Customer Tales Vol 1

We at TheQuarterMasters has some interesting customers, 

Some a lot more interesting than others though.

I usually give another Man/Women (Insert gender appropriate noun, verb or adjective) their due when they tell a tall tale. Perhaps this is a weakness of mine which may be defined as naivety, however I have heard some real interesting stories, and, I love good stories; who doesn’t?

Below are some stories that I recall from customers, obviously for OPSEC* reasons I will not identify the customer or betray their confidence. So, if I am vague on details it’s either to protect the privacy of my valued customer, the fact that my memory is not what it should be or maybe I had to embellish it like a fisherman.

The customer (A white bloke/European/Settler/Colonialist… know what to do here) had bought a tract of land in an African Country. It’s a rough place where one has to build up and construct everything oneself and, much like living on a wild frontier, the law is pretty much in the hands of those who are prepared to use violence. It requires time, money and fortitude that only living in Africa can bring. He had discovered our shop paging through Popular Mechanics Magazine and popped in to get Water Filtration supplies.

We got on to the usual stories of how “Africa is not for sissies” and he told me when he was introduced to the local Police Captain in the area he had bought the land, the captain was introduced by name followed by the statement that he (the captain) had 5 kills! On further investigation he found out that the local law enforcement, (I am sure the term was being used loosely) would more often than not settle matter permanently when dealing with criminals. If a gang of thieves was suspected in crime, anyone associated with them better have good running shoes.

When I enquired of the customer about firearms in his local African country he mentioned that he was actually in their version of the military reserve and had been issued and Kalashnikov a couple of mags and rank too boot!


In discussion with another customer about travels through Africa the discussion turned to the Chinese and how they seem to be everywhere, from road constructions in Lesotho, to wanting to build a prison for Chinese convicts in Namibia. (Apparently the Namibians rejected this).

He told me that in his travels through the Congo he found himself on a road in the middle of deepest darkest remote Congo and the only other soul that he saw after a day or so of travelling was a Chinese national who had a rudimentary tent set up as accommodation and even more antiquated smelter that looked like it was pre-industrial revolution in technology.

This man would be seated at his tent and the local Congolese would bring him lumps of copper ore to smelt down. He would pay or barter for the lumps and apparently once every now and then other Chinese would then collect the smelted ore for which was then shipped off to who only knows where.

I personally have heard of stories where individuals who have fallen afoul of the authorities (of that particular country) are sent to other destinations. The condition is that they will work and stay there until they die and their family derive some form of income from it in the process. How true this is I can only speculate. Either way it is a grim.


This customer: A member of a community police responds to an armed robbery on a farm. Arriving on scene he assists the female victims untie themselves and starts to post BOLO for the attackers.

His sixth sense tells him that all is not well on the scene. He takes his binoculars and scans the surrounding veld and kopjes. His blood runs cold: someone is observing them from a distance on the side of a kopje. He leaves via a circuitous route and approaches from behind.

He manages to startle 11 individuals who are lying prone watching the farmhouse.

They all now run off. After a few moments he encourages them to stop and restrains them all. No mean feat when you are on your own. Amongst them is the usual assortment of knives, panga’s clubs.

It turns out that they were not linked with the armed robbery but, were kids that had been either kidnapped or coerced into attending an initiation school. For some reason the initiation school was atop the kopje

These (Illegal) initiation schools (Yes there are legal initiation schools) are notorious for the manner in which they operate. Performing circumsion’s with rusty blades and generally not looking out for the welfare of abafana (boys) who attend them. Mostly they are cold, hungry and sick at the end of it.

Some of these kids were clearly in pain and in one or two infection had set in. (Reason #1 why to pack protective gloves) the ambulance and the police were summoned, and after many hours eventually arrived and took the boys into custody. Turns out that 4 of the boys had been reported missing to the local police.  

Apparently boys are coerced through peer pressure to attend, often running away from home, or, the parent are threatened that a hex or curse will be placed on them should they not allow their sons to attend, or, a combination where the kids are taken and the parent have to pay a ransom, if not face the fact that either they or their children will be bewitched.

At this point you can imagine that the parents will not be approaching the police reluctantly or not at all.

And so endeth the stories, pop onto TheQuarterMaster if you need gear to survive and thrive in Africa, and share a tale if you have. How true or accurate the above stories are I, like you can only speculate, but at least we know to have a pinch of salt close at hand



*OPSEC: Operational Security because personal privacy does not sound nearly as cool or tactical.  

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