Rhodesia - Intaf

Callsign - Lighthouse

The Traditional Role of Intaf

Rhodesia was divided into 54 districts, each administered by a District Commissioner with his staff consisting of an Assistant District Commissioner (ADCs), District Officers (DOs) and Cadet District Officers.  The Districts were in turn grouped under seven provinces which also had a governmental structure led by Provincial Commissioners.  The Provincial Commissioners reported to the Secretary of Internal Affairs and then to the Minister.

The District Commissioner (DC) was considered a senior government official and in fact represented the government as the senior officer over all other officials in his district.  Other members of staff included agricultural officers, co-operatives officers, primary development officers, irrigation managers and other specialists.  The DC was responsible for co-ordinating all of the government’s efforts in his designated district.

Training.  All Cadet District Officers went on a training course at Bindura.  They were introduced to the Ministry and its responsibilities and underwent an extensive training period learning a wide variety of subjects including customary law, statute law, African languages and general administration techniques.

Exams.  Each cadet District Officer was expected to study on his own and then write the required Government exams for promotion.  These exams were as follows:

Customary Law.  This included the study of African tribal customs, traditions and laws.

Statute Law.  This included a wide variety of legislation such as the African Affairs Act, Internal Affairs Act, Firearms Act, Births and Deaths Act and many more.

Shona / Ndebele language written.  This required the person to be able to read and write in in either of the two languages.

Shona / Ndebele language oral.  Fluency was essential to be able to communicate with the people.

Responsibilities of the DC and his Staff included the following aspects.

Promotion of African local government through community boards and councils.

Presiding over African Civil Courts.

Ensuring that tribal leaders and tribal courts functioned properly.

Registration of births, deaths and marriages.  (Once a person was appointed as a DO they became marriage officers).

Promotion of African agriculture through the Agricultural Development Fund (ADF).

Chairmanship of the district Civil Defence organisation.

Acting as the eyes and ears of the government.  The DC’s staff also had a Ground Coverage information collecting responsibility in conjunction with the BSAP.  This responsibility grew bigger as the war escalated.

Attending European farmers meetings.

 Attending Rural Council meetings.

 Attendance of other Government meetings as senior government advisor.

Agricultural affairs were also an integral part of the daily life of the DCs staff.  Agricultural Officers and Primary Development Officers.  Duties ranged from developing effective contour ridge systems, good farming practices and cattle dipping.

The Shona Course at Earl Grey Building, Salisbury1978

Front Row: Alex Pearson, Chris (?) Thoms,

2nd Row Martin van der Walt, (instructor's name unknown), Steve Cloete, Gordon McIntyre.

Rear Row: Tim Dufton, Dave Olsen (Slightly forward) Grant Cole, Butch Donald and Bryn Price.

An early Firearms Licence issued to a man living in Urungwe.  One of Intaf's traditional tasks was to issue all firearms licences for Rhodesia.  Image kindly donated by Gerry van Tonder.

BSA Company Hut Token.  Another of the traditional jobs of the Native Commissioner and his men was to collect hut tax.  Image kindly supplied by Nick Baalbergen

Each year the Chief Native Commissioner was required to submit an annual report on the happenings of the year.  This report was for the year 1923 and was kindly submitted by Lewis Walter.

Chiefs badge of officer 1898
Chiefs badge of officer 1928 to 1970.  Alternative pattern
Kraal Heads badge of office
Chiefs Messenger arm brassard - early 1900s
Chiefs badge of officer 1928 to 1970

Chiefs badge of office late 1970s

Headmans badge of office alternative pattern