The Horns : Britain’s last colony – Rhodesia to Zimbabwe
Feb 22, 2019 12:30 PM
Jill Baker: Author
The Horns : Britain’s last colony – Rhodesia to Zimbabwe

The known history of Rhodesia from the coming of the Matebele Kings in 1840 to the Unilateral Declaration of Independence in 1965 forms the basis for the development of fascinating historical fiction – particularly when debated and discussed, agreed and disagreed by four young school leavers – one white girl and three black boys.

Jill Baker was born in what was then Southern Rhodesia and brought up in the Matebele heartland of Tjolotjo and Nyamandhlovu.   It was also the historical heartland of the Matebele Kings as they established their reign over every existing tribe from 1840 to 1890.   At this point, Cecil Rhodes formed the British South Africa Company, gaining both mineral rights and settlement to the northern area of the country, Mashonaland.   Matebeleland remained relatively untouched, until three years later, when in 1893 the Matebele King Lobengula was defeated in battle. 

It is against this dynamic historical background that The Horns has been written, with the increasingly divergent lives of its players coming into focus as the childhood playmates become ever more unsympathetic and hostile to each other.

It is a story of the best and worst of British colonialism brought to life through the fresh arguments and characterisations as the character and background of each player develops. 

Rhodesia was the last of Britain’s colonies – but the story is absolutely intriguing for anyone living in any of her one-time colonies, for the changing perceptions of what was, to what is.  Today, the prevailing wisdom of judgement and disdain of colonialism is examined in the light of modern interpretations of what was and what is deemed should have been.

Jill Baker has developed an intriguing fiction around the historical fact to debate and unravel the history. With many years as a broadcaster and public speaker, Jill’s talks are hotly debated and always remembered.

Jill Baker Biography

Jill Baker spent her childhood years in Matabeleland before moving to Mashonaland at the age of 14. From school she studied music at the Guildhall School of Music in London, while doing a business administration course.

Marriage to a tobacco farmer meant their lives on the farm ended shortly after UDI and Jill and her family moved to Salisbury where she worked for the next 15 years as a journalist, news and documentary presenter and producer in radio and television. She also opened her own business, Jill Baker Associates, in public relations and marketing.  Due to the increasing guerrilla war and an increasing role to be played by the women of the country, black and white, as the men were called up or husbands voluntarily joined the guerrilla groups or the Rhodesian African Rifles, Jill was instrumental in forming Co-Ord-A-Nation designed to help women cope.

On moving to Australia in 1983, Jill managed a radio station for five years, before opening her own business in consultancy to the tourism industry. 

When the farms were taken by the government of Zimbabwe, Jill formed The Zimbabwe Connection to help farmers find positions and therefore visas in Australia.   In 2005 she was awarded the Order of Australia for her work in this regard.

Her first book, Beloved African told the story of her father’s life as a headmaster in African Education from 1936 to 1966 and went to three editions. Beloved African and the Horns are available as print copies or e-books – and will be produced as author narrated audiobooks in the new year.