domingo, 22 de agosto de 2010


1967 TO 1972
Escrito por:/Written by Jean & Lindley Siepman.
Jean is the daughter of Harry & Irene Benwell who lived and worked at Sena Sugar Estates.

The mills only carried on for a few years after that before closing down, approx. 1976 as the terrorists invaded and the there was war in Mozambique.

The river flowed between Marromeu and Luabo mills and the terrorists were often seen rowing down the river. At that time both Jean and myself decided that it was time for the folks to leave. They were very happy there but we weren’t.

They came back and Dad joined Natal Tanning and became the Chief Engineer of Hermansburg and then CE of Melmoth before going to head office in PMB and retiring.

Dad has been dead for approx. 5 years now and mom is 88 and still going strong. Right now she is baby sitting 3 of her great grandchildren in Kloof who are sick and off school and don’t want their grannies to look after them but want their great granny. She will be there for a week, so thought I would quickly send to you the few lines that she managed to write before “her call of duty”.

Prior to that Dad used to work for Incledon and used to frequent all sugar mills where he fitted the Broadbent sugar centrifugals.

The Chief Engineer of the 2 mills was Jack Williams.

The chief chemist was Tibor Covas.

The General Manager of Marromeu was Mr. Rubello.

The Factory Manager was Rene du Coudray.

Electricians were Seitinger, Rudy, Milue and Antenes.

There was a Chinese carpenter Ah Hlu, and his nephew Lee-See-Tin.

There was no Sugar Refinery when Dad arrived, so he organised to have one built.

He also helped the priest build his church.

To get from Luabo mill to Marromeu and vice versa, you had to cross the river in a dug out canoe or a paddle steamer. There are a lot of crocodiles in the river. The nearest port is Chinde about 80 km away.

All roads in the village were dirt as well as the 200 km stretch down to Beira.

On 10th December (for some reason that was always the date) the rains would come and it would be impossible to drive down to Beira as the roads would become impassable in the forests. The journey on any normal time could take up to 12 hours due to the bad roads especially in the forests. Some parts even twin track roads.

Twenty kilometres from the mill was a Catholic mission station where the train from Beira would stop. One had to get on a platform cart (with the up and down handle) and be moved down the tracks to the mission where you could catch the train to Beira and the same for the return journey.

There was a small airport at Marromeu where the family used to fly to visit them for their holidays. At the mission Mary Livingstone (Dr. Livingstone’s wife) is buried. (Mary Moffatt was her name). The name of the Mission is Chupanga.

There was a small grocery store with essentials in and what they didn’t have used to come from Beira by air or train.

There was a small post office in the village which had the first telephone.

The folks stayed in the first double story house from the factory between Dr. Vasconcelas and
Dr. Valerie, next to the hospital.

There was a local club which was the only entertainment in the village. No bioscopes etc. The club was well supported by the workers, who are mostly Portuguese. Mom and Dad learnt to speak it fluently. She found it quite lonely there but also loved it tremendously. They had many dinner parties food cooked by their house staff, Manuel the cook, and also Manuel the house cleaner; they cried when they left. They also had a pig for a pet which had the run of the property. A neighbour had a dog, which used to spend lots of time at their house. They lived in the lap of luxury with all the helpers that were employed in the house and grounds.

The woman all did lots of embroidery but there is really not much for them to do otherwise. The heat gets pretty “hot” and all rooms of the house were fitted with overhead ceiling fans which ran day and night.

7 comentários:

  1. The folks stayed in the first double story house from the factory between Dr. Vasconcelas and
    Dr. Valerie, next to the hospital.

    Fernando, Dr. Vasconcelos era o meu pai

  2. "The General Manager of Marromeu was Mr. Rubello"
    Apenas para corrigir "Rubello" para "Rebelo", já que sou filho da personagem. Sou Fernando Rebelo, nascido no Luabo em 1961.

  3. OLA Maria
    muito bom saber, pois nunca a minha mente teria processado ate chegar em Maria V. e fazer possivel vou tetar abrir mais o bau quem sabe posso ter mas info.
    Mondego. obrigado assim que eu esiver pouco livre irei editar.


  4. Thank you for your story as I too lived in Marromeu from '65 to '68 and yes my dad - Rene Bourgault du Coudray - was Factory Manager. He passed away in Brazil. During our school breaks/holidays we would come 'home' to Marromeu from school at St George's College, in Rhodesia. We often made the drive from Marromeu to Salisbury, with a stop in Biera, and somehow always stayed at the 'Estoril Hotel' right on the beach with a trampolin close by. During this time we would play tennis at the club, with my mother, and there would be shows at the club house. It was hot there! We had two dogs while we were there 'Whisky' and 'Soda' and our house was close to a really big field. My dad would often have BBQ for the factory visitors/guest for overseas. I now made Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada home and would like to connect with anyone who lived in that little town called Marromeu and I can be reached at

  5. Yes - thank you for sharing this. It was really interesting to read. I am Gerard's sister, now living in Port Elizabeth (South Africa) and I'm wondering if mom would remember Irene? Mom's name is Rosemay du Coudray and lives in Pinetown. Perhaps they could connect after so many years if they know each other? Now THAT could be interesting..

  6. Ola...m celso soares...i was born in beira n grew up in luabo..our house was close to the father late evangelisto n mother late mercy worked for senasugar luabo.i hv vivid memories n want to visit the was so nice to rrad about the place..


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