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Nairobi, Kenya
I an ex member of both 7 and 8 Squadron's of the Rhodesian war spending most of my operational time on Seven Squadron as a K Car gunner. I was credited for shooting down a fixed wing aircraft from a K Car on the 9 August 1979. This blog is from articles for research on a book which I HAVE HANDED THIS MANUSCRIPT OVER TO MIMI CAWOOD WHO WILL BE HANDLING THE PUBLICATION OF THE BOOK OF WHICH THERE WILL BE VERY LIMITED COPIES AVAILABLE Contact her on yebomimi@gmail.com The latest news is that the Editing is now done and we can expect to start sales and deliveries by the end of April 2011

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Sunday, August 24, 2008


War Stories:
Guerrilla Narratives of Zimbabwe's Liberation War
Jocelyn Alexander
JoAnn McGregor

Much scholarly attention has recently been paid to the ways in which wars are remembered and stories told about them. Some writers have focused on individual 'trauma', and the ways in which former civilians and soldiers cope - or fail to cope - with disturbing memories of violence.1 Others have concentrated on broader social processes, on the creation of a culture of memory (or amnesia) about a troubling and divisive past.2 But trauma and violence are only part of a wide range of experiences and emotions [End Page 79] surrounding war. A recent popular study of soldiers' experiences in the two world wars and Vietnam, focusing specifically on accounts of killing, has highlighted the range of soldiers' emotions - from exhilaration, to relief at action after periods of long delay, to fear, guilt and horror.3 A study of Indian soldiers' World War I letters has emphasized expressions of personal valiance, loyalty to empire and the king, and the generosity of their French hosts.4 What type of stories are told about war depends on the character of the war, who is doing the telling and under what circumstances.
Here we contribute to debates about soldiers' narratives through a study of the retrospective war stories of veterans of the Zimbabwe People's Revolutionary Army (ZIPRA), one of two guerrilla armies that took up arms against settler rule in Rhodesia in the 1970s.5 In some ways these stories are typical of other soldiers' 'personal narratives'. They tend not to be 'victim' stories as, in Samuel Hynes's words, 'no man with a weapon can be entirely a victim'.6 In reflecting on the liberation war as a transformative experience, ZIPRA guerrillas' accounts show the distancing effects of time. As Hynes argues, 'war annihilates the past selves of young men, changes them so utterly from youths into soldiers that a return to a past life is impossible'. The memoir expresses 'nostalgia for the lost past, the will to be an agent in one's own personal war, the sense of irreversible change in self and the self's world'. These elements are not present in wartime letters and diaries, but 'are the elements of retrospection and reflection, of war remembered as another time.'7 The sense of personal agency in ZIPRA guerillas' war stories, and the narrative devices used to convey passages over time and space, have much in common with those of soldiers in other contexts. Guerrillas described their military training, travel and service in the familiar terms of a journey or odyssey, as a career, a series of progressive steps, a rite of passage or initiation, an enlightenment or a descent into hell.8
ZIPRA guerrillas' journey was, however, specific to its time and place and to the conditions of anti-colonial struggle in the cold war era. They were not members of a conscript army, and their purpose was not to serve a state. There was great individual initiative involved in becoming - and remaining - a guerrilla, and their commitment was political. Guerrillas were soldiers but they were also nationalists and, over time, some became socialists. Political ideology and loyalty to party leaders are crucial aspects of their identity, and were much tested in the course of war as divisions racked the liberation movement and as external backers intervened in internecine disputes or pressed their own agendas. Guerrillas' sense of agency was most threatened in the training camps outside Zimbabwe, where they became pawns in the international and internal disputes of their backers and leaders. It was least threatened when they returned home to face the Rhodesian enemy.
The language of ZIPRA narratives was shaped by a variety of literary genres, some of which they share with those of soldiers elsewhere, and some [End Page 80] of which are specific to their Zimbabwean origins. Influences include the texts that shaped the emergence of the region's literate class, as well as generations of school children across the globe, such as the bible (in various translations), John Bunyan's The Pilgrim's Progress, and other staples of a mission school education.9 They show the influence of boys' adventure stories, Rider Haggard-inspired imperial romance and travel narratives, and what scholars of the First World War have referred to as 'high diction'. This 'high diction' was used in the popular media in World War I: it drew on abstractions, late romantic idiom and a vague spiritualism, expressed in terms and phrases such as the 'renewal of youth', 'glorious baptism of fire', 'sacrifice', 'comradeship' and 'peril' - some of which appear in guerrilla accounts (though for them 'comradeship' had a specifically socialist connotation).10
The guerrillas' stories also show the influence of oral traditions, which guerrillas would have heard not only at home, but also through contact with the cultural nationalist movement of the 1950s and 1960s.11 Zimbabwe's nationalist leaders looked back to the heroes of the 'primary resistance' movements of the late nineteenth century as a source of inspiration, popularizing their names, and invoking their spiritual sanction. As we discuss below, guerrillas also invoked supernatural signs of encouragement, often fusing biblical and traditional religious symbolism. Other reference points, such as revolutionary texts, were more specific to the guerrillas' military and socialist training. These set guerrillas apart from Zimbabwe's civilians and indeed many of the country's nationalist political leaders, but brought them into a shared frame of reference with other revolutionaries and insurgents across the globe.
Although the guerrilla stories recount personal experiences and individual biographical trajectories, they should also be seen in some ways as 'collective'. They reflect the shared experiences of members of a particular guerrilla army, with its own modes of organization and a unique role in Zimbabwe's liberation war. ZIPRA guerrillas owed their loyalty to the nationalist party ZAPU, the loser in Zimbabwe's first elections. The guerrilla army associated with the victorious ZANU(PF) was known as ZANLA.12 These two armies harboured deep suspicions of one another. At the height of the war, they were based in different countries, and were backed by different superpowers, ZIPRA by the Soviet Union and its allies, ZANLA by China. They had contrasting military strategies and, inside Zimbabwe, they fought in different regions of the country, ZIPRA focusing predominantly on the Ndebele-speaking regions of Matabeleland. Where they met in the field, they often fought.13 ZIPRA guerrillas' shared perspective was reinforced by their relationship with the ZANU(PF) government after independence. Both armies were initially seen as a potential threat to order, but as followers of the opposition, ZIPRA guerrillas were also seen as a political danger, and they were targeted in a vicious war of repression in the 1980s. During this time, they, along with ZAPU civilians and 'the Ndebele' as a whole with whom they were associated, were hunted down, [End Page 81] jailed, tortured and killed. A small number of ZIPRA guerrillas took up arms again.14 This experience distinguished ZIPRA guerrillas from their ZANLA counterparts, some of whom participated in the persecution of ZIPRA as members of the murderous Fifth Brigade,15 as well as from soldiers who had fought in the Rhodesian armed forces and the veterans of the two world wars.16
ZIPRA guerrillas' collective perspective was also shaped by their relationship to post-independence civic organizations. Most notably, a veterans' association - the Zimbabwean National Liberation War Veterans' Association - was formed in 1989, bringing together for the first time former combatants from both guerrilla armies. It allowed for old friendships to be rekindled, for individual experiences to be worked through, and collective versions of wartime history to be tested and voiced in public.17 The existence of such an association was made possible by the conclusion of the post-independence conflict in 1987. ZAPU was absorbed into ZANU(PF) and thereby ceased to pose a threat to the political order. There were, however, new threats. The return of peace along with a combination of severe drought, economic decline and corruption scandals provoked a vigorous political debate. The 1990s were notable for burgeoning criticism of the ruling party, for public protest and the emergence of new opposition parties. It was in this context that the Veterans' Association pressed for material compensation for its members' war-time sacrifices with renewed vigour.18 When we recorded these narratives the veterans had not yet gained the payouts and pensions they would secure in 1997, which would cement a new alliance between them and the ruling party. Rather, they were engaged in an extended process of negotiation in which they expressed their anger through protest and riot, and challenged the ruling elite's monopolization of liberation war history for its own political ends.
This was a time of political ferment in which not only the liberation war but also post-independence repression was revisited. The silence over the repression of the 1980s was first broken by journalistic investigations into massacres and atrocities, and then by the very public release of a meticulously-researched human-rights report in 1997.19 The open debate over past violence, the growth in protest, and the renewed political muscle of the veterans, created a context in which ZIPRA guerrillas were more willing than ever before to speak about the past, and in which they spoke with a palpable sense of purpose. They wanted to insert their experience into the nation's history, and to engage in the widespread reassessment of the meaning of the nationalist struggle. For these guerrillas, telling their life stories was a process of both personal and political redress.
ZIPRA guerrillas' narratives of war made significant contributions to Zimbabwean politics in the mid 1990s. They also make an important contribution to the historiography of the liberation war. The strengths of early academic work on the war lay in studies of rural communities, religious and social change, and nationalist ideology and mobilization.20 If the most [End Page 82] influential of these studies tended to romanticize the nationalist struggle, later work developed a far more critical picture, exploring the uses of violence in wartime mobilization, and the deep divisions within rural communities.21 But research on the experiences of guerrillas lagged behind, and work on ZIPRA was particularly neglected because victor's history dominated the study of the guerrilla armies.22 ZANU and ZANLA were given the lion's share of the credit; studies of ZANLA centred on the achievements of its leaders, serving to create a celebratory narrative that buttressed ZANU(PF)'s claim to power.23 The ZANU(PF) government symbolized this history in a hierarchy of Heroes' Acres, burial grounds for nationalists and guerrillas that privileged its own elite. The semi-official mythologies of war left little room for the losers, or for the rank and file, despite the heated demands guerrillas made for recognition.24
The overwhelming focus on ZANLA, and on the elite, only began to change in the 1990s, with the work of Jeremy Brickhill and Dumiso Dabengwa, both insiders to ZIPRA's struggle.25 In our own study of northwestern Zimbabwe, we found that ZIPRA's war was very different from that prosecuted by ZANLA.26 We also found that the form and focus of guerrilla stories differed markedly from those of civilians. Civilian accounts of the war stressed ZAPU's lengthy and uninterrupted political history, and the authority that this gave to unarmed civilians in their relationships with ZIPRA's young, AK-wielding soldiers. They expressed a tremendous pride in the risks and sacrifices undertaken in war-time, in the strength and adaptability of nationalist ideology in the face of new challenges. But perhaps above all, civilian accounts explored the moral challenges posed by war, the constant and not always successful efforts to spread the material demands of guerrillas equitably, to broaden and unify nationalist organization, and to define and enforce acceptable uses of violence. Civilian ZAPU leaders elaborated norms of law and order, they sought to enforce a moral economy of supply, and they struggled to establish a socially-inclusive political practice. The most heated debates and the most vivid and painful stories centred on the treatment of people accused of having 'sold out'. These are murky stories in which there is a reluctance to assign blame and responsibility, and a keen awareness of the dangerous ambiguity of action and choice in wartime.
The memories of guerrillas were very different. They had little to say about the moral and social challenges of prosecuting a war so heavily dependent on civilians. Rather, these were stories told as a series of passages or trials on a journey that served to initiate them as soldiers, and so to create a new identity.
ZIPRA Guerrilla Narratives of the Mid 1990s
The accounts we collected from some eighty ZIPRA guerrillas take diverse forms. Some were written by guerrillas themselves, either at our request or [End Page 83] independently. They vary from lengthy autobiographies to short notes. Some very detailed accounts were collected in interviews undertaken by ourselves. But the bulk of interviews took the form of responses to a prepared list of questions. These were carried out by Mark Ndlovu, the late K. K. Inyati, Nicholas Nkomo and Richard Dube, all formerly senior members of ZIPRA and of the Mafela Trust, an organization established by former guerrillas to identify and commemorate ZIPRA war dead in the late 1980s.27
We focus on one narrative, that of Nicholas Nkomo, the former commander of ZIPRA's northern front. Nkomo's story is exceptionally rich, taking the form of a 25,000-word autobiography written in English and evocatively titled 'Between the Hammer and the Anvil'.28 Nkomo wrote his autobiography almost entirely before we began our research, and thus it is little influenced by our own agendas and ideas. We have combined this story with other accounts drawn largely from our lengthy interviews and other autobiographical accounts, so as to draw out points of comparison and contrast. Nkomo's story cannot represent all guerrillas' experience, but it can serve as a means of discussing many of the shared experiences and concerns of ZIPRA guerrillas. Its narrative form and idiomatic use of language have similarities with many other accounts. What follows is nonetheless certainly not a complete account of guerrilla lives, and nor do we mean it to be taken as an accurate account of war, or even of guerrillas' experience of war. It is meant as an exploration of the ways in which guerrillas ordered and publicly represented their memories of the war at a particular point in time. Like the stories of so many others, Nicholas's account is focused around a series of events and points of transition that transformed him into a soldier. Below we follow the stages of his journey.
Joining ZIPRA
The first stage in the journey of many guerrillas-to-be was the process of politicization that led to the decision to join ZIPRA. Guerrillas' explanations of their decision to go to war focus on their contacts with the nationalist party ZAPU, and their personal experience of discrimination and exploitation. Many of those who would find their way into ZIPRA, and especially those in the first generation of recruits, grew up in families that had an established link to nationalism, and often themselves participated in ZAPU's youth wing.29
Nicholas's first contact with nationalism came at his rural home when his uncle was arrested for his nationalist activities in 1959. Nationalists subsequently visited his rural school, a key recruiting point for many guerrillas-to-be, and he soon became a devoted follower of Joshua Nkomo, the leader of ZAPU.30 At the age of seventeen, Nicholas left home to look for work in the provincial capital of Bulawayo, a normal career track for young men such as himself. Staying with relatives in the city, some of whom were [End Page 84] involved in ZAPU, he found work as a 'garden boy', that is as a general servant for a white family. His treatment reminded him of 'the way we treated dogs back home'.31 Workers such as Nkomo found an outlet for their anger over daily humiliation and mistreatment (or, if they were unemployed, for their spare time) in the youth politics of the townships. Former guerrillas describe the party youth as hot-headed and anti-white. Nicholas began to have regular contact with senior politicians. This was for him a 'political school', and he soon gave up his job for involvement in ZAPU's early urban sabotage campaigns. His time was now divided between political activity and periods of police detention.
Police brutality, the suppression of political activity, and the exploitation of black labour convinced Nkomo of the need for a violent response. Ian Smith's Unilateral Declaration of Independence from Britain in 1965 served to confirm his conviction. He writes:
There was a lot of talk about people, especially from the youth wing, being sent out of the country to receive training in guerrilla warfare. I had already met some who had completed their training in sabotage and the use of explosives.... I liked this very much because I had come to the conclusion that violence was the only language the colonialists could understand. They had never listened when we had tried and tried to talk to them.
He felt he had no choice: 'An acceptance of violence and war was thrust upon me by the fact that freedom was denied us. War, according to our elders, was a man's affair. To me it became the correct response to suppression.'32 Nicholas's decision to leave the country - to become a man and a fighter - finally came as a result of police harassment and his restriction to his family home. He left in 1970, with other members of his ZAPU youth branch.
In many of the guerrilla accounts, there is a similar trajectory: a focus on the petty and cruel aspects of Rhodesian administration, a concern with the lack of economic opportunity, a focus on the political activism and suppression of family and friends. This emphasis shifted in the case of those who left for the war after it had spread through the rural areas. Then, contact with guerrillas, the radio broadcasts of ZAPU's famed Jane Ngwenya, or simply the 'spirit of war' or 'the enthusiasm of fighting' was more often credited with precipitating a decision to leave the country.33 Others left when they were called up for service in the Rhodesian army, or when the war had made life 'unbearable at home';34 some did not make a voluntary decision, but were simply bundled across the border in groups taken from schools by guerrillas as ZIPRA intensified its recruitment at the height of the war.35 Gertrude Moyo was 'recruited' by two guerrillas while at a wedding party: 'we were all recruited, even the bride and groom', she recalled.36 This later generation of guerrillas often did not have the lengthy [End Page 85] history of political activism of the early recruits - their 'political lessons' came later, in the camps, but first they had to undertake the often dangerous journey out of the country.
Crossing Borders
Leaving Rhodesia comprised the next step in former guerrillas' accounts of becoming a soldier. Aspirant guerrillas had to make their way across the heavily-patrolled Botswana border, no easy task for young men who were considered, by definition, suspect. Once in Botswana, they had to travel through inhospitable countryside; they had to negotiate the hardships of the camps, and finally fly to Zambia. This was a passage through space, over international boundaries, into a plane for the first time; it was also a passage into another level of political and personal commitment and a journey often marked by supernatural events and signs.
Nicholas's story of his border crossing is one of individual initiative, but for many of those crossing in later periods, the journey was a more organized one, undertaken with the help of party members or guerrillas who actively recruited and provided guides to the borders, or who drew on the support of a network of bus drivers and conductors who dropped recruits at specified points, schooled them on how to behave at road blocks, and gave them detailed directions. The Pelandaba bus service was, by 1977, providing free trips to the border for would-be guerrillas.37 Nicholas simply left with a number of his comrades on a bus from Bulawayo's main station, bound for the border town of Plumtree. He crossed the border river on foot in the evening. Nicholas records what he remembers as a 'strange event' in the night:
We were in an area called Jakalasi and a passer-by stopped us and said he had seen a fire ahead of us. We stopped and looked and yes, we could see a fire ahead of us. We thought it was a fire at a homestead, and so we thought of going to seek directions from the people there. The fire didn't look so far away but somehow we just couldn't reach it. Then it disappeared and reappeared again behind us. It looked as though a big tree was burning. But how could we have passed a big fire without being aware of it? My father in the past told me stories about fires like this. He attributed them to ghosts.... When we got to Francistown and related this event to others from home, they said they had followed the same route and witnessed exactly the same event.39
Such occurrences were not unusual in guerrilla accounts: Maclean Ncube, separated from the party with which he was travelling and lost somewhere near the border, caught sight of 'a very big star with a tail which gave light from the east Rhodesian side across to Botswana in the west.... I thanked God because I knew that it shows victory is on our side'.39 Such events were [End Page 86] often given spiritual interpretations and taken as confirmation that the journey, and the armed struggle, were the right path.
Guerrilla stories often stressed the kindnesses of the Botswanans whom they met after crossing the border, people who, though strangers to them, and with whom they often struggled to communicate, nonetheless gave them food, shelter and directions.40 Botswana also simply felt different. Nicholas described how, 'It was exciting to be in a free country. I hadn't been outside Rhodesia before and I felt light hearted and relaxed. Somehow it felt safer to sleep in the bush in Botswana than to sleep in a house in Rhodesia'.41 This was new territory in which it was possible to feel in new ways.
But this sense of safety and providential guidance did not always last. Many accounts described the period of waiting in the Botswanan camps (or jails in some cases) as an ordeal. It was often the first intimation that recruits had of conflicts within ZAPU, between it and ZANU, or between the nationalist parties and host governments; it was their first encounter with the bureaucratic procedures of the United Nations and Botswana authorities. These young men often became pawns in conflicts they little understood. Nicholas arrived in Botswana at a time of internal strife within ZAPU that left him stranded for many months. It was a tense time: the Zimbabweans were dependent on scant and unreliable UNHCR rations and the tolerance of the Botswanan authorities; they were vulnerable to Rhodesian infiltration. Nicholas recalls, 'We were being infiltrated by Rhodesian spies, some of whom we caught red-handed. We were fearing for our lives. We knew that the Rhodesians were taking advantage of our prolonged stay.... We nearly took the law into our own hands'.42 These sorts of pressures worsened as the numbers of recruits increased. Food was short to the point of 'starvation', and screening procedures were toughened to root out spies. Many guerrillas stressed the tremendous relief they felt when they were finally allowed to board the planes to Zambia.43 They also recalled the excitement of their first plane ride: Bongani Mpofu exclaimed, 'That was the first time for me to board an aeroplane and I felt, Oh! ZAPU is great!'44
The Camps
Life was not, however, to grow any easier for many guerrillas. Having undertaken the journey to Zambia, they faced new challenges in the camps. The descriptions of camp life in ZIPRA accounts are often among the longest sections, and stand out as the time when they became soldiers, a new identity symbolized by their acquisition at their induction of war names, by which they would be known henceforward. The camps are depicted as a society in themselves: many recruits spent long periods in them; some were based there permanently working in logistics, training or in air defence groups. Others stayed because they were too old, too young [End Page 87] or too sick to fight, or because they were women - ZIPRA's women's battalion never left the camps. The hardships endured in the camps were portrayed by many as by far the most horrific of the war. These were places where the rights and obligations of soldiers were painfully negotiated, where guerrillas at times felt deprived of any control over their lives, where the momentum of their journey was stalled. But the period of training was also a time of wonders experienced in foreign countries, and of pride in new military abilities and political sophistication.
Recruits arriving in Zambia passed from the airport to the great clearing house of Nampundu where they were first screened, itself a frightening process, and given their war names. Recruits had very little idea of what to expect. Those with qualifications were often deployed as teachers and medics, a decision over which they had no control, and which often left them disappointed because they had wanted to fight.45 When Nicholas arrived in Zambia, he thought that, 'all that was needed was for us to be shown how to use guns, to be issued with guns, and then straight away we would go home and fight the Rhodesians'.46 Instead, he was moved from camp to camp in Zambia, where he underwent intense physical training, and was introduced to marching drills, guerrilla training and political instruction, all of which he greeted with great excitement. Training stands out as important in many guerrilla accounts. Learning to endure deprivation of all sorts was depicted as part and parcel of becoming a guerrilla. So was learning the art of 'bushcraft' and the practical and spiritual relationship with nature that it involved. Guerrillas were taught 'tracking where there were no paths, looking for berries and roots to eat and digging for water where we found wet patches on sandy ground';47 they hunted for their meat and had to cope with competition from lions.48 A number of guerrilla narratives portray the natural world as changing from threatening to benign, the transition often seen as part of the process of becoming a guerrilla.
Women recruits, trained separately in Mkushi camp, developed their own ways of coping with the difficulties of camp life, largely through building relationships with Zambians. Recruits described shortages of soap, clothing and food. They usually had only one uniform and had to sit naked while it dried, or wear it wet, after washing it. Their relationship with Zambian instructors was resented by their Zimbabwean counterparts. Gertude Moyo recalled, 'If seen talking to them you would be in hot soup.... As the Zambians were very kind, they used to give us some beef, Colgate and soap for bathing. The Zimbabwean instructors were very jealous about that offer. Those ladies who fell in love with the Zambians were beaten up seriously and punished the whole week'.49
Conflict within the party was also an intermittent and demoralizing feature of camp life in which recruits' political loyalties were put to the test and their journeys disrupted. Nicholas's training was brought to a rapid end due to division within ZAPU in 1971. Guerrilla trainees once again became [End Page 88] pawns. The causes of division remained opaque to them: they were given 'story after story about what was said to be the cause of the crisis in the party'; it was 'enough to make one run mad'. The Zambian authorities demanded that they back James Chikerema rather than Joshua Nkomo, their long-time leader; the trainees refused, seeing the move as a betrayal of ZAPU: 'We said that not only were we military recruits, we were also political activists. We had been sent to Zambia by our party at home. We were not prepared to go off for military training if that meant leaving our mother, the party, to die.'50 In response the Zambian authorities deported them, handing them over to the Rhodesians at the border. Nicholas describes the sense of betrayal felt by his group as they were stripped naked and interrogated, before being sent to prison for six months under appalling conditions. Nicholas was eventually allowed to travel home where he was kept under police surveillance; he soon repeated his trip across the Botswana border and on to Zambia in 1973.
This time Nicholas did not stop in Zambia, but along with many others travelled on to Tanzania by truck. At Morogoro camp he was happily reunited with some of his colleagues from two years before. He was impressed by them, and envious: 'they really looked like soldiers.... I longed for the day when I could see my self in that state'. His description of this camp, like that of other guerrillas, goes into great detail about the camp command, the geography of the area, the rigours and discipline of training. In this setting, where Nicholas finally felt himself to be a soldier, nature no longer appeared dangerous as it had in Zambia: 'The lions, the kudu, hyena, roan antelopes and other animals that roamed the area were like comrades to us. Even if some of them were theoretically dangerous, like the lion, there was not a day when any of us felt threatened by them'. More dangerous were the instructors who could give such terrible punishments for infringement of camp rules that, 'if you did not understand within your marrow the reasons for such terrible punishment, you could easily desert, even to the enemy'.51 These were strong words indeed, and highlighted the constant need for negotiation between soldiers and commanders within the camps.52
A great pride in the mastery of new skills and weapons marks many of the accounts of the camps. Political education is equally prominent: 'Most of us recruits had always thought we were simply fighting against the white people', Nicholas wrote, 'But through these political lessons we learned that the wrong we were fighting lay in the system of government in our country, not in the colour of people.'53 Guerrillas learned the principles of socialism from political instructors, during visits abroad, or from reading revolutionary literature. Patson Mabuza remembered reading Che Guevara: 'That is the man ... who spiritually turned me into a soldier', a man of 'steel nerves'.54 In many of these accounts, the description of political instruction takes on the quality of an epiphany: 'Before, we were ignorant', guerrillas maintained. [End Page 89]
Guerrillas' accounts of their training outside Africa are often tinged with humour, and with wonder at the strangeness of people and languages, food and weather, especially snow. Nicholas's description of his time in the Soviet Union in 1975 is no exception. Though he provides a triumphal account of the Russian revolution and the Soviet Union's liberating role in Eastern Europe, Nicholas also had misgivings about his hosts and wondered if he would find the place 'populated by normal people without tails and fangs'. Like many guerrillas, Nicholas had a particular sensitivity to discrimination, and his first impressions were not good: 'extensive medical tests were conducted on us.... This action by the bloody communists reminded us of the treatment we used to get from whites back home.... Were they doing all this to us because we were black and might affect the superior race with our animalistic diseases?'55 But he was finally convinced of his hosts' good intentions when the African soldiers were given the same living conditions as their Soviet counterparts.
The most bitter experiences described in guerrilla narratives also occurred in the camps, in Tanzania and Mozambique. These were due to the divisions which beset the liberation movements and their external backers, and they were portrayed as moments in which nationalism and the power of the gun were abused and distorted, when they became not a means of liberation but of violence and repression. ZANU was portrayed as the chief villain in this, a portrayal shaped not only by the experiences of the 1970s but also by post-independence violence. In the mid 1970s the two liberation movements came under intense pressure from their hosts to unite under one military command. The Zimbabwe People's Army or ZIPA was the result. David Moore portrays ZIPA as reflecting the ascendancy of a new generation of radical and educated leaders within ZANLA. He notes divisions based on ethnicity, age and education, but stresses the role of ideology.56 The ZIPRA guerrilla accounts, however, are focused entirely on the treachery of ZANLA and its allies. They share an almost complete silence on the question of ethnicity and social division. The emphasis is rather on the deviousness of external backers - the Mozam-bicans or Tanzanians or ZANLA-allied Chinese, and the megalomania of ZANU and ZANLA leaders. Bitter fighting between ZIPRA and ZANLA first erupted in the Tanzanian camps. ZIPRA guerrillas recall Chinese instructors siding with ZANLA, and disarming and persecuting ZIPRA. These conflicts were recounted with great anger and sadness. Andrew Ndhlovu recalls a battle in which eight ZIPRA recruits were killed: 'Our group was disorganized since we were recruits and it was our first time to hear a sound of a gun on a target, that particular target being a comrade in arms, really it was very painful.'57 Other battles claimed many more dead.58
Similar conflicts occurred in Mozambique. Nicholas was sent to Mozambique to become part of the newly-unified command structure, but remained deeply suspicious. His worst fears were soon confirmed: 'Nothing [End Page 90] was known about [the unified command] in this base.... We were regarded as people who had come to join ZANLA.... We were forced to denounce our party, ZAPU, and its leadership.' Nicholas and his comrades were imprisoned and tortured 'just as if we were in Rhodesian captivity'.59 He and another ZIPRA guerrilla were sent into the country with fifty-seven ZANLA guerrillas, one of whom told them that they were to be executed. The two fled in the night, making their way across the entire breadth of Zimbabwe, fighting and recruiting along the way, and eventually arriving in Botswana for the third time. In Botswana, Nicholas met many other ZIPRA guerrillas who had similarly fled their supposedly united units. These memories were by far the most bitter in ZIPRA accounts, and were told in the mid 1990s to underline the illegitimacy of nationalist division and the untrustworthiness of ZANU and ZANLA.
Another source of horror within the camps came from the bombing raids of the Rhodesian air force. Thousands were killed in these raids: guerrillas describe them as haunting, as 'burned into their memory'. Josiya Tshuma recalled the anguish of burying comrades killed in the bombing in trenches.60 Women ZIPRA guerrillas suffered terrible casualties. As Gertrude Moyo recounted:
The day I will never forget is on the 19th October 1978 at around 11:00 A.M. when the enemy, Rhodesian forces, bombed our camp Mkushi.... When they started raiding most of the women just got into the river and were eaten by crocodiles alive. Very few managed to swim across the river. Those who managed to get to the gathering points were also killed.61
But there was another side to the bombings: for those who were part of the anti-aircraft units, the air-raid stories are heroic. Khupusizi Nyathi, trained in the use of the ZGU anti-aircraft gun, gave a very different account of the Mkushi attack. From his position in the Zambezi gorges, he watched as Rhodesian planes and helicopters returned from their attacks:
As they came nearer my position, it was already in my mind that any of them which would fly past our position would taste the hot soup and beans prepared for them.... My position was under camouflage, pro-fessionally concealed. Without any delay I opened the first revenging fire to what had been perpetrated by these helicopters and their blood hungry mercenaries.... [This short burst of rounds] caused [an] effect to one helicopter - as a result it flew down behind the rest of the others puffing black smoke.62
Such accounts deployed an adventure-story tone, and were often used not only to emphasize ZIPRA's military sophistication, but also to make negative comparisons with ZANLA. ZIPRA's equipment and defensive [End Page 91] capacity was contrasted to ZANLA's reliance on the Mozambican military for air defence, and the decimation of unprotected ZANLA camps.
Camp life was thus both a source of great pride and discovery - acquiring new skills, becoming a disciplined and professional soldier, travelling to new countries - and one of great bitterness and sorrow over the costs of betrayals and divisions, and the terrible casualties of air raids. Those who survived described themselves as truly 'men of steel'.
River Crossings
ZIPRA guerrillas' bases in Zambia meant that they had to cross the great Zambezi river in order to enter Zimbabwe. The crossing was recounted as a terrifying and symbolic event - because guerrillas were on their way to engage the enemy face to face for the first time, and because of the perils of the river itself.
Nicholas recalls a song that he and other trainees sang in the camps: '"Zambezi, one river. One river to freedom. We shall carry our guns and our hand grenades. There is only one river to freedom." We sang the last line, "There is only one river to freedom", without understanding what "only one river" meant.'63 He would discover that it meant the arduous journey through the Zambezi's narrow and steep gorges, often laden with some seventy to eighty kilos of weapons and supplies, the tension of waiting until nightfall when Rhodesian patrols came to an end, and the confrontation with the river itself. The river inspired poetic and terrifying descriptions. Nicholas recalled,
What then greeted the new guerrillas was the ... expanse of the great Zambezi river, the mighty dark blue, swift running waters. At almost all the crossing points I ever used [there were] herds of giant hippopotamus, absolutely terrifying to many new fighters, most of whom had never seen a live hippopotamus before. Crocodiles were also abundant. So the very first orders from the commanders to the new fighters before the crossing was to keep their feet from dangling over the sides of the dinghies.64
The fear that these conditions inspired was compounded by the fact that many guerrillas could not swim:
So it was during this first stage of crossing the Zambezi river that most of the new fighters would be gripped by real fear. The fear of having the boat tossed in the air and then capsized in the deep waters by the giant hippopotamus; the fear of terrible currents in the water which, because of the river's mountainous course, might sweep the dinghies down into the numerous rapids which would result in instant drowning; the fear of being eaten by crocodiles or other predators. Then there was the terrible fear of being fired upon by the enemy from the Rhodesian side of the [End Page 92] river while we were yet to cross. As our crossing always had to take place in the dark, there was always the real possibility of being caught helpless upon the water, or vulnerable while disembarking.65
The Zambezi was 'the first real enemy a guerrilla crossing from Zambia to Rhodesia had to overcome'. For Nicholas it provided,
our first real sense of satisfaction, once it had been vanquished. Once the river was crossed, once we had eluded the enemy, once we had, on the Rhodesian side, gone up again through the steep gorges and ascended the steep cliffs and got to level ground, more tired than ever before, we enjoyed that wonderful knowledge of a victory achieved, a normal feeling for any unit successful in battle against the enemy.66
Not all guerrillas emerged victorious from their encounter with the river. Many accounts detail the terrible losses incurred in ambushes and bombings. Davidson Ndlovu's party was attacked while crossing: 'we heard machine guns and the dinghy caught fire and twelve died on the spot.... jets came and fired on the Zambian side.... I can't tell you what happened. I dived under a rock.... Even today I don't want to think about it. You could find bodies scattered, lying. You could sense some were still living. Many were left behind.'67 And of course, to vanquish the river, was merely to bring oneself into the Rhodesian battlefield.
Facing the Enemy
ZIPRA accounts of operations in Zimbabwe focus on their military aspects, on hierarchies, strategies and tactics; on the fate of guerrillas themselves, and their 'contacts' - military engagements - with Rhodesian forces, on casualty numbers. The accounts are repetitive and detailed. They are often heroic, and stress the overcoming of fear and hardship, the ways in which Rhodesian forces were outmanoeuvred and tricked, the good stead in which their professional training and sophisticated weaponry stood them in the field. As Mjoni Mkandla put it, 'I loved to be a well trained soldier with discipline because that was [the] ZIPRA gospel of power'.68 This emphasis served not only as a vindication of ZIPRA's skill, discipline and training, but also as an implicit criticism of ZANLA's strategies and methods. ZIPRA guerrillas' emphasis on certain victories and battles was also at times meant as a corrective to the claims to those same victories made by ZANLA.
The first 'contact' was often described as the final initiation in guerrillas' long passage. Where white soldiers were involved, it also often acted as a source of revelation that such men could be killed. Nicholas describes in great detail the first experiences he had after crossing the Zambezi. A week into their southward journey, his unit was spotted and fired upon by a helicopter: [End Page 93]
The intention of the enemy had apparently been to squeeze us against the hill on which we were based. As I was fresh from training, I knew that it was my duty to engineer a breakthrough from the encirclement and not to render my men targets by climbing higher up the mountain. We successfully broke through the right flank of the enemy. There were no casualties on our side.
This was an important moment, and 'high diction' underlined its significance:
I still refer to that day as my initiation, my baptism by fire. I had often wondered what it would be like to be fired upon by angry people. There would be bullets whizzing past and the immediate world would be full of ricochets from the bullets bouncing off rocks and metal.... We were face to face with a real target, a mobile trained and intelligent target for that matter. But I was now more determined than ever before to free my motherland.69
Nicholas goes on to recount many more battles, stressing throughout his and his unit's rapid learning curve, and the use to which they were able to put their training.
Many ZIPRA guerrillas described their first contact as an initiation much as Nicholas did, or as a moment in which fear and doubt were overcome. Melusi Ncube had his first contact in Hwange in July 1977:
The attack went on for two and a half hours. As my first contact, at a later stage of the siege, I felt like running away. I had made my mind up to do so. When I tried to retreat, a commanding voice within our ranks said, 'no retreat, phambili madala [forward men]!' The next command was 'Assault!' The war was on. At the end of the attack I realised it was our first victory. This experience remained in my mind.... It gave me the zeal to fight on and never retreat.70
Cohen Tsambani, who killed two white soldiers in his first contact, recalled,
I never believed that my gun would work. I was frozen to the spot, taking no action.... I switched [my rifle] on to automatic because I wasn't sure what would happen next.... I fired; the white man fell over, but the gun was still firing.... I took cover ..., then I crawled, ran, God played a big role.... That is where I got my rank. Two white men died. After that I became brave and knew these people could be killed by anyone.71
Guerrilla accounts of operations within Zimbabwe are full of a sense of their military accomplishment and transformation into professional soldiers: they say very little about the topics that preoccupied civilians. [End Page 94] Explicit accounts of relations with civilians are few, and are often told principally as a means of distinguishing ZIPRA methods from those of ZANLA, notably in terms of ZANLA's much derided practice of holding all-night political meetings or pungwes. ZIPRA guerrillas argued they did not need to hold such dangerous and diversionary gatherings as they could rely on the long-established ZAPU committees. This relationship was portrayed as unproblematic, and mutually supportive. As Patson Sikhumbuzo explained,
As far as political structures were concerned, the locals did it themselves without interference from the fighting men. We had no time to organise bush rallies and singing in the mountains.... The men with whom I served were highly trained in both modern warfare and guerrilla warfare, they were soldiers not armed politicians! Therefore, sloganeering and singing was not their appetite.72
The moral ambiguities of violence used against civilians rarely appeared in guerrilla narratives. The killing of civilians accused of aiding the enemy went entirely unmentioned, save where it had become a threat to military hierarchy.73 Instead, the violence guerrillas employed in the course of their operations was portrayed as unproblematic, justified, and heroic.
The moment in which these ZIPRA narratives were told was characterized by a contentious relationship with the government, a public debate about the legacies of war, and wide-ranging criticism of official commemorative practice. The stories were an attempt to reclaim what ZIPRA guerrillas had been denied since Zimbabwe's independence: recognition of their courage and their formidable military skills, acknowledgement of their experience - and survival - of terrible violence, and credit for their vital contribution to the nationalist struggle. As collective memories, these accounts ordered individual experiences, and allowed for the telling of war stories that contributed to a broader understanding of the liberation war, different both from the experience of civilians and the official myths of war.
ZIPRA accounts contrast powerfully with the civilian-focused picture of Zimbabwe's liberation war documented in previous studies. They are concerned with geographical and personal passages across borders and boundaries real and imagined. The sheer extent to which guerrillas travelled is remarkable. Many not only journeyed across the southern African region more than once, but also much farther afield. These travels brought them into contact not only with different people and cultures but with guerrillas from a host of other liberation movements, thus placing their own struggle in an international context. These passages constituted important markers in guerrilla accounts - they were part of their becoming men, and [End Page 95] becoming soldiers, they were trials and tests. Sometimes they took on a spiritual aspect, such as in the references to the signs of stars and burning trees, or the beneficence of nature.
The focus on life in the camps is of course absent from civilian accounts, but this experience was crucial to combatants. They literally took on new identities as they adopted war names, and it was here that they became 'real soldiers'. The pride they took in becoming 'trained personnel' is everywhere stressed. The camps were also important for the experience of divisions within the ranks of their own movement, for the conflicts with ZANLA, as well as for the Rhodesian bombings. While civilian-focused accounts of the war have often treated the memories of violence on the battlefield within Zimbabwe as a central concern, the ZIPRA accounts do not emphasize their experience within the operational areas, but rather see the most cruel and memorable violence as that which occurred in the camps - the bombing because of the tremendous carnage it left in its wake, and the internecine violence between and within guerrilla armies because of its illegitimacy. The negative image of ZANLA that permeates the ZIPRA accounts was certainly shaped by these experiences, and it was an image that was much hardened by the experience of exclusion and persecution after independence. The pride in their professionalism stands not only as an explicit critique of ZANLA during the liberation war, but also as an implicit critique of the politicization of the army and its use against the losing faction of the liberation movement by ZANU(PF) after independence.
In the mid 1990s, former ZIPRA guerrillas could present themselves with justification as the unrecognized and persecuted 'heroes' of the liberation war. Their grievances against the ruling party dovetailed with the concerns of the ordinary people among whom they lived, and who had suffered with them in the conflicts of the 1970s and 1980s. By the late 1990s there had, however, been a significant shift. The gulf with civilian experience so notable in guerrilla narratives was translated into practice as veteran politics were transformed by ZANU(PF)'s decision to grant them material benefits, and to embrace them politically. The once-critical Veterans' Association became a potent ally of the ruling party, a step which was particularly ironic for ZIPRA guerrillas who had once faced persecution at the hands of ZANU(PF). While the vast majority of Matabeleland's population rejected the ruling party in the elections of 2000, many ZIPRA veterans joined their ZANLA counterparts not only in leading the 'invasions' of farms, companies and state offices, but also in the use of violence against civilians associated with the political opposition.
In this context, liberation war history was publicly retold as 'patriotic' history. It was narrowed to the struggle for the land and the heroic acts of a single, unified guerrilla army. The role of the popular nationalism that linked civilians and fighting men was suppressed, the bitter rivalries between the nationalist movements were forgotten, as was the Rhodesian [End Page 96] enemy: the perfidious British and their 'imperial' ambitions now stood as the prime threat to Zimbabwe's fragile sovereignty and its revolutionary goals. In many ways, this 'patriotic' story is a travesty of the histories we have recounted. As political violence escalated in 2000 and after, it became difficult for former guerrillas to voice an alternative version of the war from that articulated by the Veteran Association's leaders, however much some of them personally disagreed with it. ZIPRA guerrillas who had put so much emphasis on a political education that taught that their opponents were not the 'whites' but the 'system' now privileged a racial discourse; ZIPRA guerrillas who had taken such pride in their professionalism and their unproblematic relationships with civilians were now agents of partisan violence, directed against the very same civilians who had once supported them.74
There were also some continuities with the war stories of the 1990s. Former guerrillas continued to emphasize comradeship, loyalty and discipline, and they continued to draw on the idioms of past struggles. They used the language of heroism and sacrifice, of service to the nation and anti-colonial revolution. The new boundaries of exclusion were also drawn in a wartime language of 'sellouts', 'colonial stooges' and 'enemies of the people'. This invocation of abstractions and the potent political ideas of nationalism and liberation masked the way in which the content of these ideals had been transformed, and hid the bitter reality of violence and state repression. In the traumatic aftermath of the First World War, the war poets had rejected the vague spiritualisms and abstractions of 'high diction' in favour of a language of stark realism. In the Zimbabwean context, it will be interesting to see how the idiom of national liberation and the telling of war stories changes in the future, as relations between the veterans, public and government continue to shift. The remaking of the public sphere will require not only a redefinition of the meaning of nationalism. It will also necessitate revaluing the language of national liberation and the telling of different war stories.
Jocelyn Alexander is Lecturer in Commonwealth Studies at Queen Elizabeth House, University of Oxford. She has published extensively on Zimbabwe and is co-author (with JoAnn McGregor and Terence Ranger) of Violence and Memory: One Hundred Years in the 'Dark Forests' of Matabeleland (Oxford and Portsmouth NH: James Currey and Heinemann, 2000). Email: jocelyn.alexander@qeh.oxford.ac.uk
JoAnn McGregor is Lecturer in Human Geography, University of Reading. She has published widely on Zimbabwe and is co-author (with Jocelyn Alexander and Terence Ranger) of Violence and Memory: One Hundred Years in the 'Dark Forests' of Matabeleland, Oxford and Portsmouth NH: James Currey and Heinemann, 2000. Email: J.Mcgregor@reading.ac.uk
1. See for example, Kim Lacy Rogers and Selma Leydesdorff with Graham Dawson, Trauma and Life Stories: International Perspectives, London, 1999.
2. As for example in the huge recent literatures on memorial culture in Europe following the First and Second World Wars, and on the various truth commissions set up to deal with violent pasts in Eastern Europe, Latin America and Africa.
3. Joanna Bourke, An Intimate History of Killing: Face-to-Face Killing in Twentieth Century Warfare, London, 1999.
4. John Bayley, 'Strange Things', London Review of Books, 2 Sept. 1999, p.8, reviewing David Omissi, Indian Voices of the Great War: Soldiers' Letters 1914-1918, London, 1999.
5. The narratives were collected in the course of research for Jocelyn Alexander, JoAnn McGregor and Terence Ranger, Violence and Memory: One Hundred Years in the 'Dark Forests' of Matabeleland, Oxford, 2000. [End Page 97]
6. Samuel Hynes, 'Personal Narratives and Commemoration', in War and Remembrance in the Twentieth Century, ed. Jay Winter and Emmanuel Sivan, Cambridge, 1999, p.219, and see his earlier book, The Soldier's Tale, London, 1997. See also Bourke, An Intimate History, pp.369-70.
7. Hynes, 'Personal Narratives', p.218.
8. See John Nunnelley, Tales from the King's African Rifles, London, 2000, for an account of 'one man's odyssey'. See also the sources and discussion in Hynes, 'Personal Narratives'.
9. On the impact of biblical idiom on oral historical narratives see Isabel Hofmeyer 'We Spend Our Years as a Tale that is Told': Oral Historical Narrative in a South African Chiefdom, Oxford, 1993. On debates over Christianization, narrative and power, see Jean and John Comaroff, Of Revelation and Revolution: the Dialectics of Modernity on a South African Frontier, vol. 2, Chicago, 1997, pp.43-52; John Peel, 'The Colonization of Consciousness', review of Of Revelation and Revolution, vol. 2, in Journal of African History 33, 1992, pp.328-9; John Peel, 'For Who Hath Despised the Day of Small Things? Missionary Narratives and Historical Anthropology', Comparative Studies in Society and History 37: 3, 1995, pp.581-607. On Bunyan's influence in Africa, Europe and elsewhere, see Isabel Hofmeyer, 'John Bunyan, His Chair and a Few Other Relics: Orality, Literacy and the Limits of Area Studies', in African Words, African Voices: Critical Practices in Oral History, ed. Luise White, Stephan Miescher and David William Cohen, Bloomington, 2001, and 'Dreams, Documents and "Fetishes": African Christian Interpretations of Pilgrim's Progress', Journal of Religion in Africa 32: 4, 2002, pp.440-56.
10. See Ted Bogacz, '"A Tyranny of Words": Language, Poetry and Antimodernism in England and the First World War', Journal of Modern History 58, 1986; Paul Fussell, The Great War and Modern Memory, New York, 1975, pp.21-2.
11. On cultural nationalism and its influence in rural Matabeleland, see Alexander, McGregor and Ranger, Violence and Memory, chaps 5 and 6; Terence Ranger Voices from the Rocks: Nature, Culture and History in the Matopos Hills of Zimbabwe, Oxford, 1999, chap. 7. See also Joshua Nkomo, Nkomo: the Story of My Life, London, 1984.
12. ZAPU was the Zimbabwe African People's Union, ZANU was the Zimbabwe African National Union, formed in 1963 as a breakaway from ZAPU. At independence it added Patriotic Front to its name, hence ZANU(PF). ZANLA was the Zimbabwe African National Liberation Army.
13. See Alexander, McGregor and Ranger, Violence and Memory, chaps 7, 8; Ngwabi Bhebe, The ZAPU and ZANU Guerrilla Warfare and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Zimbabwe, Gweru, 1999, chaps 1-4.
14. Jocelyn Alexander, 'Dissident Perspectives on Zimbabwe's Post Independence War', Africa, 68, 2, 1998, pp.151-82; Alexander, McGregor and Ranger, Violence and Memory, chaps 8, 9.
15. For a detailed account of the politics of war veterans, see Norma Kriger, Guerrilla Veterans in Post-War Zimbabwe: Symbolic and Violent Politics 1980-1987, Cambridge, 2003.
16. There has been a surge of writing on Africans' contribution to and experiences of the world wars, and the political and social importance of military service in other parts of the continent. See for example, Timothy H. Parsons, The African Rank and File: Social Implications of Military Service in the Kings African Rifles 1902-1964, Oxford, 1999; Myron J. Echenberg, Colonial Conscripts: The Tirailleurs Senegalais in French West Africa 1857-1960, Oxford, 1991; John Lunn, Memoirs of the Maelstrom: a Senegalese Oral History of the First World War, Oxford, 1999.
17. On the role of civil society groups in processes of post-war remembrance, explored as a means of rooting debates about collective memory, see Jay Winter and Emmanuel Sivan, 'Setting the Framework', in War and Remembrance, ed. Winter and Sivan, pp.6-39.
18. Norma Kriger, 'The Politics of Creating National Heroes: the Search for Political Legitimacy and National Identity', in Soldiers in Zimbabwe's Liberation War, ed. Ngwabi Bhebe and Terence Ranger, London, 1995; Norma Kriger, 'War Victims' Compensation: Collusion Between Zimbabwean Ex-Combatants and Government', Journal of African Conflict and Development 1, 2000, pp.35-45.
19. Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace/Legal Resources Foundation, Breaking the Silence, Building True Peace: a Report on the Disturbances in Matabeleland and the Midlands, 1980-1988, Harare, 1997.
20. For the best recent overview of this literature see the two volumes edited by Ngwabi [End Page 98] Bhebe and Terence Ranger, Soldiers in Zimbabwe's Liberation War, and Society in Zimbabwe's Liberation War, Oxford, 1996. The two key early monographs were Terence Ranger, Peasant Consciousness and Guerrilla War in Zimbabwe, London, 1985, and David Lan, Guns and Rain: Guerrillas and Spirit Mediums in Zimbabwe, London, 1985.
21. The crucial study in making this transition was Norma Kriger, Zimbabwe's Guerrilla War: Peasant Voices, Cambridge, 1992.
22. Exceptions are Teresa A. Barnes, 'The Heroes' Struggle: Life After the Liberation War for Four Ex-Combatants in Zimbabwe', in Soldiers in Zimbabwe's Liberation War, ed. Bhebe and Ranger, pp.118-39, and Michael Raeburn, Black Fire! Narratives from Zimbabwean Guerrillas, Harare, 1978. There are also numerous fictional accounts of guerrillas' wartime experiences and of the war generally.
23. The key text in this regard is David Martin and Phyllis Johnson, The Struggle for Zimbabwe. The Chimurenga War, Harare, 1981.
24. Kriger, Guerrilla Veterans and 'The Politics of Creating National Heroes'.
25. See Jeremy Brickhill, 'Daring to Storm the Heavens: the Military Strategy of ZAPU, 1976-79', and Dumiso Dabengwa, 'ZIPRA in the Zimbabwe War of National Liberation', both in Soldiers in Zimbabwe's Liberation War, ed. Bhebe and Ranger.
26. See Alexander, McGregor and Ranger, Violence and Memory, chap. 6.
27. On the Mafela Trust, see Jeremy Brickhill, 'Making Peace with the Past: War Victims and the Work of the Mafela Trust', in Soldiers in Zimbabwe's Liberation War, ed. Bhebe and Ranger, pp.163-74.
28. Nicholas Nkomo, 'Between the Hammer and the Anvil: the Autobiography of Nicholas Nkomo', ms., n.d.
29. See also Brickhill, 'Daring to Storm the Heavens', pp.65-8.
30. Many guerrillas spoke of their schools as crucial places of politicization. See for example interviews, Mjoni Mkandla, 18 Jan. 1995; Makhobo Ndhlovu, 30 Sept. 1995.
31. Nkomo, 'Between the Hammer and the Anvil', p.3.
32. Nkomo, 'Between the Hammer and the Anvil', p.6.
33. Interview, Davison Ndlovu, 17 Feb. 1996; Autobiography of Smile Nkiwane; autobiography of Sifiso Velani, 16 Jan. 1995.
34. Interview, Robert Zenzo Ncube, Feb. 1995; Janet Moyo, 13 Sept. 1995.
35. Interview, Cohen Tsambani, 17 Feb. 1996. Also see Paulos Matjaka Nare, 'Education and the War', in Society in Zimbabwe's Liberation War, ed. Bhebe and Ranger, p.130.
36. Interview, Gertrude Moyo, 27 Feb. 1995.
37. Interviews, Fred Moyo, 14 Oct. 1995; Benet Sibanda, 16 Sept. 1995. These networks also existed to a lesser extent for earlier recruits. E.g., interview, M. L. Sipepa, Feb. 1995.
38. Nkomo, 'Between the Hammer and the Anvil', p.8.
39. Autobiography, Maclean Ncube, n.d., p.15.
40. For example, Autobiography, Ivan Moyo, n.d.
41. Nkomo, 'Between the Hammer and the Anvil', p.8.
42. Nkomo, 'Between the Hammer and the Anvil', p.8.
43. Interviews, Fred Moyo, 14 Oct. 1995; Bernard Dunjana, 14 June 1995.
44. Interview, Bongani Mpofu, 17 Jan. 1995; Fred Moyo, 14 Oct. 1995.
45. Interviews, Elia Chuma, 7 Feb. 1995; Bongani Mpofu, 17 Jan. 1995.
46. Nkomo, 'Between the Hammer and the Anvil', p.8.
47. Interview, Phineas Tapona, 12 Dec. 1994.
48. Nkomo, 'Between the Hammer and the Anvil', p.9.
49. Interview, Gertrude Moyo, 27 Feb. 1995.
50. Nkomo, 'Between the Hammer and the Anvil', p.9.
51. Nkomo, 'Between the Hammer and the Anvil', p.12.
52. See Luise White, The Assassination of Herbert Chitepo: Texts and Politics in Zimbabwe, Bloomington, 2003, p.36.
53. Nkomo, 'Between the Hammer and the Anvil', p.13.
54. Interview, Patson Mabuza, 28 Feb. 1995.
55. Nkomo, 'Between the Hammer and the Anvil', p.16.
56. David Moore, 'The Zimbabwe People's Liberation Army: Strategic Innovations or More of the Same?', in Soldiers in Zimbabwe's Liberation War, ed. Bhebe and Ranger, pp.73-86.
57. Interview, Andrew Ndlovu, 28 Oct. 1995.
58. Interview, Davidson Ndlovu, 17 Feb. 1996. [End Page 99]
59. Nkomo, 'Between the Hammer and the Anvil', p.17. Also see interview, Josiya Tshuma, 13 Sept. 1995, for a similar experience.
60. Interview, Josiya Tshuma, 13 Sept. 1995. Also see interview, Sifiso Velani, 16 Jan. 1995.
61. Interview, Gertrude Moyo, 17 Feb. 1995. See Brickhill, 'Daring to Storm the Heavens', pp.62-4; Paul Moorcraft and Peter McLaughlin, Chimurenga! The War in Rhodesia, 1965-1980, Marshalltown, 1982, pp.182-9, on this and other raids.
62. Autobiographical account, K. Nyathi, n.d., p.4. Also see Autobiography of Mark Ndlovu, n.d.
63. Nkomo, 'Between the Hammer and the Anvil', p.14.
64. Nkomo, 'Between the Hammer and the Anvil', p.18.
65. Nkomo, 'Between the Hammer and the Anvil', p.14.
66. Nkomo, 'Between the Hammer and the Anvil', p.14.
67. Interview, Davidson Ndlovu, 17 Feb. 1996.
68. Autobiographical account, Mjoni Mkandla, 18 Jan. 1995, p.14.
69. Nkomo, 'Between the Hammer and the Anvil', p.15.
70. Interview, Melusi Ncube, 5 Dec. 1994, p.1. The commander who called out 'no retreat' was in fact Nicholas Nkomo.
71. Interview, Cohen Tsambani, 17 Feb. 1996.
72. Interview, Patson Sikhumbuzo, 28 Feb. 1995.
73. See JoAnn McGregor, 'Containing Violence: Poisoning and Guerrilla/Civilian Relations in Memories of Zimbabwe's Liberation War', in Trauma and Life Stories, ed. Rogers and Leydesdorff; Alexander, McGregor and Ranger, Violence and Memory, chap. 7.
74. The ambiguities of this process are explored at length in Jocelyn Alexander and JoAnn McGregor, 'Veterans, Violence and Nationalism in Zimbabwe', paper presented to the conference on Africa and Violence: Identities, Histories and Representations, Emory University, Atlanta, 10-14 September 2003.

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I welcome comments from everyone on my book Choppertech.
I am interested especially on hearing from former ZANLA and ZIPRA combatants who also have thier story to tell.