By Trevor Grundy and Bernard Miller

Published by Modern Farming Publications

Salisbury 1979



Chapter One.
In  the frontline.

Chapter Two.
Despite the war

Chapter Three.
Tougher nut to crack.

Chapter Four
Pioneering spirit lives on.

Chapter Five.
They pray for peace.

Chapter Six.
The new breed.

Chapter Seven.
The one-man guard force.

Chapter Eight
Assault on our cattle.

Chapter Nine.
The effects of terrorism

Chapter Ten.
‘Common market’ that failed.

Chapter Eleven.
As intricate as a watch.

Chapter Twelve.

Chapter Thirteen.
What is the answer?.

Chapter Fourteen.
Plan for rural development

Chapter fifteen.
The war must stop.

Chapter Sixteen.
Why the fight goes on.

Roll of Honour


THIS is a salute to our farmers — white and black farmers and their families who have been in the frontline of the terror war for more than a decade. This is their story told by them.

It is a story of heroism and tragedy, of dedicated determination and tenacity in the face of an unprecedented onslaught on the land. Many have died and many more have been maimed.

Their moral and physical courage is being sorely tried and tested over and again. Lord Moran, who was Sir Winston Churchill's physician for more than a quarter of a century, once wrote: "Courage is willpower ... A man's courage is his capital and he is always spending ..." There is no doubting the willpower of the farming community.

Courage has different faces. There is the courage to stand up and shoot back to drive the raiders from the homestead and land; there is, too, the courage to plough, plant and reap another crop, putting all at risk season after season.

The Farmer at War is also a tribute to those in commerce and industry who provide vital services to agriculture; a tribute to agronomists, extension and veterinary officers in both the public and private sectors; a tribute to the Police and Security Forces. Their combined contribution is incalculable.

Foremost, however, this salute is to the women behind the men — the farming wives. In them lies the strength of our nation.
Denis Norman,
Rhodesia National Farmers' Union
(now the Commercial Farmers' Union)

Chapter One

In  the frontline

THERE'S an audible crackle, not loud or piercing, but as if someone is screwing up sweet paper close to your head, and like a string of green fairylights, tracers arc their way almost lazily towards the darkened homestead. Immediately, or so it seems, from behind an unlit window an FN rifle barks its harsh reply, followed by another and another. From a rock outcrop, slightly elevated so that attacking fire is aimed advantageously down on the farmhouse, a mere 100 metres away, the first mortar thumbs skywards. It soars high over the house and, thankfully for its occupants, explodes harmlessly in the bush. The long swish of a rocket, the deadliest of projectiles, is followed by an explosive thump. A hit! Hot lead ricochets off brick wall and rock outcrop, sparking, whining in a cacophony of crossfire.

As that first attacking bullet sped through the sound barrier cracking out its message of death, she awakes almost expectantly, rolls from the bed to the floor and crawls on hands and knees towards the radio alarm which will alert Security Forces and neighbouring families. There's no panic or hesitation. She's practiced this over and again. Night after night. . .just in case. But this is no's the real thing.

Her actions are automatic. Purely instinctive. She gropes for the alarm button, finds it and presses. She's oblivious to the high-pitched scream coming from the set, a scream of alarm that lasts a mere 12 seconds, but to her could be 12 long hours; oblivious too to bleeding legs, wounds inflicted as she laboured across splintered glass. Only seconds, not long now. "Control.. .go", the disembodied voice comes over clearly, calmly. Reassuring. "Under attack from the north," she replies, her voice low but steady. No trace of hysteria, yet.. .that will come later.

"Small arms, mortar, I think. Maybe rockets, too."

Only a split second before she made that first move (was she really awake, or still asleep and motivated by some unseen hand. Or was it just another repetitive nightmare?) her husband's FN cracked out its first retaliatory burst, unaimed, unsighted. From their son's bedroom came a second burst and a third burst of automatic fire from their police guard. In another bedroom two small youngsters huddle together under their beds. It had been a great game to dive for cover when Dad shouted "bang, bang, you're dead." It was a game that saved their lives. They, too, were calm, solemn-eyed and seemingly oblivious to the shattering noise of battle.

The attack ends as suddenly as it started. Silence. Then a muted thump and the night sky is lit by an orange glow. Retreating, the raiders fire barns and equipment, drive off the farm labour and fire their compound.

In that attack 42 mortar bombs were dropped into the farm complex and approximately 2 000 rounds of small arms fire pumped into the farmhouse.

At first light Security Forces launch follow-up operations on the ground and in the air. The hunters become the hunted, although they still hold a trump card. By day they hide their weapons and lose their identities among the tribesmen in the sprawling villages of neighbouring Tribal Trust Lands, the traditional homes of almost four million subsistence farmers many of whom have been cowed and subverted by their ruthless so-called "liberators."

At the opposite end of the country in the remote Matobo District, 120 km south of Bulawayo, terrorists came for a harmless black woman farmer. Her son tells of "the night they murdered my mother".

They came to her in the night. Three tall, young men brandishing AK rifles.

"Woman," the group leader asked my mother, "how dare you work against the liberation forces of Zimbabwe? We have heard all about you, your two sons (they are policemen) who are collaborating with the enemy. Why haven't you told them to leave their jobs and come back home?"

For a few seconds, words failed her. She simply stared at them, their weapons and their menacing faces. It was an agonising moment.

The question was repeated, in a more threatening tone.

"I am not sure if I know what you are talking about. And what on earth have I done wrong?" asked the woman of 53, her arms folded, in a sad and telling moment.

"You will follow us to our court, where, like many others, you will be tried for your crimes," they said, dragging her out of her home.

My sister, with her three children aged between five years and six months, and my brother's wife, who had three-month-old twins, were told to follow.

They ordered my mother to sit down under a big marula tree. As a flurry of questions was levelled at her she was kicked about, beaten and tortured.

After being vigorously interrogated, both my sister and brother's "wife were ordered to leave the scene. "And we will be coming for you, too," the terrorists added.

While the women stood undecided as to what to do next, the terrorists wasted no time. They opened fire ... one, two, three shots .. . and there my mother lay. She was dead. Dead for "sins of commission and omission", as one of the terrorists said.

My sister and brother's wife couldn't wait to see any more. With the only clothes on their bodies, some of the children at their backs and others in their arms, they ran throughout the night — some 50 km — to the nearest bus stop at Kezi.

Because they had no money, they had to plead with the bus conductor to take them into the bus, which was going to Bulawayo. The grief-stricken and weary survivors of the ordeal told this horrifying and harrowing story when I met them a few days later.

But perhaps the tragedy of it all, said my sister as she wept bitterly by her bed, is that "our mother had to be buried, if at all, by strangers, without any of her five children attending her final farewell".

She asked, "Is this the freedom they are fighting for .. . the bestial and barbaric killings perpetuated in the name of freedom and justice? Heaven help us, we don't need such freedom." I couldn't have agreed with her more.

I will always remember that last time I saw my mother, cheerful as she ever had been. She had journeyed all the long day to Bulawayo last December to see me on my arrival after an absence of five years.

Seemingly with a premonition of death, she told me, "I don't think there is much life for me, my son. It's no longer safe to live in our homes today. But we always hope... only hope... things might improve.

"But even when they kill me, don't worry yourself too much, my son. It seems we have finally reached that point...

"Be yourself. Be a man in this troubled land. And, as long as you don't forget Him above, He will always be with you." Well... may He be with her, too.

These scenes could be taking place now in almost any part of Zimbabwe Rhodesia's farming areas. It has been like this for just on seven years; almost nightly, some luckless farmer and his family are hit. They used to say, hopefully, "It won't happen to us." But it has and it is.

They call this lovely land — a contrasting land of sprawling veld, mountains, rivers and forests, desert and barren outcrop — God's own country. Can all this be going on behind His back?

The Zimbabwe Rhodesian farmer is at war. He is in the frontline of this conflict, a top "soft target" for the externally-based, Communist-trained terrorists whose aim is to remove whites from the country and destroy their influence which in 89 short years has been the key to economic and social development unparalleled on the African continent. Terror tactics have operated on classic Mao lines — infiltrate and subvert the tribesman, disrupt the civil administration by closing schools, clinics and council offices. Violent intimidation of black farmers and the destruction of his crops and stock. The ruthless slaughter of whole kraals where villagers refuse to co-operate.

Attacks on white commercial farms, which number just over 5 500, have multiple aims. To disrupt the economy and drive the whites off the land, to cut communications and lay siege to the country's four cities — Salisbury, Bulawayo, Gwelo and Umtali — breach their defences by urban warfare and eventually bring about the capitulation of the civil authority. Their goal: to set up a Marxist Leninist State "through the barrel of the gun".

This has been openly repeated by the two Patriotic Front leaders Joshua Nkomo, based in Zambia, and Robert Mugabe, based in Mocambique. That they have failed is due largely to the country's white farming community who have not only successfully defended themselves, and made a major contribution to the Security Forces, but have more than doubled food production to ensure self-sufficiency and surpluses for export. But the cost in life and limb is high. In comparison the $1 million a day spent on the war effort is mere peanuts.

If the white farmer is under siege, then his black counterpart in the Tribal Trust Lands, which make up 41 per cent of the country's land mass, an area roughly three times the size of England, and in the African commercial farming areas, is doubly so. Most of the 6 500-plus black civilians who have died at the hands of terrorist gangs, or in crossfire, were black farmers and their families, many of whom were horribly tortured. The list of atrocities makes nightmare reading. He is the man-in-the-middle, a simple unsophisticated peasant farmer seeking out a subsistence living from overworked land, only just surviving against a backdrop of increasing terrorist presence.

Terrorists pressure him to give them food and shelter. To refuse, as many have, spells death for him and his family, after inhuman torture and beatings. Security Forces pressure him to refuse aid and to report all approaches by gangs, and in retaliation terrorists burn his crops and prevent him disinfectant dipping his cattle against insect-borne disease which in 1978 alone killed 250 000 head. His children are abducted and forcibly marched to Mocambique, Zambia and Botswana for military training; his schools, clinics and churches closed, his women raped and often sickenly mutilated. Truly, the position of many black farmers' is untenable.

Unlike the white commercial farmer, he has neither the means or the capability to protect himself with sophisticated weaponry, security fencing and protected vehicles. He lies open. He is vulnerable.

Chapter Two

Despite the war

THE month before blacks and whites went to the polls in April to vote in the country's first majority rule government, war deaths had exceeded 14 000, a figure which does not include those killed outside the country in air raids on terrorist training camps in Zambia and Mocambique. Almost 50 a day died as the external terrorists stepped up their campaign to disrupt and discredit the general election. Again, one of their main targets, farmers — white and black.

"There's no doubt that the farmer and his family, who have been in the frontline of this war for seven years now, is the prime target," said Denis Norman, president of the Rhodesia National Farmers Union, after a flying visit to the Melsetter farming area which is being mauled by terrorists.

The reasons are plain. A large percentage of the black electorate work and live on white farms. These together with the urban black, make up 40 per cent of the electorate!

The border village of Melsetter is situated 152 kilometres from Umtali, nestling in the foothills of the awesome Chimanimani Mountains which divide Zimbabwe Rhodesia from Mocambique. Despite the war it is still a delightful part of the country.

I left Salisbury with Jack Humphreys, the Welsh-born director of the RNFU and dropped down at a farm airstrip to pick up Denis Norman from his Norton farm, just 50 kilometres outside the city. As we climbed aboard the gleaming seven-seater Aztec aircraft, the pilot joked, "Got your parachutes?" There's a tendency in Rhodesia today to make nervous quips about flying. On September 3, 1978, an Air Rhodesia Viscount with 54 passengers on board was shot down by a Russian heat seeking Sam 7 missile and 10 of the 18 who survived the crash were butchered by one of Nkomo's terrorist gangs. On February 12 this year a second Air Rhodesia Viscount was downed by two similar Sam 7 missiles. All 59 innocent civilian passengers who were returning to Salisbury after a holiday weekend at Kariba, and crew, died. Joshua Nkomo again claimed responsibility.

First stop Umtali, often described as the "jewel" of the Eastern Highlands and the "gateway" to Rhodesia. The "gate" to Mocambique, Beira and the Indian Ocean was closed following the collapse of Portuguese colonial rule in April, 1974, when a coup d'etat inspired by socialist leader Mario Soares, led to the abandonment of Mocambique to Samora Machel's Frelimo, and Angola to Angestino Neto and his Soviet backers and Cuban surrogates.

Once busy with tourists flocking to and from Beira's sunny beaches, Umtali is now a garrison town, its spacious tree-lined avenues a witness to war. Armoured personnel carriers rumble down Main Street; the old Cecil Hotel, a favourite meeting place for town and country folk, is now headquarters, No 3 Brigade. But next door the plush New Cecil Hotel is doing business as usual, though its clientele has changed somewhat. It still caters for businessmen and a diminished tourist trade but these visitors are outnumbered by service wives, their families and girl friends.

Umtali has been mortar bombed five times both from Mocambique and inside Rhodesia. In April, terrorists attacked a city Police camp with mortars and small-arms fire, killing an innocent civilian living next door and seriously injuring his wife. Earlier, in February this year, the city was awarded the Meritorious Conduct Medal.

Despite the war, or maybe because of it, its citizens, black and white, are determined that their everyday life — work, leisure and pleasure — is disrupted as little as possible. The nearby Vumba Mountains is a favourite weekend retreat for many, offering as it does comfortable accommodation in welcoming hostelries which snuggle picturesquely into the hillside.

To stand and stare at the ever-changing mood of the Vumba Mountains is an experience in itself ... on occasions a landscape painting of sunny blues and greens, brilliant reds contrasting with splashes of boisterous purples ... on occasions a contrasting canvas of racing clouds their grey-black shadows sweeping across valleys and hills like some giant flood, enveloping all in ghost-like mists, flowing and eddying, depositing droplets like dew on thirsty vegetation.


The aesthetic qualities of the Vumba is only equalled by what it has to offer the sportsman ... golf, swimming, tennis, squash, trekking, fishing. It's all there.

Despite the war, the shows must go on: the Umtali and District Agricultural Show, which attracts farming and commercial interest from all over the country; the annual horse jumping show, which is a must on the calendar for junior and senior riders; the Aloe Festival, a week of celebration; the drama festivals, dog and cat shows, bird shows, flower shows ... polo, rugby, soccer, cricket, tennis, squash and hockey tournaments. It is all happening just as if the war was a non-event.

It is this spirit that can be seen reflected in the majority of the sensitive country areas, where everyday life has been affected, but not disrupted, by the war situation, and where the farming community work hard, fight hard and enjoy their leisure and pleasures whether its a strenuous sport, quietly gardening or merely enjoying a sundowner on the country club veranda, watching the sun set and the last group of thirsty golfers down their last putts.

Our aircraft swept down between the hills which encircle the city, landing almost elegantly on the tarred strip. There waiting were two more passengers, a Union councillor and a leading timber grower. The Eastern Highlands is a major timber producer. Our destination was Tilbury airstrip 25 kilometres from Melsetter itself. It was a rib-jarring, nervy flight south, closely skirting the Mocambique border and for a scarey 15 minutes through dense cloud. It was only later when safely back in Salisbury the pilot admitted over a welcome cold beer that he had crossed well into Mocambique and was an open target for Frelimo or terrorist ground fire and missiles.

The aircraft broke through the cloud ceiling into an incredibly blue, blue sky over Tilbury strip, which took on the appearance of a pencil scar in an otherwise unbroken vistarama of emerald green pines. Breathtakingly beautiful, disarmingly so for the area is terrorist infested.

Three black troopers were left behind to guard the aircraft while we boarded two heavily landmine and ambush-protected vehicles, bristling with arms. One was a converted Land Rover, the other a "Kudu" — an unslightly conglomeration of heavy gauge steel and armour plating. Through narrow slits in the side of the vehicle we peered at the passing countryside, the pine-flanked earth road blood red in colour. Just off the road African kraals, the smoke from outdoor fires curling lazily skywards. It was all so peaceful. How appearances lie. Ambushes day and night are too frequent a hazard.

It had been raining earlier and the aroma of rain on earth and pine was almost overpowering. The Portuguese driver told me this was the best time for tourists "but they do not come any more. The Outward Bound School in the Chimanimani hills closed down long ago, but next year it may be better," he said optimistically.

But will it?

The objective of the Norman-Humphrey visit to Melsetter was to get first hand from farmers the farming and security position. "To find out what is going on," Norman put it bluntly.

The briefing was given by one of the local farmers, in the Farmers' Hall which has the appearance of an early post World War Two school, brown walls hung with black wooden shields with the word "Melsetter" engraved beneath them. It reminded me vividly of my first school in a Welsh mining village. It was probably built about that time, too. The briefing was delivered in clipped style which matched the occasion and the mood of the meeting. Tense but determined. There were frequent references to a large map of the Melsetter area pinned to a blackboard. This showed the main farms, ranches and neighbouring Tribal Trust Lands. Empty homesteads were clearly marked. So were parts of the area which had suffered recent terrorist attacks. Frighteningly, too many.

In 1976 Melsetter and Cashel districts were home to 225 white family units with 150 family units on the estates, 30 people living in the village (we were in the village) and 45 farms being worked. At the end of 1978 there were only 108 family units in the area — 62 families on the estates, 38 people living in the village and eight farms being worked. Four Europeans and one African were killed in 1976. Thirteen Europeans and 39 Africans in 1978.

Twenty four homesteads had been destroyed last year (none at all in 1976) and over the last three years there had been 1 053 terrorist contacts. Seventy two vehicles had been destroyed. The number of contacts with terrorists (most of them ZANLA from Mocambique) in 1978 had been 419 — 14 more than in newly decorated Umtali.

Stark statistics that do little to tell the story of death, courage and determination in what was once a small but thriving community of blacks and whites living and working in peace.

Terrorist ambushes along the main tarred road to Umtali, sometimes two or three a week, had stopped city transporters carrying local fruit and vegetables to the markets, the briefing was told. The Melsetter community was raising funds to buy a seven-tonne truck to do the job ... the banks had stopped sending their mobile, small banks on wheels, to Melsetter a year ago. The tourist industry had ground to a full stop. "If any more people leave this area we'll be really pushed to contain the situation," said the military man.

His briefing to the visiting RNFU executives was plainly spelt out. Local manpower to police the area, fight off increasing acts of terrorism and to farm, was being stretched. It might soon snap. It was a factual report from a commander in the field to a visiting staff officer. No frills or trimmings. A simple statement of cold fact. There was no note of panic. No hint of surrender. No emotion, nor fear.

Denis Norman, who has insight and total grasp of his subject — farming and war - reported to the meeting on the war situation in other parts of the country as the April general election approached. He talked of the political uncertainty facing the farming community and emphasised the theme he repeats at farming meetings throughout the countryside: the vital necessity to maintain the commercial farmer on the land by ensuring the security of the farmer, his family, home and labour ... and by paying him a fair price for his production and effort.

His audience, mainly third and fourth generation white farmers and their wives, few of them under 50, listened intently to the facts. Fifty per cent of the national maize crop written-off by the worst drought for decades. Stocks sufficient to meet domestic requirements if there is a recurrence of drought in 1980, but export opportunities would have to be forfeited; the cattle industry is facing substantial depletion in some parts of the country because of disease and stocktheft; only three "AA" seed potato growers are still operating, all in the terrorist infested Inyanga area ..."... at this rate we will find ourselves imposing beef rationing in 12 to 18 months", he forecast. Food rationing in a country that has the potential to develop into the "breadbasket" of Southern and Central Africa?

"Whoever leads the new Government of this country must maintain the farmer on the land, must return stability and security to food production. Failing this, I fear for the future."

With the population explosion in the country reaching 3,7 per cent per annum — the biggest in the western world — the maintenance of agricultural production at $500 million, mostly from white farmers, is vital, he said. Certainly, at this stage tribal African farmers cannot even meet their own basic food needs.

Polite applause followed by one or two questions. It had all been said before. Norman was talking to the converted, who not only fully understood their precarious situation, but were living and working in it, attempting to achieve normality in an abnormal environment.

These thoughts flickered through my mind as our plane winged its way back to the comparative peace and safety of urban Salisbury, a thriving business centre, sprawling as it does in a parkland of tree-lined avenues, the Sun City of the Dark Continent, not yet infected terminally with modern society's cancerous death wish to erect monumental edifices of concrete which obliterate sun, light and air and pollutes both body and soul. It is still a garden city of exotic trees, flowers and shrubs, well-cared-for lawns, regularly sprinkled, trimmed and tended almost lovingly. Snobbishly Victorian, more English than the English in an endearing, nicely old-fashioned way.

The sun was setting like a giant flame-red orb as we took off from Tilbury, giving the impression that the encircling pine forest was on fire. Indescribably beautiful and hauntingly menacing. Travelling from Melsetter to the airstrip in the Kudu, we stood up one by one to take in the breathtaking beauty of it all, ignoring the protected slit side windows which restrict vision for the opportunity of enjoying a panoramic view. "Get your head down," a shouted warning came from inside the vehicle. "You're asking to get it shot off." It came like a dash of cold water ... back to reality.

The sky was darkening quickly now as it does in this part of the world. Sunset is lovely but brief and the cloak of night can be disturbingly claustrophobic, particularly in a light aircraft speeding into a seemingly black void. There was little conversation. All were pre-occupied with their own private thoughts, and fears. It had been a long day of hard talking. I could still mentally see that blackboard and map, pockmarked by the statistics of terror; the deeply-etched lines in the face of one farmer, black ridges in a sun-leathered profile which had experienced more than its share of anxiety; the pretty blonde who chatted birdlike, fluttering nervously from one topic to another, never quite making sense, never quite completing a sentence; her stress was disturbing, yet paradoxically her courage enduring.

It reminded me of the words of Lord Moran, who was Sir Winston Churchill's physician for more than a quarter of a century. He wrote so touchingly and sadly about courage in the trenches of Europe in the Great War: "Courage is a moral quality: it is not a chance gift of nature like an aptitude for games. It is a cold choice between two alternatives, the fixed resolve not to quit; an act of renunciation which must be made not once but many times by the power of will. Courage is willpower ... A man's courage is his capital and he is always spending. The call on the bank may be only the daily drain of the frontline or it may be a sudden draft which threatens to close the account. His will is perhaps almost destroyed by intense shelling, by heavy bombing or by bloody battle, or it is gradually used up by monotony, by exposure, by loss of support of stauncher spirits on whom he has come to depend, by physical exhaustion, by a wrong attitude to danger, its casualities, the war, to death itself."

He well understood the anatomy of courage, like the Rhodesian farmer, caught up in a political scenario that has defied the understanding of skilled diplomats and academics — a scenario which threatens to engulf Southern and Central Africa with appalling consequences for all its peoples.

Lord Moran's words are a fitting anthem to this country's farmers. Their courage and determination are being severely tried as many valiantly fight to stave off the threat of bankruptcy.

The supreme sacrifice...

WE would like to thank you so very much for your loving thoughts and prayers. All the wonderful letters, cards and telegrams have helped to ease our own personal desolation knowing so many friends share our sorrow so sincerely. We thank God for the wonderful years of being able to know our lovable carefree Dougie, who only saw the good side in people and everything around him, we love him so much. We have complete faith that his life continues with God in some plane beyond our comprehension. If we falter because of sudden close memories then we take courage by the words we found in Dougie's diary, which was sent back to us from the bush; "never look back in anger, nor forward in fear, but around you in awareness". We will try and follow this credo.

Let us hope and pray that all the sacrifices made by so many for this wonderful country will not have been in vain. We know Dougie's going was quick, and altho' he was doing what was foreign to his nature, he sincerely believed it was vital to fight on for his family, friends and country.'

Chapter Three

  Tougher nut to  crack

THE Eastern Highlands shelters the villages of Melsetter, Cashel, Chipinga and Inyanga and is at this time under acute pressure. The impressive tea plantations are healthy financially; the coffee estates benefiting from high world coffee prices which allows growers to employ additional security systems and guards. It's the only way to keep on farming. Forestry workers still cut timber in the hills but only because they, too, are heavily guarded.

For each farm occupied, many more are deserted. Last year, of 1 090 farms in the Eastern Districts, 30 per cent were empty. Of this 70 per cent had no resident farmer on the property although limited farming operations were still being carried on. Abandoned farms in the district covered an area of 141 000 hectares which was reverting to bush at an alarming rate and giving ground to the terrorists. This year 70 per cent of farms in the district are not occupied.

Terrorism alone is not to blame. Many of the abandoned farms were low in profitability producing as they did horticultural produce some of which was sold in Mocambique. That market stopped with the closure of the Mocambique-Rhodesia border in 1974. This, combined with the upsurge in terrorist activity, labour intimidation, and continued political uncertainty, forced some farmers out. A similar pattern can be traced in other areas where commercial farms border the terrorist infested Tribal Trust Lands (TTLs). Farmers have left because of a combination of terrorism, political uncertainty and economics.

If Melsetter, Chipinga and Cashel are areas where many farms remain vacant, the Concession, Centenary, Umvukwes, Bindura and Shamva districts in Mashonaland are symbols of resistance and most farms are occupied. They are also high viability areas, though the security situation, particularly up to and after the April general elections, worsened.

Concession is a picturesque village between the Mazoe Valley and Bindura. A farming infant, it was born in 1914 following the establishment of the railway from Mount Hampden outside Salisbury. According to one legend, a famous witch once lived on a hill some four kilometres from the railway station. Local tradition named her "Manda" and the village as Amandas. She is reputed to have been hanged by a group of tribesmen who claimed she had misled them. Before her death she prophesied that her spirit would return, and shortly afterwards a large swarm of bees took up residence in the cave where she lived. Today, the Security Forces hunt terrorists in this cave.

Concession is also the administrative centre of the rich Mazoe District. Gold and chrome are the main mining industries. Originally, Concession was a prospecting town though little gold was discovered in the early days. It was not long, however, 'before the agricultural potential of the area was realised. Rich soils, good rains and easy access to the markets of Salisbury, Bindura and Shamva. The region has been called the "maize bowl" of Rhodesia, though a number of other important crops thrive there, particularly tobacco and cotton.

The Concession area is also rapidly becoming a terrorist target because of the high occupancy of farms. Where established farmers have left, their places have been taken by younger men who possess farming experience. It is one of the richest agricultural parts of the country and the mainly black Malawian and Mocambican farm labour force is making terrorist infiltration into the neighbouring Tribal Trust Lands and villages that much harder.

The Centenary, Sipolilo, Mount Darwin "triangle" have fought off terrorist attacks since 1972 from both so-called liberation movements — Nkomo's ZAPU and Mugabe's ZANU, whose military wings are, respectively, ZPRA and ZANLA. Of the 14 000 war deaths recorded at the end of March, 5 500 were civilians, the majority black, and 1 000 members of the Security Forces which are composed approximately 80 per cent black volunteers and 20 per cent white with the present command structure coming from the ranks of the whites. In March, the Security Forces experienced their most successful single month since 1972—428 terrorists and 100 collaborators killed inside the country. Twenty-nine members of the Security Forces died.

Up to the end of July total war deaths inside the country had reached 17 117. These include 8 900 terrorists, 6 694 black civilians, 430 white civilians and 1 028 members of the Security Forces.

Today's farmer is as much a soldier as anything else, but whereas the regular troopie takes his well-earned leave in the comparatively safe cities and towns, the farmer returns home after a stint in the "sticks" to his farm which in all probability is in a hot war zone. He and his family live and work with the war 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with little or no respite. They have adapted to it. It is wearing and wearying. But they are not surrendering.

From the air the country's commercial farms look like those in many other parts of the world, deceptively peaceful vistas of green meadows, running streams, grazing cattle and hectares of healthy, well-managed crops. On the ground there is again a return to ugly reality.

Kilometres of high chain-link security fencing encircle farm homesteads, living quarters of the labour force, workshops and barns. They are locked at night and opened again the next morning, a necessity to protect the lives of all — the farmer and his family and his employees and their families.

On a growing number of farms black militia squads are deployed as additional guards and reaction forces in the event of attack. They are usually farmhands who have received semi-military training from the British South African Police. These squads have attained a high degree of success in apprehending stockthieves and recovering stolen cattle which are being "hived-off" ranches at the staggering rate of approximately 1 500 a week, particularly in the extensive ranching areas of Matabeleland and Victoria Province which are difficult to police because of the large hectarages involved in running cattle.

No farmer walks outside the perimeter of his security fence unless he is heavily armed and no-one travels on any road at night unless he is on essential military duties, and only then in mine and ambush-protected vehicles mounted with machine guns and cannons, which have largely replaced the farmer's status symbol, the Mercedes Benz.

They are all locally-created, locally designed, usually converted Land-Rovers, although almost any vehicle with sufficient engine power can be adapted to wear the specially-designed armour plating and heavy mine-proofed steel, roll bars and bullet-proof glass.

For the "enthusiast" there is a wide range of weaponry, again all locally-made, to give these vehicles instant fire power. In an attack the driver presses an electric switch conveniently situated on the dashboard to explode up to 36 cannons in a three-hundred-and-sixty degree fusilade, or fire machine guns and grenades mounted on the roof. It is claimed that this kind of instant and massive retaliation has aborted many a terrorist ambush and is a real deterrent against attacks. Terrorists go for "soft targets".

In many of the sensitive commercial farming areas — and these now cover the majority of farms — homesteads have taken on the appearance of fortresses containing their own arsenal of arms that would not discredit military establishments elsewhere in the world. The chain-link security fences are usually wired to alarms designed to indicate exactly what sector of the fence has been interfered with or breached. In addition some are fitted with highly sensitive microphones to identify and pinpoint potentially hostile sounds from long distances — footsteps on gravel, movement through grass — and monitor these through a receiver installed near the farmer's bed. Alerted, the farmer can at the press of a button, switch on blinding searchlights or phosphorus flares strategically placed in the garden, and fire sets of grenades usually concealed in the bush outside his security fence. Again instant and massive retaliation has beaten off many attacks.

Before the war it was open house down on the farm. Rarely were windows or doors locked or even closed at night. The farmer and his family would go to town leaving their home open to friends and visitors who might drop in. Hospitably, there were usually cold beers in the fridge and plenty to eat in the deep freeze. It was a friendly, outgoing, trusting society. But not today.

In the early days of the war, protection was elementary, or even non-existent ("It won't happen to us" was the attitude) and sandbagged walls to protect windows, doors and other vulnerable parts of the building was thought to be sufficient. Bitter experience disproved this, and now many of the protective measures employed are highly sophisticated and almost impregnable.

Sandbags have been discarded and permanent, specially strengthened outer walls encircle many homesteads. These not only screen the house but provide space for bunkers and firing positions. Every farmhouse has a safe area which has no windows or doors opening to the outside and must be easily accessible from the sleeping quarters. Some of these are mini "forts" within the farm fortress, built of extra strong quarry stone, elevated to give a good all-round defensive view, equipped with arms, ammunition, radio communications, emergency lighting, food stocks and sealed from the rest of the house by armour-plated and fire-proof steel doors.

Variations on the theme of homestead defences, both simple and sophisticated, are many. The "soft target" is now a tougher nut to crack.

Chapter Four

  Pioneering spirit lives  on

AUSTRALIAN-BORN Peter Storrer is a pioneer farmer in the Inyanga area which lies north of Umtali and close to the Mocambique border. It is lovely countryside with its fruit orchards, trout streams, purple green hills and picture postcard valleys rich in pastures.

Like many other areas along the Mocambique border it is a prime target for terrorist raiders, hit-and-run gangs who lay landmines, attack farms and force farm workers to quit their homes and jobs and flee to the Tribal Trust Lands.

It was a favourite tourist resort, but only the hardy few now brave the war hazards to fish, golf, pony trek or just drink-in the crisp Inyanga air which has a champagne clarity of its own reminiscent, perhaps, of the Scottish Highlands.

Therapeutic, they say.

Because of the nature of the Inyanga climate, the area is a major producer of potatoes and seed potatoes, two crops in which Peter Storrer specialises. He is chairman of the Seed Producers' Association and chairman of a strong growers' co-operative, two farmer-owned organisations mainly responsible for developing a sophisticated — and profitable — producing and marketing industry which in the early days was somewhat chaotic. Life there at present is tough. As Peter Storrer admits in his annual report to growers: "I think I can say without contradiction that we have now had our most difficult year of all time. All growers have had to contend with security duties and the disruption of their farming programmes. The Grade 'AA' growers at Inyanga, and some Grade 'A' growers also, have been in the frontline, producing a crop under war conditions, resulting in three of our growers being forced off their farms.

"This left only three Grade 'AA' growers, who have had to contend with their trained employees and drivers being abducted and deserting after terrorist attacks. Their homes have been attacked and damaged, and farm buildings and vehicles damaged by rockets, mortars and small arms.

"In one incident, a lorry taking labour to a farm detonated a mine, causing serious injuries to the workers. Nevertheless, in spite of farming under such conditions, growers succeeded in producing a good crop and were able to save about half of the foundation seed for the future. One of our Grade 'A' growers, farming under similar conditions, has had his homestead attacked many times and has lost the major part of his beef herd."

Peter and his wife Jane have farmed at Barwon Downs for more than 20 years and they intend to continue farming there. When they moved on to Barwon Downs it was just virgin bush. Today, it is a highly productive farming unit, a salute to ingenuity, hard work and farming skill.

Their pride is an exceptionally fine double-storey homestead which they designed and built themselves while they lived in a Nissan hut made of iron and corrugated steel. This is still in use today as a small-time but busy factory in Jane's charge, turning out high quality wool products from the farm's large Corriedale sheep flock.

The Storrers have been attacked twice by terrorists on the farm in the last 12 months. The second attack, in February, virtually destroyed the upper storey of their home and scared off their entire workforce, most of them, Peter believes, permanently.

The first at Christmas last year was beaten off by the Storrers, their twin daughters, aged 20, and their boyfriends who were both armed. The youngest Storrer, aged 10, loaded fresh magazines for his father's rifle. It was a sharp, but short, shoot-out which ended when the terror gang fled.

In February, Peter and Jane were alone. Jane was standing on the stairs when a terrorist 82 mm mortar penetrated the roof, exploding in the upstairs rooms. Fortunately, Jane was unharmed, which her husband believes is nothing short of miraculous. That night Peter, helped by Jane, fired more than 400 rounds back at the terrorists, before they withdrew.

The morning brought no relief for the Storrers. Their entire workforce, some of whom had worked for Peter and Jane for more than 20 years, had fled. Their cook, who had served the family for 14 years and watched the children grow up, had also disappeared. For the next three weeks Peter and Jane ran the farm themselves while friends in Salisbury and elsewhere tried to recruit new farm workers.

A lighthearted story to come out of all this is how the Storrers acquired their new cook. One of the twins phoned home from Salisbury saying she had interviewed a cook, told him how to reach the farm and had given him $8 travelling money. When they heard this, her parents merely smiled and shook their heads. It was unlikely they would see the cook or the $8 again.

He was an old man and had been told the farm was in a dangerous area. Three days later he turned up for his job after travelling by train, bus and on foot. He is still there, as are the new workers employed after the second attack.

The Storrers, like many other farming families who have suffered losses in the war, take the rough with the smooth. They have been "camping out" in the downstairs rooms of their damaged home for the past four months. They will not be able to repair the upstairs until they are paid compensation to meet the bill. They are naturally concerned at the delay in payment, delays which have vexed and angered other farmers who have been attacked and had property and equipment destroyed. They claim that failure to make prompt payments is a blow to morale and confidence.

What does upset the Storrers more than anything else, however, is the persistent rumours that they are planning to leave, or have left. "If I've heard this story once, I've heard it a dozen times," says Peter. "The house is damaged, but has not been gutted and abandoned. Once we get the money it will be repaired. Until then we are camping out in the downstairs rooms ... I can't say it often enough. We intend to stay."

Jennifer is a farmer's wife, a London-born brunette who left her homeland "too many years ago," she admitted, to marry a Rhodesian bush-basher, a local phrase for young men going farming for the first time after demobilisation in World War II. Their capital was usually one "demob" suit, a couple of sets of underwear, a small military gratuity (often described as a "bribe" to get out of thankful Britain with her then growing queues of jobless), youth, and a spirit of adventure.

Their greatest asset was to be that sheer spirit of adventure, for there were extremely few established farms up for sale and even fewer wealthy fathers prepared to stake their sons on expensive land at abortive prices. Particularly when father and father's bank manager acknowledged over a scotch or two at the club that however well young Johnny piloted Spitfires, commanded Churchill tanks, or overran the enemy lines to win a DSO and bar, he would make one godawful farmer.

Therefore, the boys back from the war took to the bush, miserably under-financed by a British-Rhodesian farmer settler scheme for ex-servicemen which provided but rarely for even their most basic needs. They didn't complain even though their farms were virgin bush which is a nice way of describing thornbush, scrub and rock outcrops that even wildlife shunned for better pastures.

They took to the bush with their young wives, often with babies in arms, to live and sleep under the shelter of trees, in tents or wood and straw huts, until they had cleared the land, planted and sold their first crop or got the first of their stock to market. Only then could consideration be given to the rather menial task of building a proper homestead equipped with such luxuries as brick walls to replace sacking, a genuine thatched roof that actually kept out wind and rain, a bathroom with bath and running water, hot and cold. No more plunging into an icy stream with all its imagined creepy crawlers or washing in the mud-brown water of a newly-dug well.

Today, many of those post-war "pioneers" are prosperous farmers. Many more, however, were forced off the land, not by terrorists, but by the hard realities of economics. They went bankrupt. Their story of courage and determination, successes and failures, is only parallelled by that of the 1890 trekkers and their womenfolk for without the steadfastness of farming wives there would be no farming.

In Jennifer's modern kitchen, equipped with most of the latest gadgets bought on holiday trips to South Africa and abroad, there is an old, dilapidated kerosene stove. "When Bill, my husband, built the kitchen he wanted to throw out that stove. I told him, 'No, don't, leave it where it is'. That was my first stove and I wanted it kept in the kitchen to remind me what we had when we arrived on the farm. Nothing.

"We all grumble at times, particularly farmers' wives. With the war on, we've got a lot to grumble about, but we have also got a lot to be thankful about, thankful to be alive in this lovely country, thankful that our families are alive and well, thankful for our husbands ... and thankful for the land. Whenever I feel down I look at that stove just to remind me of far tougher days when we had nothing," said Jennifer.

She's typical of many farming wives. Although well into her forties, she could pass for thirty-six. "There's no time to worry about age," she remarked. "There's not enough hours in a day to get through half the chores around the farm." Like most wives she's housewife-cum-farmer when her husband's away on his stint. "At first I worried like hell... I was going to pieces fast. Although I looked after the farm bookkeeping and ran the store, I had no idea of planting crops, fertilising and reaping. Bill did all that. Then came the terrs and Bill was frequently called out off the farm and into other districts. I had to learn fast."

And she did, reading up anything and everything and taking a course on tobacco management specially run by the Rhodesia Tobacco Association for farming "widows". "No, I don't worry about the situation which in our part of the country has worsened. Not a day goes by unless there are reports of local farmers being shot at, ambushed or hitting landmines. It's every day now, but we haven't been hit ... yet.

"They murdered our next door neighbour some weeks back. She was an elderly lady living on her own. She'd never harmed anyone in her life. They just went into the homestead and shot her dead. That kind of happening literally on our doorstep is shocking, it's frightening. But we've adapted, we're living with it. We've got to. Other farmers have been hit over and over again, and they're sticking it out. No we've got no intention of walking away from this.

"Look, only the other day our suppliers phoned the farm to tell me they couldn't deliver the seed we had ordered because there were no police escorts available, and they couldn't say when they would be able to deliver. Now you can't farm without seed and you just can't hang around waiting.

"Bill was away, so I said 'to hell with this', jumped in the truck and drove to town some 50 kilometres along dirt roads, collected the seed and drove back the same day. Yes, I was scared particularly along one stretch which winds up and down hilly country. Terrorists had set up a number of ambushes there, but no-one has been killed. I kept thinking to myself, there'll be an ambush around the next corner. I tell you, I kept seeing terrs in the bush.

"I know it was silly of me, a stupid and dangerous thing to do. I didn't dare tell Bill .. . he'd have killed me. He wouldn't have waited for the terrorists to do it. He'd be furious. But that's life."

And Jennifer, like thousands of other farming wives, is making life possible down on the farm. They are the heroines in this conflict.

James is six years old and his brother Mark, four. They're two white farm children, who have never known anything but the war, living behind security fences, protected by guns and grenades, riding in protected vehicles; their parents always alert. Will they, I wonder, have the same vivid memories of the Rhodesian confrontation as I still have of World War II in Britain ... wailing sirens, exploding bombs and that scurry into London's underground concrete bunkers?

Their parents inherited a 4 000-hectare farm shortly after they married. They have only known farming and military life. He was 15 years old when UDI was declared in 1965 and she a mere 12-year-old.

Their sons are a delight to talk to, James a first-class horse rider, and Mark doing his best to emulate his brother. In my young days we played war games, the British versus the Germans, the prerequisite for recruitment to the winning side being ownership of a pair of gum boots, or Wellington boots, as we called them. In Rhodesia children are still playing war games but by a different name. Here it is the troopies versus the terrs, or the Selous Scouts versus Charlie Tango. The war games are the same, only the names change, and these children can fire the real thing, too.

Like their parents, farming children are conservatively cautious generally, and openly hostile to writers and journalists. Not without good cause. They're wary of the glib, fast-talking stranger, though when they warm to you they are generous, out-going and articulate, weighing their words carefully but expressing themselves clearly and firmly. Sons follow their fathers and James and Mark were no exception.

I walked with them around the farm suitably impressed by their pets of ponies, ducks, chickens, cats and dogs, and only putting questions after admiring their miniature "zoo".

"Have you always lived on this farm, James?" I asked.
"Most of the time. I was born in Salisbury but I've always lived here."
"What do you do during the day? You don't go to school, do you?"
"My Mom teaches me. Sometimes we learn our lessons before breakfast. Things like sums and reading. I learn lots of things."
"Is it just you or lots of other little boys?"
"Nobody. It's just me and my brother. But he can't read and he can't ride properly, either."
"When do you think you will go to a proper school?"
"Don't know."
"If you can't go to the local school because of the war you might have to go to Salisbury to a boarding school. Would you like to go to a boarding school?"
"If I went away I'd be a boarder. I'd come back to the farm for my holidays."
"When you've done your lessons what else do you do? I hear you're a very good horse rider."
"Yes, I am."
"What sort of games do you play?"
"Terrs, sometimes."
"How do you play terrorists?"
"With guns."
"Like cowboys and Indians?"
"How do you play it?"
"With guns. Some people have to count to 20 and while the terrs go away you have to pretend."
"What do you prefer to be? An army man or a terrorist?"
"A terrorist."
"Because we like to shoot everybody in the whole stick."
"Your daddy was telling me that you have fired all kinds of guns. Are they real guns?"
"What do you fire them at?"
"Targets. Targets and trees sometimes. I have shot an AK. I've shot real guns. MAGS and an FN."
"Are you strong enough to hold an FN?"
"Yes, but I'm not strong enough to hold a Bren gun, yet. But I can carry a MAG."
"Have you ever seen a terrorist?"
"On TV."
"What would you do if you saw a terrorist on the farm?"
"Shoot him."
"With a real gun?"
"Have you ever seen a Selous Scout?"
"I've seen them at fetes and they're real ones. Not in pictures ... real ones."
"How can you tell a Selous Scout?"
"Because they've got coloured hats."
"And they wear beards don't they?"
"Sometimes they do. Do you know SAS? They have grey caps on them."
"If the war is on when you're a big boy, what would you like to be?"
"Not a Selous Scout?"
"No. SAS."
"Mark, you don't go to school yet, do you?"
"I play. Sometimes I play and sometimes I go to a play group."
"Are you going to learn to ride a horse yet? I heard your brother was a good rider when he was four and you're four now, aren't you?"
"Sometimes we can trot and we go too fast."
"What about friends. Are there any little boys around here of your age?"
"Yes. From the farms."
"What do you play with them?"
"Everybody seems to be a terr around here. What would you like to be? An army man or a terrorist?"
"An army man. Then I can shoot my brother."

Unlike James and Mark, Sue, an attractive 19-year-old brunette, remembers a different Rhodesia and a different life on the farm, long gone days before the fences went up, when the only shooting was for the pot, and rarely was a door or window locked. She is reading English at Cape Town University.

"Imagine 'Gone with the Wind' before the American Civil War and you have a picture of our Shamva farm before the terrorist war. It was a delight. I remember it so clearly. There were always animals around the house, getting into this and that. Always carefree, smiling faces, although there were worrying times when the crops failed because of drought, or it rained too much. But as a child you don't understand these kind of pressures. Everything then, to me, was rosy and the sun was always shining. My particular favourites were the lambs, abandoned lambs which I would bring up as pets. Uncle George, who ran the farm with the help of a manager, never seemed to mind how many I adopted."

Sue was five years of age when UDI was declared and she believes Ian Smith, seen by some as the architect of Rhodesia's greatness and by others as creator of many of its woes, is a "truly great man who made some mistakes".

"Uncle George would allow us to do what we liked. There was the river where we would play hop-rocks, a version of hop-scotch, hide-and-seek, 'touch' and all that. There were always African women and children washing clothes, or bathing. At first they would be distant, holding us in a kind of awe. But after a while the children would come up and say, 'hello, hello, hello'. We'd say 'hello, hello, hello' back and they'd come and play. There was a lovely feeling of comradeship, of everyone being the same, which of course we weren't. In fact we lived worlds apart. But in a child's world there's no black and white, racial differences, or discrimination, background, positions ... I'm the boss's daughter, and you're the labourer's son, kind of thing. We were all the same. The more the African children got to know you, the more their confidence would grow.

"Sometimes, they would come and sit on the balcony of the farmhouse and we'd chat away, or sing or play touch. Other times we'd go to the compound to listen to their singing, sit around and eat sadza (maize meal) and gravy. There would be singing and dancing to the accompaniment of the drums. The drums, you know, can be quite frightening, particularly at night when you're alone in your room. Yes, I used to be frightened of the farm sounds at night, but I was never afraid of the Africans. There was the farm's foreman, who used to invite my cousin and myself to tea at his house. His wife would make tea and sadza and he would play us his newest records. Our parents never objected to this, there was nothing to object to. Those were the good days."

Today the main family homestead lies derelict, abandoned like so many others; once filled with happy people, the rooms are now empty. The only reminder of its inhabitants are fading family pictures of college days and school groups, weddings and babies, gathering dust on the cold mantlepiece and walls peeling their plaster.

"When I returned earlier this year, you know what it was like? It was so lifeless. There wasn't anybody around. When I saw the house and the pictures of my family, I must admit, I really felt like weeping. How it had all changed. It was such a change from what I expected. You know everything was so friendly beforehand. The atmosphere now is so tense. I felt that the farm was devoid of all human emotion. All the furniture in the house had gone.

"In the winter nights we'd all sit in the lounge by the fire. We'd sit and play the old gramophone, the type that you wind up, and my father would sing. He often used to tell us stories about how wild it was on the farm and how leopards used to roam around.

"We would climb the kopje and explore the caves and look for beads and broken pots, and the bats would fly around. It was all so exciting.

"And when I went back ... it was horrible. You couldn't do anything that you used to do. Those men with guns and the burnt-out huts and all the Africans looked so frightened. Some of them who knew me before wouldn't greet me for some reason. We couldn't even walk around. We had to go in a vehicle.

"In the space of a few years the whole life here has been turned upsidedown. It's so different now. There were two old farmhands who remembered me when I was a little girl and they always used to have great respect for the family. They sort of said 'hello' but they weren't very friendly.

"Yes, I'd love to return and live in Rhodesia. It's my country, my home. I'd love to be a farmer's wife, but I don't think it will ever be the same again."

Chapter Five

They pray for peace

FORMER president of the RNFU, John Strong, was the recipient of this year's Farming Oscar, an annual award presented for outstanding service to agriculture.

When he was told the award would be made to him, he was immensely proud and surprised — but his immediate reaction was that there was someone — or rather a group of people — more worthy of the Farming Oscar ... farmers' wives.

John Strong realised he would be overseas at the time of the presentation of the Oscar, so it was an ideal opportunity for his wife Margaret to receive the award — not only on his behalf but on the behalf of every farmer's wife, both black and white, in Zimbabwe Rhodesia today. She talks movingly of the changes the war had brought to farming wives ... changes that crept up on them so gradually that they are now an accepted part of their way of life.

"First came the fences round our homes. An awful eyesore we felt they would be but who, today, would be without their fence. They give a limit to our gardens which in the past have tended to encroach upon our husbands' farming lands. They are an ideal way of restraining our dogs from hunting; a maxi playpen for small children and a better support for sweetpeas has yet to be devised.

After the fences came the grenade screens on the windows. A perfect excuse for not cleaning the windows — our house staff love them.

The next step was the protective walls around our beds. They may cut out the view but are marvellous for hanging photographs and the endless posters with which our children surround themselves.

The final stage is wearing a gunbelt round the waist. A great posture aid — it really makes you hold your 'turn' in.

Community spirit in every area has benefited enormously by the sharing of common security problems. Today people are drawn closer together than ever before and in so doing are strengthened by their mutual dependence upon each other. In our area we have Val who gives the most intensely practical and often blood-curdling first aid lectures. June who has the unenviable task of arranging the radio duty roster to suit everyone. Helen who does so much valuable admin. work for the police and Mary who was instrumental in raising funds to build the Women Field Reservists' house and that essential building, the pub, at the police camp.

The war has given us a completely new vocabulary — I don't only mean the language we overhear on police radio duty although our member-in-charge has a particularly descriptive vocabulary. We now refer knowledgeably to sitreps and sunrays, codeword and comms., Roger and relay, Praws and paras, and have learnt such delightful terms as 'Hayburners' — used to describe the mounted PATU sticks.

Every area has its own special people and in our area I would like to tell you about Barbara. Apart from a saga of family problems and sickness, they have had six landmines on their farms, four homestead attacks, tobacco burnt, maize burnt, maize stolen and a seedbed pump blown up. When John visited them recently in his capacity as ACC chairman to discuss their future plans, Barbara was as adamant as her husband in their determination to stick it out. A real example and inspiration to us all.

The role of the farmer's wife has changed completely since the start of the war. Most farmers' wives used to consider themselves busy running the home, seeing to the children, arranging the flowers and fitting in time for tennis and bridge parties. Looking back on those halcyon days, however did we fill in our time? Today farmers' wives can turn their hand to every aspect of farming while their husbands are on call-up. Mostly we've learnt by trial and error but the fact that we are still in business doesn't speak too badly for our efforts. An added closeness has developed in our marriage because of this sharing of responsibilities. Sometimes, however, it can lead to problems. I remember one farmer's wife telling me how she resented her husband coming home and interfering with her grading shed.

If you were to ask any farmer's wife what is the greatest burden she has to bear in this war, she will tell you without hesitation that it is the burden of worry. Not the worry about the day-to-day running of the farm but worry about the safety of her loved ones — not only in the bush but on the roads, on the farms and even in the home, that ever-present anxiety is never far from the forefront of her mind.

We pray with all our hearts that this war will soon end and with it an end to all the suffering and bloodshed. In many cases we will face the future with a great burden of sadness but surely each and every one of us will have been strengthened and even enriched by what we have endured ..."

John Strong's message of thanks, read by his wife, was equally touching: "I recognise that there is no higher honour that the Union can award than the Farming Oscar. Its bestowal is a very singular act of recognition.

My immediate reaction was a tremendous feeling of humility and inadequacy — and a knowledge that there was someone who was far more deserving. This grew to a certainty that those who deserved this highest award this year were farmers' wives — all farmers' wives.

The fact that I cannot be present and that Margaret will accept this Oscar is not only especially gratifying to me and my family in recognition of the part she herself has played, but emphasises the vital importance of the family unit.

Let her be the personification of my reason for accepting this high honour. Let it be seen as a symbolic gesture of dedication to all farmers' wives of this Farming Oscar.

And so I dedicate it to all those wives and mothers who have lost their loved ones. I dedicate it to all those wives whose calm voices over Agric Alert during appalling attacks on their homes have inspired their friends and neighbours.

I dedicate it to all our black compatriots, those wives and mothers who have been forced to witness the brutalities and obscenities of terrorism before their eyes. Above all, I dedicate it to all those wives who have carried on their normal lives, maintaining a sanity in our world, whose courage, compassion and resilience is the very fibre of our nation.

To all our wives I pay my homage and I salute them."

Chapter Six

The new breed

THERE is a new breed of farmer emerging, battle-hardened younger men. Men like 29-year-old Rhodesian-born Don, who has spent 10 years in the Security Forces and who now manages a 5 000 hectare estate which produces tobacco and maize and runs a large cattle herd. The farm is mere stone's throw from a sprawling Tribal Trust Land in the Beatrice District. Terrorists are active, attacking farms, labour compounds, destroying crops, stealing cattle, ambushing farmers on the land and on farm roads and laying landmines, which are the most indiscriminate killer in this war, and the most feared.

The toll among farmers is disconcertingly high despite the tight security network which blankets this prosperous district. It is obvious the external terrorist movements are making their largest yet assault on the commercial farms.

The farming community there are anxious but not dispirited for they are now stronger militarily than at any time during the last seven years of terrorism. Farm attacks are stepped up, but most are beaten off. Militia guards are making it more difficult to hit homesteads, destroy equipment and crops; hundreds of head of stolen cattle are being recovered and better equipment is more efficiently detecting landmines.

Farmers in the Beatrice area, indeed in areas throughout the country, are now able to react in force to terrorist attacks, ambush or to reports of terrorist presence. This is due mainly to the setting up of Area Co-ordinating Committees which are "self-help" community units comprising local farmers, police and military. These have been formed under the umbrella of a national co-ordinating body representative of organised farming, government and the military. The initiative, the brainchild of the RNFU and the Ministry of Agriculture, has won the enthusiastic support of government, military, commerce and industry, who together with farmers, are providing the necessary finance to ensure the "frontline" holds. It is costing millions of dollars in equipment, arms, ammunition, and manpower but there is only one regret among farmers ... "pity these fighting committees were not set up six to seven years ago."

Don is married to an attractive blonde, and they have a three-year-old daughter. He commands the estate's reaction force and has a separate military commitment which takes him away from his farm, though every effort is made by Combined Operations to limit the time active farmers are pulled out of their own areas to serve elsewhere.

By and large this is working. It hasn't always been so. In the early days of the war farmers were taken off their land and transported hundreds of kilometres to the other side of the country to guard other people's farms. There is the story of one Salisbury farmer who was ordered to a farm outside Bulawayo to guard a family while the husband was away on military duty. He arrived there only to find that the Bulawayo farmer had been sent to Salisbury to guard his wife and family.

I met Don on his farm early one Saturday morning. But there was no time for talk. A team of black militia, who double up as stock men, had spotted terrorist tracks on the outskirts of the farm. Don was too busy giving instructions to bother about me. He had already radioed the local police headquarters and a PATU stick (Police Anti Terrorist Unit) was on its way. They arrived 30 minutes later, bearded young men, no older I guessed, than 20 to 22 yet they carried themselves with the assurance of combat veterans.

That day the PATU stick, Don, his assistant Trevor, aged 21 (who had served for three years in the crack regiment, The Rhodesia Light Infantry) and six militia, tracked the terrorists for 25 kilometres before losing their spoor close to a farm run by one of the country's leading cattle men, and late that afternoon when Don radioed in that he was ready to be picked up, I went along for the ride.

Don and Trevor had pulled back their militia trackers to the farmhouse just before sunset for after that there was little possibility of picking up the tracks again ... not that day anyway.

"I reckon they've moved into your compound, I heard Don tell the farmer. "That's unlikely, Don," he replied. "I've got a pretty loyal labour force. You know, they've been with me for years."

We knew they were heading away from us. Tragically, that farmer was not to know how close they were to him. He and his 16-year-old son died in an ambush near his farm exactly eight days later.

We drove back to Don's farm in silence. They were both whacked out. After an early dinner, they chatted briefly about the next day's chores and before taking themselves off to bed, they radioed neighbouring farmers to tell them the terrs had been tracked but not contacted.

"We are losing too many good men, leaders of agriculture who cannot be replaced," commented RNFU president Denis Norman when he was told of the two deaths. The element of surprise is still with the terrorist, however well farmers arm and protect themselves ... hit and run.

Don is typical of the new breed of young farmer. Tired of the military he applied for the job as farm manager through an advertisement in the local newspaper. He was the lucky one of dozens of aspiring farmers who applied, again mostly young ex-servicemen willing to risk themselves and their young families for a stake in the land.

Don, his wife and young daughter live in a spacious colonial type house which comes with the job. If he stays on in Zimbabwe Rhodesia, and he intends to, he will probably own his own farm one day. The house is surrounded by a high diamond mesh fence and there are grenades placed around the garden. These can be detonated from inside the safe area of the house. He is never without his FN automatic by day, and at night it lies next to him.

Discussing terrorist ambush tactics, Don said, "They know what they are doing, the bastards. They have had contacts in the area. Usually, they pressure foremen or headmen. They also get their information through the mujibas ... they are the eyes and ears of the terrs. They are sometimes only 12-year-olds but they know everything. I don't know what the word mujibas means in Shona, but I believe it's messenger or something like that."

Don was promised six months leave by the military to settle in on the farm. He got it, but only just and since then he has been half soldier, half farmer, like young Trevor, a top tracker, and most other farmers of their age group. "It's in and out of the army all the time. It makes life extremely difficult for every farmer. Maybe impossible. I mean, how can you track terrs all day and then return and try to farm. You can't... it's almost impossible."

But Don and his wife, who comes from a farming family, have no regrets. "I said I wanted to go farming and she just shrugged her shoulders and replied 'Okay, let's go.' And here we are ... and here we intend to stay."

They have stayed 18 months now. "It was quiet at first, but I told myself right from the start, 'Well, it's going to happen, here'. And it has. A terrorist presence was first reported in mid-December but we couldn't catch them. Then on Christmas Eve they hit our farm store. The usual thing. They took food, soap, clothing and cigarettes and gutted the place. There was no booze in the store for them to take."

Don believes the gang that attacked his store were the same gang responsible for a number of attacks in the neighbouring African farming areas. There they murdered a headman, burned down kraals and closed the school. There were about 16 in the gang and in follow-up operations, Don's unit shot one. "He couldn't have been more than 16 or 17. He was wearing a Communist type uniform and was armed with Russian AK rifle ... just a kid really."

After the store attack Don and his wife tightened their security precautions. "Where I go, I carry my FN. My wife always carries a pistol. It's damned nuisance, but necessary if we're to stay alive. We used to love riding the motorbike around the farm. But not now. It's too dangerous. It's too vulnerable to an ambush."

Like most of the younger farmers, Don spends more time chasing Charlie Tangoes (Communist Terrorists, or CTs as they are called) off neighbouring farms and doing military stints away from home than is healthy for his farming operations.

Of course, farming suffers ... particularly tobacco which is a management intensive crop. You start to miss out on some of the essential supervision, and then things start to go wrong. You find yourself relying more and more on the labour, who are only semi-skilled, to do the jobs you should be doing yourself. Strange, isn't it? We are relying more and more on our labourers now than ever we did.. ."

Don, like all the farmers I talked to, is impressed by the Area Co-ordinating Committees. "At last we're getting things done the right way. It's a bloody shame ... there are areas which have collapsed because their defences were not organised, but where the farming community is getting together and co-operating on a self-help basis they are holding fast. They're getting things done ... they're co-ordinated. When attacked we've got to retaliate immediately, not 12 hours or a day later. We need to know right away who is available, how many trucks and guns there are ... how many horses. Horses are essential as the terrs 'gap' it through the bush a lot faster than we do."

But chasing terrs in only a part of the ACCs role. Where a farm has been hit and the farmer and his family injured, they take over his farming operation, milking his cows, tending his crops. It's all a part of a national campaign to keep the farmer on the land.

Don grinned. "We must be mad, you know. Take yesterday, for example. We're told there's a bunch of terrs in the area, probably not less than 16, maybe more. They're travelling now in gangs of 50 to 60. Half-a-dozen of us, armed with three automatics, a couple of shotguns and 303s, go haring through the bush after them. They're probably heavily armed with AKs, machine guns, rockets and possibly mortars. It's crazy."

Don, again like many of his contemporaries, acknowledges that the terrorists have the advantage in this war, that guns, rockets and mortars are not their only weapon. Equally effective in the terrorist campaign are intimidation and subversion of the local tribesmen.

"It's sheer hell for them .. . The terrs move into a kraal, round up the villagers, men, women and children, and preach a branch of politics that comes straight from Peking. Their gospel is 'hate the white man, the government, drive the farmer off the land .. and we'll give you his lovely farm'. It's all bull, of course. Even if terrs could hand over commercial farms to the tribal African, they couldn't possibly run them. They would be turned into dust bowls, like much of the TTLs, in a matter of months. And they would starve.

"The poor beggars can't object, some have and they've been culled. They literally chop them in pieces. It's happened. They approach the headman and talk to him. If he's sympathetic to the government, or says anything good about the European, he gets chopped, and his family with him. They 'take-out' local black officials, like council secretaries, gut the buildings, close down clinics and schools, and hive off the kids for terrorist training. They're bloody beasts. No-one blames the poor tribesman for attending their meetings, feeding them and singing Chimurenga freedom songs. I would, too, with an AK stuck in my back ...

"What would make me quit, you have asked? It wouldn't be the terrs. But if I was pushed off the land, then it would be to leave Rhodesia and Africa.

"No, it would not be any single act by the terrs that would drive me off the land. I reckon, I put in a hard day's work every day, sometimes 15 or 16 hours a day, and I expect to get a satisfactory reward. If this is not forthcoming then I'll be thinking of quitting, as will the rest of the farming industry. You just can't go on working your backside off, risking getting chopped by a terr bullet, or blown by a landmine, putting your family at risk and existing like a prisoner behind bars, caged in by security fencing, without fair recompense.

"Most farmers, I believe, feel like this. They are willing to give it a go ... to give the new government a chance. But if this country degenerates like Zambia, Angola and Mocambique, then, of course, we would quit... get to hell out of it. It's no good carrying on if life becomes intolerable as it has in other black states.

"No, we will not be driven off by the terrs . .. they're cowards, all mouth and no guts ... they knock off missionaries, women, children and babies . .. they won't stand up and fight it out against the military . .. it's all ambush and run, landmines ... hit the innocent . . . the unsuspecting . . . rape, murder and pillage. It's sickening. Yes, there is a small core of real guerillas . .. men who are well trained and who do take on the military . . . They've been indoctrinated . . . they're dedicated. Thank God they're few and far between.

"No, I don't believe the terrs will drive us off, not in this area anyway. Sure, you get scared... It's only natural. Yes, sometimes you feel like packing up. But where are you going to go. This is home. Sure, I'm worried about the wife and daughter ... if anything happened to them ... I just don't know what I would do ... probably go berserk.

"It's worse at night, you know. It's then you actually expect to be hit ... that waiting, listening ... almost hoping that something will happen and there's some action. It's then you ask yourself, 'is it worth it?' You almost convince yourself that nothing is worth this kind of life ... Then the sun comes up, a new day. It's then when you see that beautiful dawn, feel the early morning nip in the air, inspect the seedbeds, or just stand there in veld watching the cattle graze ... then you know every bloody terrifying minute is worth it. It's worth fighting for!

"We've learnt to live with it, we've adjusted. God only knows how, or why really. It's sheer madness in many ways. If you had told me before all this happened that today I would be living like this, armed to the teeth, locked behind fences, chasing terrs, checking farm roads for landmines, spending half my time in the army, I'd call you a bloody fool... I'd laugh you out. But here I am doing just that... must be sick in the head, or something.

"But it can't go on forever. No, we must stick it out because we've lost so much, so many men, women and children in this war. The new government must be given a chance to restore law and order, a chance to show us that we can go on farming in peace. Most farmers, I believe, think like this. If law and order, education and health go, and there is undue interference in our daily lives, as has happened elsewhere in Africa, . .. then I'd pull out .. . gap it ... to hell with it."

Kuni, a big man by any standards, a farmer of 1890 pioneer stock, stood outside his newly rented home in Umtali and gesticulated angrily at his surroundings. "I can't take this ... I've been living in town only a month and it's driving me crazy. Pointing to the majestic Vumba Mountains, he said: "Up there in the veld you're a man. Here in town, I feel like a caged animal." Kuni is one farmer who has left his land in the Eastern District.

Ironically, terrorists dubbed him "Comrade" Kuni in warning letters they sent to him on his farm. They would be pinned to a fence or delivered by an old African employee. I saw half a dozen of the notes, some surprisingly well written. Some asked for food and money, others asked the "Comrade" to be more sympathetic to the terrorist cause. How? They did not say.

Letter writing to farmers is a fairly widespread terrorist ploy. Some are appealing, others demanding, but most are threatening. They are disconcerting, but in the life of "Comrade" Kuni, a strangely heroic human being, they were merely a pinprick.

He abandoned his two farms in early February, 1979, walking away from a lifetime's work. Their home was a spacious, almost elegant building, boasting five bedrooms and two bathrooms. They built it themselves from bricks made on the farm and local timber, his petite wife told me. It was their pride.

"When we first moved on to the land there was nothing there but bush. That was a long time ago," he recalled. "In those days my wife would walk to the river every morning dressed in her bathing costume to wash. One day I told her, just as a joke, 'How can you wash properly in a bathing costume?' She said, 'If it's worrying you I'll take a dish and wash at home.' Home then was a mud hut."

His new suburban home is a pleasant colonial style building in what is a picturesque colonial style town set like a large tea leaf in a great green saucer of majestic hills. Indicating one of the distant hills across the border in Mocambique, he said, "I used to hunt there in the old days. Lost my leg on my honeymoon. It was chewed off by a leopard. What a time to lose a limb," he chuckled.

Parked in the back garden, amid a couple of kilometres of barbed wire and some farming implements, were two tractors, one of them a burned out wreck. "Tom was killed on that tractor just three weeks ago," said Kuni. "He was my best friend, a coloured man, and one of the best. The day before the terrs murdered him, he told me, 'Boss, they'll get me one time down at the watering hole'. And sure enough, they shot him at the watering hole. They warned him.. .they actually told him they would because he was a coloured working for a white man. He refused to quit. Tom was one of the best men I've known.. .one of the bravest, too.

"What's left on the farms? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. Just some walls. It's a terrible sight. I don't even go there now. It makes me depressed just to look on it. A life's work in ruins.

"Life in town? What can I say. At least we're safer. She's safe. Me? I'd sooner run the risk out there on the farm. I don't think I can settle down to town life. It's not in me. I was born and bred in the bush, wilderness all round me. I will die in the bush, I know that."

Kuni's bitterness is shared by his wife, but she admitted, "At least I can sleep at night now. On the farm I would go to bed, just doze for an hour or so and then wake up and lay there waiting for the dawn. Here we're safe. We've friends and neighbours. But it's hard living away from the farm. We miss the small things too.. .like having our own meat and eggs, baking our own bread and making our own butter. I don't think I'll ever get used to shopping for groceries. But it's safer for us here."

"In the old days, Tom and I would hunt leopards," recalled Kuni. "They're a crafty animal. Then, they were classified vermin and we'd get 10 shillings for the skins. We'd have a few jars of beer on that, I can tell you. No, we'll never go back to farming. Honestly, I haven't the heart to start again, particularly now Tom has gone. We've lost everything. It would cost a quarter of a million dollars to start up again.. .anyway who wants to start from scratch at my age?"

"Comrade" Kuni is now in his sixties. They say he speaks Shona better than the Shona and rumour has it that ZANLA leader Robert Mugabe wanted him out because with his linguistic ability he was an influence among the local African tribesmen.

"Leaving the farms was much more than walking out of a business. It was a way of life. We're born farmers. It's not a question of money or profits. That's a laugh. There was many a year, difficult years, when everything failed and we'd just manage to scrape through. It will never be the same again. It's gone. All gone.

"The terrs got at me through my labour force. They terrified them. They disappeared one night and didn't return. And you can't farm in this country without labour. Only last week in Umtali, I saw an ex-labourer of mine, a chap called Lenny. He's a bright one and runs his own 160 hectare farm. I called out to him and he nearly fell off his bike in surprise. I asked him how he was, his wife and family. He just fell to his knees crying. 'My children are all cattle are gone,' he said. It was pathetic. That's terrorism for you.

"I've been frightened. God, of course I've been frightened. Sometimes I was frightened hunting with Tom. I told you how the leopard got me. Sprung at me from a top of the rock while I was peering into his cave. It dragged me quite a long way and you know I felt no pain at all. No pain. Tom took a shot at him and missed. And I shouted, 'Tom, you bloody idiot! Hit him not me'. And Tom killed him. "Real fear? It was something one experienced every six months. But then you don't mind, every six months. But when you get a hammering every fortnight and it gets worse — it intensifies — then you've got to start thinking. I was only worried really by the heavy stuff. The rockets and the mortars. The small arms fire I could handle. The ambushes are the thing, though. Especially when you're in an unprotected vehicle. Then the heavy stuff could put paid to your ticket."

Chapter Seven

The one-man guard force

GEORGE STYLE is a tall, rangy active ex-farmer, hunter and policeman, who has packed a lot of experience into his 75 years — experience he's now willing to put to good use, helping farmers in the operational areas who need to get away for a break. "I'm just a house guard, really," he says deprecatingly. In fact, he does a lot more than guard houses; he runs farms in the absence of their owners, supervises the labour and pays them, and generally keeps a watchful eye on all that is going on.

Not surprisingly, he's in great demand; during a recent five-week stint he had seven telephone calls and six letters asking him to come to other farms. One man booked him a year in advance! He goes mostly to the Eastern Districts, like Penhalonga, the Vumba, Melsetter, Cashel and Chipinga, which he says is like a second home, he's made so many friends there.

He has plenty of anecdotes about his experiences, like the story of the terrs who were taking R & R in the compound when he was looking after a farm over Christmas. Then there's the African baby, Georgina, who was named after him because he got her mother to hospital just in time. There's the lunch parties he'll be giving on his next stint; "I've been to this farm before, and they've got a marvellous cook," he says. "I buy mostly all my own food, though. I don't want people coming back from holiday to enormous food bills, and saying that old George has been living well."

Not all his anecdotes are funny: he tells the story of a young coffee farmer near Chipinga, who, although badly wounded, routed a gang of 30 terrorists singlehanded. He was ambushed, and his companion also badly wounded, but, with his right arm smashed, he loaded his rifle with his left hand, propped it in a tree, and wounded one terr who dropped his rifle before the rest ran away. If that wasn't enough, he also managed to administer first aid to his companion.

Though he lives constantly with danger, George Style wouldn't have it otherwise for anything — he's enormously grateful for the chance to do his bit. Retired, and living in Chisipite, Salisbury, while his two sons run his Buffalo Range ranch, he tried, three years ago, to join the Police Specials, those older men who do invaluable duties in the suburbs. They wouldn't have him, regretting that he was "too old" — they just don't know what they missed!

So he put an advertisement in the local newspaper, and a few replies resulted. Once he started, though, the word went round and the whole thing snowballed.

"It's been so rewarding," he said. "I've regained my health, and I've got an interest in life. I could have been six feet underground by now."

Though nervous about publicity, because he is basically a modest man, he insists that there's nothing special about his work, and says that there are plenty of men of his age who could do the same. "They sit around in old people's homes, waiting to die," he said. "They might just as well get out there and do something useful."

But before anyone starts up a Grandad's Army, it's only fair to say that not many septugenarians have George Style's energy, ability, and, bluntly, money. He says it is really all thanks to his sons, who support him. In fact, he built up a fantastic ranching and hunting business from practically nothing. There were many times in the early days when it was a real battle; his wife, Ethne, a true partner who still backs him all the way, ran trading stores to help the farming operations, and to help keep the boys at school. He takes her along on his stints very occasionally, but mostly she's like any other war wife, left in Salisbury, with the widow of a Police comrade of 53 years ago, Mary Perkins, to help and keep her company.

All George's stints are done at his own expense, and he uses his own car. "I live pretty rough sometimes, too," he says. "Some of these so-called cooks can't even make tea, and lots of them are busy pinching food — I catch them at it sometimes." Not all cooks, obviously, are of the luncheon party variety.

Because of his experiences in the operational areas, especially on border farms, he has plenty of tips for farmers. He suggests that many are "under-dogged" — a word he has invented. "All very well having these little yappy things underfoot," he says. "True, they make a noise, but what is needed is big, fierce, Alsatian or Labrador-type dogs — I've often known terrs running from dogs like that. And they must sleep outside, it's no good having them indoors."

Just the same, he has a small, adorable white Maltese terrier, Kachito, named by his first owner, a Spaniard. Her mistress was killed in an ambush, and her farmer husband couldn't bear to keep her dog, the memories were too much. So George asked if he could take her to Salisbury, where she is now very happily at home.

He's also horrified at the number of farmers who keep fire-arms locked up during the day. "You've got to have them right beside you, readily available, at all times."

And, while he sympathises tremendously with wives in the sensitive security areas he'd destroy the trees and large shrubs in their carefully tended gardens if he had half a chance. He points out that the value of a security fence is diminished if you have lots of cover within the fence. When there's a shoot-out, it is all too easy for terrs to reach the house, through garden vegetation.

He's now worked on farms a total of 21 years, and says he can still run a farm efficiently, provided there are good foremen. "Age doesn't matter — one just has to supervise, and maybe drive trucks into town for supplies. Many of these farms have first class foremen, but no drivers."

It isn't easy to get George Style talking about himself; he'd rather talk about his family, of which he is very proud. His father, an ex-colonel who served originally in the 17th Lancers, (the Death or Glory Boys of Balaclava fame) was mayor of King Williamstown, in the Cape, for 10 years. George's brother, Claude, nicknamed "Stylo", was officer in charge of the first air unit formed in Rhodesia, and chairman of the first flying club in Salisbury, during the Thirties — he'd joined the Royal Flying Corps at 16, and won the DFC in the First World War. Claude's son Colin has recently won a poetry award in South Africa.

Of George's own sons, Clive, now managing director of Buffalo Range Safaris, was on the first Gwebi College of Agriculture course, while Rodney gave up university to return to farming.

Reluctantly, George is persuaded to talk about his current activities again, but he swiftly turns the conversation to the farmers themselves — about the tension they all live under in border areas, how they have no social life, and can't travel at nights. And how sometimes, terrs who shoot up homes, leave notes advising the owners to "get out now."

And finally, he gets on to the subject of compensation, something he sees, or rather, doesn't see, at first hand. He mentions a farmer who has lost everything, and has waited months for compensation of any kind. George is angry; the people he has helped have become his friends, and he waxes eloquent about politicans who ignore their needs.

George Style has kept letters sent to him by farmers and their wives. They paint a picture of life in the frontline of the terrorist war, bringing home more clearly than any official communique, what is is like to live with danger, every day. Below are just a few extracts.

"Labour driven away, and their huts burned, tobacco barns burned, and house attacked."

"The terrs called all the labour to come close so they could show them what power was. Then they opened fire at point blank range, killing 13 and injuring 16".

"You never know if your labour will be there in the morning, and we dread dipping day in case the cattle have been stolen".

"Our friends have vacated their farm after being ambushed in daylight, at 5 p.m. at the security fence."

"Our neighbours leave for good next month".

"Two ponies were shot in the stables on the next farm".

Townswomen, too, are volunteering to look after farms in the hot war zones to allow the farmer and his family a holiday break, women like Sybil Duncanson who vividly recounts her first "guard stint".

"My husband Jack and I drove down from Salisbury to the farm where we stayed for two weeks while the owners took a well-earned holiday at the coast. The day after our arrival, a Friday, there was a terrorist ambush during daylight on the main tarred road over which we had come, and two vehicles were attacked. That night, our second night, we were jerked awake at one in the morning by the harsh agric-alert alarm. Then came a woman's voice calling Police Control and reporting that they were under attack. She sounded so very calm and controlled. I was impressed and wondered how I would shape in a similar situation.

"Control replied immediately and messages continued back and forth over the two-way radio for the next two hours. I lay in the dark and followed the action. Mostly the reports were made by the wife and I presumed the husband was fully occupied firing back at the terrs. Throughout the action she maintained this same wonderful control and calm clear voice for her progress reports. (I later discovered that I knew this woman from a camping holiday). Apparently the terrs attacked and burnt down the Medical Store which supplied two African clinics run by this farmer's wife, who is also the local district nurse. Fortunately there were no casualties at the farmhouse.

"This incident occurred some miles north west of where we were. Next morning about 7 am, while Jack and I were at the cattle dip near the house seeing the dairy herd being dipped, four helicopters carrying armed soldiers flew southwards very low right over us. We could see the men in the helicopters clearly. They were followed a few minutes later by a Dakota transport plane with its open despatch doorway clearly visible — presumably taking the paratroopers to drop them at an enemy contact in the opposite direction to the previous night's attack. So obviously they were after a different group of terrorists. This with the previous night's attack and the main road ambush all within two days of our arrival made me very aware of the fact that we were in a hot security area!

"There is a three-metre-high security fence surrounding the house, garden and outhouses (laundry, store, etc.) and another around the tobacco barns, workshops, with an interleading gate. All the gates are bolted and locked at sunset and opened at sunrise. There is a general curfew throughout the district from 5 pm to 6 am and no one is permitted to move around except the Security Forces, as this is the time the terrorists are most active, under cover of darkness. This means, of course, that the house servants also must leave before sunset. There can be no visiting between neighbours for dinner or an evening bridge game.

"Surrounding the house about two metres away from the outside walls is another brick wall just one-and-a-half metres high. From inside the house when standing up one can just see over this wall, whereas the windows are partly protected by the wall against anyone firing from outside. This, of course, ruins the view of the garden from the house because when you are sitting down inside and look out of the window you look straight on to a blank wall, instead of across a pretty garden and lawn down to the swimming-pool. A pity, but the wall does give one a reassuring feeling of added security in the dark of night.

"On top of the roof is a special flashing light which can be switched on from inside the house. It is an identifying light to guide in a helicopter or such-like in case of emergency. Our neighbour has flares attached to his outside wall, which are triggered from inside the house, the idea being to blind the attackers.

"The farms in the district have not got mains electricity laid on, so have to generate their own using noisy diesel engines, which for this reason are not usually too near the house. Once this motor is switched off (there is a special cut-out in the house) the lights cannot be switched back on again without someone going outside and down to the power house.So once lights go out at night they stay out till next evening when the pump is started up again. In other farming areas where mains power is available some farmers have strong lights which can be switched on to illuminate the attackers so that they cannot see the homestead. However, this would not be possible here which is perhaps why the authorities choose this area to try out placing a "stick" of five Guard Force soldiers on certain farms. These guards take turns of duty during the night. In the morning they check the security fence and gates for booby traps and look for land mines on the road.

"When we go down to the cattle dip on the next door farm, which is some distance away and isolated and surrounded by very tall grass and bush, we take the Guard Force with us to 'clear' the road and 'sweep' the area round the dip and be on guard while the cattle are being dipped, as there have been numerous incidents and fatalities in ambushes at the dips especially if cattle dipping is done on a regular day each week.

"I must admit I find it a great comfort at night knowing the Guard Force are around — except when the dogs bark at them in the middle of the night.

"Before going outside the security fence I have to 'saddle up' and end up looking rather like a pack mule! First on is my leather belt holding a pistol and spare bullets as well as two spare magazines for my LDP semi-automatic. The webbing sling of the latter then goes over my head to rest on my left shoulder and across my chest so that the gun rests on my right hip (I am getting a permanent bruise on my right hip from the 'cocking knob' knocking against my hip bone!) Then, of course, being a keen bird watcher I never can go anywhere in the bush without my binoculars in case I see any interesting birds, so they hang from a cord round my neck. With a bush hat on my head, my denim trousers and cotton blouse, I really look the part of an armed Christmas tree or female bandit! I am now so used to wearing the gun belt round my waist (usually worn under my loose blouse) that when I come back in I often don't even bother to take it off to eat. There was Jack and I sitting eating our breakfasts with spare ammo and pistols strapped round our waists. An armed breakfast and neither of us even thought it strange!

"Even as I sit here in the garden writing this I still have on my gun belt.

Unnecessary really, but I am already, after only one week here, so used to wearing it that I forget to take it off. It is unnecessary in the house and within the security fence during the day to be armed, but before going outside the security fence one must be armed at all times. I admire tremendously the farmers, their wives and families who live and have been living under these tense conditions for years now, never knowing when they may be shot up or when the car they are travelling in may be blown up by a landmine planted by terrorists in the gravel of the farm roads.

"As soon as it starts to get dark in the evenings the power plant is started up and the lights come on throughout the house. Immediately all curtains are drawn shut and doors closed. All lights are left on in all the rooms throughout the house so it's not obvious from outside which rooms are occupied. This means one can't put out the house lights and read in bed till sleepy as I am used to doing back home in the city. Here that practice is considered very unwise. When the last person is ready for bed he or she presses the switch to turn off the power pump and all the lights go out together. If you are that person you then use a torch to find your own bed! You get into bed with your loaded gun on the floor beside you and all is dark and very quiet and you wonder what the night has in store — will it be quiet all night or will the agric-alert alarm suddenly blast you awake, or will you maybe have to press that alarm button yourself?

"Then with the early morning light everything seems so normal — till you are dressed and have to strap on your gun belt again before going to the dairy. Another normal day has started for those who live with the gun ever beside them in the isolated homesteads in the security areas of our country."

Chapter Eight

  Assault on our cattle

A LESSER known aspect of Rhodesia's terrorist war is its effect on the country's cattle — particularly tribal-owned cattle. Regular reports in the military command communiques of mutilations and shootings and the rare article covering just one facet of the problem are the only published references to this insidious by-product of the war. In reality, the story of the assault on Rhodesia's cattle has three faces: tick-borne disease; tsetse fly and trypanosomiasis; stocktheft coupled with mutilation (including ham- stringing) and shooting.

"Possibly the largest single challenge to the cattle industry is ticks and tick-borne diseases — redwater, gallsickness, theileriosis, heartwater and associated ones like screw-worm", says Dr R. A. I. Norval, the country's leading authority on tick ecology. "Prior to the war, tick control in Rhodesia was excellent - the envy of most African countries. Now disease is spreading rapidly".

There are approximately 8 000 dip tanks and spray races in the country and one of the basic terrorist targets has always been the dipping system. Politically it was a "natural". Writing on ticks and tick-borne disease in the north-eastern operational area Mr Norval comments: "Compulsory dipping is unpopular with African tribesmen, most of whom fail to appreciate its importance not having witnessed the ravages of an uncontrolled tick population. Resentment against compulsory dipping has consequently been exploited and the whole problem is now a political issue".

To disrupt — or stop — the dipping routine is a comparatively simple matter for any insurgents. They merely tell the people (quite truthfully, in the short term) that they will save money. (Dipping fees range from approximately 75 cents to $1,50 per beast per year). Any resistance to this may be overcome by shooting the unconvinced stock owner or by physically attacking and destroying dip tanks. These are filled up with lumps of concrete, rocks, stones. The tribesmen themselves are encouraged to break down the dips. Finally, the people responsible for the weekly sessions — the dip attendants — are open to intimidation. "They are the number one targets. They either get the message and push off or else they hang about trying to do their jobs and are murdered". Once the dipping has ceased, there is no dramatic, visible increase in ticks — or cattle deaths. "The effect takes up to two years to come to fruition", says Dr Norval. "But once the cattle start dying there is a confidence crisis in them — the tribesmen start to sell. They want to get rid of the animals before they snuff it". The result is very low prices.

Less visual is the enormous population growth of ticks. "It really is a vicious circle because cattle deaths mean an improvement in the grass cover thus making survival even easier for the multi-host ticks". Figures, because of the break down in dipping in certain areas, are hard to obtain and are not necessarily accurate. (In the past cattle census has been held at the dip tank). It is also impossible to specify exactly which disease caused death. But Dr Norval makes the following approximate estimates of deaths as a result of tick-borne diseases in Rhodesia's four provinces.

Manicaland: with the highest rate of mortality breaking at over 50 per cent 200 000
Mashonaland and Victoria: Plus or minus 40 000
Matabeleland: Plus or minus 1 000

"Possibly an acceptable overall figure to give would be 250 000," says Dr Norval. A more precise example can be given of the Kandeya Tribal Trust Land (approximately 25 sq km). Here, records show that before the war in 1972 there were some 58 000 head of cattle. Mid-1975 there were 40 000. Today there are 28 000. Twenty per cent of these cattle had died as a result of tick-borne disease; 6 000 had been sold or slaughtered during and after the disease out-break (this causing a considerable depression in local cattle prices). Of the 3 300 000 black-owned cattle in Rhodesia Dr Norval estimates an approximate 1 353 000 of these "in compulsory dipping areas are not being dipped."

The figures below give the number of dip tanks in the specified regions with the corresponding figure of those currently not in use: It is safe to conclude that apart from the four main diseases attributed to. ticks, in at least one Tribal Trust Land a minimum of 40 per cent of undipped cattle are likely to be affected by the subsidiary condition of screw-worm.

Number of Dips Dips not in Use
Manicaland 259 204
Victoria 318 234
Matabeleland South 133 125
Midlands 392 76
Mashonaland 388 43

While the facts of tick-borne disease look as if the terrorists have achieved a limited success in social destruction, it is highly likely that their whole thrust will have a boomerang effect. In the south-west, where the Shangaans (nicknamed "the cattle people") have roamed with their herds for decades, a demand for dipping to be restarted has begun. "But to fulfil this isn't as easy as it sounds. For a start, the dips have to be rebuilt or cleared, attendants re-instated in their old jobs or new ones trained. The cattle have to be retrained too — many have never been in a dip race. And one would like to guarantee that the roads to the dips are not landmined - and who can guarantee that?" asks Dr Norval. Some tribesmen are already avoiding intimidation and death by secretly spraying their cattle with small stirrup pumps especially designed for this purpose.

Another boomerang effect is that some diseases (theileriosis for example), unknown in tribal areas before, are now beginning to appear. Having no immunity at all, the cattle die swiftly. Another disease, heartwater, could spread like the proverbial bush fire because of the increased distribution of its vector — the bont tick. Formerly restricted to a limited area in the south-east, it has crossed through the highveld area (which normally acts as a barrier) deep into Matusadona in the Zambezi Valley. "There is a strong possibility that the tick will cross the river and into Zambia. Heartwater is totally unknown in Zambia — the cattle will die like flies." As destructive as the tick-borne disease is trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness in humans; nagana in animals). Guaranteeing a 100 per cent kill, the feared "trips" is gaining a strong foothold and now infests 33 000 km2 of Rhodesia. There are now places completely devoid of cattle.

Says Dr Bill Boyt, chief veterinary officer (trypanosomiasis) in the Ministry of Agriculture: "In 1973 in Rushinga in the north-east, Rhodesia was about to embark on a major spraying operation down to the Rio Luia in Mocambique — the stronghold of tsetse in that area. But then the security situation deteriorated. Refusal of our help by Frelimo in controlling the tsetse flies along the 160 km border means they are coming in again. Before the war we had sprayed 16 km into Mocambique."Control consists of bush clearing, controlled movements of wild and domestic animals and aerial spraying. "Today the situation is very serious," says Dr Boyt. "We can do literally nothing to stop the fly."

Inoculation teams still carry out irregular inspections of the tribesmen's cattle in the north-east, but the turn-out is poor. Dr Boyt asks: "Is it worth it to risk lives when only a few cattle are brought along to the races?" The number of health inspectors, assistants and tsetse field workers killed or wounded in the war is high. To date: eight dead, 30 wounded — and these figures do not include abductions. "We are sitting ducks," says a vet based in Bindura.

"To be effective you have to let your scouts know you are coming at least a month ahead. They then travel through their respective areas telling the people the date and place. So, we know that the terrs will know too. They probably won't ambush us on the way in, but on the way out?" This vet, who works mostly in the operational area with tribal cattle added, "One of my staff was gunned down while working — vaccinating tribal dogs against rabies."

Dr Boyt maintains that the war has put back tsetse and trypanosomiasis control some 20 or more years in some areas. "All we can do now is protect some of the cattle," he says, "we can do nothing to prevent the spread of the fly in most areas - and little elsewhere." Even the sentinel herds along the borders have ceased to function. Kept as alarm systems to check on the presence of fly through the trypanosome parasite which it carries, one herd of 32 was shot, mortared and rocketed in their kraal in 1976. Twenty-two died that night with a further ten being put down because of their severe wounds. This year, a whole sentinel herd of 24 was shot in Lupane (Matabeleland) and two herds of 83 in Binga (Northern Matabeleland — south Kariba shore).

Dr Boyt is bitter about the loss of lives of veterinary workers and of cattle. In attendance at what may be one of the last inoculation campaigns in the north-east recently, he was asked by a tribesman: "I have only a few of my cattle for the injection today, the rest — 40 of them — have died. What must I do?" "I'm sorry, I am truly sorry," said Dr Boyt, "but it is no good telling me. Go and tell the terrs; let those bastards know what they are doing to you people. Don't tell me any longer."

Records held by the Tsetse and Trypanosomiasis Control Board in Salisbury give a more accurate statistical picture. (Again because there has been no cattle census and because of the breakdown in dipping, precise figures on the encroachment are not available.) In certain sections of the north-eastern area where in 1972 there were 34 843 cattle, today there are now only about 10 700.

Where an area in 1967 had 1 823 cattle, today there are none. Another carrying over 2 000 in 1968, in 1978 shows — nil. A third, down to 819 in 1974 — in 1978 — nil. Still others show a reduction from 2 489 (in 1972) to 738 in 1977. Another 2 257 (1968) down to 52 in 1978.

The third form of assault on the cattle — less insidious but just as alarming — is mutilation and stocktheft. Here, for the first time, terrorist attention is also focused on white-owned cattle — many of them imported and pedigree animals that enormously increase the value of the national herd. Mutilation —hamstringing and slashing — and shooting of black and white- owned cattle has been interwoven throughout the seven-year bush war. Official communiques refer regularly to incidents all over Rhodesia.

Many of the anti-stocktheft measures are, for obvious reasons, classified. But, in general the meticulous tightening up of the security measures, undertaken by the police in close co- operation with local ranchers and cattle owners, are proving most successful.

Chapter Nine

  The effects of terrorism

WHAT is terrorism? Where did it rear its monstrous head? What are its effects? These are questions which beg an answer, yet there cannot be one straight, simple reply.

The war raging in Zimbabwe Rhodesia today is a classical terrorist/guerilla war with all the usual ingredients present, says Dr Peter Gradwell, a senior lecturer in psychology at the University of Rhodesia, in a paper discussing the effects of terrorism on urban and rural areas of the country.

It is essential, he says, to draw a distinction between terrorist operations in these two arenas of the war.

Terrorism and urban guerilla warfare can be traced back to the French Revolution when terror was very much a part of the modus operandi of the revolutionary movement. The majority of those guillotined during the insurrection were peasants who were despatched in this manner to ensure unity among the survivors — as opposed to the Royalists who were guillotined essentially for purposes of revenge.

Terrorism was thus a significant part of the psychological warfare used against the masses and in this instance the population was so terrorised that a state of complete collapse ensured. The use of terrorism was thus one hundred per cent successful. Moving on in time to the Russian Revolution, one finds that a blueprint for successful revolution had been laid down in 1848. The Romanov family had ruled Russia for 500 years under a strict feudal system with the peasants or serfs being suppressed for centuries.

A vast inefficiency among the bureaucracy had developed however over the years and was probably responsible for the defeat of Russia at the hands of the Japanese in 1905 — the first time a European power had been defeated by a non-European state. The defeat resulted in humiliation which cut deep into the fabric of Russian society so that disruption inevitably set in.

The 1914-18 War emphasised the inefficiency of the ruling body and it became apparent — not only to international observers but also among the local down-trodden serf population — that change was inevitable. In 1917 the Bolshevik Revolution broke out, during which terror played an integral part. The 1917 revolution is again an example of a classical psychological and physical terror war.

The essence of a revolutionary war is that it will engage the civilian population who, once this is achieved, will be mobilised against the government. The Israeli war against Britain is a more recent example of this happening. It need not necessarily involve the entire population, as illustrated in Cuba where at first only a few were involved and initially no ideological or nationalistic roots existed.

As has been seen, however, these roots developed over the years and the lesson to learn is that it may take only a few people — those who count — to provoke a revolutionary situation, such as that in Cuba.

Looking closer at the causes of a revolutionary war, it becomes apparent that ostensible causes are always present. Such professed causes — involving patriotism, race, religion and social injustice — need not always be the primary causes and they are often very misleading.

The real unifying principle underlying all revolutions is a revolutionary impulse - a state of mind or sudden upsurge of popular will, where the population decide that they can do something about the situation and that they want to do something about it. This state of mind could have little to do with the usual ostensible causes - all the revolutionary has to do to spark off unrest is to persuade enough people to support his cause.

Economic deprivation is not really enough by itself to cause revolt, as has been shown in poverty-stricken India.

The will to revolt expresses a new-found awareness of possibilities that things do not have to be as they are. Once this awareness is realised, it soon spreads and an important change in the person's psychological make-up and thinking occurs.

Glimpses of other possibilities and changes — which could even be fictitious — appear, and, once this happens, a will to act is born. The instigator only needs the awareness that he can do something and that he will get away with it to prompt him into action.

Studies have shown that the majority of people involved in urban revolutionary acts are anarchists and middle-class people who have turned anarchist. They tend to become involved because they can get away with it.

The revolutionist thus has the ability to inspire a state of mind in people that they do not have to accept existing policies or law and that by acting they can do something about it. The initiator does not necessarily have to act as the catalyst — he is usually the expression of something that already exists — but he could be both.

Once the inspiration has been set in motion, the government is forced into a defensive position to meet it and the eventual outcome of guerrilla warfare puts the government under tremendous psychological pressure. Such a state of affairs could lead to a loss of confidence both by the country's allies and its economic investors.

The government therefore comes under political, economic and psychological stresses, merely as a result of a single revolutionist who has inspired enough significant people to react. From then on the fleas will keep biting the dog, taking a drop of blood out at a time, and the political set-up begins to crumble.

The results could be threefold: Firstly, the military becomes over-extended; in political terms, the government becomes unpopular, especially on the international front; and thirdly, in economic terms, the whole thing becomes too expensive. If successful, the revolutionist creates a climate of collapse — in theory, perhaps even without a single shot being fired — and more and more people become frustrated and leave.

Moving across to the social effects of a state of collapse on a country and its policing authorities, it is evident that one aim of the revolutionary is to drive a wedge between the people and their security forces and if a state of "bad comms" - if I may use a local expression — is achieved, a significant victory has been won. To further a state of collapse, the civil administration can be disrupted — shops, schools, clinics, etc are closed down — and the revolutionary makes promises to provide better facilities in the future. The Police and Army become involved since they are servants of the administration and we find — as in Rhodesia — that the Police are torn away from their normal policing duties.

Guerrilla warfare psychology will also involve an attempt to bore into the social fabric of the society. Pressures on the home will increase in terms of family separation, the disruption of careers and changes in family roles when the father is away, to mention but a few. An attempt will thus be made to disrupt entirely the social framework of society away from its norms.

Two fallacies must be considered when dealing with counteraction measures. Firstly, what is known as the Conspiracy Theory — the belief that no one could possibly disapprove of a (or our) system — must be avoided. There may be elements of conspiracy and there must be conspirators outside to persuade people that the system is wrong — or in their thinking at any rate.

Secondly, the Methods Theory — the belief that if the revolution is successful, then the best means of counteraction is to fight it using its own methods and tactics. This defensive role should never be adopted since it will not avoid or put an end to the climate of collapse already created. Various administrations have, in fact, contributed to a climate of collapse by adopting defensive measures along these lines. Sensational publicity leads to rumours, and once rumours become rife, the revolutionist's job has been done for him. It is not important whether or not the rumour is true, as long as the message is put across with its ultimate morale-sapping effects. The importance of a rumour and its ambiguity to the people are all-important to its eventual effect and, through press censorship, the population is denied any hard fact.

Rumours develop, spread and eventually become the mechanism whereby the revolution is brought home to resident population.

In conclusion, it is evident that all the factors discussed are applicable and relevant to the war situation in Rhodesia. A situation prevailed a few years ago where all the class and colour problems existed.

These alone could have caused the revolution, but now that we have witnessed that the four ostensible causes mentioned earlier have been met, the remaining issue to ponder is whether or not the revolutionaries will continue with their warfare. As to the social effects on the country it is evident that the entire episode will instil far-reaching social effects on the people of Rhodesia and it will take time to return to a state of normality.

As Dr Gradwell points out, all the demands of nationalism have been met. There has been an end to racial discrimination; the country now has a majority rule government; a new name; and a new national flag.

This is what the people wanted. And yet the war still rages, perpetuated by externally-based terrorists who have won for themselves the ready support of communist countries hell bent on the subversion to their creed of this key part of the emergent African continent.

Chapter Ten

  ‘Common market’ that failed

IN 1951, just before the formation of the short-lived and ill-fated Central African Federation, 15 per cent, or 6 500, of Rhodesia's white families were farming. Twenty-nine years later, years which have seen almost the entire map of Africa re-drawn, just over 5 500 whites are still on the land producing food at levels unthought of in those more peaceful days.

The Central African Federation was an attempt to introduce inter-regional co-operation to the territories of Southern Rhodesia, Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia) and Nyasaland (now Malawi) — a Common Market. It did not work simply because the nationalist leaders, Hastings Banda and Kenneth Kaunda opposed it as an attempt by Salisbury to dominate the economics of these two territories. It was that and it was more than that.

CAF was way ahead of its time, and, therefore, its authors were regarded with suspicion both here, in the two partner territories, and in Whitehall. Had it succeeded, perhaps the entire history of Africa would have been steered on a more happy course.

Nevertheless, the destinies of Northern and Southern Rhodesia still appear irrevocably interlinked; what affects one, affects the other. What is good for Rhodesia is basically good for Zambia. Despite political chicanary, sanctions and the war, there is still a compelling union between the two countries which have a natural common border, common railway links (although now only partly used), and common electricity grid made possible by the creation of what was once the world's biggest man-made lake, Kariba. The butterfly shape of Zambia complains much about the European 'Empire' builders of Victorian 19th Century, who carved the map of Africa very much like a child would shape a piece of wood with a fretsaw in a fit of anger. Tribal life was disrupted, villages divided with little or no regard taken of custom, tradition or religious beliefs.

Indeed, Zimbabwe Rhodesia is fortunate in that it possesses some of the continent's most natural borders stretching just over 1 000 kilometres from north to south and east to west; the mighty Zambezi River to the north and the Limpopo to the south; to the country's west is the formidable Kalahari Desert, to its east the Chimanimani mountain range dividing once British Africa from what was Portuguese East Africa. Today, this impressive mountain range divides Zimbabwe Rhodesia, a still healthy country economically and morally, flourishing under the influence of western free enterprise despite international and sanctions and a war, from Mocambique's quasi communist society suffering from the inflated price of imported socialist principles. Mocambique's inheritance was, admittedly, a rather run-down, inefficient Portuguese colonial regime which was not helped by President Somora Machel's hardline brand of communism that after independence tipped the scales of a rocky economy, plunging it unwillingly — through wholescale nationalisation of commerce, industry, agriculture and private property — into an abyss leading to economic and social destitution.

In stark contrast Zambia on independence in 1964 inherited a flourishing copper mining industry (and copper prices were to rocket in the early 1970s) and an efficient agricultural industry whose growth potential was one of the most promising in Central Africa. A mere 14 years later the country is near bankruptcy. Only partly can Kenneth Kaunda blame the fall in the price of copper and the general worldwide depression for the ills of his country. His mismanagement manifested itself long before in a series of ambitious revolutionary development reforms that saw the large-scale nationalisation of mining, commerce and industry, including productive farming land which were turned into State ranches and shared out among numerous co-operatives operated by unskilled and ill-trained peasants. This encouraged the departure of many in the country's small white farming community. Today, only poverty and terrorism camps flourish in the heartland of this once-proud British territory.

Zambia is now dependent on massive cash handouts from both the East and West. In place of the old colonial masters, she has had to accept new ones, who are not benign or paternal, but are cold economic manipulators, all of which gives a hollow ring to that country's so-called "freedom".

The position of agriculture north of the Zambezi reached a new low earlier this year before Rhodesia opened its borders to rail in imported fertiliser and later thousands of tonnes of maize — the staple diet of black Africa — bought from Australia, although Salisbury then had more than sufficient stocks to meet all Lusaka's needs at a quarter of the price paid to the Australians. Another example of politics ruling economics!

It has been said over and again that had Southern Rhodesia followed the example of Northern Rhodesia and quietly, without fuss, handed over the reins of power to African nationalist leaders the war could have been averted. It is a simplistic argument and one which meets with a great deal of cynicism from Zimbabwe Rhodesian nationalists who have returned to Salisbury to take part in the new majority government after spending up to 13 years in Dr Kaunda's tragic country.

Paradoxically, Nyasaland (now Malawi) under the authoritarian leadership of Hastings Banda has a thriving economy based on agriculture. Malawi inherited no rich minerals like neighbouring Zambia, or any commercial or industrial enterprises of note. Yet today, this once impoverished country is a shining example to much of black Africa, particularly Zambia, of what can be achieved by implementing sound economic policies; by adopting a strategy of non-interference in the affairs of other states, even though she may be in complete disagreement with their discriminatory laws on race, and by accepting the help and advice from those countries best able to give it, Zimbabwe Rhodesia and South Africa. By developing its agricultural potential, Malawi is not only capable of feeding its citizens but has built up important export markets for her tobacco, tea and coffee. Largely responsible for this remarkable achievement is the encouragement Malawi has given to white Rhodesian farmers to settle there, and the aid given in the technical and agronomic spheres by the Zimbabwe Rhodesian agricultural research services, particularly the Tobacco Research Board, under its director Dr Iain McDonald.

By resisting the temptation to view the economic and political issues of Africa as purely black versus white, like so many other members of the Organisation for African Unity and overseas countries in the East and West blocs, Kamuza Banda has shown a flare for statesman-like diplomacy rarely experienced on the continent in this troubled age.

A Banda-style approach by the new leaders of Zimbabwe Rhodesia could help allay the fears of many indigenous whites here that they will be dispossessed of land, jobs and property by inexperienced or bitter black politicians and be forced out of the country to be replaced by a floating expatriate population with their two-year contracts, inflated salaries and return air tickets to "mother country". Expatriates might make miners — and mining is an important pillar of the Zimbabwe Rhodesia economy — but they won't make farmers. No matter what wealth lies underground, it cannot feed millions of mouths unless it is located, mined and marketed at a profit. And as Zambia has clearly shown, that is easier said than done.

Chapter Eleven

  As intricate as a watch

THE Rhodesian agricultural system is as intricate as a watch, or as potentially explosive as a bomb. Approximately 20 per cent of the land mass is suitable for intensive cropping, 17 per cent for a combination of livestock and cash cropping and approximately 60 per cent only suited for livestock production. Some 75 per cent of the population derives its livelihood directly or indirectly from agriculture. Commercial farm land which can be owned by both black and white farmers makes up 17 million hectares or 43 per cent of the country; Tribal Trust Land, which is open to black farmers only, amounts to 16 million hectares or 41 per cent, and State land six million hectares or 16 per cent. Agriculture is the country's main foreign exchange earner and though exact figures are a closely guarded secret, because of sanctions and accompanying sanctions busting operations, it is calculated that agricultural production has over the last few years grossed around $500 million a year ($200 million higher than minerals).

Agriculture also provides employment for 38 per cent of the wage earning African labour force and ensures that the country is self-sufficient in food. It is the prime source of nearly half the country's foreign exchange earnings.

The Tribal Trust Lands provide homes for nearly 60 per cent of the population and a social security system for over 90 per cent. Furthermore, over the last 15 years the TTL have absorbed around 60 per cent of the population growth. The social security system is in the land for until recently (and for the vast majority of the African population not yet) a man's worth, his old age pension in fact, was his access to the land in the TTLs. But land does not grow, population does.

The black population is growing at between 3,6 and 3,7 per cent a year; there has been heavy overstocking of animals leading to overgrazing and erosion of the grazing areas; plus a decreasing amount of manure per hectare to help sustain fertility in the arable tribal farmlands. The TTLs, in short, are bursting at their seams. Homes and employment must be found for many of their residents, found probably on or near the commercial farms and in the urban areas. It has been estimated that the Rhodesian population will double in the cities alone by 1986.

These tribal areas produce vast quantities of food and energy yet their self-sufficiency is falling alarmingly. For every two people absorbed in Rhodesia by its towns, urban or commercial areas, the TTLs have absorbed six. Says Eddie Cross, the Chief Economist of the Agricultural Marketing Authority, "Without their existence as a sponge for population expansion, economic and social stresses would have manifested themselves on a widespread scale a long time before today." For example the volume and value of agricultural production in the Tribal Trust Lands has steadily increased over the last 20 years. The gross value has increased from $38 million in 1961 to $114 million in 1974, when it amounted to some 26 per cent of the value of the national agricultural output. (Since 1974 TTL production has fallen to $109 million last year — due primarily to the war.) Approximately 75 per cent of TTL agricultural output is literally eaten internally by the 3,7 million people dependent on the TTLs for subsistence. The contribution of Tribal Trust Land agriculture to the cash economy is therefore well below 10 per cent of the value of national production.

Anthony Stubbs, the Agricultural Director (TTL) at the Ministry of Internal Affairs comments, "While total production shows an increasing trend, yields per hectare unit, in most cases, do not. Data on land use are imprecise, but best estimates indicate that over the period 1961/1962 to 1976/1977 the approximate number of cultivators increased from 359 000 to 675 000, an increase of 88 per cent, and the gross hectarage under cultivation from 1,15 million to 2,2 million, an increase of 91 per cent. The number of cattle has increased from 2,0 million to 3,4 million — an increase of 70 per cent."

Both Anthony Stubbs and Eddie Cross are highly respected experts in their respective fields inside Rhodesia. Both men spoke in favour of radical land reform. Both men opposed the Land Tenure Act and its parent the Land Apportionment Act.

Politics apart, four major reasons for the removal of the Land Tenure Act were put forward long before the March 3 agreement.*

The amazingly high population growth rate reflects the exceptionally high quality of Zimbabwe Rhodesia's health services, its maternity clinics, ante and post natal care and nutrition programmes in the rural areas before war swept away dipping tanks, closed schools, forced thousands of black primary school and secondary school children out of their classrooms and into terrorist training camps outside the country.

Rhodesia's population today is nearly 10 times what it was at the turn of the century. Since 1960, for example, the population has increased a further 75 per cent. By the end of the century, and assuming the 3,7 per cent per year growth rate continues, Rhodesia's population could probably top 15 million.

In 1900 (a decade after the arrival of the Pioneer whites) the population was 710 000. In 1920 it rose to 1130 000, by 1940 it was 1 940 000. Twenty years later in 1960 and in the heyday of the Central African Federation, it was 3 840 000 and in 1970 in the region of 5 500 000. By 1980 it will top 7 500 000 and by the turn of the century around 15 million.

There will be an exceptionally large number of people to look after. The need for social change to accommodate such incredible growth is self-evident.

Cross and Stubbs laboured the point that the TTLs had acted as sponges. But in recent years there has been a five per cent per annum urban growth. This has — to some extent — slowed down the rate of TTL expansion. But at the present rate of increase over 200 000 new jobs in the commercial farming and urban areas must be found each year. This represents a growth rate of eight per cent and means that the population of the country's cities will double by 1986 — providing that farming areas can also continue to absorb their share of the population.

Cross makes an interesting point. "Can we slow down the population growth rate? Apparently, yes. In the so-called Third World the most successful birth control campaigns to date have reduced annual growth rates by one tenth of one per cent. So, if that were achieved in Zimbabwe Rhodesia it would mean the population by 2 000 would be not 15 million but more like 12 million. However, even the most optimistic cannot envisage this rate of control being achieved," said Cross. "Certainly in our present political and economic circumstances, there is little which can be done."

Cattle to the African is his wealth, his status, his food his raison d'etre.But less well known, perhaps, is the tradition that he must plough land to maintain his rights. This, in turn, leads to vast areas of land being ploughed but cropped at an ineffectual rate. Says Cross, "In 1977, at least 10 per cent of the TTLs was ploughed while 12 per cent for one reason or another, unsuitable for agriculture of any sort. The remaining 78 per cent of the TTLs was devoted to communal grazing.These areas are heavily overstocked — a situation which poses a grave threat to the environment," and each year the area put to the plough within the TTLs increases as does the cattle herds in normal times. Can the degeneration of almost half the landmass be reversed or is it too late?

"Yes it can be reversed," says Cross, "but only if we can put together a composite national programme involving the stabilisation of population growth in tribal areas, the abolition of the migrant system, the introduction of rural land tenure reform and the injection of resources in the form of both education and capital. At the same time the rest of the economy must shoulder the responsibility for social security for the people who settle in these areas. All of these problems must be tackled simultaneously before rural land use reform becomes possible."

Food and security for old age are the two major problems facing the TTLs when they return to normality, which (even after the end of the war) could take time. In 1962 the estimated availability of maize in the TTLs was 160 kilos per capita. By 1977 it had fallen to 105, a decline of 36 per cent, well below national consumption figures which range around 175 kilos per capita. The alternative is to start "importing" food from the commercial farms.

"Sales of cattle have also failed to increase, despite the rising herd numbers," says Cross. "Today, less than 3 per cent of the herd is sold annually and deaths exceed sales, even in good years. From data relating to the movement of hides and skins, it is evident that people in the tribal areas are using more of their livestock to meet their own needs than ever before. It would appear, for example, that the slaughter and consumption of goats are now running at levels which represent maximum sustainable yields (approximately 700 000 carcasses a year).

"This food situation not only serves to reinforce the contention that the tribal areas can no longer carry the burden that they have been carrying up to now, but also highlights our growing dependence on commercially-produced food. In the early 60s only 30 per cent of total domestic requirements for food was being provided by commercial agriculture. Today 70 per cent of our national food requirements is provided by commercial farmers. By the year 2000, if the tribal situation does not improve, it will be over 80 per cent."

Cross draws this conclusion. "The overriding lesson to be learned ... is that we cannot allow our efficient and productive farming system to deteriorate. If we do, we will become large net importers of food from the commercial farming industries in other countries. This would be entirely retrogressive. When one talks about rural land settlement in the commercial farming areas, one means settlement on a commercially viable basis. Only commercial agriculture can produce our food requirements for the future."

* The Land Tenure Act which divided the country into black and white areas was amended in 1977 to open up white farming land to African occupation, as recommended by the RNFU. In 1979 the Act was repealed. Today only the TTLs are reserved areas — reserved for black occupation.

Chapter Twelve


AFTER the war is over... is a phrase often repeated these days, sometimes openly, but more often privately, silently like some prayer. Will it be a land of milk and honey, a "maize basket" of plenty? No. Not unless the developing crisis of people, places and food production is vigorously tackled, says Keith Kirkman, businessman farmer, in a study of the economic war which will have to be waged to develop Zimbabwe Rhodesia. The figures he presents on the population explosion and food needs are disturbing.

In Africa, the population has grown from 256 million to 346 million between 1961-1973, an increase of 35 per cent, but per capita availability of grain on a weekly basis has fallen from 3,02 kg per week to 2,96 kg per week. The major factor here is that production since 1962 at 43,1 million tonnes has increased only marginally to a figure of 45,8 million tonnes in 1973. If one assumes a population growth rate of 2,5 per cent, by 1985 the population of the African continent would be of the order of 465 million people. If one further assumes a production level of 50 million tonnes of grain and a consumption level similar to that in Asia and South America of 4,8 kg per capita per week, the deficit of grain in Africa could be of the order of 60 million tonnes per annum and this is against an average figure for imports for the five-year period 1969-1973 of 5,9 million tonnes per annum. In short, therefore, the African continent would appear to be heading for a major grain crisis in the next decade.

The only countries in Africa with the possible exception of Kenya that can provide a regular exportable surplus of grain are South Africa and Rhodesia.

South Africa hovers around five per cent of the maize traded on the world market and, while Rhodesian figures since 1965 have been classified, it would probably range between 0,5 per cent and one per cent of the world maize export trade. Yields over the period 1974/75 to 1975/76 show that Rhodesia out-yielded most African countries by nearly twice and in the case of countries like Tanzania by nearly six times.

The figures for Rhodesia are impressive, but then one must be reminded that the sector of the farming community producing these exportable surpluses are the Europeans. If one turns to the TTLs and their level of production, the pattern common to the rest of Africa emerges. Let us look at TTL farming briefly and compare it to production in the European sector. In the 10-year period 1966-1975, the gross output of African agriculture virtually doubled from $52,1 million to $102,2 million, while in the same period the gross output from European agriculture increased from $144,7 million to $362 million. These figures show that the European sector with virtually the same area available to it for agricultural production produces roughly three times the output of the African sector. If one goes further and estimates the consumption in the African areas of this production, one finds between 75 per cent and 80 per cent of this production is consumed locally and that only 20-25 per cent of the production is marketed through the official marketing channels. Since African production only represents 25 per cent of total agricultural output, the contribution of Tribal Trust Land to the cash economy is between five per cent and six per cent. It is also worth mentioning that this contribution is in the main concentrated on two crops, cotton and groundnuts.

In 1973, for example, sales of African grown crops through official marketing agencies totalled just over $11,5 million of which cotton contributed $7,6 million and groundnuts $2,74 million (89 per cent). Cattle production in terms of numbers has increased dramatically. In the 20-year period from 1956 to 1976, the numbers have gone from just under two million head to 3,4 million head. In the same period, European cattle have increased from 1,3 million head to 2,9 million head. The real difference occurs, however, when one compares the offtake in the form of sales. While cattle numbers in the African areas have increased by some 70 per cent, sales have remained fairly static and in percentage terms have been dropping from about seven per cent to two per cent.

Since cattle offtake figures are classified, one can only estimate the value of the beef industry's annual kill. Let us assume an offtake of 20 per cent, then on 2,9 million head the value at $100 per animal would be $58 million and at $75 per animal it would be $43 million. On the African side, at an offtake of two per cent for the 3,4 million head, the value would be $6,8 million at $100 per animal and $5,1 million at $75 per animal. Finally, if one compares yields of the two sectors, the comparisons are even more dramatic. Grain production in 1902 produced 1,67 million bags from 534 000 acres. By 1930, acreage had increased to 1,38 million and production to three million bags. By 1950, 2,25 million acres were under grain production, yielding a total of 3,8 million bags. Maize constituted nearly half this production, followed by sorghum, munga and rapoko. Whilst the accuracy of the figures is open to criticism, the declining trends in production are clear. In 1902 each acre yielded three bags of grain, in 1930 this had dropped to two bags per acre and by 1950 the yield was just over 1,5 bags per acre.

In summary then African agriculture is characterised by relatively low productivity and what is produced is largely consumed in the local environment. It is against this background that one must consider two fundamental pressures on the African sector, namely, population expansion and resource degradation. These two pressures need examination and particularly the relationship between them. The present growth rate of African population in Rhodesia is currently estimated to be in the region of 3,6 per cent, one of the highest, if not the highest natural increase rates in the world. Various estimates have been put forward re the population at the turn of the century. Professor Sadie has calculated a figure of 16 million; the Whitsun Foundation Directorate have used the figure of 14 million. The latter has projected population distribution between the wage sector and the residual sector as follows.

The assumption underlying this projection is a population growth of 3,6 per cent per annum until 1985 and 3,3 per cent between 1985 and 2000. Wage sector employment is projected at a growth rate of five per cent per annum (note 1964-74 a figure of 3,8 per cent). In order to meet the 600 000 new jobs by 1985 it has been calculated that a gross fixed investment of $480 million per annum would be required. This is a substantial figure, but not beyond achievement (gross fixed investment in 1974 totalled $367 million). What is frightening is that even at this figure of gross fixed investment, an additional million people will have to be accommodated in the residual sector. This is against a very real necessity of actually achieving a substantial reduction in the rural African population.

The TTLs are characterised in the main by being in the lighter textured soils and often in the higher temperature, lower rainfall areas. In agro-ecological Region 1, for example, 71 per cent of the land falls into European areas while only 13 per cent of the TTLs fall into this category. While there is no doubt that little attempt was made to see an equitable distribution of land by the Native Reserves Commission, there is some validity in the view that this in fact was the type of land settled by the African population. With a shifting type of cultivation, the less heavily wooded, lighter granite soils were far easier to clear and till.

But, and this is the crucial factor, while a shifting type of cultivation could be sustained on these soils, an intensive production programme could not. It has been estimated that in 1890 there were 77 hectares per African, by 1962 this had dropped to eight hectares and at present it is approximately four hectares per African. With this increased pressure it is inevitable that the inherent fertility of these light granite soils is deteriorating.

Research undertaken in the Manicaland Province indicates that no more that 5 per cent of the cultivated land has its nutrient value reconstituted annually. If this figure is correct it could, if translated on to the national scale, mean that 90 per cent of the land cultivated in tribal areas is on a declining fertility scale. The figures already given for yields in the TTLs clearly support this contention. The population pressures on the African sector resulting in increased cultivation has also meant that the amount of grazing land has been reduced (the stocking pressure has increased from one head: 6,2 ha to one head: 4,1 ha), and the arable land/grazing land ration narrowed from 1:10,8 hectare to 1: 6,4 hectare over the period 1961-1977.

Denudation of the veld is a spectre on which most travellers moving around the countryside comment. This in turn helps to explain the low productivity and high mortality of the African herd.

As a result of the pressures of population expansion, the productive base of the TTLs is less and less able to meet the needs of the community.

Chapter Thirteen

What is the answer?

"UTOPIAN socialist schemes to blanket the country with communal settlements would rapidly lead to disaster by destroying an agricultural industry which provides a massive proportion of national wealth, national employment and foreign exchange. It would be replaced by a system noted for its failure elsewhere and which would extend the deterioration of the present Tribal Trust Lands across the whole country," says the Integrated Plan for Rural Development in Zimbabwe Rhodesia published by the Transitional Government in late 1978.

Yet this is exactly what Roger Riddell advocates in his thesis The Land Question, published in London by the Catholic Institute for International Relations. Like so many of his kind, he theorises glibly for academics and intellectuals who are far removed from the harsh Third World realities of socialism and its co-operative system, and ignores the fact that only in Israel has community farming worked with any degree of success. And there the kibbutz system and the farming co-operatives are the brainchilds of highly educated (in comparison to our tribesmen) idealists.

He visualises white farmers transforming their properties into state-owned co-operatives over a two to three-year period to create in Zimbabwe Rhodesia a self-reliant socialist economy. It is not a theory that white or black farmers find easy to digest, even if it was at all workable, which it isn't.

Riddell's fashionable solution is only one step behind the lunatic idea that Rhodesia and its economy should be abandoned to the ravages of war, the fabric of its economy destroyed and its mainly white-built infrastructure — agricultural, commercial and industrial — dismantled. In other words, if all influences of Western progress were wiped out, then from the ashes of chaos would emerge a new all-black society ruled by a victorious one-party no-vote dictator, who would rebuild the economy with the aid of millions of dollars in free gifts and loans from overseas. Frighteningly, this blueprint did not emanate from Moscow or Peking, but from Western sources.

Some of Riddell's facts are irrefutable; but his solutions are wild and woolly, though popular among those who know little to nothing about African conditions. Thankfully his "final solution" is rejected almost unanimously by farmers, businessmen and politicians, for communal farming in the TTLs, and land distribution and ownership by traditional chiefs, is largely responsible for the tribesman's poverty today.

Ernest Bulle, Minister of Finance in the Transitional Government, gave his views on the distribution of wealth when he spoke to farmers just before the April election. He said to distribute the wealth of the few among the many poor would mean no-one would have anything .. . complete poverty. He spoke of a Zimbabwe Rhodesia in which the free enterprise system would encourage the generation of new wealth, more money, new jobs, more opportunities.

He called for change, but change by moderate negotiation rather than bloody revolution or radical socialist reforms. He called for a multi-racial society based on mutual trust and co-operation with minimum State interference, a society which through its own endeavours, would attract national and international investment, and not one that would be addicted to free handouts, reliant for survival on loans impossible to repay and dependent on the "begging bowl" which is a part of the daily grind in so many parts of the continent.

In a similar vein to the National Integrated Plan for Rural Development, which will cost an estimated $800 million to implement, is the RNFU's policy on economic viability and land settlement, called Stability through Agriculture ... a blueprint for the future. It says the maintenance of an efficient, effective and stable economy based on private enterprise, with agriculture playing the single most important role, is fundamental to the present and future prosperity of Zimbabwe Rhodesia. It maintains that it is predominantly through the efforts of all the people in the private enterprise sector that the country has been able not only to sustain but appreciably develop its economy since 1965. Agriculture has played a key role in this success story, and the quality of the sector's performance can be gauged by its achievements in the face of severe and prolonged sanctions, and virtual total official international hostility.

Most responsible Rhodesians, both black and white, recognise the vital need for all to work together for the maintenance of economic stability. It is essential that every effort be made to maintain and build up what is good within the country, and there is plenty that is, including the good relationships which exist between black and white people. It is also important to acknowledge that the position in Zimbabwe Rhodesia is unique — there are no known relevant applicable parallels, or similar previous experiences to be gained from other countries, which can be imported and implemented here with reasonable hope of success.

The country possesses a far more sophisticated, efficient and effective agricultural industry than neighbouring black states. This country also possesses a markedly superior agricultural industry in regard to research and extension, land planning and development, finance and marketing.

This expertise could be available to assist the agricultural development of neighbouring black states; it would be much more practically applicable and more in empathy with their environment than "know-how" imported from outside Southern/Central Africa.

Essential requirements for stability and continued production from commercial agriculture includes the maintenance of confidence of those involved.

Destruction of commercial farming will cause mass unemployment, catastrophic food shortages, loss of foreign exchange earnings and will lead to loss of confidence of the people as a whole. It is contended that no government can long stay in power on the shoulders of a hungry people and must ever be borne in mind that primary production is the real creator of national wealth. Commercial farmers cannot be expected to continue their vital contributions to the nation without having confidence in their future; more than many entrepreneurs in other sectors they need stable prospects to allow them to plan and execute their relatively long-term enterprises. Modern farming is usually highly capital intensive and farmers need a reasonably stable social, political and economic environment so that they can continue to employ their basic resources of land, water, labour and capital to the ultimate benefit of all.

The rural community continues to be by far the most vulnerable from the security aspect, and farmers fulfil vital roles in military/police anti-insurgency efforts, especially in the peripheral areas. It is essential that commercial farming is maintained in order to sustain the security and economic viability of rural communities as a whole. Substantial additional efforts must be devoted to TTL farmers (initially, especially to master farmers) to enable and encourage them to enter commercial farming.

An economically unstable situation in Zimbabwe Rhodesia would be a grave danger to the security and economy of the whole of Central Southern Africa.

Undoubtedly the people of Zimbabwe Rhodesia who would fare worst under such circumstances over a considerable period of time would be the vast majority of the black people living in the TTLs who have virtually no influence on internal and external politics.

Chapter Fourteen

Plan for rural development

THE views of organised agriculture complement the overall, ambitious five-year plan, "The integrated plan for Rural Development" which aims to achieve six objectives:

1. To promote the development of major physical resources in viable projects in order to create employment and increase the growth of output.
2. To promote the settlement of farmers in presently under-utilised areas. Development plans to take cognizance of farming systems most suited to these areas and the need to accommodate the largest possible number of farmers.
3. To promote the development of what are presently known as Tribal Trust Lands, with the ultimate objective of making them agriculturally viable.
4. To promote urban development at selected sites, principally within the tribal lands, based primarily on physical resource development and socio-economic factors.
5. To increase the output from the current commercial sector of the agricultural industry in order to increase both foreign exchange earnings and employment opportunities in that sector.
6. To promote the increased rate of urban development in existing centres in order to create additional employment and to accommodate the families of all established urban workers.

The resulting programme is an integrated approach to improving the productivity of presently underdeveloped or overstressed areas by large scale re-settlement of under-utilised areas, the construction of both major and minor irrigation schemes and the rehabilitation of areas which are suffering degradation.

These projects will have dramatic effects on employment, land settlement, living standards and agricultural output — all major objectives of development. Expansion of existing irrigation schemes is the starting point, followed by harnessing of the vast irrigation potential of the south-eastern lowveld. Strategy here is largely dictated by the proximity of the country's heaviest rural human and livestock populations.

The programme covers a number of substantial schemes and two very large projects — the Condo Dam and the Tokwe Mukorsi Dam, to which is linked the smaller Nuanetsi Manyoshi Dam. The Condo Dam will serve development in the Sabi Valley and will permit the irrigation of an additional 45 000 hectares. The Tokwe Mukorsi Dam commands the Rutenga area and will permit the irrigation of 30 000 hectares. Over-all, the projects proposed in the programme are capable of bringing an estimated 82 000 hectares under irrigation (the national irrigation area in 1976 was approximately 80 000 hectares), 25 000 hectares of which would come into production by the end of the five-year period. Projected expenditure over the five-year period on the Condo scheme is $62 million and on the Tokwe Mukorsi/Nuanetsi Manyoshi scheme $58 million. The level of total investment required is extremely high since the figures quoted in this section cover only the cost of providing the water and of land preparation.

Because of the size of the investment maximum production is an essential requirement. The planned land use, therefore, caters for a mixture of settlement schemes backed by a strong central estate organisation possessing the necessary expertise to provide advice and guidance, and major participation by commercial agricultural interests. For example, the plan envisages that the whole of the Rutenga scheme of 30 000 hectares will be developed by private enterprise with government participation being confined to the provision of storage works and main canals. A prime factor that must be noted is that even if the implementation of certain of the proposed schemes is delayed the areas concerned should still be reserved for irrigation development and not turned to some other use.

It is estimated that implementation of the programme in full will create more than 14 000 jobs during the construction period and 56 000 when the schemes are in operation. To meet objective 2, agricultural land settlement, the strategy is to settle both large-scale new irrigation schemes and large tracts of under-utilised dryland of good farming potential. Analysis of various models shows that the proposed format is likely to give the best over-all benefit to the most people by providing settlement, well paid employment and a higher standard of living on the widest possible basis. Good farmers from the tribal lands should be selected as settlers and on-site training with a high quality extension service provided. There have been suggestions of schemes to blanket the country with communal settlements. These would rapidly lead to disaster by destroying an agricultural industry that provides a massive proportion of national wealth, national employment and foreign exchange, and by substituting a system which is noted for its failure elsewhere and which would extend the deterioration of the present tribal lands across the whole country.

For the purposes of the programme under-utilised land is defined as land of good agricultural potential where, for reasons of under development, the value of crops produced was less than $20 per hectare in 1973/74 or where there was an offtake of less than 30 livestock units per 1 000 hectares per annum. Also included are very large externally controlled ranches or land held for speculative purposes. The area of land defined as producing below capacity amount to 2,6 million hectares while largely externally controlled units of land or land held for speculative purposes totals 1,5 million hectares.

The aim of the programme is to introduce into the agricultural sector a type of farm with an earning capacity much above that of the existing (African) purchase land farm but still below that of the present commercial farm which can be operated as a family unit with the addition of one or two hired workers and with a minimum of capital investment in machinery. The level of net farm income (i.e., income from produce less cost of production) on which the programme is based is $2 000 per annum as against the present average in purchase lands of $800 per annum. Holdings capable of producing this level of income range from three-hectare irrigation units to 700-hectare ranches.

The number of settlement units which could be formed out of the 2,6 million hectares of presently low productive land is estimated at 8 000 providing a living for some 96 000 people. It must be borne in mind, however, that the land at present provides a living for some 88 000, made up of farm labourers and their dependants. The number of settlement units which could be formed out of very large ranches or idle land is estimated at 2 100, providing a living for some 25 000 people and displacing only a very small number of employees and their dependants.

The programme is also flexible and can be extended to include tenant farming schemes in suitable areas (particularly tobacco growing) which would increase potential settlement by a further 3 500 farmers.

But all this can only become a reality, the planners admit, when an end is brought to the war, there is a return to normality and Zimbabwe Rhodesia given access to the necessary overseas development finances. Given these conditions, then there is a bright future for all in this lovely land.

Chapter fifteen

The war must stop

WHATEVER the differences are between the highly commercialised white farmer and his black counterpart, they have two things in common. The belief the war must be stopped, and secondly, the knowledge that they're the prime targets in the confrontation.

The RNFU's Denis Norman admitted (in March) the situation was bad. "The White farmer has three major problems on his hands at the moment," he says. "He has the problem of viability, political uncertainty . .. and security. Just now the greatest threat to his existence is security. The war has got to be stopped. Hopes of achieving this are higher now than for quite some time.

"At the moment, the war is escalating as the general elections approach, although during the rainy season it generally escalates because the terrs have better cover in the bush, there's more food and water available and rough terrain makes it more difficult for the Security Forces to track them. They're using the same tactics, striking at sunset, or sunrise, then disappearing into the Tribal Trust Lands, or in the Eastern Districts, crossing back into Mocambique.

"We in the farming community are particularly vulnerable at this time of year, most crops are still in the ground and we will not know for some time what price we will be getting for them. The terrorists intimidate the labour and force them into the TTLs. Now you can't farm in this part of the world without labour as most crops are labour intensive. It's a fact of life."

RNFU Director Jack Humphreys agrees with him. "Yes, these are difficult times, but the picture could be a lot gloomier. I am frankly amazed and tremendously impressed at the way the vast majority of farmers are sticking it out"

Norman explained, "The nett loss in farming numbers is not all that great. Take the Centenary and Umvukwes areas where farm attacks started in 1972, although there were incidents elsewhere long before that year. There are no empty farms.

Where an older farmer has left, his farm has been taken over by a younger man who is prepared to give it a go. Where we are vulnerable, and where there are empty farms, is in the Eastern Highlands, Melsetter, Cashel, Chipinga and that way. It's soft target area because it's so easy to attack from across the Mocambique border, and a difficult area to defend. On top of this, before the introduction of extensive tea and coffee enterprises, it tended to be a marginal profitability area.

"After security, viability of a farming operation is most important. In areas like Centenary and Umvukwes, which are profitable, farmers are willing to stick it out, but they will not go on risking their lives, the lives of their wives and children, if there is no chance of getting a fair return on their production. That is why it is important that viability be restored to the industry by increased prices for products, which will cover production costs and give the farmer a reasonable wage. Not even in peacetime can the farmer be expected to sell his products at less than it costs him to grow them.

"Yes, farming is becoming a younger man's game. The image of Rhodesian farmers cracking up with only the old men left, is completely false".

Humphreys interjected, "It is seldom that a farmer will leave his land for just one of the reasons mentioned ... security, or viability, or political uncertainty. Where they have been forced out, it has been by a combination of two of these. Where terrorism is bad and viability low, the farmer will say, 'It's not worth going on, let's get out.' But where the security is good and the farmer is still making money, he'll go on fighting. He has something to fight for."

Will the majority of white farmers stay on under a majority rule government? Norman, "That's difficult to say. There is a wide variety of views among our 5 500 members. Most recognise, of course, that there will be changes, perhaps dramatic changes.

"Whether the vast majority of farmers will stay will depend on the new government's attitude to commercial agriculture. We have been told by our majority government that they firmly believe in a free enterprise economy, the importance of maintaining and expanding food production and the need to develop the land for the benefit of both black and white. I believe if these policies are carried out there is a bright future here, and therefore, the majority of farmers will stay on. After all, many of them are third and fourth generation Rhodesians. This is their homeland. They're white Africans.

"What is most upsetting to farmers over the years is the political uncertainty. At times, things have looked so gloomy. Then there is a political initiative, both here and overseas, and suddenly there is a return of optimism. The whole position was confusing and confusion led to uncertainty. Farmers need a decision. They want to know where they are going — whether to stay on the land, or quit. Farming, after all, is not a short-term, two-to-three-year operation. It is a long-term, highly capitalised industry. You just can't borrow thousands of dollars to develop virgin bush, plant crops and then walk away from it all. Neither can you grow farmers."

How has the war escalated over the past seven years and how have farmers coped with the worsening situation?

Norman, "It started with attacks on farm homesteads before 1972. That year it was stepped-up. Homesteads were soft targets with little or no defences. The defences went up making it more difficult to attack farms, then the terrorists began to favour landmine and ambush warefare. This was countered to an extent by mine-protected and ambush-protected vehicles, and the introduction of improved mine- detecting vehicles.

"They next began stealing cattle on a large scale, and again we countered this by setting up anti-stocktheft units to guard the cattle and retaliate when they were stolen, frequently chasing the terrorist gang into the Tribal Trust Lands to recover the animals. Other measures included the use of cowbells, stripes on the backs of animals so that they were easily recognisable from the air or some vantage point on the ground, and fitting tiny electric gadgets which gave out a radio signal indicating their whereabouts. It made stocktheft extremely difficult, drastically reducing incidents. Then it flared up again, not because of terrorism, but because law and order had broken down in a number of areas. There have been arson attacks on the crops, tobacco, maize and cotton. Farm stores have been knocked out and looted, but the slashing of crops and the hamstringing of animals has not been significant on the commercial farms, although we were expecting it. Slashing crops is hard work ... these fellows find it a lot easier to lay a landmine, throw a grenade or fire a gun.

"Lately, the most significant change in terrorist tactics is to intimidate employees by either driving them physically off the farms at night or by giving them so many days to gather their belongings and move into the Tribal Trust Lands, or to the towns and cities. (Black refugees from the rural areas is estimated at more than 140 000 in Salisbury alone. There are few jobs for them and fewer houses although the authorities are making every effort to provide them with temporary accommodation. It is almost an impossible task. It's a tragic by-pro-duct of the war.)"

Farmers have replied to intimidation of employees by security fencing living quarters which are guarded at night by black militia men. To prevent terrorists forcing them to provide them with food, supplies are locked away behind guarded security fences. Sufficient food to meet each family's needs is issued daily, and on some farms all meals are cooked and eaten communally behind security fences. These measures have been effective in reducing the number of terrorists living, or operating, for any length of time on the commercial farms. Equally as effective were the Protected Villages set up in the Tribal Trust Lands, which were fenced, locked and guarded at night, and prevented intimidation of the tribesman by terrorist gangs seeking food and shelter. Most of these were dismantled after the March 3 Agreement.

Norman believes there is a large element of hooliganism in the ranks of the terrorists and that to a growing extent acts of so-called terrorism are merely lawlessness by armed bandits, "though there's little difference between them when you are faced by a man with a gun and he pulls the trigger..."

Norman is convinced that food is the country's greatest asset and that as the primary producer of this asset, the commercial farmer must be retained on the land and encouraged to expand his production. "Hungry men become desperate men and more governments in Africa have been toppled by desperate men, hungry and jobless, than for any other reason."

He said this in reply to a suggestion that it could be to the commercial farmers advantage to abandon certain areas where terrorism is rife and consolidate white farming operations in districts around the main urban centres which are by and large areas of higher profitability.

Norman said, "Look, if we start abandoning whole areas of the country, and the crops in the ground, we might as well abandon the whole of the country. Before UDI (November 1965) tobacco was king and the country imported much of its food requirements paying for them out of the foreign currency earned by tobacco profits. After sanctions were imposed, the agricultural industry diversified into food production, maize, beef, wheat and soyabeans. We are not only able to feed the growing population but grow enough for export. After sanctions are lifted, we could move back into tobacco, but if the movement was excessive how could the country feed a population which has doubled or trebled? We'd be forced to follow the example of Zambia, which has a better farming potential than this country, but which imports maize to stave-off starvation because its agricultural industry was allowed to disintegrate.

"Abandon entire parts of the country? That is not our intention. Commercial farmers employ 38 per cent of the total black labour force and 1,4 million of the country's people live on the commercial farms. If we pulled out, where are these people going to find work or a place to live? Commerce and industry cannot absorb them, neither could the urban areas or the Tribal Trust Lands accommodate them.

"Once there is a return to normality, Zimbabwe Rhodesia could become the major food supplier to Zambia, Zaire, Mocambique and Angola, we could substantially increase food production, generating more jobs and new wealth to the benefit of everyone in this country. "The potential is here. The skills are here. Agriculture must be built up and not pulled down. Once an industry like ours is allowed to collapse it produces a vacuum that cannot be filled. You can bring in expatriates from anywhere in the world to mine or run the railways. But they cannot become farmers overnight. It's not that kind of industry. The TTL farmer cannot fill that void because, through no fault of his own he is not equipped to do so at present. What must be done is to build on a system of agriculture that works, provide productive land which is not being utilised or is under-utilised for trained African farmers (and there is enough of it)develop our water resources of which we have abundance, and produce more to exploit neighbouring markets. Expansion not contraction of the industry is needed."

Gary Magadzire, farmer-businessman, heads the African Farmers' Union which has 9 000 members. Ninety per cent of them are presently facing bankruptcy brought on by a culmination of terrorism, the worst drought in decades, and their inability to borrow to finance their farming operations.

For every one black farmer, there are between eight and 10 people totally dependent on him working the land. In the past two years these farmers have lost a total of 500 000 head of cattle, most of them killed by disease caused directly by terrorist interference which had virtually halted disinfectant dipping against tick-borne disease in the TTLs and African farming areas. Magadzire estimates that cattle losses could reach one million by the end of 1979.

The plight of the black farmer is worsened by serious outbreaks of another disease, foot-and-mouth, which means his cattle are quarantined and therefore cannot be sold to the Cold Storage Commission.

Each year black farmers sell on the market produce worth about $11 million, mostly cotton, groundnuts and cattle. The vast bulk of his production never reaches the market place as it is consumed by the farmer and his family.

Magadzire says unless there is an immediate end to the terrorist war, production from black farms could fall to as little as $3 million a year ... "and maybe nothing at all soon".

The picture is bleak. Terrorists force the black farmer to burn his cash crops such as cotton and replace it with maize to feed them. Martial law regulations restricts movement throughout most of the TTLs and African farming areas which makes it more difficult to farm.

Said Magadzire, "At night the guerrillas (sic) come to the kraals and demand food. Sometimes the guerrilla is a son of the farmer. Then the following day the Security Forces come and say, 'Why did you give food to those people?' And the security man might be a son of the farmer, too. Everyone is armed in this war except us. We black farmers have no guns. We're in the middle of everything."

Tens of thousands of black farming families have become literally refugees. They have fled their homes, leaving behind their crops, cattle, sheep, goats and chickens, for the safety of the urban centres. What began as a trickle has turned into an exodus. "The white farmer may be suffering, but the situation our members find themselves in, through no fault of theirs, is disastrous," says Magadzire.

He forecasts widespread famine in 12 months unless there is an end to the conflict. "Our members have told me they have had enough of war ... until it is over, they cannot go on producing, and that means at least 100 000 people face starvation because our 9 000 black farmers each support between eight and 10 people. This is what we are telling the new government. . . 'put a stop to the war'."

Chapter Sixteen

Why the fight goes on

BEFORE the war — those now almost forgotten balmy days of peace, tranquil peace, Rhodesia was a tobacco king on the markets of the world, demanding — and getting — high prices for a top quality product.

The country could afford to import much of its food requirements because of the millions of dollars (then pounds sterling) it earned in foreign currency. Sanctions seriously disrupted this earning potential forcing the agricultural industry into a large-scale — and eventually highly successful — diversification programme which in a few short years achieved not only self-sufficiency in food production, but provided surplusses for export, through middlemen, to the markets of the West. Tobacco is still an important crop, though it cannot again be expected to reach the dizzy heights of the early 1960s because of the emphasis now placed on food production. It is the country's ability to produce food in large quantities that will eventually decide its destiny.

Figures speak more eloquently than any words do when discussing the achievements of commercial agriculture over the last 14 years of repressive sanctions and bloody war. In 1964 the gross output of commercial agriculture was a mere $143,1 million at present day prices. Last year the figure reached a staggering $536,1 million.

The figures, as impressive as they are, do not tell the story of human endeavour, skill or sheer determination to overcome the almost unsurmountable. Nor do they afford tribute to the country's black farm employees, whose courage to withstand terrorist intimidation, threats, violence and murder, has made all possible.

The praises of farming wives and families have been sung. The loyalty of those employed on the commercial farms — 38 per cent of the working population — is all too often forgotten by those observers outside the farming community.

Wives and families have made it possible for the farmer to stick to the land. The farmers' kinship with his employees has made it possible to sow and reap the land. There exists a relationship between farmer and employees that perhaps is unique, not only to the industry, but this part of the world. Despite the stresses and strains imposed on both employer and employee by the war, there is a fund of goodwill which is being built upon all the time.

It is little known outside agriculture just how involved the farmer is in the welfare of each employee and his dependants, providing food, housing, schools, recreation facilities and transport as well as contributing substantially to hospitals and clinics.

Although wages paid to farm workers are not as high as the industry would like to see — because farming is deeper in debt than it has ever been — the RNFU has initiated the setting up of an Industrial Conciliation Council to investigate the wage structure and set minimum wages for the whole of agriculture. The Union has also initiated an agricultural pension scheme.

It is the close relationship developed between employer and employees over the years that the marxist terrorist is determined to undermine, knowing that farming in this part of the globe is labour-intensive. Take out the farm workforce and the fabric of agriculture collapses and with it the economy and the country.

That is why terrorism must be overcome... and that is why the Zimbabwe Rhodesian farmer fights on.

Roll of Honour

In memory of members of the Rhodesia National Farmers' Union, their wives, sons and daughters, killed in the terrorist war.

At the going down of the sun and in the morning we will remember them.
(Laurence Binyon)

Most recent deaths

The Roll of Honour does not include the names of the sons of farmers killed on active duty with the Security Forces.

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NB. The original book contains a great many photos, of which only a representative selection is included here.