ABOUT THE AUTHORS:
Henrik Ellert was born in Denmark but grew up in Kenya during the Mau Mau emergency. He came to Zimbabwe in 1961 and joined the police force in 1964, initially serving two years in the uniformed branch and stationed in Shabani and Hartley, where he gained his first experience with the nationalist guerrilla insurgency after the killing of the Viljoens by ZANLA in 1966. He later transferred to the CID being stationed in Gweru and shortly after joined Special Branch posted to the Chirundu border post where he was involved in Operation Couldron and Griffin and intel collection from Zambia. Returning to the Provincial Special Branch Office, Salisbury and Mashonaland, he was first responsible for border control at Salisbury airport and later on the European desk, rising to head of the section where his work brought him into contact with a wide spectrum of society. Throughout the 1970s he was periodically stationed at JOC Hurricane and, after completing Portuguese language studies, undertook liaison duties with Portuguese authorities in Beira, Tete, Chitima and Mukumbura. In 1978 he was seconded to special duties as UANC liaison on Operation Favour before being transferred as Member-in-Charge of CID/Special Branch Que Que with responsibilities during Operation Grapple and Operation Favour. He retired with the rank of Detective Inspector in 1979.
Dennis Malcolm Anderson
Always interested to read different perspectives and the backgrounds of the authors intrigued me.
But was disappointed by this book. As well as not really containing anything new it came across as an attempt to justify Ken Flower’s role in the closing years of the war. His daughter provided plenty of source material.
It starts off with a short history of Rhodesians and in my opinion took great joy in running them down as beer swilling, rugby playing meat heads. It ends with comments about Rhodesian pioneer families being elitist etc (as if they had nothing to be proud of).
In between the book attempts to paint the Rhodesian Front as a far right fascist government but is remarkably forgiving/ says very little of the Russians and Chinese.
The most interesting part of the book are the sections dealing with Mozambique and Renamo but the authors don’t really explain why Renamo was not used as a bargaining chip before or during Lancaster house.
Oddly, there are several references to Judith Todd, the inference being that she had it right all along and then a throw away line about her being ‘attacked’ by one of Mugabe’s generals during the genocide of the Matabele.
Says quite a lot about the book.
In the aftermath of World War II and the era of decolonization, the future of Rhodesia, and it is fair to say South Africa, was equally determined by demographic imperatives. With UDI, the clock starting ticking ever faster. Honestly, what chance did the Rhodesians have when their population was a mere 3-4% of the total (at its height) in the early 1970s? Was there ever going to be another outcome, bearing in mind the collapse of white rule in South Africa just fifteen years on? Ellert and Anderson’s book seems to fill the vacuum here, and serves well to broaden the perspective of where Rhodesians were. It may help understand why Zimbabwe is as it is today.
Through their dedication and in-depth knowledge, Henrik Ellert and Dennis Anderson both very competent Special Branch operators have put together a very readable book which sets out the course of history, not only covering Rhodesia, but the adjoining countries of Mozambique, Botswana, and Zambia.
This is not an “I” book, but based on facts, some aspects disturbing, others showing immense intelligence gathering ingenuity. In many ways the book portrays that from the time of the British South Africa Company in the 1890’s up to Independence the protection of the white community was high on the agenda, with a fatherly approach to the African Community.
The book also reveals that there was a section of the white community who had vision and wanted a broader political agenda, but were suppressed by the ever-powerful Rhodesia Front – just like the clamoring for a new vision is being thwarted by the ZANU-PF government today.