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The Rhosarian 1/19
Magazine of the Flame Lily Foundation
The Rhosarian 1/19
Opportunities and Humour
National - Contents & Objects 1
- Chairman's Report 2
- Notice Board 3
- Editorial 4
Msasa Mail - Remembrance Service 5
- Mary's Meander 6
- Members' News 7-8
- CG Tracey's Epilogue 9-11
- Opportunities & Humour 12
Ridgeback - Chairman's Message 13
- Rhodie Golf Day 14
- Out on a Limb 15
- Contact Details 16
Fish Eagle - Chairman's Message 17
- Coming Events 18
Air Vice Marshal C.W. Dams
Dr J.R.T. Wood,
Mr J.C. Pirrett
Registered in terms of the Nonprofit Organisations Act, 1997
Fish Eagle - Rhodes' Cottage 19
- Milton School's RoH 20
- Remembrance Service 21
- Birthdays & Contacts 22
- Special Meeting 23
Operation Uric - Veterans 24-25
- Memorial Parade 26-27
BSAP - 130th Anniversary 28-29
Pensions - Zim Gov Pensions 30
Promotions - Rhodesian Books 31-32
Looking Back - All for Nothing? 33-37
Looking Ahead - Accommodation 38
- In Case of Death 39
- Remem. Services 40
The FLAG - Zimbabwe Review 41-46
Opportunities - Funeral Scheme 47-48
Cover: Chimanimani Scenes - photographer Marianne Buttress
To provide or facilitate residential accommodation for persons over the
age of 60, in particular for those former residents of Rhodesia/Zimbabwe
who have settled legally in the RSA.
To give help in particular to the aged and the disabled.
To preserve the history and heritage of Rhodesia.
Rhodesians/Zimbabweans and South Africans over the age of 18 who subscribe
to the objects of the Foundation.
Single: R90,00 - Couple: R100,00 to 31 March 2020
Life Membership: Closed
The views expressed in this magazine are not necessarily shared by the Editor or the
Management of the Flame Lily Foundation.
The Rhosarian 1/19
NATIONAL CHAIRMAN’S REPORT FOR THE YEAR
ENDING 31 MARCH 2019
The National Managing
has dutifully met eight times
this year. Minutes of these
meetings have been sent to
branch chairmen to keep
them and their committees
fully informed of what is
happening at national level.
Our committee has
recently been increased by co-opting two new
members, namely Terry Leaver and Alan Strachan.
John Pirrett (Honorary Vice President) and Spyros
Blismas (Chairman Pretoria Branch) have made
regular appearances at our meetings.
John and Mary Redfern still shoulder most of
the day-to-day running from the office in Pretoria.
This year has seen a drop in membership due to
the dissolution of our Pietermaritzburg Branch,
natural attrition, emigration and administration
At the end of December 2017 we had a total of
1395 members (1051 Annual Members, 299 Life
Members and 45 Privileged Members).
Membership has since dropped by 74 in number at
31 December 2018.
Stilfontein is still our main operation and longer
term concern. The average monthly subsidy has is
around R14,000. All the flats are occupied at
Grateful Gran, OSPA, and PnP gift cards are
continuing. In the past year we have dispensed
R307,250 compared with R373,680 in 2017,
including branch contributions through PnP gift
Most branches have provided money for PnP
gift card holders’ quarterly grants. When added to
Grateful Gran grants the quarterly PnP grants
have usually exceed R50,000.
Our Reference Library contains over 710 titles
dealing with the history, the lifestyle and the ethos
Members of Natmancom have attended several
memorial services such as Delville Wood, Puma
164, Armistice Day and Elands River. The RFMC,
chaired by Alan Strachan, organised and conducted
the annual Remembrance Service on 11 November
at Dickie Fritz MOTH facility. Alan has now
come onto the Natamncom as our Memorials
We are most grateful to regular donors who
support Grateful Gran, but we have not received
sufficient funds to meet all our commitments. We
therefore continue to dig into our capital in order
to subsidise Stilfontein and to cover our other
We have at last found an honorary web designer/
webmaster to update our website.
The Rhosarian, published in October, has again
been well received. All the branches contributed,
but the editor has sometimes struggled to get these
contributions in time and in the correct format.
We produce the FLAG supplement to coincide
with the Msasa Mail, and we invite branches to
distribute this to their members, together with
their own newsletter.
We have been able to meet most goals set out
in our Repositioning Plan, without the very
necessary succession by younger people. It is sad
to see the dissolution of branches, but that was
anticipated and accepted as inevitable if the
younger generations fail to become involved, or
value their heritage.
4 May 2019
The Rhosarian 1/19
Our thanks to members and
friends of the Foundation who
make regular donations to our
Project Grateful Gran.
National currently assists Rhodesian
pensioners with grants on a quarterly
basis. Branches assist many others.
All donations received are very
Corporate donors and individuals
may claim an Income Tax rebate
of up to 10% of taxable income.
Many elderly members cannot
afford to contribute financially to
the FLF, as much as they might
wish to do so. Some have no close
family to inherit all or part of their
Estate. By bequeathing something
to the FLF, they can contribute
towards the needs of others after
they have passed on.
Please contact Mary on 012
460 2066 if you need any help
or advice in this regard.
Donations to the Flame Lily
Foundation may be tax deductible,
in terms of Section 18A of the
Income Tax Act, 1962.
Donations of R500,00 or more to
the FLF, including stop orders,
will be receipted accordingly, so
long as donors provide the
National Secretary with their full
names and postal address.
Widows Pension application
forms for Zimbabwe government
pensioners can be obtained by
FLAME LILY FOUNDATION
PO Box 95474
National Bank Details
Name: Flame Lily Foundation
Account No.: 1500 680 799
Branch: Brooklyn Court
Chairman: Mr Mike Russell
Treasurer: Mr John Parsons
Mr John Redfern
Mr Terry Leaver
Mr Alan Strachan
The Rhosarian 1/19
EDITORIAL: THE FINAL CHAPTER
Change is inevitable.
drawn from a fading memory, scribbled diaries or
Sometimes change is letters preserved for posterity. They may, with the
welcome, sometimes not. passage of time, be useful in piecing together
“For everything there is a history. For this reason, we promote non-fiction.
season, and a time for every Feelings expressed in poetry or prose are also
matter under heaven: a time important in preserving the emotions of people in
to be born, and a time to their time, so we see the need to promote these in
die”. Most times we are sad book form as well.
when someone we know I have endeavoured to explain under
dies. This year we mourn STILFONTEIN why our principal object is the
the passing of the FLF’s provision or facilitation of affordable
Honorary President, Hilary accommodation. It is sometimes argued that we
Squires, and more recently spend too much money on too few people by way
the sudden death of Lewis Walter, one of our three of our homes at Stilfontein. Rather sell the houses
Honorary Vice-Presidents. On the other hand, (our only fixed property) and distribute the funds
most Rhodesians and millions of Zimbabweans to more people in need. There are pros and cons to
rejoiced at news of the death of erstwhile President both sides of the argument. As it now stands, the
Robert Gabriel Mugabe. We have devoted the FLF is committed to retaining our fixed assets and
whole of THE FLAG to a denunciation that is to provide a place for some fellow Rhodesians,
probably the most accurate published. Possibly who rely on a monthly State grant of only R1 800,
more than anyone else in the past 50 years, Mugabe to live with dignity. It is also essential to our status
and his Zanu(PF) forced change upon the lives of as a Public Benefit Organisation.
Rhodesians/Zimbabweans, black and white alike. In the previous two Rhosarians, we advertised
Change can be good and welcome. In previous a group funeral insurance scheme with AVBOB.
editorials I have warned that the onset of age is The entry age limit is currently set at 82. Some of
threatening the future of the FLF, whose committee our members have already benefitted from this
members are mostly in their seventies and eighties. opportunity. Our members in the Cape Province
We know from the results of our 2016 membership have, in addition, access to a special deal with
survey that the average age of our members is Ferns Funerals. I encourage you to avail yourself
currently 80. The good news is that our Cape of one of these schemes. Read LOOKING AHEAD
Peninsula and Durban Branches now have for advice on this subject - something many of us
chairmen in their late fifties or early sixties, prefer not to dwell on.
bringing new life and energy to the FLF.
We no longer enjoy any income from advertisers,
Concerning remembrance, this year we have so we are using the space to promote Rhodesians
commemorated the 40 th anniversary of the Viscount Worldwide magazine, owned and edited by Chris
Umniati tragedy and Operation Uric, the Whitehead. It is the only Rhodesian publication of
penultimate major military battle for Rhodesia. its kind and is well worth reading.
We also celebrated the 130 th anniversary of the The Pretoria and Cape Peninsula Branches
BSA Police, with the unveiling of a statue (yet to produce regular bi-monthly newsletters for their
be named) alongside the RLI’s Trooper in Dickie members. Both are available in digital form as
Fritz MOTH Shellhole’s Garden of Remembrance. well. At present, members of our Durban and
We are indebted to the MOTH organisation for Highveld Branches receive the Msasa Mail. Unless
allowing us to share this part of their property, someone with the requisite skills volunteers to
along with that set aside for Special Forces take over from me, this will probably be the last
at Queensburgh, KZN.
edition of The Rhosarian magazine.
Many Rhodesians are writing or have written JOHN REDFERN
autobiographies and anecdotal histories. Some of Honorary National Secretary
these may not always be accurate, and most are Editor
The Rhosarian 1/19
Flame Lily Foundation
(Incorporating the Rhodesia Association of South Africa)
Remembrance Sunday Service
10 November 2019
10h30 for 11h00
Dickie Fritz MOTH Shellhole, Edenvale
(See page 40)
The Pretoria branch had, for
many years, organised a
Remembrance Sunday service at
various sites around Pretoria,
including Rooihuiskraal and the
Voortrekker Monument chapel.
Our services in Pretoria were
drawing fewer people every year,
while the attendance at Dickie Fritz
Moth Shellhole in Edenvale,
Johannesburg was growing,
breaking all records last year. From
2018 we decided to join the Rhodesian Forces
Memorial Committee (RFMC) parade and
service at Dickie Fritz.
The unexpected increase last year was to
some extent due to the participation of
Rhodesian high schools associations in separate
groups, each school being represented by a
dedicated wreath layer.
500 people were estimated to have attended
last year. My old school, Saint George’s, was
the first boys high school to be opened, at first
in Bulawayo then in Salisbury. However it
was very thinly represented by four of us; I
now look forward to seeing more Old
Georgians this year.
There is no entrance charge but donations
This year there are 26 school committees are accepted and any profits from sale of
that are registered to attend. At the time of mementos go towards covering costs. The
writing, representatives for Allan Wilson, Moth Shellhole keeps the bar takings.
Falcon and Peterhouse are being sought by
their school’s committee to lay a wreath for
The Rhosarian 1/19
The big surprise in
August was a pension
payment by the
All indications before
this, were that Forex was
in short supply and that
pensions were at the
bottom of the list. Unfortunately, some
pensioners had given up hope and let their
Standard Bank accounts lapse. Others are
more fortunate. One lady went to close her
account and, to her amazement, she discovered
that there had been a payment the week before.
Another pensioner managed to reopen his
closed account, but he now has the problem
of finding out from the Pensions Office if he
is on the list. See more about pensions on
With our Web page now working, we are
getting more and more enquiries. If we had
received the request from the lady with young
children 30 years ago (see OPPORTUNITIES
further on) , we could easily have helped her.
When we were much younger, we arranged
sports days and Christmas parties for children.
Another frequent query is accommodation
for pensioners living on the South African
social grant. Only very few homes accept
these pensioners as they need to be subsidised.
We have the problem at Stilfontein where
most rents barely cover the cost of water and
electricity. With food prices rising daily, we
hesitate to increase the rents to match
In Zimbabwe, it can take up to a year to get
a passport renewed. With this in mind, John
was pleasantly surprised by South African
Home Affairs in Centurion. Being a pensioner,
he was ushered to the front of the long queue,
both when applying and when collecting. The
biometric process was completed without John
even having to provide the required form.
Everything was done on computers. He had
applied on Tuesday and on Friday of the same
week he received an SMS saying that he could
collect his passport.
Displaying the pre-1994 South African flag
gratuitously is now legislated as hate speech.
This prompted a church minister to delicately
request that Rhodesian flags should not be
displayed at the Rhodesian remembrance
service in November. We are waiting for
someone to point out the old SA flag fixed to
the rear window of our car that we bought in
In this issue we are publishing the last
extract from C.G. Tracey’s book All for
Nothing?. It really grieves me to read how the
assistance and willingness by the Zimbabwe
Promotional Council to help the new
Government was wasted when we see
I would like to encourage everyone to
attend the annual Remembrance Sunday
Service at Dickie Fritz on 10 November. Last
year 24 Rhodesian Schools’ Associations laid
wreaths and displayed each school’s Roll of
Honour. Wreaths were also laid by former
members of the Security Forces, some of
whom had marched on parade, proudly
wearing their Regimental Association attire.
“Keeping the Flame alive”
TURNER, Ohna passed away peacefully
on 26 September 2019.
WALTER, Lewis passed away suddenly
on 24 September in Fish Hoek.
The Rhosarian 1/19
From a grateful
On visiting Standard
bank yesterday with the
intention of closing the
account, imagine my
surprise to find that Zim
Pensions had finally
come to the party after
five years. A deposit of fourteen thousand
rand and it could not have come at a better
time. Please thank your contact in Zim for all
his hard work and many visits to the Pensions
Office. I am sure that I am not the only person
who has a lot to be thankful for all his dedicated
work on our behalf. My thanks to you and
your team for making this possible. Paul my
late husband was a dedicated soldier and he
would have been thankful to other Army
personnel who were as dedicated as he. I will
be giving a small donation for now to Flame
Lily. Warmest wishes, Pauline."
Barry Woan wrote from the South
For one reason and another we have not
communicated for some time.
We are all well down here on the Sunny
South Coast and continue to hold regular get
togethers including two Bring and Braais at
the Mills Moth Shellhole in Warner Beach
with both attracting over forty members.
We also hold two luncheons at Cinder
City Shell hole when we attract about 100
members every time…both are great
Some of us were on the second [pension]
list and we all received a nice present of just
over 12 K, except Garth Butch Von Horsten
who got nothing. Eight of us traveled together
and visited the Pretoria Embassy.
Two, David Owen and Jac Parker, were on
the first list and paid many months ago. The
other six including Von Horsten were on the
second list. Five of us received our money,
Sakkie McKay, Roger Brownlow, Courtney
Walton Buddy Charsley and myself.
Have you any suggestion as to what we
should do about this?
My second query is what is going to happen
to those who were too ill or infirm to travel to
visit the Embassy but who up until that time
were receiving a pension?
We have one such person in Peter Michael
Huson. Is there anything I can do from this
Kind regards, Barry
[Editor: see PENSIONS on page 30 for
Response to previous Msasa Mail
“Knee high to an elephant” from Chris
“Photoshop?” from Lewis Walter
“Affricar’n’Elephant!!” [Best read
aloud with feeling!] from Phil
The Rhosarian 1/19
We welcome the following new members.
COOPER, Veronica - Linkhills (Transfer
RIVETT, Robin and Des - Howick (Transfer
TANCRED, Lenor - Faerie Glen, Pretoria
We have had a disappointing response
from former members of the erstwhile
Pietermaritzburg and Districts Branch of the
FLF, to whom we wrote inviting transfer of
COUSINS, Les passed away in Cape Town
on 21 July 2019 after a long and painful
illness. He is survived by his wife, Cal and
their three sons. [Submitted by Dave
JACKSON, Neill (1953-2019) passed away
in Johannesburg on 29 August 2019. He
had been suffering for sometime with
cancer. Neill served with the RLI as a
Troop Commander with Support
Commando for three years. He was coauthor
of the book The Search for Puma
164, the SAAF helicopter which had been
shot down during Operation Uric in
September 1979, resulting in the deaths of
14 Rhodesians and the crew of 3. Neill is
survived by his wife Johanna, four children
and two grandchildren.
NEL, Margie passed away in November 2018.
She was a long standing member of the
Flame Lily Foundation and sadly missed
by her son Shawn.
POWLEY-BAKER, Margaret (née Redfern)
passed away in London on 10 September
2019 after a short illness. She is survived
by her sons Wesley and Bernard.
ROBERTSON, William Balfour (Bill)
passed away in Scotland on 27 August
2019 at the age of 93. He was a veteran
who served in France and Germany with
the 51st Highland Division towards the
end of the 2nd World War. He joined
Dunlop in Edinburgh on his return from
service and in 1961 was transferred to
Dunlop Rhodesia Limited in Bulawayo.
His wife Eleanor died in 2014. [Submitted
by David Owen.]
THOLET, Jeanne (née Smith) died in the
Vincent Palotti hospital on 28 August 2019,
having been admitted the previous
Saturday. Jean was the only daughter of
Ian and Janet Smith. She married Clem
Tholet, well-known Rhodesian song writer
(“Rhodesians Never Die”, and other
ballads) who died a few years ago. Jean is
survived by her brother Robert.
Les Cousins (1936-2019)
Born in Gwelo and educated at Chaplin
and the University of Natal, Les worked as a
research scientist with the Tobacco Research
Board for over 40 years, initially at Trelawney,
then at Makaholi and finally at Kutsaga, where,
as Officer in Charge, he guided much of the
development that created this internationally
recognised research station. Over this time he
became well known in the tobacco farming
community and was ultimately appointed
Director of the TRB. Les was also recognised
by tobacco research and industry leaders
around the world and on three occasions he
was awarded the prestigious international
CORESTA Medal for his research work. As
a significant contributor to the TRB’s scientific
output, Les was part of that group of
researchers and farmers who made the
Rhodesian tobacco industry, in its day a major
contributor to the country’s GDP. Les is
survived by his wife Cal and their three sons
and four grandchildren.
[Submitted by Dave Donkin]
The Rhosarian 1/19
ALL FOR NOTHING?
Why was C.G. Tracey
(See article “Thrown off our land” under
[From All for Nothing? by CG Tracey]
Zimbabwe started off with a strong
foundation of well-educated people who were
able to participate in the new government.
Robert Mugabe, leader of ZANU(PF),
returned to Zimbabwe in January 1980 and
spoke to a packed and ecstatic audience at the
Rufaro Stadium. Early the following morning,
I had a call from a man who introduced
himself as Emmerson Mnangagwa, a member
of ZANU(PF)’s Politburo. He said he was
aware that we had been giving seminars,
lectures and meetings to the four existing
political parties regarding the civil service
and the economy but that his party had not
been a participant. I replied that we would
have been pleased to have afforded them the
same opportunity but, as they were a party in
exile, it was not feasible to travel to
Mozambique for this purpose.
He conceded the point but said that
nevertheless they wished to catch up. Robert
Mugabe asked me to put together the best
available team of people to speak about all
aspects of the economy, for a full day session
two days later. This showed the importance
that they attached to the state of the economy.
We grasped the challenge and brought
together a dozen of the best-informed men
from all sectors. We had representatives of
finance, banking and the stock exchange,
industry, commerce, farming, tobacco,
mining, tourism, transport. The briefing
continued throughout the day and finally we
had supper with some members of their
Central Committee. That experience, for some
time, helped to enable and maintain dialogue.
This was the first occasion for Mugabe to
hear other views on the current state of affairs
in Zimbabwe - the negative and the positive.
I asked Denis Norman, then president of the
Rhodesia National Farmers’ Union (soon to
be re-named the Commercial Farmers’ Union,
CFU), to speak on agriculture. In the question
session, he and Mugabe got on well and from
that first meeting their acquaintance
Soon afterwards, Mugabe asked Norman
to become his first Minister of Agriculture.
This wise decision gave confidence to the
commercial farming community and to the
whole country. Norman had been a British
farmer and, on arrival in Rhodesia, had learnt
the tobacco-growing trade. In due course, he
bought his own farm from the McGills at
Norton. He became a council member of the
RNFU, representing the maize commodity.
He subsequently became vice-president, and
then CFU president in 1980, before being
appointed Minister of Agriculture.
At the second election in 1985, Norman
was not reappointed to the cabinet but
remained close to Mugabe. He became
chairman or director of many companies.
Mugabe later asked him to return to politics
and he became Minister of Transport and was
invaluable in bridging the gap between
Zimbabwe and other countries. Importantly,
the briefing we had been asked to arrange
provided face-to-face contact with members
of the Central Committee and the Politburo,
some of whom later became ministers, and in
particular with Nathan Shamuyarira, who often
provided a bridge between government and
the private sector. Educated at Oxford and
Princeton, USA, he was a courteous person
and, although our opinions were often
dissimilar, he was prepared to listen.
The Rhosarian 1/19
During the transition period, a vacuum
developed, with almost no contact between
the Permanent Secretaries and Mugabe’s new
team. The Zimbabwe Promotion Council
(ZPC), as it had become, was asked if we
could arrange an informal meeting with some
of the Permanent Secretaries to meet Mr and
Mrs Mugabe. About a dozen came, and each
spoke on his ministry.
It was very worthwhile, and we had the cooperation
of almost all of them. The meeting
was unusual, the private sector introducing
members of the administration to a new
political entity. David Lewis was helpful at
these meetings, and Mrs Sally Mugabe was
charming and served all the participants at
the tea table. Lewis later wrote of that time:
‘At the time of assuming office, Mugabe was
an outstanding person who had a complete
capacity for statesmanship, reasonable
approaches to problems, and was prepared
even to follow lines or courses which were a
reversal or different to his own courses or
One might estimate that this capacity
continued to be the case until arguably about
1993. It was believed that his wife Sally
played an important role in those early years.
At the meeting of Permanent Secretaries,
David Young, Secretary of the Ministry of
Finance, showed tremendously good sense
and advice to those who sought it, and
particularly to his fellow Secretaries of
After that introductory meeting, we took
members of the ZANU(PF) Central
Committee to see aspects of the economy
such as tobacco, cotton, mining, secondary
industry, the major Lowveld irrigation
development for sugar, and other
development projects. We believe that this
helped them appreciate the jewel they were
inheriting. As a non-political organization,
the ZPC emphasized the productive and
developmental sectors of the country.
Samora Machel had told Mugabe that many
of Mozambique’s problems stemmed from
the loss of confidence by their Portuguese
inhabitants, who had left in droves taking
their skills with them, and it is said that he told
Mugabe, ‘In particular, don’t lose your
farming expertise.’ After independence in
1980, the ZPC continued its role, although
the methods we used were quite different
now that the country was recognized
At independence, Rhodesia had been
largely isolated from the outside world for
fifteen years, and it was clear that a concerted
effort was needed to get leaders and opinion
formers from the overseas and private sector
and in some cases, from governments, to see
for themselves the developments that had
Before independence David Lewis and I
had an introduction to Dr Bernard Chidzero,
who at the time was based in Lausanne,
Switzerland, heading the UNCTAD team for
the United Nations. He had been groomed to
return to Rhodesia as soon as politics permitted
and was to become a key member of the new
cabinet with his experience of international
organizations and finance. On his appointment
as Minister of Economic Planning and
Development, Chidzero became an important
link for us with government and, for example,
with senior UN staff. We, at the ZPC, were
also able to help him, as some members of
government lacked sophistication and had
little understanding of First World economic
affairs. His assistant at that time was a young
man called Kombo Moyana, who later became
the first black governor of the Reserve Bank.
I was amused to read how the press saw
me. In London, Frederick Cleary of The Times
wrote a Business Diary profile on 18 February
The Rhosarian 1/19
C.G. Tracey, Rhodesian ubiquitous
.... Of Tracey, Dr Isaac Samuriwo, a
Salisbury black businessman and senator
in the last parliament, said, ‘Through his
efforts, many whites have learned that
there were blacks of the highest calibre in
any field. We need people like C.G. Tracey
in the new state of Zimbabwe ... people
who are dedicated to the cause of unity and
who know no colour bar.’ ...
Although firmly apolitical, Tracey was
drawn unofficially more into the shadowy
world of diplomacy as successive
Rhodesian governments struggled vainly
to reach a political settlement.
Regarded as a man who could be trusted
implicitly, and with his vast network of
contacts, he was soon to be seen in
Whitehall, in Washington, in Paris. His
lean, angular figure flitted from continent
to continent and like some restless shadow
he popped up in the homes and offices of
some of the most important and famous
people in the western world.
The travel restrictions imposed on
Rhodesians after UDI seemed rarely to
hinder this subtropical Kissinger. ... ‘It
was tragic when in 1965 UDI came and
sanctions were imposed,’ Tracey said. ‘I
never agreed with UDI but equally I
considered sanctions to be immoral. Once
UDI had taken place, I felt that it was
imperative that all of us should defend our
country to the best of our ability, regardless
of our political beliefs.’
I was delighted to read the following, from an
article in the Harare Sunday Mail of 27
November 1983, by Tendayi Kumbula:
Tracey: A human dynamo with flair for
innovation. Mr Edward Padya, one of the
first two blacks ever appointed to the Cotton
Marketing Board in 1978 at Mr Tracey’s
insistence, said the other day, ‘He is a very
good person. He battled the colonial regime
to get black representation on the Cotton
Marketing Board. Although it was opposed
for a long time he finally succeeded and so
Mr Axon Gumbo and I were appointed.
In the early meetings he helped us a lot,
even translating the proceedings into Shona
for us so we could keep up with the
discussions. In short I can say we have lost
a man [on retirement] who has a great love
for Africans. He did a lot for us and for
other African farmers, including taking
some of us outside Zimbabwe so we could
see what other people did with the cotton
they bought from us’.
The greatest compliment paid to me was by
someone who said I was a true patriot. So my
love of my country is the right way, I suppose,
of describing overall what motivates me. I
happen to think that this is the best country
there is, and I am determined to try and keep
it this way for all people, black and white.
Looked at objectively, the situation is more
than depressing and bleak and, as I write this
in 2008, no one can guess what the next few
months will bring. ...
I look back over the last 80 years and apply
the old phrase, ‘What if ... ?’ But that is
academic. Zimbabwe is in danger of joining
the ranks of derelict African countries - its
agriculture, and particularly its tobacco and
food sectors, have been mortally wounded.
An atmosphere of mistrust and corruption is
widespread. To correct these alone would be
a major task. ...
Those eight decades of progress cannot be
taken away, although the developments of
which we were proud have been so misused.
The title of this book was discussed at
length. Finally we settled for Wendy’s choice:
All for Nothing?...
Harare, August 2008
The Rhosarian 1/19
Rhodesian contact wanted in
I am an ex-Rhodesian recently moved to
the Johannesburg area (Midrand). I have 2
young boys (9and 10) and am looking for
other families/groups with whom we can
socialise and in so doing educate my boys
about our shared history, culture etc. Any
information or advice will be very much
appreciated. Lisa Seymour (née Cobban).
[Editor: I suggested they attend the Service
at Dickie Fritz. As our membership is aged,
perhaps there is someone who has children
or grandchildren who would like to contact
Lisa. Please contact Mary on 012 460 2066
or email firstname.lastname@example.org]
Politicians and diapers
should be changed often
and for the same reason.
“Traditionally, most of Australia’s imports
come from overseas.”
Kep Enderby QC was an Australian politician
and judge. Died 2015.
Secretary: Mary Redfern
Tel: 012 4602066 (during office hours,
otherwise an answering machine is in use.)
Chairman: Spyro Blismas
Tel: 012 6676647
Postal address: E-mail:
PO Box 95474 email@example.com
0145 Waterkloof www.flf-rasa.co.za
Philip Garbett remembers that in Rhodesia
during the mid-1960s he encountered the
American literary curiosities known as Tom
Swifties. These were/are somewhat similar to
the Lexophiles published in the August-
September 2019 Msasa Mail. So as to illustrate
- here are ‘six o’the best’ of those Tom
“I love hot dogs,” said Tom with relish.
“I’ll have another Martini,” Tom mumbled
“I’ve decided to come back to the group,”
“If you want me, I shall be in the attic,” stated
“I’d like to stop by at the mausoleum,” Tom
“Get to the back of the boat!” Tom said
From the Wor
In conclusion, my friends, fill your
minds with those things that are good
and that deserve praise: things that
are true, noble, right, pure, lovely,
Phillipians 4:8 (GNT)
RASA Pretoria banking details
Account Name: RASA Pretoria
Account Number: 1631005235
Branch: Brooklyn Branch
Branch Code: 163145
The Rhosarian 1/19
Newsletter - October 2019
The AGM was conducted in July 2019 and despite widespread rumours that we
as a branch were either going to form a “sub-branch” or “dissolute” the branch, there
were a few members that did not wish for this result and offered their nominations
to stand on a new committee which was duly elected and installed in a special
meeting held on 31st July 2019 at Musketeers, Westville. Your new committee and
details of such are detailed at the end of this report.So, it requires me to now
introduce myself as your new Chairman for the foreseeable future. My name is Nick
Skipworth-Michell, aka Skippy Michell, I have been in Durban for the last 13 years
having transferred down from Johannesburg. I am Rhodesian born and bred and
schooled initially at Oriel Boys in Chisipite, after completing education I then signed
on regular force and served with RLI as a medic badged RhAMC for 3 years.
I currently serve as the Chairman of South African Legion North Coast Branch, Old
Bill of Journeys End Shell hole and Regional Representative of The RLI Regimental
Association in KZN, as well as being a member of KZN Parabats Canopy – so yes,
I am busy but at the same time have a great network of not only Rhodesians but also
I believe that I have a great team in my new committee, most of whom have been
with RASA Durban long before I arrived on the scene and I respect and value their
experience.Plans are afoot for the annual Poinsettia braai as well as the annual golf
day at Toti and details will be communicated as we firm arrangements up.
I look forward to serving you as your new Chairman and welcome any suggestions
as to how we may improve.
Before I sign off it would be remiss of me not to make special mention of both Eddie
and Jill de Beer as well as the previous committee who have stood down after a
lifetime of commitment to the Association and words are not enough to thank them
for what they have done for our Nation and people…THANK YOU EDDIE & JILL!!
The Rhosarian 1/19
RHODIE GOLF DAY
SUNDAY 24 TH NOVEMBER 2019
Our annual Rhodie Golf Day will again be held at Toti Country
Club. There will be a braai and live music at the 19th hole.
Please confirm with Skippy Michell on 082 372 0000 or
firstname.lastname@example.org for more detail.
RASA Durban AGM August 2019
Judge Hilary Squires Obituary 31 July 2019 Westville Durban
Herewith a copy of what I delivered on behalf of RASA Durban
“I am humbled to be asked to say a few words in the presence of such an audience.
As the representative here today of both RASA Durban (a Branch of the Flame Lily Foundation)
and The Rhodesian Light Infantry Regimental Association it is my priviledge to say a few words.
As I never knew Judge Hilary Squires personally I contacted John Redfern at the Flame Lily
Foundation in Pretoria, who knew him well, to ask if I could convey any message on his behalf
and the following was his response to me. “Hilary was a great supporter of the Foundation and
attended most, if not all Foundation meetings. He was an extremely generous man in an
unassuming manner and over the years Hilary donated from his own pocket vast sums of money
in support of the Foundation of which we are eternally grateful”.
From a Military perspective and as a serving member of the Rhodesian Light Infantry at the
time that Mr Squires was our Minister of Defence it is only appropriate that we are here today to
pay our respects and honour a man who held a very difficult post in a very turbulent time.
Rest in Peace Sir!”
The Rhosarian 1/19
It is not my intention to use this forum as my personal Ad space but it just so
happens that I have written a book which may be of interest to some of our
readership, details posted below. Should you wish to order a copy please e mail me
on email@example.com at only R200 each.
The following is an excerpt from my book OUT ON A LIMB and I think many a
Rhodesian will relate to this piece of history which played out in September 1980 - 39
years ago this month!
Oh When the Saints ...
The late afternoon sun sparkled off shiny
buttons grouped in twos on RLI Number
One Dress Greens. The Battalion was on
parade for the last time, waiting for the
order to march off. Watching from the side
lines were the wounded also dressed in
their Greens with brilliant buttons, shiny
medals for valour and perfectly shaped
berets with their cap badge over the left
eye. In their wheelchairs, or on crutches or
with a pressed empty sleeve pinned to their
tunic they watched their mates on parade.
Solemn words had been said, "Courageous
people. Splendid land", the Colours cased
and all that was left was for Charlie Aust to
give the word of command for him and his
Battalion to march off - into history. An
Alouette pirouetted at altitude in a solitary
RhAF fly-over in acknowledgement of the
great deeds of these men. Ex defence
minister PK Van Der Byl stood in the crowd
as an ordinary member of the public,
unofficially and unannounced, to pay tribute
to these young men. The Jacarandas were
in bloom, the mature eucalyptus bordering
the parade square filtered and dappled the
sunlight as the sun began to accelerate its
descent now that mid afternoon had passed.
The Commanding Officer gave his
commands and the Battalion formed two
ranks to march off. Six beats of the drum
and the staff band began the jaunty 'Oh
When the Saints…'.
Three hundred whip thin, ultra fit men
marched in perfect step in a display of good
order and military discipline, and - above all
else - with pride. Big Red, 2 Commando,
The Lovers and Support Commando led by
their OCs marched off in quick time followed
by the Signals Corps Band. Mine was not the
only wobbly chin. Mine was not the only
escaped tear. Me and the wounded could
not escape the evocative emotion of those
on parade. We could not blank out the
emotion through the exertion of marching in
step, swinging our arms and listening to the
Drill Sergeant's sotte voce commands, "look
up! "Keep your dressing". We stood or sat
in the puddle of our raw emotions, we cried.
Damn it. We were over. The crowd whooped,
hollered and cheered.
The gospel spiritual of The Saints is lost
on nearly all of us, as is the irony. A slow
southern black man's hymn that was jazzed
up as a ditty, popularised by the jazz
musicians of New Orleans in the 1930s. The
tempo 'revved' so that a generation later,
and on a different continent, it was chosen
as the Regimental Quick March for an allwhite
unit. The phrases too, like most
literature, could have a double meaning.
The lyrics adopted by the Regiment could
not have been more appropriate, and
somewhat bloodcurdling. These very young
The Rhosarian 1/19
men really did 'want to be in that number'
taking the battle to the enemy wherever
they were. They fell like stars from the sky
in Zambia, Mozambique and within
Rhodesia. On operations like the Mapai raid
their 'fire blazed' and like the horsemen of
apocalypse swept through the enemy. And
although in the last year of the Rhodesian
war we lost 30 ouens the RLI was accredited
with a kill rate that went from 35-1 to 50-1.
In context, 3,000 terrorists must have died
at the hands of the RLI in 1979 alone; 'the
moon turned red with blood'. No wonder
they were known as the 'killing machine'
and little wonder that ZANLA and ZIPRA,
even with their superiority in numbers,
studiously avoided contact with the RLI,
preferring to prey upon the soft rural poor,
or defenceless missionaries, who they could
easily brutalise and murder.
RASA Durban Branch Committee
Nick Skipworth-Michell (Chairman) 082 372 0000 firstname.lastname@example.org
Peter Shattock (Vice Chair) 082 512 6056 email@example.com
Lana Skipworth-Michell (Treasurer) 072 617 7443 firstname.lastname@example.org
Marlene Camps (Secretary) 079 798 1595 email@example.com
Jacqui Kirrane (Welfare) 072 080 0385 firstname.lastname@example.org
Heather Walker (Stalwart) 083 322 3236 email@example.com
Rob Walker (Stalwart) 084 532 559 Rowa34@gmail.com
The Rhosarian 1/19
FLAME LILY FOUNDATION * CAPE PENINSULA BRANCH
VOL. 15 No. 5 - October November 2019
The Cape Peninsula branch meets at 10am on
the 3rd Tuesday of every month at the Moth
Hall in Fish Hoek. We have had a number of
guest speakers at the Teas, including Frontline
missionary, Alieske van’t Foort, who reported
back on the plight of pensioners in Zimbabwe
and gave a PowerPoint slide presentation on
the situation in the country, delivery of Boxes
with Love to pensioners in Bulawayo and some
of the heart-warming testimonies of resilient
pensioners in desperate situations.
Another guest speaker, Dr. Michelle House,
gave an interesting presentation on
Archaeological Excavations and theories
concerning the Zimbabwe Ruins.
On the anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo, I
gave a presentation on that extraordinarily
important and decisive battle which ended the
25 years of French Revolutionary wars and
ushered in nearly 99 years of general peace in
Rhodes and Founders
Our Rhodes and Founders lunch was a
tremendous success and much enjoyed by all.
Despite financial constraints, we still sponsored
a number of pensioners to enjoy the banquet.
Our Rhodes and Founders lunch this year, 17
July, coincided with the date when Cecil John
Rhodes, at age 37, became Prime Minister of
the Cape Colony, 1890.
One of the written responses we received from our
latest Rhodes and Founders lunch: “Thank you very
much for arranging the very successful Rhodes and
Founders lunch today. Your efforts show your love
for what was once our country. The food was
excellent and it was enjoyed by everyone present.
It was wonderful to see some of our less fortunate
members attending as guests. Certainly the
highlight of their year. You epitomise one of the
main aims of our establishment of this branch of
FLF-CP so many years ago - to bring a little light
into the lives of our senior citizens who did
everything in their power to develop Rhodesia into
the jewel of Africa.”
Within a week of being elected Chairman, I
launched the Flame Lily Foundation - Cape
Peninsula Facebook page on social media. Just
since 5 April, our FLF-CP page has Reached 265,208
people, with 57,977 Engaged (that means likes,
reactions and shares). We have over 600 regular
Followers on the FLF-CP page, with a tremendous
amount of comments and shares amongst
Rhodesians Worldwide, Last of the Rhodesians, Our
Rhodesian Heritage, Rhodesia Herald, Rhodesian
and African Military History and responses from
literally all over the world. Some of the written
responses have included: “Fantastic to have these
records of our history. Thank you.”; “Magnificent
pictures of a truly amazing country!”
Through social media we have communications
with Rhodesians literally worldwide. Pictures and
memories are being shared, people are
The Rhosarian 1/19
discovering old friends and contacts and
fascinating aspects of our history and heritage are
being made known to a wider circle of people.
We have upcoming plans for FLF-CP events, to
recruit the children and grandchildren of
Rhodesians, including a guided tour of the Rhodes
Cottage in Muizenberg and a home education day
focused on Rhodesian History. We will also be
hosting some Teas in Rondebosch to reach those
who are geographically distant from our regular
venue in Fish Hoek. Our Remembrance Sunday
service is scheduled for 13:00 on Sunday, 3
November at Fish Hoek Methodist Church.
Any Rhodesians visiting Cape Town are
encouraged to get in touch with us and join in the
Dr. Peter Hammond
WHEN GRANDMA GOES TO COURT ……
Lawyers should never ask a Rhodesian grandma a
question if they aren’t prepared for the answer.
In a trial, a small Rhodesian
town prosecuting attorney
called his first witness, an
elderly woman to the stand.
He approached her and asked,
“Mrs Jones, do you know
me?” She responded, “Why,
yes, I do know you, Mr
Williams. I’ve known you since you were a boy,
and frankly, you’ve been a big disappointment to
me, you lie, you cheat on your taxes and you
manipulate people and talk about them behind
their backs. You think you are a big shot when you
haven’t the brains to realize you’ll never amount
to anything more than a two-bit paper pusher, yes
I do know you.”
The lawyer was stunned. Not knowing what else
to do, he pointed across the room and asked, “Mrs
Jones, do you know the defence attorney?”
She again replied, “Yes I have known Mr Bradley
since he was a youngster, too. He’s lazy,
bigoted, and he has a drinking problem. He
can’t build a normal relationship with anyone,
and his law practice is one of the worst in the
entire state. Not to mention he cheated on his
wife with three different woman, one of them
was your wife. Yes I do know him.” The defence
attorney nearly died.
The judge asked both
counsellors to approach
the bench and in a very
quiet voice said, “If either
of you asks her if she
knows me. I’ll have you
OBITUARY - A flame lily gone from our
It was with shock and sorrow that we learnt of the
passing of Shirley Green who was laid to rest at
the Methodist Church in Fish Hoek on 16th
Those who served with her late husband Gerry
Green in the Rhodesian Corps of Chaplains had
to cope with the most heartbreaking calls to break
the news to wives and families of the deaths of
their loved ones during the war years (read
“Reflections of a God Botherer” by Bill Dodgen).
Shirley was a lovely lady and a dedicated and
active Flame Lily member. She is survived by a
son, Mike, in Mocambique. Requiescat in Pace
RHODES COTTAGE - MUIZENBERG
Is it the twinkling passage chandeliers, the
plunging thatch roof, or the distant sound of bugle
calls rekindling a long forgotten history of a
Cottage once graced by a man who many years
ago opened the door to an unexplored land,
initially referred to as British South Africa, Sofala,
The Rhosarian 1/19
Monomatapa, (and others), and eventually its true
This Story is dedicated to Joye and Brian Gibbs;
two curators who spent many years at Rhodes
Cottage, and who worked tirelessly to promote
Muizenberg, its Historical Mile, The Muizenberg
Historical and Conservation Society, to better
educate our locals, including visitors from all over
the world, and to promote Mr Rhodes, his
achievements, and, most importantly what
Rhodesia achieved in the short space of ninety
years. Sadly Brian passed on in 2018, and Joye, a
previously-elected Town Councillor, followed her
husband Brian in 2019.
A gurgling stream, born high on the Muizenberg
Mountain, gurgles into a quaint weir behind the
Cottage before flowing into an open canal
stretching the length of the garden, then galloping
under Muizenberg Main Road before flowing into
the ocean after swirling below the railway-line and
Many Writers have described this Cottage of
dreams in lucid terms over many years, but the
only way to really experience its magic is a long
overdue visit to a home steeped in history.
A number of us Flame Lily volunteer curators ‘walk
this beat’ every week, sharing something almost
indescribable, other than to say most of us
experience a sense of peace and tranquility in each
and every room. If only walls could talk - to be
honest, they sometimes do exactly that!
Curator entry to the Cottage is via the back door
as the front entrance is severely locked-down with
inner sliding bolts, leaving one guessing how many
volunteers have ‘sprung’ these over a sixty long
year period after the Cottage was bestowed with
‘museum status’. We walk into a small foyer, unbolt
the heavy door leading into the ‘diningroom’, and,
out of morbid fascination, avoid all light switches
in an effort to capture a very special moment in
the shadows of time.
The creaking floor then leads to the main passage
and front door with its thunderous sliding bolts,
breaking the silence before permitting the early
morning sun to flood its warmth into every nook
and cranny, leaving us wondering about the
number of times this door has been opened and
closed since 1823 - now close on two hundred years
Winter is a time of rain, billowing gales and gutsy
seas whipping ‘white horses’ of salty spray as the
waves bellow their ‘war-cry,’ akin to a banshee’s
howling and screaming, announcing the death of
a loved one,
miles away: one
w o n d e r s
- Mr Rhodes’
birthplace in England - was in any way disturbed
on the night of his passing at the comparatively
young age of forty nine?
Cecil John Rhodes purchased 246 Main Road,
Muizenberg in 1899 where he sought refuge on ‘R
and R’ days, travelling by road on his ‘two horse’
coach to and from his stately Groote Schuur home
below the gloom of Devils Peak.
The ‘Oubaas’ died of heart failure after being
confined to his
bed for a period
of ten days: the
26 of March 1902
was one of the
w a r m e s t
weeks on record,
with temperatures melting into the early forties,
aggravated by heat maliciously trapped under the
corrugated iron roof, compounded by a perhaps
The Rhosarian 1/19
unwise decision to punch a huge hole in the
southern wall to encourage a flow of fresh air,
which, more than likely, swept wave upon wave
of suffocating heat into an already confined
Cecil John Rhodes passed away quietly and
without ceremony in the presence of his close
and dear friends as the sun gently touched the
Cottage before quietly sinking below the
towering Muizenberg Mountain range.
The man after whom Rhodesia was named in
1896 was entombed in the Matopos Hills on 10
April 1902 after lying in State at his Groote
Schuur home, the Houses of Parliament, the
Funeral (Coach) Train to Bulawayo, the Bulawayo
Drill Hall, and his final Gun Carriage journey to
“Worlds View” in the harshness of dusty
Matabeleland, yet his memory lives on in the
Cottage’s tiny “Matopos Room” where a diorama
of his final resting place remains an awesome
reminder of a great man who today ‘ghosts’
through the Cottage when the wind climbs under
the eaves and rattles the shutters.
Not long after the death of C.J.R. the Cottage
remained closed for over thirty years - much the
same as the Fort Tuli Police Outpost in the old
Rhodesia (fourteen years) - bringing to mind the
haunting poem, “The Listeners:” ..........
‘Is there anybody there?’ said the Traveller,’
Knocking on the moonlit door, And his horse in
the silence chomped the grasses of the forests
ferny floor................. enough .... call it up on the
internet - Walter de la Mare will tell you more!
Come and see for yourself one of these fine days.
Coincidentally, Ian Smith, the last Prime Minister
of Rhodesia, passed away at the St James
Retirement Hotel in 2007, barely a kilometer from
Rhodes Cottage, on the same side of the
mountain, facing the sea.
Ian Smith was cremated in Cape Town, and his
ashes scattered on his farm and across the
rippling waters of Gwenora Dam in the Selukwe
District: the first, and last born and bred
Rhodesian Prime Minister!
The staff and carers at the Retirement Hotel in St
James still speak highly of ‘Smithy’: a gentleman
and a scholar; a soft spoken man whose last wish
was to return to Selukwe: his place of birth in the
lush, green valleys. GOD took him Home.
Take the word “RHODESIAN” - ‘Rhodes and Ian’!
THE WAR MEMORIALS : MILTON HIGH
Milton High School, Bulawayo, was opened in July
1910. Four years later, the First World War broke
out, and old boys and teachers volunteered for
service. Ten lost their lives in the ensuing conflict,
a high number for a new and fairly small school.
Their sacrifice was recorded on an impressive
bronze plaque in the school.
Twenty-nine years later, the Second World War
broke out, with old boys and teachers again
volunteering their services. By the end of the war
in 1945, 115 had given their lives in the cause of
Britain and her allies.
On 2nd April 1948, two bronze plaques honouring
these men were unveiled at a touching service in
the impressive Beit Hall at Milton School. They
were placed on either side of the earlier memorial,
flanked by the Union Jack and the flag of the British
South Africa Company.
The Headmaster, Mr. A. Ball, opened the service
with a prayer and reading of a lesson. This was
followed by the Chairman of the Old Miltonians
Association, reading with deep feeling the Roll of
The Rhosarian 1/19
The Last Post was then sounded by a bugler of the
School’s cadet band, and a well-known former
Milton headmaster, Col. J.B.Brady O.B.E., D.S.O.,
gave a dedicatory address and unveiled the
plaques. Col. Brady was both a soldier and a
Mr Ball, the current headmaster, offered a
dedicatory prayer, and the bugler sounded
Reveille. This was followed by the school
hymn, “O valiant hearts, who to your glory
came.....”, voices of families of those being
honoured, Old Boys remembering their
schoolfellows and comrades, and the present
scholars all melding in unison.
The very memorable service ended with the laying
of wreaths at the base of the memorials, and
singing of “The King”.
Once again, please remember to make our
agreement with Fern Funerals known to your
Fern Funerals offer only Flame Lily members a
special rate, which is currently R5,300 for a full
funeral package. This is an incredibly good price
and this information needs to be shared with next
of kin before the event, whilst we are still 100%
A reminder to all our members of
the date and time of our annual
In recent years, the plaques were moved to the
entrance foyer to the Beit Hall, and were joined
by smaller plaques in memory of
old boys who lost their lives in the bush war. They
were said to be well-kept and respected. Any
current information would be appreciated.
By Lewis Walter (at that time a fifteen-year-old
boarder in Pioneer House)
An ongoing big thank you to Salty Print!
The Rhosarian 1/19
FLF CONTACT DETAILS
CAPE PENINSULA BRANCH
P.O. BOX 43821, FISH HOEK, 7974
Registered in terms of the Non-profit Organisations
Act 1977: Re. No. 001-747NPO
Chairman: Dr Peter Hammond
Tel: 021 689 4480
Vice-Chairman: Skatie Fourie
Tel: 021 785 5620 Cell: 072 463 8044
Treasurer: Rosalie Holmes
Tel: 021 782 5237 Cell: 082 877 1301
Secretary/Scribe: Tony Rozemeyer
Tel: 021 788 7274 Cell: 084 674 0700
Carer: Jean Bowen-Davies
(firstname.lastname@example.org) Tel: 021 785 3074
Cell: 072 602 8231
Newsletter Editor: Cherry Douglas
Cell: 083 461 8458
FLAME LILY MONTHLY TEAS - FISH HOEK
Please remember to join us for tea on the 3rd
Tuesday of every month at The Moth Hall in Fish
Hoek. R10 per member and R20 per nonmember.
Please bring a small plate of eats if you
can. All proceeds go towards helping our elderly
We thank the Battledress Shellhole, Fish
Hoek for permitting us to continue to use
their hall for our teas.
A huge thank you to the Battledress
Shellhole, Fish Hoek!
The Rhosarian 1/19
Special Meeting of the Cape Peninsula
Branch of Flame Lily Foundation, held on
In common with a number of other organisations
our branch faces the problem of diminishing
finances and lack of active involvement by
With the aim of finding solutions to remedy the
situation and making decisions as to the future of
the branch, a special meeting was called on 17
September at the Moth Hall in Fish Hoek, in
conjunction with the monthly tea.
Editor’s Note: Our current committee, largely in
their 80’s, work tirelessly to find
better ways to do things, raise
funds, save on costs, answer
needs, recruit volunteers, make
connections and mend bridges. All help, in any
form, is requested and will be most welcome.
Thank you so much to the loyal group of
members who attended this fruitful meeting.
With summer on our doorstep, cool delicious
drinks come to mind.
The key question was, do we carry on doing our
best to continue assisting our needy elderly by
giving them help? Or do we discontinue the
payments to the elderly and carry on only as a
social and cultural group that enjoys self-funding
teas, outings and meetings?
After substantial discussion, the members
unanimously agreed that we should continue to
assist our elderly folk by whatever means we can.
It was resolved that the branch should try to
increase membership, urgently source funding
and recruit assistance in the day-to-day function
of visiting and calling on the elderly folk, running
boot sales, selling raffle tickets and finding
sponsors. It was agreed that our communications
need to be stronger and more affective.
We will continue to run our monthly teas, on the
third Tuesday of every month, both as a social
event and as a fund-raiser and urge as many
members as possible, old and new, to join us.
In the course of the meeting, a member, Tony Gray,
offered his services in various of the essential
functions and was invited to be co-opted onto the
committee, which he graciously accepted. The
meeting closed on a positive note and a
welcoming resolve. We request Cape Town
Rhodesians and Zimbabweans, please come and
re-join us so that we can continue to give our very
best in love and comfort to our elderly folk.
Good old-fashioned ginger beer
You will need some 2 litre drink
bottles, preferably dark ones, to
minimise light penetration.
8 tablespoons white sugar per 2l bottle, dissolved
in 3 cups boiling water
1 tsp yeast dissolved in a cup of warm water
½ cup ginger syrup (Mixadrink or similar) per 2l
bottle. Fresh ginger root, chopped up, optional
Warm water to fill 2l bottles
Thoroughly wash bottles and lids and, using a
funnel, pour in the ginger syrup and add the sugar
solution. Allow to cool to tepid. Add yeast solution
and optional chopped ginger root. Top up the
bottles to normal level and fasten lids. Vigorously
shake to dissolve sugar residue. NB - This is the
first, last and only time that the bottle is shaken.
Store in a cool dark place for 24 hours. For the
next two days, check the bottles. They should be
turgid with pressure. If they become misshapen,
take outside and slowly open to release pressure,
then refasten. On fourth day, refrigerate. When
chilled, drink and enjoy!
BEWARE - bottles sometimes explode which can
be messy and noisy. Best stored on a veranda.
DO NOT SHAKE
The Rhosarian 1/19
OPERATION URIC VETERANS
OPERATION URIC VETERANS
October 2019 The Rhosarian 1/19
Air Force veterans (left)
Engineer Corps veterans (below)
Rhodesian Light Infantry veterans (below)
Map from "Africa's Commandos" - courtesy JRT Wood
The Rhosarian 1/19
Each year the Rhodesian Light Infantry
Regimental Association (RLIRA) and the
Rhodesian Corps of Engineers Association join to
remember the Rhodesian casualties in a South
African Air Force (SAAF) Puma helicopter which
was shot down during Operation Uric on 6
September 1979. This year, former members of
the Rhodesian Air Force led the memorial service,
as the Air Force had played a major role in the
The following address was given by Wg Cdr
Steve Baldwin (Retd) (Flt Lt during Op Uric)
Welcome to you all
on this solemn
the loved ones, family,
relatives and friends of
those brave young men
who lost their lives in
defence of their country
from the forces of evil and who are honoured on
this occasion of dedication.
I was asked to address this gathering since I
had an intimate knowledge of Op Uric. Number 4
Sqn flying Lynxes often had to lead Air Force first
strikes on external operations usually with an
airborne army commander on board to control the
battle. In fact, looking in my logbook I see I flew
Lt Col Bate - with us here today - on Op Chamber
in June, Capt Willis on Op Fiddle in July, and Maj
Armstrong in Op Uric in September of that year
The reason for this was that Lynxes were
armed with 37 mm rockets with white phosphorous
to make dense clouds of white smoke used as
target markers for the following jet strikes with
their heavier armament.
A lot has been written about the whole war and
particularly Op Uric but unfortunately it’s not all
accurate. But I suppose it’s largely irrelevant
Op Uric was significant for a number of reasons:
Firstly: it was the penultimate major external
operation of the war (Op Miracle was the last.).
Operation Uric Memorial Parade
Secondly: All available Rhodesian aircraft: 6 Lynx,
12 Dakotas plus the command Dakota
(nicknamed Warthog), 28 Alouette 3s / Bell
205s, 8 Hawker Hunters, 6 Canberras as I
recall. Also SAAF Pumas, Super Frelons,
Dakotas and Canberras.
Thirdly: it was the first time the SAAF was
overtly involved with Rhodesian operations.
Fourthly; and by no means least from an Air Force
perspective, the loss of Puma 164 with 3 SAAF
aircrew and 9 RLI and 5 Engineer Corps, and
Bell 6098 with a flight engineer.
For an op like this there would be top secret
briefings with the Air Force and Army units,
followed by clandestine deployments of specialized
army units in the field. At the aircraft forward
bases the Lynxes and Daks (Dakotas) arrived on 1
September. The helicopters were being deployed
already by that time.
The operation did not start well. It was planned
to start 2 September. Bad weather precluded that.
For 2 / 3/ 4 Sep aircraft were grounded by bad
weather. Frustrating for all. The operation finally
took place between 5 September and 7 September,
with major attacks on Mapai and Barragem.
Thereafter other lesser targets were attacked,
primarily with airstrikes.
Mapai was a major FPLM (Frelimo) base with
their 2 Brigade HQ together with ZANLA, heavily
defended with 37 mm AA, 23mm ZPU4, SAM 7
Strela anti aircraft infra red heat seeking missiles.
Also there was a significant Russian presence.
Around Barragem there were 5 bridges. They
were to be blown up by the Engineers and SAS to
disrupt supply lines to FPLM forward bases.
The operation started early morning 5
September. Major Pat Armstrong was with me in
the lead Lynx as the airborne ground forces tactical
commander. The ‘Warthog’ command Dak orbited
at high level. They maintained communications to
the respective HQs. Air Cdre Norman Walsh, AF
DG Ops and Lt Gen Peter Walls, Commander
Comops were on board for any strategic decisions.
Our lead Lynx was specially prepared for long
endurance. Extra fuel, no guns but 2 x 37mm
rocket pods each with 18 rockets for the jet strike
The Rhosarian 1/19
marking / close air support to ground forces. We
could be airborne for anything up to 10 hours at a
All the aircraft took off from Chiredzi (Buffalo
Range airfield) at the appointed time. Following
the 5 Lynxes were Daks with paratroops, and
helicopters with other support troops. Hunter and
Canberra jets were already on the way .
We then put in the first white phosphorous
rocket strikes, closely followed by the Hunter
strikes and the Canberra bombers. The Daks were
already dropping the paratroopers and the
helicopters their officers and troops, and the combat
began. Other targets were similarly being attacked.
Major Pat Armstrong then took over the tactical
control of the ground forces by means of
instructions radioed to the callsigns on the ground.
It never failed to amaze me on ops like this how
the airborne commander managed to handle radio
transmissions back and forth using two radios to
move, relocate and take reports from the ground
callsigns and give them new instructions in the
battle. Like handling a gigantic chessboard with
deadly pieces. But they did it very effectively.
So the battle continued for three days. However
not quite how it was planned with the very effective
defences at Mapai, with their Russian designed
zigzag trench system and some 20 AA guns, 37
mm anti aircraft airburst shelling, 23 mm ZPU 4,
12.7 mm as I seem to recall.
A major setback to the operation and shock to
us all were the major disasters; the loss of Rhodesian
Bell 6098 and flight engineer LAC Alex Wesson,
and SAAF Puma 164 with aircrew Capt Paul
Velleman, Lt Nigel Osborne and Sgt Dirk Retief,
together with the 14 Rhodesian officers and troops.
Major Armstrong controlled the ground
callsigns flying for some 6 hours each of the first
two days before leaving for debriefing. The Lynxes
and helicopters continued to provide close air
support, and the jets their heavy bombardment of
After the third day of the operation General
Walls and the senior officers in the command
Dakota decided to curtail the assault on Mapai and
make a strategic withdrawal. So ended Operation
Uric; all that remained was for the helicopters to
pick up all the ground troops and return to the
Interestingly, a captive FPLM soldier
subsequently revealed that they were extremely
tired, demoralized and short of supplies. Had we
continued for another two days they would have
been completely defeated.
To complete this short resumé of Op Uric, not
many people know of the extent of the South
African involvement. Of course because of the
Puma tragedy, the support of a good number of
helicopters is well documented. But to supplement
the Rhodesian air effort, they also supplied
paradrop Dakotas and Canberra bombers. Also
elements of 1 Recce Commando were parachuted
into the frays to support the Rhodesian troops. All
this was secret at the time, and code named
Operation Bootlace by the South Africans.
As the Air Force strike leader with Major
Armstrong, I was fully involved in the operation
and have written a couple of accounts when so
requested. But the memories dim with advancing
age, so I hope that this address reflects events
accurately, but all here who were there at the time
God Bless you all.
Although Op Uric failed to achieve all the
tactical objectives, it was a strategic success in
that the operation led to Samora Machel, the
President of Mozambique, putting pressure on
Robert Mugabe to take part in the Lancaster House
conference talks. He wanted to prevent
Mozambique from being dragged further into the
war with Rhodesia, which had already seriously
damaged its economy.
This is the background to Op Uric; tactical
details of the operation itself can be found on
the Internet at the following link:
The Rhosarian 1/19
Over the Anniversary Weekend of 20-22
September 2019, the Transvaal Branch of the
BSA Police Regimental Association entertained
former members from far and wide with a fantastic
reunion, celebrating the 130 th anniversary of the
formation of the BSAP.
Brainchild of Rob
Bristow, the main
event was a memorial
service in the Garden
of Remembrance at the
Dickie Fritz MOTH
complex on Saturday
21 September. The
service was preceded
by a march-on of BSAP
veterans, led by a
Scottish pipe band. The
unveiling and dedication of a life-size bronze
statue of a policeman in the reverse arms salute
position followed the sermon delivered by a former
policeman, Bishop David Bannerman (7705).
The Roll of Honour was read by John Sutton.
Dave Holmes gave the
address, explaining the
of this occasion. The
service ended with the
“Last Post” and
“Reveille”, with the
laying of wreaths,
rendition of ‘Rise O
Voices of Rhodesia’ by
Steve and Dana
Prophet, and reading of
“I was there” by John Sutton.
The MOTH ladies at Dickie Fritz prepared a
light lunch alongside The Ridgeback pub, while
balladeer John Edmond carried the reunion into
the afternoon with his entertainment.
A formal luncheon took place on Sunday 22
September, presented in the usual efficient way
that we have come to expect from the BSA Police
Regimental Association. Old friendships were reestablished,
including some from as far afield as
the USA, Australia, New Zealand, Zimbabwe and
Congratulations to all those who had a part in
organisaing and conducting the event.
The following extract comes from ‘The History
of the BSAP’ by Peter Gibbs, for the benefit of
those not familiar with how the BSAP came into
being 130 years ago, or have simply forgotten.
It is a little unusual for the police force of a
country to be created before that country actually
exists. But although Cecil Rhodes’s pioneers only
entered the territory that lies between the Limpopo
and Zambezi rivers in July 1890 - and only formally
occupied Mashonaland by raising the Union Jack
at Fort Salisbury in September - the first troops of
what were to become the British South Africa
Company’s Police had been established and
recruiting had been started, outside the country, as
early as November the previous year.
Before long the force was to play a formidable
part in what has been called “the scramble for
The history of southern Africa, after the advent
of the white man in 1652, has been written many
times and has been given as many interpretations.
Especially where the British are concerned, the
interpretations range from the heroic to the
iconoclastic - from a blind reverence for honourable
intentions to accusations of undiluted perfidy.
The idea of obtaining a Royal Charter for his
newly proposed company, the British South Africa
Company, to occupy, and operate in, the new
territory, has often been credited to Rhodes. The
belief that it was Rhodes’s original notion has
more recently been challenged. But whether or not
it was his own idea, it appealed to him immensely.
If his new company (which would, of course, be
controlled principally by his own de Beers) were
to be granted a Charter by Queen Victoria he could
have the best of both worlds:
the venture would be “colonial” in that in
practice it would be undertaken and controlled by
the people on the spot; it would be “imperial” only
so far as it would receive from the British
Government political backing and, if the worst
happened, military protection. But before
petitioning the Crown for a Charter it would
clearly be necessary to obtain from the people at
present in the territory at least some semblance of
the right to operate there - some claim to preference
over anybody else who might be after the same
The Rhosarian 1/19
A man named Charles Rudd, on behalf of
Rhodes, obtained from Lobengula, the Matabele
chief in Bulawayo, a concession to “win and
procure” all the “metals and minerals situated and
contained in my Kingdoms, principalities and
dominions”. ... The new British South Africa
Company successfully petitioned the Queen for a
Royal Charter. The Charter acknowledged, in
appropriate legalese, “That the existence of a
powerful British Company, controlled by those of
Our subjects in whom We have confidence, and
having its principal field of operations in that
region of South Africa lying to the north of
Bechuanaland and to the west of Portuguese East
Africa, would be advantageous to the commercial
interests of Our subjects in the United Kingdom
and in Our Colonies,” and empowered the
Company to promote “trade, commerce and good
government (including the regulation of liquor
traffic with the Natives)”, to suppress “the slave
trade - of which there was no evidence at all - and
open up the territories “to the immigration of
Europeans”. The Company would also “to the
best of its ability preserve peace and order” and
for this purpose was authorised to “establish and
maintain a force of police”. ...
The occupation would be a commercial
undertaking; the whole business of founding a
new country would be put out to contract for
recruiting, provisioning, equipping and paying a
pioneer force of nearly two hundred men, who
would become the first white settlers in the new
country; also for making “a good wagon road”
from Palapye, in Bechuanaland, to Mount
Hampden, which was to be the destination in
Mashonaland; and for “holding and occupying”
the new territory until 30 September 1890, after
which the Company would relieve Johnson of his
Frank Johnson’s tender was £87 500, which
was a lot of money in those days.
Rhodes believed at first that this was all it
would cost him to occupy the country. He certainly
promised Johnson and his partners - and, indeed,
all the pioneers - free land and free mining claims
when they reached Mashonaland, but as these
were costing him nothing he could afford to be
generous. But there was one factor he had
overlooked - or had probably chosen to disregard:
the danger of sending a body of men into a
wilderness inhabited by warlike savages without
some protection against attack. The British
Government - as represented by Sir Henry Loch,
the High Commissioner in Cape Town - was
adamant that the pioneer force must be provided
with an adequate military escort.
Naturally Loch was not prepared to recommend
to his Government that it should assist in financing
Rhodes’s commercial enterprise by supplying
troops at the expense of the British taxpayer. He
made it clear to Rhodes that he would have to
arrange the escort at his own expense. Rhodes
demurred; but when Sir Henry Loch threatened to
recommend to Britain that the Charter should be
cancelled if he refused to comply, Rhodes realised
he had no option.
At first, Rhodes proposed raising a police force
of only a hundred men. ... But as the later idea
developed of two hundred pioneers - who would
really only be civilians, although it was agreed to
attest them for the duration of the march - making
their perilous way to Mount Hampden, four hundred
and fifty miles inside the Matabele-dominated
country, even less cautious characters than Sir
Henry Loch were beginning to feel that a force of
only a hundred men would be a far from adequate
escort. Frederick Selous himself, who had been
appointed to act as guide to the pioneer column and
knew the territory as well as anyone, persuaded
Rhodes that he needed at least two hundred and
fifty. This disturbed Sir Henry Loch even more;
indeed the High Commissioner was by no means
the only person in high places who was growing
nervous; and from a number of quarters Rhodes
was prevailed upon, finally without too much
demur, to persuade his co-directors in London to
authorise a force of five hundred - all to be paid for
by the Company.
The authority was given; but the concept of this
escort for the pioneer column had now clearly
grown. It was becoming a formidable force in its
own right, needing a separate organisation and a
distinctive identity, and it would march with the
pioneer column into Mashonaland, to become a
permanent feature of the establishment. And so it
was that the British South Africa Company’s Police
came into existence before anyone had set foot as
a settler in the new country.
The Rhosarian 1/19
Zimbabwe Pensioners Association
(A division of the Flame Lily Foundation)
Everyone was taken by surprise by the
Zimbabwe Government pension payment on 16
August. In the past, we had been told that there is
little or no Forex in the country and there is not
even sufficient for medicines etc. Pensions are a
government debt under International Monetary
Fund (IMF) scrutiny, which might account for
the recent payment.
Changes in Pensions Office
Since the latest payment, anomalies have been
reported to us, which Mr Robert Anderson has
taken to the Pensions Office. He has visited three
times since the August payment, but has been
unsuccessful in finding someone able to answer
our queries. Mrs Sweswe used to be the contact
person. She has been moved to the post of Deputy
Pensions Master and the person replacing her
was unwilling or unable to answer queries. The
new lady at the widows’ desk was also unable to
help. All desks are piled with new files.
Meeting with Pensions Master
Mr Anderson was due to have a meeting with
the Pensions Master, Mr Makiwa, before the end
of September but this has not come about. We
have prepared lists of queries for him, with a
copy for Mrs Sweswe. Hopefully one of them
will be able to get the staff to sort out any
Mr Terry Leaver, has undertaken to find out
from the Zimbabwe Consul General in
Johannesburg if Certificates of Life can still be
completed by pensioners who have not yet done
so, and if biometric equipment is now available
for this purpose.
The unfair predicament for bedridden
pensioners has not been solved, this in spite of
numerous appeals to the Pensions Master and
Mr Anderson has not been able to establish
which time period was paid. The Pensions Master
was not able to give him the information. It is all
rather confusing as we have established that some
pensioners have been paid both in 2017 and 2019.
In 2017, Mr Makiwa advised us that pensioners
should contact or ask for one of the following staff
members on the telephone number listed below:
1. Mrs Sweswe (Deputy P Master) : 225 2371
2. Mrs Mazengeza (Widows Sec): 270 2047
3. Mrs Chiwu (PA to Mr Makiwa) : 225 2372
4. Mr Makiwa (Pension Master): 270 2032
The international dialing code for Harare is 00
263 24, followed by the telephone number given
Answers will not always be forthcoming, as a
pensioner’s file may have to be drawn, so callers
should ask when they should call back.
Our main concerns at present are as follows:
• No answer could be given as to when future
schedules will be paid;
• ALL pensioners have to report in person at a
diplomatic office in Cape Town, Johannesburg
or Pretoria to renew their Certificates of Life;
• No provision is being made for pensioners
who are bed-ridden or otherwise unable to
report in person to a consular office;
• Application forms for a Widow’s Pension can
be obtained from the FLF’s office in Pretoria.
The Zimbabwe Embassy in Pretoria and
Consulates in Johannesburg and Cape Town can
provide the required Certificate of Life forms.
Applicants need to provide a copy of their
Zimbabwe ID card or passport when applying,
plus two recent passport-size photographs of
The Rhosarian 1/19
RHODESIAN BOOKS - NON-FICTION
In September 1978 and February 1979 two
Rhodesian Vickers Viscounts were brought
down by Strela missile attacks from ZIPRA
Neither Viscount was Strela modified despite
documentation being provided to aviation
authorities that there was a potential vulnerability
to the missiles.
The Viscounts had left Kariba Airport heading
for Salisbury. Both aircraft went down within
minutes of take off.
The Western world and the media left the
downing of the aircraft and subsequent death of
numerous passengers un-condemned.
My journey to writing this book started after
reading the book Viscount Down by Keith Nell. It
left as many unanswered questions as it answered.
In this book, I will present the evidence and
you the reader are the jury.
You the reader, make the final call. Was it
Strela ground to air missile strikes or acts of
To understand the processes taken to come to
an informed conclusion in any case of such
magnitude, one would as a forensic auditor present
possible scenarios. In the case of the Rhodesian
Viscount tragedies there are two possibilities.
These are described in Chapter 2 of my book.
In any forensic investigation all possibilities,
alternatives and factors need to be considered,
including benefits and motives. The latter are
discussed in the final Chapters.
I have presented the evidence, the co-incidences
and possible explanations.
As I stated at the start of this narrative, you the
reader are the jury and in many ways can be the
judge. I have my own views on the matter.
I doubt that anyone would have thought that a
top secret Strela or Sam 7 missile technical manual
would be available within the time frame of
Rhodesian lives. The process to gather the
information in this book has taken over five years.
All that is disclosed here and the revelations fly
in face of history and current thinking. ...
This is not a simple book for the average reader
as it contains technical descriptions and what may
be advanced mathematics.
The arguments are strongly unfavourable to the
use of Strela in the Viscount attacks, and imply
some very dubious motives to the British
We (Dakotas on 3 Sqn) used 14,000 ft (4,200
m) and above, or 500 ft (150 m) and below as
altitudes safe from Strela or small arms fire. These
figures were based on limited knowledge and
practical experience, and they certainly worked
Flt Lt (Retd), Rhodesian Air Force
The book is available online through Amazon,
both in paperback and in e-format which
requires a Kindle type reader from Amazon.
The Rhosarian 1/19
This book is the
personal story of
Digby Pocock, a
member of the BSAP
who served in
Special Branch (SB)
through most of the
bush war. He led a
small detachment of
pseudo terrorists to
pick up information on
terrorist infiltration into
various kraals and protected villages in his area of
responsibility. However, in telling the stories of
his groups missions, successes and failures, he
denigrates the actions of the Selous Scouts, the
originators of “pseudo” tactics lin the Rhodesian
bush war. He fails to mention the debt owed to the
use of “pseudos” in the Palestine Police, in the
anti terrorist campaign in Malaya in the 1950s and
their use by the Kenya Police in the Anti-Mau
Mau struggle of the 1050’s.
This is an interesting book but, as one man’s
story, tends to be a little egotistical. Although
wounded and injured several times the author
survived the war and went into a well-earned
Technically most of the book’s photographs,
coloured or black and white are poorly reproduced
with many of the main subjects unrecognizable;
The proof reading, too, was poor with many
spelling and grammatical errors.
However, generally the book gives a good idea
of the problems faced by security forces in the
tribal lands, and latterly, the problem of inadequate
training in the territorial forces.
It shows too the problems faced by married
men fighting far from their homes and families,
and equally it shows how the families coped in the
absence of their menfolk. I was sorry that the story
of the author’s early life, until he joined the
police, was not slightly expanded to more clearly
show the contrast between 1960 and 1980 in terms
of normal family life in Rhodesia.
Note: Promotion of this book was published in the
Msasa Mail 2/19
by Chas Lotter
The pieces which
make up this monumental
work on the Rhodesian
journey from the Pioneer
Column days to the
present day are all falling
into place. Even the
prophetic poems, written
in 1980, about the coming ruination of the country,
the oppression of its people and the ultimate fall of
Mugabe have been included.
The search for original documents and photos to
illustrate the original poems is almost over. Many
of the poems have never been seen before. A good
number of the photos and documents used in this
book have never been published.
Input and guidance from Dr JRT Wood, Dr
Mike Hagemann, Dr Iona Gilburt, Professor Andrie
Meyer and Professor Innocent Pikirayi is lifting the
presentation of the work to a new level – especially
in respect of the detailed chronology of Rhodesian
events, which is included as an appendix.
This chronology still requires further work to
ensure that it is as accurate, as detailed and as
complete as possible. That is the major work of the
coming months and is on track.
Publication has been set for the middle of 2020.
Rhodesia, The End
We were a strange, quarrelsome folk
We were many. We were all the peoples
Of this troubled land of many names,
We believed in destiny, and when ignited,
Even by leaders themselves misguided,
We moved, we strove, we wrought.
We drossed our metal in the fire of war.
We moulded a nation
Where tribes existed before.
Our time has not ended, our future is not
It has merely changed its shape.
The Rhosarian 1/19
Thrown off Our Land
“All for Nothing?” by CG Tracey
Let me relate the
happenings on Mount
Lothian, our farm.
Our first sign of
danger was at the end
of 2001, when we had
a lunchtime visit one
Sunday from four
people who asked
permission to make an assessment of the farm.
They refused to identify themselves, had no
documents, and we told them that the farm had not
been listed for acquisition and that they must be
mistaken. They denied that this was so and said
that if we refused to allow them to make their
assessment they would make up one from a map.
Some weeks elapsed and then, in February
2002, we had another visit, this time from a suave,
well-dressed man who announced himself as
Retired Colonel Godfrey Matemachani, saying
that he had come to introduce himself as the new
owner of Mount Lothian. We told him that we had
not been served with any acquisition notices and
that I was certainly still the owner. He replied that
it was easy for him to go to Marondera, the
provincial head-quarters of Mashonaland East
province in which the farm is situated. His very
senior contacts there would provide him with a
Section 8 order. In other words, the decision to
take the farm of his choice was his alone. He liked
it. He demanded a Section 8 order on Mount Lothian
from his friends in government and he got it.
Shortly afterwards, we were called to our
security gate one afternoon.
There was a yelling mob of about 100 people,
men and women armed with pangas (broad-bladed
knives) and heavy sticks, some evidently under
the influence of alcohol and drugs, headed by the
infamous self-appointed chief war vet, Joseph
Chinotimba, a junior employee of Harare
Municipality. I greeted him through the locked
mesh gate and asked what he wanted.
He said that he wished to talk to me. I invited
him to do so but he refused unless we opened the
gate. It was obvious to me that once the gate was
opened the mob would surge through, so I declined.
He then, in quite a matter-or-fact way and with a
pistol in his hand, told me that my choice was
simple: either to let them in, or he would shoot me.
He said he would then bring further reinforcements
and destroy our house, equipment and tractors.
Arguments of legality went right over his head.
One of our black managers said to me, ‘Mr Tracey,
my advice to you is to let four or five of them in and
then deal with the matter’. So I agreed that
Chinotimba could bring in four people to discuss
the situation. We then endured the normal lecture
of having stolen the land from their forebears, that
we supported the opposition party, we were bad
employers, and so on. After an hour they left, to be
followed a few days later by another group, who
broke down the security fence and came on to the
lawn in front of the house with violent threats.
They turned to [my wife] Wendy and told her to
cook a meal for fifty people immediately. Hoping
to buy time, I ordered a sheep to be slaughtered and
the meal to be cooked in our workers’ canteen. We
were then over-run.
I went in to telephone for help, but the phone
was wrenched out of my hand and out of its socket.
Eventually they dispersed. The police stood by
and provided no assistance whatsoever - on the
grounds that this was a political matter and not a
A few days later, at about 11 a.m., one of our
black managers, Edward Hermes, said that we had
been summoned to go to the lower football ground
where there was to be a meeting between our
workforce and the war vets. Our grandson Nicholas
went down in the car with Wendy and me. We met
the group of war vets in the late morning. This
group was led by a particularly notorious and
uneducated man named Kapesa, who acted like a
Kapesa and his cronies had compelled the entire
village population to assemble on the football
grounds for a show of force. He addressed the
The Rhosarian 1/19
whole village community - men, women and
children - plus his own war vet contingent. He
said that Mount Lothian was a very bad farm and
that we treated our workers very badly, that Wendy
and I were supporters of the opposition party, the
MDC. He commanded five of our management
team to step forward from the group of workers:
our number one, Edward Hermes, the second-incommand,
Magodi Mvula, and three others.
They were told to sit down some way from the
crowd and take their Shoes off. This had
traditionally become the start of a season of
violence and flogging, as we had learned from the
terrorist war. After they had called Edward and
questioned him before the crowd, when he
courageously told the war vets that there was no
substance to any of the charges they were making,
they called Magodi. The same accusations were
levelled at him and, because he was responsible
for allocating work, he was regarded as an enemy
of the workers. They said he had subjected the
workers to unreasonable tasks. They said he was
a womanizer and that he would have to leave the
farm. By this time, passions were extremely
inflamed by mob frenzy. Magodi was then told to
lie down on the ground (all the war vets were
armed with strong sticks) and they said he was
going to be flogged. I stood beside him and spoke
quietly and said that he had earned our loyalty and
that he should not lie down and that I was not
going to allow him to be beaten. We walked up to
Kapesa and I told him exactly that. Then they
started assaulting Magodi and beating him.
Nicholas came to his aid and got soundly thrashed
for his pains. They did not actually attack me but,
after two or three minutes in the melee, they
I admonished the war vets in Shona in the
strongest possible words and told them that what
they were doing was illegal and would be reported
to the police and the authorities. Meanwhile, the
police had arrived and became interested spectators
only. The war vets urged us to go back to the house
to discuss their grievances. We sat down on the
lawn and started to talk. Shortly, a message came
from the top village, where Magodi had his house,
to say that a group of war vets and some of our
own hostile women employees, who were enjoying
the opportunity of venting their fury on one of our
two senior managers, were looting his house.
Magodi’s family had a pleasant threebedroomed
home, which was well equipped with
modern conveniences. The war vets were hurling
the furniture, the beds, mattresses, his small electric
stove, TV and refrigerator, and odds and ends on
to the grass outside. Their actions were akin to a
maddened swarm of bees. Magodi, his wife and
small children were understandably terrified.
The war vet leader said Magodi should leave
the farm immediately and that if he was not gone
by sunset they would take him and he would never
be seen again. They said they knew where he lived
and that other war vets would be watching him at
his home in the rural area. Magodi asked me if he
could have the use of one of our three-tonne farm
trucks to take his goods, or what was left of what
had been accumulated over years, to his home in
the communal lands at Centenary. He and his
family left the farm to threats or retribution if he
was ever to return.
We renewed contact with Magodi a week later,
and for 18 months we met each month in Harare.
We had undertaken to pay his salary until the
It was rumoured widely enough to be believed
that our ‘settler’, Matemachani had orchestrated
the whole scene. It seemed that the plan was to
take the farm from us and then to instil an
atmosphere of fear and intimidation throughout
the whole workforce to ensure compliance.
The war vets dispersed. I spoke to our own
employees and their families, told them that they
had our complete support and that we were farmers,
not politicians, that we were well known for the
way in which we looked after our workforce and
that they would be supported. The next day
everybody was at work until lunchtime, when the
agitators returned and co-opted six of our farmworkers.
These people went around the farm
telling workers to leave their jobs and go home.
Early next day the war vets returned in force
and said that the farm was not to operate in any
way. The pigs were not even to be fed or watered,
the cows should not be milked, irrigation was to
cease, and if anybody was found doing those jobs
they would be severely punished.
The Rhosarian 1/19
Land was not truly the issue, and the
intimidation of the work force was intense. The
cattle were not milked until later that night, and
for 24 hours the pigs were not fed and were
obviously suffering and in a bad way. A couple
of loyal stockmen went out to feed and water
the pigs on their own initiative after dark, when
all was quiet. But we had to prevail on the war
vets to allow us thereafter to deal with the
livestock and general crop farming. I had to
threaten them that, if there was any further
interference in those two jobs, I would go
directly, without hesitation, to the government
in Harare. (To go to the police would have been
Reluctantly they agreed and for the next few
days we were able to get on with farming.
After a week, there was a resumption of
sporadic strikes and we resorted to the
Magistrates’ Court in Harare to seek an eviction
order against four women and two men, the
farm-workers who had earlier been co-opted
by the agitators. These were the main troublemakers,
constantly urging illegal work
stoppages. The case was heard and an order
was given for the Messenger of the Court to
remove these six people and their belongings
from our farm. The Messenger came with a
removal van to execute this court order.
However, the political leaders in the district
were soon alerted and they intervened, telling
the Messenger of the Court that his jurisdiction
was no longer valid, that he should leave
immediately; and that the six people were not
required to leave the farm. ...
The war vets’ hostility then was focused
directly on me. They summoned me to a meeting
at the top village. Again I was accused of
abduction. They were armed with machetes
(axes) and the leader rushed at me and was on
the point of slashing me when he was restrained
by some of his mates.
If it hadn’t been for my grandson Nicholas’s
quick intervention I should probably have been
wounded. I told the war vets to leave
immediately and that I would inform the police.
Later that week, I was telephoned by the
Marondera police, under whose jurisdiction we
fell, and asked to go to the charge office to make a
statement about this incident. The police had a
technique of asking farmers to go to a police
station to make a statement on a Friday afternoon.
Once a farmer arrived there, he would be charged
with various alleged offences. It was often
impossible to get a lawyer to come to a detainee’s
aid and apply for bail late on a Friday afternoon.
The unfortunate individual would then have to
spend the weekend in disgusting over-crowded
cells, which usually had only one sanitary bucket
in the corner, until a court hearing on the Monday.
Sometimes ten to fifteen farmers, and sometimes
their wives, were incarcerated in this way. It was
a form of intimidation and harassment.
I told the police that I was otherwise occupied
and that, if they wanted to see me to take a
statement, I was ready to give one, but preferably
at the farm or with my lawyer. On the following
Monday, the CID came to the farm and asked me
to give them a statement. I declined to do this
unless I was in the presence of my lawyer, Alex
Masterson, so we travelled the 35 kilometres into
Harare. A suitable statement was prepared and this
I signed. We heard no more. It was just another of
the many attempts at intimidation.
After the unsettling war-vet violence on Mount
Lothian and on every farm in the district, it was
necessary to make a number of contingency plans.
The farm was almost fully developed. The main
sectors were hybrid seed maize, zero virus potatoes
for seed, wheat and vegetables, all under irrigation,
greenhouses for export flower production, and we
had sufficient arable land to grow enough maize
for our 800 pedigree pigs, and grazing for our herd
of pedigree Limousin beef cattle and the Jerseys
for milk. When we were served our Section 8,
which gave us ninety days to leave the farm, it
appeared that the inevitable had finally come.
During that time we had to close down the whole
pig section. This was the oldest pedigree registered
herd in Southern Africa, started in 1934. Genetics
had been imported from South Africa and,
subsequently, from the UK, Finland, Sweden and
America. In three months, 64 years of genetics
were swept away.
The Rhosarian 1/19
As we had been ordered to cease production,
all work in the greenhouses came to an abrupt
halt. We were not allowed to continue during that
fortnight to irrigate, fertilize or harvest the crops
in the greenhouses, so it was pointless to throw
good money after bad. We were then, after all,
allowed to stay on, but with two ‘settlers’.
Mount Lothian is a small farm of just over 550
hectares, of which only 250 hectares are arable.
Its size complied with the maximum farm size for
this area, as laid down by government. But it
seemed that government policy was to make
farmers downsize their farms and co-exist with
either Al peasant farmers or A2 large-scale settlers
who wished to farm commercially, with the
previous owner farming the rest of the land.
Government policy sub-divided the settlers
into two categories, Al and A2. The former were
allocated 10 to 30 hectares, depending on the
Natural Region, in many cases hardly enough for
their own requirements. They were grouped
together to facilitate the distribution of fertilizer
and seed. But there was no provision for
infrastructure such as wells, boreholes and
buildings. These Al settlers were just dumped on
the land and largely left to fend for themselves.
The A2 settler group consisted of people who
were allocated substantial areas, sometimes part
of a white-owned commercial farm, or more often
the whole farm. They were given 200 to 400
hectares, depending on soil and rainfall and
therefore the Natural Region division, and in
theory had adequate financial resources of their
own to supplement government loans. There was,
however, no acreage limitation for the elite, and
many simply seized a number of farms.
It was in the A2 category that every High Court
judge, except two, and four of the seven judges of
the Supreme Court took one farm or more, as did
almost every Cabinet minister and senior official
in the public service. Importantly, they were
supposed, immediately on occupation, to start to
build their own house, workshop and other farm
buildings and facilities, and, if they were not
going to live on the farm themselves, to employ a
manager. But many simply used the farm as a
weekend retreat. Of course, production fell
dramatically. In most cases not only was the
original farmer evicted but all his workers and
their families were as well.
Many of the best farms in Enterprise, one of
the best farming areas in the country, had been set
aside for the elite. The two ‘settlers’ allocated our
farm were the then Judge President of the High
Court, Mr Justice Paddington Garwe, and a retired
army colonel, Godfrey Matemachani.
Although under ministry of Agriculture
regulations, the farm had been classified as too
small for subdivision, we undertook to downsize
it to half its previous area, so that we farmed half,
while Garwe and Matemachani farmed the other
half. The Provincial Office approved the
downsizing and the subdivision of the farm. We
agreed to co-exist and to help and teach the new
farmers the basics of farming. But they had no
experience, no equipment and minimal capital.
We believed that if we did not downsize and
co-exist we would probably lose the whole farm.
It was obvious that both the settlers needed us in
order to farm at all. They were quite frank about
this, and admitted they had no farming experience.
The judge did not have much money to invest and
the retired colonel worked for the Commercial
Bank of Zimbabwe in a management position.
We therefore negotiated that the farm would
be subdivided on a 50-50 basis and we would do
everything for them to start them off. The
agreement we produced, with top legal advice on
our side, took months to conclude but was
eventually signed by all parties in February 2003.
This formal legal agreement laid down that we
would manage the settlers’ section for the first
year, they would pay only for direct costs and
there would be no charge for my time or for
overhead costs. At the same time we would try to
teach them the fundamental aspects of practical
agriculture. What we did was a gesture of goodwill
and we hoped to provide a demonstration of what
could be done. How wrong we were!
We tilled the land, we planted the land, we
grew the crop, we harvested the crop, we helped
them source fertilizer and chemicals for the crop.
We sold the crop and they got the cheque. We
The Rhosarian 1/19
deliberately did not charge for overhead costs, nor
did we look for any payment for management,
either for myself or for our black managers. We
grew a good crop for them; which gave them a
gross margin of over Z$350 million, which in
2003 was a substantial amount of money. We had
kept our toe in the door, but they had
simultaneously put their foot in and were using
the agreement to play for time. They did not
occupy our house. They bought only a minimal
amount of their own equipment and did no capital
development at all, although that had been required
under their offer letter.
They then reneged on the terms of our
agreement and in September 2003 told us to get
out of the house and off the farm. They gave us 48
hours to pack up both farm houses (our own house
and that of our grandson Nicholas). They refused
to allow me or any of my family onto the farm to
pack up, so my secretary and our two black
managers had to do it all. In the haste a number of
documents were damaged or lost. I was glad that
Wendy was away in Australia and did not have to
go through that traumatic experience. We later
managed to get agreement that we could continue
farming our side of the farm, and I travelled out on
most days from Harare. But we still had the
Section 8 hanging over us, under which we could
still be displaced, invaded or kicked out at any
During those first twelve months the situation
had gradually become more difficult, as the
occupants intruded more and more on to our side
of the farm. They were supposed, under the A2
scheme, either to live on the farm and run it
themselves, or to employ a manager. ...
In addition to all these problems, labour
legislation made farmers pay a very substantial
redundancy package to workers who had
previously been permanently employed and who
now had to leave because of the farm take-overs.
This package included items such as outstanding
leave pay, transportation to their homes, and one
month’s pay for every six months worked,
calculated at current wage rates with no ceiling.
People who had worked for us for many years had
enormous gratuities, far more than they could have
expected, and this was on top of the normal pension
scheme to which we had been contributing for
them for many years. After we made these
redundancy payments we still continued to employ
those workers who wished to stay on, but under a
new contract. ... On some farms the packages were
so crippling that farmers were unable to pay them
even after selling their assets. We had to payout
over Z$75 million in 2003 and 2004, at that time an
enormous amount of money. ...
Failure to Implement
In May 2003, the President appointed a
commission to advise government on land
settlement and to plan the future. In fact, it was
nothing more than a delaying tactic. Headed by Dr
Charles Utete, who, for many years had been the
Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet, it had
some good men on it, though I would have preferred
fewer academics and more practitioners. ...
The Utete Commission did a thorough job and
exposed many people who were supposed to have
only one farm but had grabbed up to half a dozen.
They compiled a list of existing farmers who were
prepared to subdivide and co-exist and who were
working as far as possible on the original formula
- one farmer, one farm - within the maximum
hectarage allowed for that Natural Region.
We had two meetings with this task force,
constructive, congenial and forward-looking, and
they quickly realized the deficiencies of our two
When they finished their report at the end of
2003, they presented it to the President, who
accepted it. It was put to the Politburo and Central
Committee of ZANU(PF) and eventually to
Parliament, all of whom accepted its
recommendations, though few were implemented.
The Final Blow
By 2004, I was living in Harare, so unsettled
and threatening had the situation become. Then we
were struck another blow, Wendy, my wife of 58
years, died on 20 January 2005. A few days later
the gates to Mount Lothian, the farm were finally
closed. I was warned by the Judge and the Retired
Colonel of violence should I attempt to get back
onto the farm.
(See MSASA MAIL pp 9-11)
The Rhosarian 1/19
The Flame Lily Foundation’s principal object
(aim) is to provide or facilitate residential
accommodation for persons over the age of 60, in
particular for those former residents of Rhodesia/
Zimbabwe who have settled legally in the RSA.
How is this achieved?
We provide affordable accommodation at
Stilfontein in Northwest Province. The FLF owns
five houses, subdivided into ten garden flats. Five
flats can accommodate couples, and the other five
are suitable for single persons. Our main criteria
for tenants are as follows:
1. They must be in possession of a pension grant
provided by the State, full or partial, and/or a
regular pension or annuity.
2. They must be fully independent, preferably
having their own transport.
Each FLF branch should be able to facilitate by
providing information on what affordable
accommodation is available for pensioners in
their area. This is particularly difficult when it
comes to persons whose only source of income is
an Old Age Pension grant provided by the State.
Most homes for the aged require a rental which is
more than the grant itself. Others, such as MOTH
(Mesca) and SA Legion have criteria such as
previous military service. These may also have
long waiting lists, or an age limit for entry. Homes
with frail-care facilities are particularly difficult
to find or afford. The only alternative might be in
a Shelter provided by a welfare organisation such
as the Salvation Army.
Why choose Stilfontein?
Our attention was drawn to Stilfontein, where
mines had recently closed down, placing about
6,000 houses on the market at very attractive
prices. We did a ‘recce’ and identified a small
block with ten houses, which would have been
ideal for those who could afford to buy, including
RASA (as we were then known); we had sufficient
funds for only one house. We asked the agent to
reserve the block while we advertised Stilfontein
to our members, resulting in four houses in the
block being sold to Rhodesians. Before we could
get buyers for the remaining houses, the agent -
despite our request for more time - sold them to
outsiders. We subsequently bought two of the
Rhodesian-owned houses in the block, and another
house in the same block, giving us four houses
linked together. We also bought a fifth Rhodesianowned
house in another part of Stilfontein, to meet
the demand for accommodation.
Through our advertising, no fewer than 20 other
houses in Stilfontein were sold to Rhodesians,
including a mine manager’s house bought by
General Peter Walls. We thus facilitated in the
purchase of affordable housing for a wide range of
Stilfontein proved to be very attractive, being
located 8 km from Klerksdorp, where there are
hospitals, shops, banks and all the facilities needed.
At the time we bought in Stilfontein, it was a
village with its own municipality, clinic, essential
shops, banks, a hotel and a lovely golf course
which had belonged to Anglo-American - and no
robots! Much changed after 1994, with Stilfontein
being absorbed by the Klerksdorp (now Matlosana)
municipality and the establishment of a kilometerlong
shopping mall between Stilfontein and
Who are the Residents?
At present we have ten residents, one of whom
is our manager/caretaker. Eleven of our former
residents have since passed away. Others left our
homes for accommodation elsewhere, mainly
because they were no longer able to care for
In addition to GRATEFUL GRAN grants which
we make quarterly to pensioners in financial
distress, we currently need on average R10,000 per
month to sustain our subsidised accommodation.
We rely on the generosity of FLF members to
donate sufficient funds to meet the need. FLF
Branches which are able to assist with fund-raising
through golf-days or other methods have contributed
over the years, but even they are now ‘feeling the
Is anyone willing to help?
Please contact John or Mary on 012 460 2066
or emial us at email@example.com. We'd love to
discuss this with you.
The Rhosarian 1/19
IN CASE OF DEATH (ICOD):
The ICOD Form is used:
♦ To make sure loved ones have the information
needed to see to your wishes with your funeral.
♦ To make sure the necessary passwords,
account numbers and medical aid detail are
♦ To make sure your Will can be found.
♦ To ensure that no family feuds erupt over
small matters when you pass on.
♦ To ensure you know who to contact and keep
♦ To give to the Executor of the estate in order
that a complete and new set of detailed
information is available.
♦ To ensure that your spouse is put through
minimum trauma and stress at this time –
correct and accurate information is readily
An ICOD Form is available on request from the
FLF office, or the Internet at:
The topic of “Funeral” is not that popular or
something we wish to discuss often but is such an
integral part of life. We need to be informed and
make the right decisions for our loved ones. There
are a few things to consider.
Did you know that a funeral cost anything
between R15 000 for a very basic funeral to
R85 000 for more elaborate farewells?
We believe that the life of a loved one needs to
be honoured with special warmth and care. With
a passing you will need to make some important
decisions and will need assistance for the
arrangement of a respectable funeral that honours
the wishes of the family or, if available, the
documented wishes of the deceased.
Have you thought of putting your personal
final wishes onto paper?
In the case of death, a funeral service provider
will provide you with an undertaker to assist you
with the immediate funeral arrangements that need
to be taken care of. Traditionally, funeral
arrangements are done at the funeral home,
however, some of the bigger names will offer the
service of doing this in the privacy of your own
home, if so preferred.
See pages 47 and 48 for the AVBOB group
scheme, or page 21 for Fern Funerals’ Package
for FLF members in the Western Cape.
The Funeral Home will arrange with the doctor
to issue a death certificate stating the cause of
death. If a person passes away at a hospital, the
attending doctor will issue the death certificate. If
a person passes away due to unnatural causes, this
must be reported to the police. The deceased will
be removed by them and will be taken to the state
mortuary. A death certificate will only be issued
once an autopsy has been performed to determine
the cause of death. Once the death certificate has
been issued, and the family has done the
identification, the deceased can be released to The
There may be members who, in their old age, do
not have close relatives to whom they would
normally leave their worldly possessions when
they die. Some may have specific items that they
know the beneficiaries of their estate might not
need, value or appreciate. Such items may have
intrinsic, historical, or emotional value to the Flame
Lily Foundation and its members.
A CODICIL may be added to your will, stating
your full name and that of the person or organisation
to whom you bequeath the specified funds or
items. You must sign the codicil in the presence of
two identifiable witnesses, who must also sign and
give their full name and address.
In the event that you wish to make a bequest to
the Flame Lily Foundation, the details are given
The FLAME LILY FOUNDATION, 206 Olivier Street, Brooklyn, 0181, South Africa
(Non-Profit Organisation No: 001-747 NPO. Public Benefit Organisation No: 930008979)
The Rhosarian 1/19
REMEMBRANCE SUNDAY SERVICES
The following known memorial services will be held to honour Rhodesians
and others who lost their lives in the service of their country in armed conflict.
12.30 Sunday 3 November 2019
at the Methodist Church, First Avenue,
(See The Fish Eagle page 12 for
10:30 Sunday 10 November 2019
See below for details.
(Enquiries: Carol Doughty
073 523 5987)
The Rhodesian Forces Memorial
Committee comprises members from all
the Rhodesian Security Forces - Police,
Army, Air Force, Internal Affairs. The
Schools’ Representative is a recent
addition to the committee, contributing
to the increased attendance figures.
Rhodesian Forces Memorial Service
DATE: Sunday, 10 November 2019
TIME: 10h30 for 11h00
DRESS: Befitting of a Memorial Service; Suits, Regimental Blazers, Headdress
and Medals. Private Wreaths may be laid
VENUE: Dickie Fritz Moth Shellhole, 115 Dickie Fritz Avenue off Elm Street,
Dowerglen, Edenvale, Johannesburg
The Rhosarian 1/19
Flame Lily Abridged Gazette
The FLAG comprises extracts from media articles and reports on Zimbabwe.
Sources are given, where known, so that readers may obtain the complete
article if they wish.
THE FALLACY OF THE HERO-TURNED-VILLAIN
By Siphosami Malunga
Posted on Saturday, 7 September 2019
The fallacy of the hero-turned-villain narrative
of Robert Mugabe is the greatest trick this devil
The closest I have to feeling anything is quiet,
Rage that this man who killed thousands and
destroyed so many livelihoods has died without
facing justice for his atrocities. I am not religious
but want now more than anything to hang tightly to
the promise of purgatory – the halfway house and
hell’s holding cell.
He escaped justice in this life, I pray it is
waiting for him in the next. I hope he is “under
arrest” right now and will be denied bail just as he
arrested and denied the thousands he persecuted in
his four decades in power.
Many say they are conflicted about Mugabe –
The Rhosarian 1/19
whom they call a pan Africanist, father of the
Zimbabwean nation and a hero turned villain. I
personally do not suffer from this conflict.
Credited by some for his gallant role in leading
Zanu in the last very short leg of the liberation
struggle from 1975 to 1979 – only four years – he
gets far more credit than he deserves.
The gallantry and heroism, according to his
closest comrades, is manufactured.
His recruiter into the liberation struggle and
companion on the surreptitious journey to
Mozambique, Edgar Tekere former secretary
general of Zanu PF, spoke in his book, of a
reluctant, scared and unwilling participant of the
struggle into which he was foisted because, with
his multiple academic degrees, he spoke and
wrote well compared to the other guerillas.
Much like his cousin and nationalist James
Chikerema who spoke of the narcissistic and selfabsorbed
young bookish boy who threw tantrums
and abandoned other boys when they herded
cattle. Revelations that would help illuminate the
man’s behaviour in later years.
He wanted everything done his way.
He never tolerated dissent during the liberation
struggle and after. He stoked controversy on his
role in the death of Josiah Tongogara, the Zanla
commander in 1979 in order to ostensibly
consolidate his control over Zanu PF. Tongogara
preferred a united front under Joshua Nkomo.
After independence, having decided Zimbabwe
would be a one party state, he demanded and
required full compliance and loyalty. When his
comrades questioned it, they were sidelined or
He brutalized Joshua Nkomo and his party for
resisting the one-party state. He coveted and
desired absolute power. Always wary and spiteful
of contenders to power in Zanu PF.
He jettisoned erstwhile right-hand comrades
like Edgar Tekere, Edison Zvobgo, Dizikamai
Mavhaire, Margaret Dongo, Enos Nkala, Solomon
Mujuru, Moyo Mutswangwa, Didymus Mutasa,
Emmerson Mnangagwa. Then he toyed with
them by bringing some of them back when he felt
they had learnt their lesson.
The lesson that there is only one leader. And
his name is Mugabe. He maintained a divide and
rule system built of fear and suspicion. His
comrades both feared him and mistrusted each
other and could never muster a revolt against him.
Attempts to do so were sure to be fatal with
many dying under suspicious circumstances –
usually car accidents, alleged poisoning or other
undisclosed sudden illness – methods which his
comrades readily used against each other.
To ensure his comrades toed the line, he built
a zero-sum, kill or be killed, do-or-die party system
in which you were either in or out. Once out you
either fled into exile or were stripped of everything
the party had allowed you to accumulate.
He was aloof and cold. Vengeful and
unforgiving. In 1980, fearful of Joshua Nkomo,
his party and better trained guerillas, he spent
considerable resources to build his own army
militia answerable to him and ready to do his
political and ethnic bloodletting.
The Gukurahundi or 5th Brigade was a private
army with instructions to kill, rape, torture and
plunder Joshua Nkomo and his supporters into
submission. He did not stop, until 20,000 people
were dead. He would never have stopped had
Nkomo not capitulated and sworn allegiance to his
authority. Only total submission and subjugation
There is nothing in his record that shows
benevolence or democratic credentials. He never
sought to build a nation but stoked and amplified
tribal differences advantaging his Zezuru clansmen
and entrenching a sense of exclusion and
marginalisation amongst other clans.
In the 1980s he spoke of destroying opposition
Zapu and he kept his promise through Gukurahundi
killing thousands of its largely Ndebele supporters.
He left a country more ethnically divided than it
was when the liberation struggle began. He
ethnicised politics and politicised ethnicity,
conveniently labeling the multi-ethnic Zapu as a
Ndebele party as a pretext to destroy it.
His demagoguery left Zimbabwe collectively
The Rhosarian 1/19
carrying his individual guilt and responsibility
and a sense of exclusion and grievance. He
pretended to manage inclusion by appointing yes
men from different ethnic groups with little
intention or desire to deepen inclusion.
Political violence normalised
In 1990, he warned supporters of the Zimbabwe
Unity Movement (ZUM) led by his erstwhile
comrade Edgar Tekere, that one way to die was to
vote for ZUM. The result was an unleashing of
violence which culminated in the shooting of
Patrick Kombayi by officers of his Central
He would later give the two officers amnesty
after they were convicted for attempted murder.
He readily gave all his comrades amnesties
whenever they transgressed – including
committing serious crimes like murder and
corruption, a clear indication of his disdain for
rule of law.
He berated judges who made decisions he did
not like and unleashed his militia to intimidate the
Chief Justice in his office to force him to resign.
In the 2000s he unleashed Zanu PF militia
against MDC’s Morgan Tsvangirai killing
hundreds. Simultaneously, sensing that he was
running out of cards he turned on white commercial
farmers who had supported him earlier when they
showed disloyalty and support for the MDC.
A mastermind – in one master stroke, he struck
at both the white farmers and the MDC and
claimed the ultimate prize of winning back votes
by giving back the land and decimating the
opposition whilst claiming the high anti-colonial
moral high ground in Africa and elsewhere.
No sane Zimbabweans could question the need
to redress the land problem which had been the
basis for the armed struggle. But Mugabe kept the
best farms for himself and his cronies in Zanu PF
and the military who went on a looting spree,
grabbing multiple farms for themselves and their
Always a political opportunist, realising that
the opposition drew its support from urban centres,
in 2005, he unleashed his wrath on the urban
population, destroying homes in an operation
known as Operation Murambatsvina (Reject Dirt)
that the UN characterised as approximating crimes
Yes-men and murderers
At the end of the day, his arrogance and hardheadedness
meant that even his comrades were
afraid to contradict and challenge him. It also
meant that he surrounded himself with like-minded
violence mongers who readily did his bidding and
personally benefitted from it.
He was unforgiving and willing to rewrite the
nationalist struggle for independence so that only
he was the pre-eminent and leading nationalist –
despite having only taken charge of ZanuPF in
1977, two years before the ceasefire.
He always placed his contribution above and
beyond far worthier forebears like Joshua Nkomo,
Ndabaningi Sithole, Lookout Masuku, George
Silundika, Herbert Chitepo, Leopold Takawira,
and Jason Ziyaphapha Moyo.
He appropriated the National Heroes Acre as a
private cemetery only for people he approved,
excluding Lookout Masuku, Ndabaningi Sithole,
Chinx Chingaira and others.
In the end, his comrades overcame their fear
and deposed him. That they had to use the army
demonstrated the entrenchment and
instrumentalisation of violence to retain and obtain
None of the touted democratic process in Zanu
PF would work to remove him. To remove him, his
comrades would need to violate their party and
national constitution and depose him via a coup.
This was the legacy he left, 40 years into his rule.
Compared to other liberation movements in the
region which saw many successive, democratic
and party sanctioned changes of presidential power,
Mugabe bestrode Zanu and Zimbabwe like a
colossus expecting to concede power to the only
thing that did not fear him – death.
Turning on allies
In 2001, on landing at Harare International
Airport, now named after him, he declared that the
white people in Zimbabwe and those in MDC
should go back to England or be imprisoned. He
singled out Roy Bennet and David Coltart, whom
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he had personally telegrammed to come back in
Separately, he was unleashing violence against
the new MDC and selectively distributing food
aid when hundreds of thousands faced hunger in
the middle of one of the worst droughts the
country has faced.
I felt compelled to act against what was clearly
an intensification of systematic attacks against
innocent civilians and the opposition. I decided to
write him a letter from East Timor where I was
working in the Tribunal that was dealing with
crimes against humanity – to register my concerns
and to “reprimand” him.
Expectedly, I never received a response but
more importantly, the MDC white politicians
were spared arrest. A few months later, to my
shock, I received information that there were
discussions between the MDC and one of the
former Rhodesian colonels (sic), Lionel Dyke,
implicated in Gukurahundi – on giving Mugabe
amnesty for the most egregious of his crimes.
I tried unsuccessfully to find any of the
implicated colleagues in these secret talks – which
were presumably planned for South Africa – to
get the real story. None was available.
Besides witnessing and being affected by
Gukurahundi directly as a child, as a law student,
I had been a junior researcher and volunteer at the
Bulawayo Legal Projects Centre which had
produced the Catholic Commission for Justice
and Peace, Breaking the Silence Report on the
I had met many of the victims who streamed in
to tell their stories. I was upset that there could be
a discussion of amnesty without hearing the
victims. I was left with only one option. To write.
I called Iden Wetherell at Zimbabwe
Independent and asked whether he would publish
a piece the following Friday. It was Wednesday
and he said he had already completed his layout
and I was too late.
I implored him that this was of national
importance and could not wait until the following
week. It would be too late. Iden – who many may
not know is not just a former ZIPRA cadre but a
holder of a doctorate from before one could
purchase them – gave me a lifeline : “You can
send it now. Just email it.” But I have not written
it yet,” I replied. I will write it tonight.” He could
not promise but asked me to send it. I did not sleep
that night and sent to Iden a piece entitled “Amnesty
for Mugabe for Gukurahundi out of the Question.”
I then crossed my fingers and held my breath. On
Friday, I was delighted to see that Iden had
published in his front page. He had apparently
“agreed” on its national importance. In my piece,
I berated anyone including MDC leaders for
arrogantly thinking they could have a mandate to
negotiate an amnesty for Mugabe for Gukurahundi
without a mandate from the victims.
What followed was even more interesting. In
a rally the next day, Morgan Tsvangirai distanced
himself from amnesty talks and said the MDC
would pursue justice. I felt vindicated for the
The continuous consciousness of an everpresent
and ever-looming danger. That is what
Mugabe represented to me from an early age. This
would not change in my adulthood as I became a
critic of his misrule and advocate for him to face
justice for his heinous crimes. It has not changed
Much will be said by others about his misrule
and economic destruction of the country and its
people’s livelihoods that there is little point in
More about how he allowed, facilitated and
encouraged corruption by his comrades, rewarding
and never punishing it. He revelled in false claims
that he was corruption-free but was just surrounded
But which honest person only surrounds himself
with only corrupt people and worse still promotes
There is no doubt in my mind that he too was
From the Fokker Airplane (sic), to Zimbank-
Loral, via National Housing, the Willowvale Motor
Scandal, the War Victims Compensation
corruption scandals and many others, he was clearly
the head of a corrupt system not the victim of
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This would become even more apparent when
his wife looted the national housing scheme to
build a private mansion which she would later sell
for a huge profit, when he leveraged state resources
for his farming businesses, when he forced the
army and police to buy his produce, when he and
his wife grabbed multiple farms.
He selectively and conveniently peddled pan-
African credentials to shore up support for his
disastrous economic and political policies. Whilst
killing and beating his own African citizens,
stealing elections, starving opposition supporters
and plundering public resources, he railed against
imperialist forces blaming them for all his failures
because of travel and others sanctions they imposed
on him personally and his lieutenants.
He left nothing to show for ruling a country for
almost 40 years except decay. His touted legacy
of significant investments in education manifest
in a collapsed education system in which in some
rural children still learn under trees, teachers earn
$25 a month, and learners can barely afford fees.
In a twist of irony, he may have invested in his
political longevity as educated Zimbabweans fled
the country in thousands to seek opportunities all
over the world. They would remit money and
food home to relatives when the economy and
living conditions tanked and hyperinflation set in
– effectively saving his bacon.
That he died in a Singapore hospital where he
battled illness for over half a year is testament of
his catastrophic and shameful failure not just to
build a viable health system but to simply maintain
what he inherited from the Rhodesians.
Worst of all, even though he was deposed in
2017, he bequeathed to the country a monstrous
political system run by a small political, predatory
and corrupt elite comprised of his cronies with
greater interest in advancing personal and not
In that sense, he never left even in death.
His legacy of stolen elections and violence
continues to determine the primary basis of
political engagement as shown by the army
shootings of August 2018, and the heavy handed
security response to protests in January and August
The narrative game
When a person dies, the task of encapsulating
and narrating their life becomes critical.
There are always multi-dimensional narratives
about any person – and especially a larger than life
figure like Mugabe. In African custom the saying
goes that “a dead person becomes a good person”
akin to “never speak ill of the dead.” But facts are
stubborn. Mugabe brooked no resistance from
anyone – inside his own movement and outside.
He readily eliminated every one of his enemies –
inside and outside his movement going back to the
He mastered, deployed and instrumentalised
violence, demagoguery and hate for political ends.
For the most part it worked well for him until it was
used against him. Having drawn and tasted blood
of 20,000 Ndebeles in the 1980s, he considered the
death of a few hundred MDC supporters in 2008,
child’s play, boasting that, of the multiple academic
degrees he held, he coveted most his degree in
violence. Mugabe never changed. He never turned
from hero to villain. He was always a villain. The
greatest trick this devil ever played was to persuade
people that he did not exist.
But fortunately death is an equal opportunity
arbiter. The only time abusers experience the same
and equal treatment as their victims.
The main regret is that he died without facing
justice for his atrocities which would have helped
his victims find closure.
The only silver lining is this dark cloud is that
some of his accomplices are still alive to account
for their atrocities and for destroying the hopes,
dreams and livelihoods of millions of
Siphosami Malunga is a Zimbabwean lawyer
and he writes here in his personal capacity. His
father was ZAPU's chief whip before he was
detained in 1985. Sydney Malunga, is buried in
Hero's Acre .
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Mugabe’s legacy: death of
by Jonathan Jansen *
Daily Dispatch, 12 September 2019
South Africans struggle with holding two
thoughts in our heads at the same time - that a
liberation hero could also be a murderous tyrant.
“But (Mugabe) gave Zimbabweans healthcare
and education” insist some. The healthcare can
be simply dealt with – ask yourself the simple
question why the leader of this African country
for years on end received his health care in
Singapore not Harare.
Now let’s talk about education. As a doctoral
student in California, I informed my supervisor
that I would do my fieldwork in Zimbabwe. To
the young people of my generation, Zimbabwe
had done something remarkable with its
education system in the first decade (1980-
1990) of independence. “A liberated South
Africa could learn vital lessons from the reforms
of schools north of the border.”
The story of Zimbabwe’s radical new reforms
was a myth. The bedrock of the educational
system was the church schools run by the
Catholics and the Anglicans (add and former
‘white’ model C schools). Rooted in the strong
parochial cultures of these established schools,
academic excellence remained a marker in the
post-independence period. The most visible
connection to the colonial system was the O-
and A-level examinations run by the Cambridge
Examination Syndicate – so much for
The one radical curriculum reform,
something called The Political Economy of
Zimbabwe, caused such an uproar that it never
even left the safe in the Ministry of Education
building – so much for education modelled on
Marxism-Leninism. “Yes”, say Mugabe
acolytes, “but he expanded education after the
war.” Actually every post-independence
government did that. In fact the apartheid
government did that too, in the last two decades
before democracy. ...It is what governments do
with taxpayers’ money - they build schools in
response to popular demand. There is nothing
revolutionary in the quantitative expansion of
“But what about ‘Zintec’ and ZISCI?” offered
a colleague on social media. The Zimbabwe
Integrated Education Course (Zintec) did provide
teacher training by distance education for
primary school teachers in response to bulging
enrolments. Yet the major evaluations of Zintec
showed limited quality impacts.
The Zimbabwe Secondary Schools Science
Project (ZISCI) provided low-cost science
materials for junior high schools in the absence
of qualified teachers and laboratories. It was
however, highly prescriptive and teachers
resented the “teacher proof” concept. The best
that can be said about Mugabe’s contribution to
school education was that he did not destroy it
– like he did with the University of Zimbabwe,
where he served as Chancellor...
Today the most talented of Zimbabwe’s
students come to South Africa to study and they
excel because of that bedrock of education
provided to the elite in the church schools (add
and former [Rhodesian] ‘white’ model C
Thanks to Mugabe, there is growing evidence
that, for those who remain, the once proud
school system in Africa is collapsing. As
journalist Geoffrey York recently reported,
more than 20 000 teachers left the system in a
two year period because of poor salaries and
political harassment. Drop-out rates are soaring.
Textbooks are shared by up to six students per
book and a plan to hire thousands of pre-school
teachers has just been cancelled.
* Prof Jonathan Jansen is Rector and Vice-
Chancellor of the University of the Free State.
[Ed: Robert Gabriel Mugabe did not only destroy
the economy and undermine democracy. By the
time of his death, he also took down the most
promising school system in post-colonial
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An Airbus 380 is on its way across the Atlantic. It flies consistently at 800
km/h in 30,000 feet, when suddenly a Eurofighter with Tempo Mach 2 appears.
The pilot of the fighter jet slows down, flies alongside the Airbus and greets
the pilot of the passenger plane by radio: "Airbus flight, boring flight isn't it?
Take care and have a look here!"
He rolls his jet on its back, accelerates, breaks through the sound barrier,
rises rapidly to a dizzying height, only to swoop down almost to sea level in a
breathtaking dive. He loops back next to the Airbus and asks, "Well, how was
The Airbus pilot answers: "Very impressive, but now have a look here!"
The jet pilot watches the Airbus, but nothing happens. It continues to fly
stubbornly straight, with the same speed. After five minutes, the Airbus pilot
radioed, "Well, what are you saying now?"
The jet pilot asks confused: "What did you do?" The other laughs and says,
"I got up, stretched my legs, went to the back of the flight to the bathroom, got
a cup of coffee and a cinnamon cake and and made an appointment with the
stewardess for the next three nights - in a 5 Star hotel, which is paid for by my
The moral of the story is:
When you are young, speed and adrenaline seems to be great. But as you get
older and wiser, comfort and peace are not to be despised either.
This is called S.O.S.: Slower, Older, Smarter.
The Rhosarian 1/19
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