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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 72

The Rainy Season

The Rainy Season.

A most important feature in the present situation is the time of the commencement of the rainy season, which varies considerably. As a general rule this period extends from November to April, and during this time field-operations for Europeans will be rendered page 82 impossible, while the Matabele would merely be hampered. The rains would render the movement of our necessary transport and supplies almost impossible—though the pioneers in Mashonaland are mostly men inured to hardship, and not to be daunted by any ordinary obstacles or difficulties—and sickness would be great, The Matabele would be able to move about, though I must correct the erroneous impression that they could operate as well in the rainy as in the dry season, for such is not the case. As a matter of fact, the Matabele impis have hitherto avoided military operations in the rains. But in a matter of a life-and-death struggle they could, and undoubtedly would, fight in the rainy season. It is obvious that, armed merely with the assegai and stabbing-spear, and subsisting on herds of driven cattle, they can afford to disregard the rains in a manner which their European antagonists cannot.