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FREE ARTICLES
The Daily News , Wednesday, January 18, 1995
Peace in the valleys as ‘White Zulu’ forges vital friendships

A peacemaker is blazing new trails through a once-hostile valley, writes Daily News Chief Reporter Keith Ross.

The hostility once shown by riverside communities to Dusi Marathon canoeists now seems to be a thing of the past, thanks largely to a ‘white Zulu’, Mr Brian Moore.

He has been the peacemaker, spending many days in the Umsundusi and Umgeni valleys, speaking to communities along the Dusi course.

Mr Brian Moore, a keen canoeist, has befriended hundreds of people in the valleys and has tried to promote an appreciation of the marathon.

His friendship with local people has become so close, he is now accepted as a member of the Ngcolosi tribe near Inanda Dam.

“They just decided I was a member,” he said.

“There was no initiation ceremony or anything just a natural acceptance. They refer to me as a member of the tribe and invite me to all important cultural occasions.” 

Mr Moore’s friendships made it possible for him to speak to the valley people after Dusi paddlers were attacked and stoned in 1993.

He believes much of the hostility shown to the canoeists that year was caused by misunderstandings born of cultural differences.

“The canoeists have not always done the right thing.”  They did go to see the chiefs about permission to hold the race through their lands, but they did not speak to as many as they should. This caused resentment.

And in 1993 there was also trouble from a small group of muggers who attacked the canoeists.

They were soon removed from the area when a local chief found out.

Friends

 Mr Moore said it was obvious after the 1993 race that relations with the valley people had to be improved. “ I traveled 10 000 km in the valley last year, meeting and greeting people.

“I now count among my special friends five chiefs and hundreds of others there.

The attitudes of the  local people had improved dramatically in the past two years. “Last year they came out with buckets of water to cool down the canoeists during portages.

“They rescued people from the rapids and rescued equipment. They were fantastic -such good friends.

Mr Moore believed the improved relationships came from good communications. “Treat people like people, they behave like people.”

About 2000 local people had volunteered to be on hand to help and guard the canoeists at this year’s Dusi. “Many more will be there to cheer the canoeists on.”

Mr Moore obviously has a great affection for the Zulus. They are an incredible people. We could have had a new South Africa 100 years ago, if we had just bothered to sit down and talk to them.”

He was born in Zambia 41 years ago and came to South Africa when he was 12. “ My parents bought a trading store near Hibberdene and the only other kids in that area were Zulus.

They taught me their language and bits about their culture. And when I eventually came to the city I really took an interest in the Zulus.”

Mr Moore started canoeing in 1980. “ I entered my first Dusi in 1985 with Rodney Howe but we failed to complete the course.

I fished for the first time in 1986 when partnered by my cousin, Tony Moore, who is now a Springbok powerboat pilot.

Our combined weight in those days was 206 kg and we called ourselves the heavyweight champions of the Dusi.

Mr Moore has since competed in another six Dusi Marathons of which he completed three.

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