One Hundred and Four Horses

A Memoir of Farm and Family, Africa and Exile

by Mandy Retzlaff

104-horses-pb-410px_webA letter is handed to you. In broken English, it tells you that you must now vacate your farm; that this is no longer your home, for it now belongs to the crowd on your doorstep. Then the drums begin to beat.

As the land invasions increase, the Retzlaffs begin an epic journey across Zimbabwe, facing eviction after eviction, trying to save the group of animals with whom they feel a deep and enduring bond – the horses. When their neighbors flee to New Zealand, the Retzlaffs promise to look after their horses. They make similar promises to other farmers along their journey, not knowing whether they will be able to feed or save the horses. They amass an astonishing herd of over 300 animals, but the final journey to freedom will be arduous and they can take only 104.

One Hundred and Four Horses is the story of an idyllic existence that falls apart at the seams and a story of incredible bonds: a love of the land, the strength of a family and of the connection between man and the most majestic of animals, the horse.

Editor’s Note: Memoir is perhaps my favorite type of reading and this story did not disappoint. It is almost impossible to believe people would attempt what the Retzlaffs did during one nation’s tragic collapse. Even more amazing is that the couple went on to thrive in Mozambique and now operate a horse safari on the coast (

Published in May 2015 Issue




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