The shock of having all that you have worked for and lived for taken away will be something that most of us never have to contemplate.
But this happened to many people in Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwe in the early years of the new millennium, and among them were ranchers Pat and Mandy Retzlaff and their family.
One Hundred and Four Horses – a memoir of farm and family, Africa and exile
by Mandy Retzlaff
260pp, William Collins, RRP $NZ29.99
ISBN-10: 0062204378; ISBN-13: 978-0062204370
Available from Amazon
They were among many farmers in the country who were told they had to leave their properties behind, including their animals.
But Pat Retzlaff refused to leave their horses, taking the herd on the family’s travels to find safe haven. Word soon spread among other dispossessed farmers that the Retzlaffs were “saving” their own horses, and they were easily coaxed into taking more in.
The herd soon grew to 104 horses – hence the book’s title. It was no easy task travelling with such a large number of horses, but there was help along the way.
Eventually a place to call home is found, but at the end of the journey a tragic turn of events brings yet more heartache.
Most would find it hard to go on, but the Retzlaffs have continued to look forward, and today run Mozambique Horse Safari on the beaches of Vilankulo.