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March 7, 2013


Upon hearing the many anecdotes that white Rhodesian society frequently told about the deficiency in tactical intelligence with regards to black African terrorists and guerrilla soldiers who-it was said-carried out executions in circular firing squads, you would be left with a clearly similar impression to that caused, during those same years, by the non official, official racism of US society.

But in Zimbabwe you never saw the “sambo” and his commandos with their Soviet or Chinese-made AK-47s, their rocket launchers and, later, with the same L1A1 or FN assault rifles used by the white forces of Rhodesia.

Because in the border area with Mozambique, for example, there was only country, referred to as “bush”; and on the other side of that border there was more country within another state, that was itself eventually immerse in its own civil war, or war of independence.

But the Portuguese were a de facto presence even less firm than the British had been in regards to the cohesion as imposition of society.

And being white and of originally British origin in Rhodesia, this was a problem for you in that it meant being subjected by Mugabe’s forces-for instance-to a constant game of attack and pursuit that, once you reached the border of Mozambique, you had to give up.

But the “Kaffer” forces, because of their color and tribal ethnicity, received refuge in fact on both sides of the line of political delimitation.

But in the morning and throughout the day there was only country, and an African civilian population that went on about its daily business in with no apparent interests in anything else.

And Ian Smith, as the white supremacist leader of Rhodesia and in defiance of social, political and colonial reality, went and promised 1000 years of white rule.

And his weakness and the imminent prostration of Rhodesia were, with those words, publicly proclaimed.

And later, after 1980 and the independence of Zimbabwe, with Mugabe in power and the skeleton of white corporate and economic power still-for a time-intact,  white ex-combatants, in their nostalgia and love-in their way-for Africa, spoke differently.

And it was then that they said that some of the black forces, on the field of battle and in the exchange of fire, where most serious military units.

But among these white ex-combatants there were others who said nothing and who turned their heads as if they were about to discharge towards the floor, a powerful glob of spit.

And it was precisely these individuals that warranted from you, in some way, greater human and moral credibility.


*Written originally in Spanish as El Valor Efectivo del Combatiente Africano.

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