Introduction: Reconsidering Hunting as a Site of Masculine and Imperial Domination

  • Angela Thompsell
Part of the Britain and the World book series (BAW)


As a boy, Walter Montagu Kerr’s imagination ‘was fired … with the thought that at some time or another [he] would wander over virgin soil on the dark continent’, but when he landed at the Cape in 1883, he had no idea how to get to the lands he had come to see. He could find little help in Cape Town, either, as ‘reliable corners’ only advised against an expedition into the ‘interior’, citing the difficulties of fever, language barriers and hostile terrains. Eventually, Kerr decided to contact the already famous big game hunter Frederick Courteney Selous, as he believed that ‘no better counsellor [sic] could guide early steps into this land of mystery’.1 Kerr failed to reach Selous, but began making his way north and serendipitously met him in Kimberley. Selous was about to return north to the ‘heart of the hunter’s home’ and invited Kerr to travel with him as far as Bulawayo, the capital of Matabeleland. There, the Ndebele King, Lobengula, gave Selous instant passage in his lands, but Kerr, as a newcomer, had to wait anxiously to learn whether the ‘great black king’ ‘who had so much power to aide or thwart’ was going to allow him to pass through his country. Kerr found Lobengula very amenable, and after only a few days—when others had to wait for weeks or months—Lobengula granted Kerr’s request, enabling the young sportsman-explorer to begin his trek north into the lands known as the interior some six months after arriving in Cape Town.2


Imperial Control Colonial Control Virgin Soil African People Imperial Power 
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    Walter Montagu Kerr, The Far Interior: A Narrative of Travel and Adventure from the Cape of Good Hope across the Zambesi to the Lake Regions of Central Africa (London: Sampson Low, Marston, Searle & Rivington, 1886), 1: 2, 5–7.Google Scholar
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Copyright information

© Angela Thompsell 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Angela Thompsell
    • 1
  1. 1.The College at BrockportSUNYUSA

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