tell Mr. Walton that he’d come to walk with him. The askari informed Mr. Oxland, “Bwana na kufa,” (Bwana is dead). The askaris had come to the tent previously when they heard a rifle shot.
Mr. Walton had been in business in Uganda before later joining the Kings Rifles during the Great War. The deceased had been appointed as a political office with power to “arrest native traders” and to destroy their property lest it fall into enemy hands. Mr. Walton later suffered a sunstroke and was in a lunatic asylum for a while. He was told he shouldn’t return to the tropics, but he did. When natives talked about him and accused him of witchcraft to Arabs and Swahilis, it affected him intensely.
The medical evidence “shows that the deceased died from a wound through the roof of his mouth which entered his brain.” The magistrate ruled “suicide during a fit of temporary insanity, brought on by a former sunstroke and a return to the tropics.”
NEXT WEEK: LOVE CHARIOTS IN DOWNTOWN NAIROBI
NOTE: These blogs are meant to give some insight into the life and times of my fictional character, Jade del Cameron. Jade’s mystery adventures take place in post WWI Africa. To date they are: Mark of the Lion, Stalking Ivory, and The Serpent’s Daughter NOW AVAILABLE IN PAPERBACK. The fourth book The Leopard’s Prey, will be available in hardcover January 6, 2009. For more information, visit the website: www.suzannearruda.com