Saturday, November 23, 2013

Cape Town to Goodwood Day 22: Gweck the Local Wizard of Dengkins...

And so the fourth week of this great adventure begins...

In her book "Women and Flying", Lady Heath tells us that of all the countries under British rule she touched in her journey, she felt the most secure in Sudan. "Every station wires you out to the next one, and if you do not turn up, search parties are sent out to look for you."
She tells a story of Gweck or Galewck a local wizard whose seat of power was close to the pyramid of Dengkins and who  gave the British much trouble.  His grandfather had built  the pyramid, which was about 100 ft high and built entirely of buckets of earth brought by his followers.
"Women who wanted children, farming natives who wanted crops and so on all came to him with their prayers and their money and their buckets of earth," she writes. 
"He foretold things like eclipses and impressed the native chiefs so much that they were willing to listen to him rather than to the British Government."
The British eventually drove him across the border to Abyssinia (Ethiopia)  and destroyed his pyramid with dynamite and bombs dropped from airplanes. However he was still alive and threatening a come back - one of the reasons Lady Heath was quite happy to pay  Dick Bentley £5 an hour to escort her from Mongalla to Malakal.
PS: Gweck was killed in 1929 while attempting to return to the Sudan. 

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