You men, he said, meaning us. Bleedin’ pongo inspecting us like a proper sergeant-major, looking at the shine on our buttons and the laces on our boots.
Ain’t been here a week yet and I’d wager this soutpeel paw-paw is sending cables back to England about how he’s solved all the colony’s problems, calling us Rhodies behind our backs and saying how we’re lowering ourselves by taking Shona wives.
He forgets that this is a real war. Has been for years, and every day it gets worse for us. Whenever the government outlaws an organization, two more take its place. The ZAPU turned into the ZIPRA, then split into the ZANU and the ZANLA.
These rebels don’t fight for wages. They fight for their families, their nation, their freedom.
I am true Rhodesian, but my skin is white. I wear their pongo uniform, but what side am I on?
Southern Rhodesia was a British colony founded in the 19th Century by the British South Africa Company and named for company director Ceclil Rhodes. The decolonisation of Africa in the early 1960s alarmed Rhodesia’s white population who feared the inevitable black majority rule. In 1965, Rhodesia’s predominantly white government issued a Unilateral Declaration of Independence (UDI) from the United Kingdom, even though the UK supported Rhodesia’s transition to a multi-racial democracy. Fifteen years of brutal bush war resulted. The country finally achieved internationally recognised independence in April 1980 as the Republic of Zimbabwe.
Boss Up is Rhodesian slang for “go carefully.”