Hate them or like them, the Selous Scouts were a formidable fighting force, driven by the unbridled desire to prolong white supremacy, entrench racial apartheid, while believing in the supremacy of their “Pamwechete” (We’re one) motto.
The article is not aimed at praising this elite unit, whose known notoriety includes that they accounted for 68% of the freedom fighters and civilians killed during the 1970s liberation war.
The article seeks to expose how mindset warfare has been a dominant theme in the post-colonial state in Africa and how that version of asymmetric warfare has had debilitating consequences on the post-colonial state in Africa, in this context, Zimbabwe.
Martin Chikondo helped Chris Schulenburg conceive this unit per Lieutenant Colonel Reid Daly request. The objective of this was to penetrate the freedom fighters through acting and behaving as if the scouts were guerillas. The unit was composed of 80% blacks, a departure from the elite Rhodesian Special Air Service that was exclusively white.
The racial factor proved to be a crucial issue as intelligence gathering formed the basis of the counterinsurgency thrust by the Rhodies.
Ok, the motivation to conceive this article is emanating from a legendary picture of Mbuya Nehanda surrounded by Askaris and one white member of the BSAP moments before she was executed. The fact that the liberation war was waged on the basis of her “Mapfupa angu achamuka” (My bones will rise again) remarks means she forever shall have a special place in the history of Zimbabwe.
As a counter insurgency movement, the Selous Scouts were ruthlessly efficient. They committed serious war crimes and human rights abuses that were mollycoddled by the Lancaster House Agreement under the guise of “reconciliation”.
One thing about mindset warfare is that it brainwashes a subject beyond redemption, “zombifying” that person to a point of losing identity and embracing foreign values.
Blacks who fought for the Rhodesian cause within the Selous Scouts were victims of deception, greed and manipulation; at least, some of them. The likes of Steven Mpofu were brainwashed killers who showed no mercy as they killed with impunity.
How then do we get to know about their exploits? These things are written in books. It seems as if it was or is standard practice for the Selous Scouts to document their exploits, mostly, published posthumously. The agenda there is propaganda within the context of the “Rhodesia Never Die” elevation.
We are told of how brilliant they were; we believe in the supremacy of their battle tactics and are accustomed to the WOW! factor they created because they wrote their stuff in books. Actually, we buy those books. This is mental engineering at its best.
Our liberation war fighters did not document their history. Most of their exploits are oral versions of what transpired. There are no dedicated efforts at ensuring their legacy is passed on to subsequent generations in text. We are losing the mindset war, propaganda thrust and ultimately this fourth generation warfare.
Our political victory did not obliterate the military might of Rhodesia and by extension, the Selous Scouts. Most of their operators simply vanished from the scene. Documenting and publishing what transpired during the war will give a true depiction of historical facts.
The Australian War Museum in Canberra has got each and every name of each Australian soldier killed in numerous wars the country has engaged in. Every day, a name is read out and descendants of that family are paraded before an audience of appreciative people who then are told of how their loved one lost their lives in battle. Post this, a token, usually a flag, is presented to the family. Legacy sealed.
This is the beauty of documenting your exploits. The social engineering behind the Australian thrust is beyond any reasonable doubt. People resonate with their heroes. The same with how the Selous Scouts have managed to do it.
Reading through their “roll of fame”, one is amazed at how many blacks actively contributed in the fight against Independence or to entrench racial dominance, whichever school of thought one looks at it.
Inasmuch as we do not subscribe to the values of the Selous Scouts, we can at least make strenuous efforts to ensure our history is written down. We have an entire generation of youths who must be well informed about the legacy of some of our finest military generals and sons of the soil who lost their lives in service to the motherland. This is mindset warfare. It is real and it has to be won. We must fight it with books!
Sapien is a trade and security analyst