JEWS OF MANICALAND
John Cinamon - contributed July 2004
sent by John and posted 15th July)
The modern history of Manicaland, (the area between Macheke and
Villa Peri), began with the Portugese, after capturing the Port of
Sofala from the Sultan of Muscat, sent explorations into the interior in
1870 to the Kingdom of the Mutasa and obtained a concession to mine and
develop the area as far west as the Odzi River.
In 1888, (2 years before the BSA Company Pioneer Column), Jeffries
travelled inland from Sofala into the Valley of the
where he pegged two
blocks of gold claims. He
named the one Penhalonga after Count Penhalonga, the chairman of the
Mocambique Company in
The other he named Rezende after the resident director in
, Baron de Rezende.
November 1893, Jacob Cinamon, a Miner and Trader, was trekking by
ox-wagon from Johannesburg toward Fort Salisbury, when he got news of the
two columns of BSA Company troops that had been sent into Matabeleland to
attack Lobengula. After
he turned his wagons
northwards and arrived at the site of the Royal Kraal, Gubulawayo
to find it in flames.
He was one of the first civilians in the town which became
1894, his wife Francis (Fanny) Victoria and their six children, Bertha,
Clarice, Harry, Alec, David and Hyam, arrived in Bulawayo after a
record breaking trek from Johannesburg,
of six weeks. Jacob
Cinamon had set up as a Trader, living in
1895 the Bulawayo Hebrew Cong was formed and the Synagogue was built at
The President was Joseph Saber and the committee comprised
of T. Goldring, S
Nathan, V Woolf, J Cinamon, M T Leven, C Joseph, and J Tobias.
Mr E Frank was the Secretary and Treasurer.
Other Jews in
Blume, Salomon, L Godvis, Pollack, Aaron Jacobs,
Jacobson, Weil, Cohen, Rosenthal, Shif, Wallenstein, I Levy, Rabinowitz
and J & E Tertis.
Cinamon, who married Lee Goudvis, was a journalist.
She wrote articles for the Daily Telegraph.
Her most famous article was ‘Bulawayo Under Seige’, during the
Matebele Rebellion. She later
became a well known South African Play write and Authoress.
(Our daughter Sara, had to study one of her short stories
when at school). She
was also a founder member of WIZO in
the outbreak of the Anglo Boer war, Bertha and Lee moved to
in Mocambique) where
they ran a hotel . When
President Paul Kurger had to flee the
, he and his entourage
stayed with the Godvis’ Lee
Godvis was a Dutch Jew. The
Cinamon family were split on both sides of the Anglo Boer War.
and David were among the first 8 pupils at the School known as St George’s
College in Bulawayo.
college started in Byo in the mid-1890's and amoung the 11 starters were 3
Cinamon boys, Harry, Alec and David. I was also at Saint's
with Banet and my son Alfie was the third generation there.
ARRIVE IN MANICALAND
1898, Jacob Cinamon moved to ‘Umtali’, the Administration and
Commercial Centre for the gold-boom Penhalonga where the entire Valley was
pegged by over 400 miners leaving no room for a town.
When the railway line from
was built, the town
was moved South over
of mountains to its
present site. Jacob Cinamon
moved to the new town. He
started a mineral –water factory making ginger beer and lemonade etc. in
the main street. In
1902, he sent for his son, David, who was living with Bertha, Lee and the
rest of the family in
David (13 years old) travelled by a small steamer to Beira, then by
native canoe up the Pungwe River to Ponto de Pungwe, where the railway
and thenceon to Umtali. By
now there were two large Mines, the Penhalonga and the Rezende Mines and
about 250 small mines working in Penhalonga. In 1904
David Cinamon (my
father) ran away from his father in Umtali and started work as a Trammer,
on the Penhalonga Mine. David
was sixteen and in addition to supervising the cocopans of ore coming out
of the two large tunnels, he was also given the job of the building of the
Penhalonga Dam higher up in the mountains.
He was frightened of being fired and being sent back to his father,
so he ran between his two
sites. The African men
laughed at him because they had never seen a white man running at their
work before, and they gave him the name of ‘Mfambanhandu) which means
walk for nothing. This
name has stuck to him all his life and was passed down to his son and
about 1910, B D Almelah, who later became the founder of the
Sephardi Congregation and their Gabbah,
his brother and Gershon Grodenzik (from Palestine), started
stores in Penhalonga.
Alhadeff, Behor Benator, Isaac and Raphael Hasson, Haim
Hatchuel, Lessem, lived in Penhalonga from the 1914s.
1925, Jacob and Fanny Cinamon were now living with their son David
in Penhalonga running a small mineral water factory . Maurice and Gina
) stayed with them
before moving to Umtali where
they started a wholesale business. Mr Cohen was working on the
Rezende Mine as a carpenter. His
son Hymie was born Penhalonga.
He moved to
and married his
Pollacks had a store in the village.
Frankel’s, the large wholesalers from
, opened a branch in
Penhalonga, managed by Mick Goldberg.
Mick Goldberg and Dave Cinamon became great friends and used to go
tearing around the district on huge Indian motorcycles.
Goldberg bought the business and moved his mother, Esther, two
sisters Sarah and Rachel and four brothers, Hymie, Maurice,
Bennie and Jack to Penhalonga.
Mick was granted the Mine Concession and the family built up a very
successful trading store and butchery business called
Penhalonga Trading Company. Because
of the Concession, which meant that all the purchases by the African mine
workers was deducted from their wages, the African name given to the
Goldbergs was ‘Magaboza’ which literally means ‘Credit’.
1931 David Cinamon married Babs Starfield (ex
They had a son John. At
this time David had become the Underground Manager of the Lonrho Group of
mines, (Rezende, Penhalonga,
, and Old West Mines).
a Rhodesian Pioneer, in 1928, he was granted a Pioner
chose 3000 acres of rich-farmland between the Odzi
called it ‘The Wilderness’.
Later, when hunting on the Wilderness, the Goldberg
brothers, Mick and Hymie decided to purchase
the adjacent farm, Nyamatzura.
When tobacco was introduced into
, the Goldberg
Brothers bought vast areas of land and developed Leigh Ranch, which became
the largest single unit producing tobacco in the world.
, were the Noars,
Karpellus and Kapnek. Mr
Kapnek became a very successful investor in mining ventures and ultimately
became the chief financier
and one of the Founders of the University College of Rhodesia.
Margolis Brothers owned the farm on which the railway siding of
Inyazura was built. They thus
owned the village, had a very large trading store there and also had
numerous trading stores in the remote areas, and the Hotel in the Village.
They also built a race course adjoining the village.
From Gillian Salakoff (nee Kane) - provided the following information
4th August 2014
My family lived in Inyazura for some years. We moved to Chiduku
Reserve which was 21 miles south of Inyazura in 1948 , where my
Dad ran a trading store for the Margolises. My family comprised my
parents Nora and Sandy Kane , my sister Rosemary and myself, Gillian.
We were both sent to boarding school in Umtali, Rosemary to Umtali
Girls High School (UGHS) and I went to Chancellor. In its heyday there
was quite an active Jewish community and we met several times a year at
different farming homes.
Later my father managed the Margolis General store in Inyazura and my
mother taught at the school there. My mother was very friendly with
Dolly Nohr who was a Margolis.
My mother wrote the History of Southern Rhodesia, titled the World's View.
Later I was sent to boarding school in Salisbury...Girls High School (GHS). Later still we moved as a family to Salisbury.
I married Vernon Steinberg of Salisbury and later became Headmistress of The Hellenic Community School in Salisbury.
Ordman and Harry Goldwasser were two of their managers.
Harry and Bill Margolis later moved to
, while Max ran the
interests in Inyazura.
other prominent families in the Inyazura district were Louis and David
Buffenstein, who farmed at Little
Kraal near the village and Shalom
Buffenstein who farmed at Mt Shalom nearer Odzi.
All the brothers were very successful tobacco farmers and David and
Louis also developed four farms of their own, and assisted (unbeknown to
them) many others in the Inyati Block East of Headlands and North of
Rusape. In 1968 two of these
farms were bought by John and Hedy Cinamon, who established
the turn of the 20th Century, Ike Cohen helped to build
the railway from
He bought a farm on which the station of Rusape was built. The
township was laid out and he built a Hotel and many other buildings.
After the Balfour declaration, he renamed his hotel the Balfour
Hotel. It became a
well known stop over for travelers from Umtali to
and from Inyanga to
This trip used to take two days by car.
During the rainy season it was very common for the road to be cut
by flooded rivers . Ike
Cohen had a son David, who also ran the hotel.
the 60’s there was also a Mr Erhardt in the
was developed by the Baron
family. They lived
there for many years before moving to
and Helen Codron had stores in Macheke and they also had farms in the
tobacco farming area
my youth, (1940’s) in Umtali there were, George and
Rose Juster and their daughter Gillian, Hersh Goldenberg
(George’s cousin), Gerald Levy of Manica Cycle,
Dr Boetie Gershon, a dentist and his sons Alan and
Epstein, (Dr Gershon’s sister) had a dress shop Eppies.
and Mrs Falk had a Dress shop called Jacqulines.
Mr and Mrs Seider had a Jewellery shop.
In those days, there were no shops on the opposite side to Meikles
shop for at least two blocks up and two blocks down.
1941 Mabel and Rudi Cohen, who were refugees from Nazi Germany,
came to Penhalonga and Rudi worked on the Rezende mine, starting as a
storeman and eventually he became the mine Secretary.
Grodenzik, Gershon’s son arrived from
to join his father.
They ran a trading store in Penhalonga.
Mine Manager of the Lonrho group of mines was Mr Nathan Landau, a
graduate of the
Louis Sanders and his wife Anne, was the locum Mine Medical
Officer in Penhalonga, before establishing a practice in Umtali.
In the 1950’s Dr Louis Sanders and his family moved to
and Dr E Sanders
took over his medical practice in Umtali and was later joined by Dr
Rube Levitt. Rolton
Summerfield had Goldsmiths and Silversmiths Jewellery and his brother
had CT stores.
Bloom ran a branch of Blooms Furnishers in Umtali in the 1950s.
He was very active in the music and theatre world. Two musicals that he
wrote were "Tobacco Time" and "Kariba" - shown in Umtali and Salisbury
to packed audiences.
Corder, I.A. Ret. lived in Umtali
in the 50's.
brothers and their families from
, Dick and Hans van
den Bergh, started a large textile mill called ‘van den Bergh
Black’ to weave sisal and jute, which was to be grown in the
However the sisal and jute crops were not successful and the
factory manufactured cotton products.
Udwin, who initially worked on the Rezende Mine, and his wife Bertha,
(Louis Sanders’ sister), moved
to Umtali and had a series of electrical contractual businesses.
They had two children Olga ( who became headmistress of
), and Martin.
The Polson family and Jeff Kalmeyer were also resident in Umtali.
Mr Polson was manager of Greatermans.
Jaffe Retired Indian Army lived on a Small holding in Old Mutare.
the 1960’s there was Maurice Hasson, Gents Hairdresser, Maurice
Woolfe and his wife Agatha, who had a ladies Hair dressing
Salon, Peter and Ora Maiten, who had a daughter Cookie and a son,
Maurice Amato had a trading store and his two sons, Robert and David
still live in Mutare, while their sister lives in Kadoma.
Mr Gent ran a bicycle shop.
Max Fram moved to a farm in Penhalonga from
In the 1990’s a Mr Rosenfels ran a backpackers lodge in the Vumba.
The above are people who I remember, but I may have omitted some
life in Umtali. Mid-40's to Mid 50;s Services were held in Brown's Hotel
and conducted by Mr Gershon Grodenzik and his son, David,
both of whom spoke Hebrew.
taught me for my Barmitzvah. The Mine Medical Officer, Dr. Walter
Alexander, was a devoted Catholic and attended Early Mass every
Sunday, after which he would give me a lift to Penhalonga, (I was at
boarding school in Umtali). After lessons, I would ride my Zanzibar
lot of money was collected to build a shul in Umtali, but it was never
built. Wonder if the funds were passed to Salisbury ?