The Afriborian Campaign is situated in an imaginary world that resembles our own planet and its history (roughly 1874-1914), but events that took place in our world might be set at different dates or in different places in the Afriborian world, thus making any resemblance between Afriboria and real history, -people, -events and -places purely a matter of imagination.

The "AFRIBORIAN HERALD" is the campaign gazette of the Afriborian wargame/roleplaying campaign and (battle) reports on the events on the Dark Continent.
The rules used for the engagements are "The Sword and the Flame", translated into Flemish as "KLEINE OORLOGEN" (little wars).

***** THE AFRIBORIAN HERALD **** issue 1

The human being is influenced just as much by his education and environment as by the decisions taken by him along the path of life. I confess that I am not always proud about the contents of the tales I am going to tell here, but it is not just the story of an unimportant Belgian clerck in Afriboria, but also - and primarily - the epic tale of a young awakening continent.
I was born as the only son of a cabinetmaker on 11th May 1850 in a Flemish town, amidst the cotton mills. Thanks to the unending efforts of my parents I was fortunate enough to be permitted to continue my education long after most of my friends started slaving in the mills, and this spared me from becoming a worker in the textile industry for the rest of my life. At the age of 18, I had my diploma in my pocket and the future seemed bright and full of promise. The first six years of my career I worked in the stuffy offices of several local mills and worked my way up to the position of assistent bookkeeper. In my rare spare time I took up reading, concentrating on lavishly illustrated books on Afriboria,"The Dark Continent". I was not only striken by the magic of this new world, the wonderful plants and strange animals, but first and foremost by the adventures of the brave men who explored it.
My fatherland (Belgium) was still a young country itself and had only recently been created as a neutral buffer between Europe's main players. On 21st July 1831, Franz von Saxen-Coburg-Gotha (a German prince) was crowned King of Belgium and on 17th December 1865, Franz II (second son of Franz I' second wife) became our second king. Was it because Belgium had always served as "the battlefield of Europe" or was it just the uncontroled ambition of Franz II, or simply 19th century imperialism that influenced the decision that he could no longer live without claiming a part of The Dark Continent for his country (and himself)? This is a matter for the historians to pursue, but also a fact that would influence the rest of my life...
In the newspaper of 18th March 1874, I noticed an advertissement from the "Société Commerciale de Brazzaville". This overseas trading company in Afriboria had an opening for an accountant. This was the opportunity I had been waiting for! Two weeks and a trainride to Brussels later, I leaft the offices of SoCoBra as their newest employee. I had untill 1st June to say my goodbyes; on that day I would board the transport "Ville de Liège" and set sail for The Dark Continent.
The trip took forty days and the violent storms we sustained only proved that this boy was most certainly not a born sailor! What a relief when we finally sighted Benghazi, the only city on the island of Tebu at the nortwestern point of Afriboria. From aboard our vessel I watched the island grow bigger on the horizon. At last! A new world lay at my feet... Our ship was hardly moored when I jumped on land to visit the town. Benghazi is the oldest multi-cultural town of The Dark Continent. Founded in 1545 by the Portuguese the town was besieged and conquered many times over by the other imperialist powers. The Treaty of Lisboa (1820) ended all of this. Tebu was declared a neutral zone and Benghazi an open city under the protection of the major powers. Apart from the Arabian inhabitants the town also houses people of many other nationalities. They use the town as a starting point for their expeditions to the mainland. This results in Benghazi being a true trade centre where supplies, livestock and weapons are offered on the markets and in the shops. These markets, known as the "Ben-Soukhs" are famous all over the world. Apart from trade, the island has very little to offer: there is no gold, iron or copper, probably one of the main reasons why the major powers so willingly created a neutral zone here for the explorers...
The sailing ship "Ville de Liège" crossing the ocean to Afriboria.

Benghazi is ruled by a governor of one of the major powers: England, France or Germany (countries that signed the Treaty of Lisboa). Office changes hands every other year. The High Council - assisting the governor - consists of 6 members (2 of each major power). This creates a multilateral balance of power on the island. Fortunately, my stay in Benghazi gave me the opportunity to recover from my adventures on the ocean: the steamer "Geneva" that was to carry me to my final destination had not yet arrived. When I finally boarded this ship, I was immediately confrontated with the harsh reality in this part of the world: the "Geneva" did not only carry a gun and machineguns, but also a contingent of British Marines. En route to Brazzaville we would have to make several stops to bunker fresh water and appearantly this was not going to be without peril...

Once we were sailing the "Benghazi Straights" we spotted the North Cape of the Upper-Nile region, my first encouter with the mainland.

The palace of the governer of Benghazi.

Endless dunes lost themselves in an ocean of sand, with the occasinal palmtree popping up.

The number of palmtrees steadily increased, growing into the palmwoods of Igdi, an unhospitable land with a capital named Timbuktu. Igdi is nominally part of the Nile-territories and home of the Mahdists: religious fanatics best avoided by Europeans. Therefor our ship did not venture into the bay of Timbuktu. Every time our captain steered his vessel a little closer to the shore, armed camelriders emerged from the palmtrees. I guess they hoped that our ship would run ashore, but this did not happen. The next morning the palmtrees gradually disappeared and made room for the wooded grass plains of Bangala and Urundi, a view that would remaine unchanged untill our arrival in Brazzaville. The rest of the trip would prove as uneventful as the landscape. We anchored several times to bunker water, a ritual always guarded by the British Marines, who (fortunately) remained unchallenged by the natives. At last, Ben Adjmir - a fellow passenger who had made this trip on several prior occasions - informed me that we would dock in Brazzaville the next morning. Around 4.30 pm I suddenly awoke: the sound of the ship's engines had stopped. I arrived on deck just in time to witness the docking. Brazzaville had nothing in common with Benghazi: it was a collection of mostly wooden structures and huts with the looks of a mining village. This was to become my new home.
Once ashore, I was welcomed by Lieutenant Michel Véru, commandant of the askaris of SoCoBra. Trade here is appearantly firmly connected with soldiers and arms. Two askaris took care of my luggage and Michel, chatting away, introduced me to the town and the company. Brazzaville is an international community that houses mainly trade firms belonging to countries that do not (yet) have a stake in Afriboria. This was also the case for my country, Belgium. Trading was only possible with the cooperation of the King of Irundi, which made this gentleman a pretty penny. Business is business... Next to the town square were one hotel and a few pubs of doubtful reputation. On the outskirts were many huts belonging to natives hoping to gain a living as employee of one of the trading firms, or the ultimate: joining an askari-platoon! Finally, we arrived at the bungalow that I was to share with Michel Véru and Frans Venstermans, a quiet man in his fourties and in charge of SoCoBra's warehouses. The only other white employees of the company were monsieur Alain Trébuchet - our director - living with his wife in a villa next to the offices and George Rooster, an scrubby Irishman, leading the inland SoCoBra expeditions in search of rubber and copper. He schacked with a native girl downtown.
After being introduced to my colleages, I turned in for an early night: the following day I would meet our director and I wanted to be at my best. The next morning, much to my surprise, I did not only find breakfast waiting on a little table next to my bed, but in the other room a bath tub was being filled with steaming water; all this thanks to Simba, my personal "boy", and part of my salary!

At 09.00 am sharp I entered the villa of monsieur Trébuchet. I was shown into his office by one of his servants. I did not have to wait long: after a few minutes a little energetic man with piercing eyes entered the room and with a kindness that belied his appearance, he welcomed me. It immediately struck me why SoCoBra had choosen this man to look after their interests in Afriboria: he was not only a born leader, but also a natural diplomat, essential qualities when negociating with the local chiefs and in keeping the frail balance between other (competing) trade firms and our own operation. In his typical style - short but clear - he outlined my duties. The warehouses were still empty, so apart from salaries and the like there was little bookkeeping to be done at the moment. I was to spend my time getting to know my way around town and undergoing some military exercise under the guidance of Michel Véru.
In the afternoon, I started my first lesson in soldiering. Michel introduced me to "his" askaris (twenty stocky young blacks) who were target practicing with their Martini-Henrys.

Monsieur Alain Trébuchet
(pictured here without moustache).
His wife, the kind Hélène Trébuchet.
Minutes later - and much to my delight and excitement - I was shooting (for the first time in my life) at the empty bottles that served as targets and missed very few indeed! Firing a revolver took a little more skill and practice, but I learned fast. I could not help noticing the occasional appearance of monsieur Trébuchet at one of the windows of his office from time to time. Appearantly he kept a keen interest in Véru's line of work. Thus a week went by before I was again summoned in the office of my superior. He was in a very good mood and asked me how I was doing (but I had the feeling he knew this much better than myself!). He started a long monologue about SoCoBra, Brazzaville, Afriboria and international interests. I was just thinking he would never stop when he came to the point: SoCoBra was to expand it's activities by opening a trade post that would stock supplies for the vessels that frequented the port. Often these were in short supply of technical goods that could not be obtained in Benghazi. Furthermore, a well stocked trading post at the south point of the continent would most certainly be of interest to the colonists of the Suid-Kolonie and Heligoland. In order to find out the type of goods that would be needed, I was to visit these countries, talk to prospective customers and report back to him. Véru and some of his askaris would come along as my military escort. We still had about a week before we would board the Geneva (again...!). I was rather pleased with the fact that - only a week after my arrival - I was in charge of a real expedition, much like the ones I read so many books about not so long ago in distant Belgium! On the 15th July we departed from Brazzaville without having had the opportunity to meet Véru's replacement, which would have to wait untill our return.
After two days of sailing, the appearance of the coastline changed dramatically and for the first time I saw the imposing Tafelbergen rising from the plains. Michel told me that we were now passing Zululand. We had bunkered water just prior to the border, because even the combined force of our own askaris and the British Marine contingent of the Geneva would be no match for these fierce warriors. Sending a landing party ashore would be suicide. We never spotted a Zulu, but the sergeant of the Marines assured me that we were constantly being observed by several hundred pairs of eyes. The captain did not even risk to enter the harbour of Georgetown, the only white settlement in the land of the Zulus, but instead continued his voyage to Pretoria (Suid-Kolonie). After rounding the Cape near Georgetown we entered the Straights of Heligoland, but a thick fog prevented us from spotting the Heligoland capital of Kaisersheim. What a pity!