Frederick (Fred) Everett 1920 2009


It is hard for many of us to imagine, but there are still a very few people alive today that made their living by hunting elephants for there ivory long ago. The list has dwindled to a mere handful. Among them were Harry Manners and Ian Nyschens, both of whom recently passed. And in late July 2009, Frederick Everett joined them in the eternal hunting grounds, where he can hopefully carry his rifle on the fresh tracks of large tuskers forever.


Frederick Everett was born on 1 January 1920 in Mafikeng, South Africa. At that time, Mafikeng was the capital of Bechuanaland (now Botswana) and the only capital ever to lie outside the borders of its country. His father, a colonial official, took the family by ox wagon and donkey cart through vast stretches of wild country to outposts where Freds first playmates were native children, including those of the San peoples, the Bushmen. By the time most children can dress themselves, Fred already spoke several indigenous languages, rode with skill, could identify plants and trees, track, hunt with snares and throwing sticks, use a bow and arrow, skin prey, and prepare food in the veld.


He could not get along with his father nor with his teachers in  the boarding school in Rhodesia, so Fred left home at a very early age and was more or less forced to make a living in the bush. Being really “bush smart” helped Fred hunt his first elephant before he was even a teenager, and he had taken the Big Five by the time he turned sixteen. Fred hunted and traded as far north as Somalia and as far west as the Belgian Congo until well after World War II.


After the great conflict, Fred found a job as a tsetse control officer in what is now Zimbabwe, which meant he had to shoot elephant and buffalo to control the tsetse fly. He had married sue Nieuwenhuys in December 1949 in Southern Rhodesia and they raised three children in the bush. By the mid-1980s, living in Zimbabwe had become too much of a hardship and Fred and Sue moved to South Africa to settle in Pretoria. Here he found the time to write down his hunting adventures in two books, Heat, Thirst and Ivory and Tuskers in the Dust, which for the first time made his incredible adventures known to a wider world.


While living in South Africa in later years, his life was by no means easy as he had virtually no pension from Zimbabwe, but he and Sue could always count on the friendship of Fiona Capstick and Adelino Pires, who did much to comfort them both.

Fred is survived by Sue and their three children. He was cremated in Pretoria.