Book Review: Never Quite a Soldier
Written by Leon Engelbrecht, Thursday, 03 September 2009
David Lemon’s Never Quite a Soldier – A Rhodesian Policeman’s War 1971-1982 shows why Robert Mugabe is the tyrant he is today – he is merely being consistent.
In passing Lemon also shows the tenacity and intelligence of the foe they were up against. In an incident, at the Chimurenga`s end, when ZANLA (Zimbabwe African National Liberation Army cadres go on a rampage in Enkeldoorn; order is restored when a commander steps forward. "One man stood apart from the rest… he stepped through the unruly throng and walked across to me. ‘Do you want my help, Mr Lemon?"
The copper then realised he was facing "Sachiweshe", his enemy for several years in the Wiltshire of whom he knew next to nothing, not even his real name. The reverse, however, was not true. "Sachiweshe" knew his name, his call sign in the BSAP Support Unit (Charlie Nine), his nickname among his troops (magirazi – one with spectacles), where he was based, where he lived and where his children went to school. "… in spite of all my research, he obviously knew a great deal more about me than I knew about him," said an abashed Lemon.
In contrast with Mugabe and "Sachiweshe", the Rhodesian war effort was marked by a lack of seriousness. "Two days before the  election, I was called to Enkeldoorn for a meeting with General [Peter] Walls [the Rhodesian joint commander]. Discussing the likely election result, Walls told Lemon and his colleagues the Wiltshire was "probably a borderline case" and "could still be won by Bishop Abel Muzorewa, whom Lemon considered incompetent and inept. "I listened to this drivel with mounting incredulity. This was the man leading the fighting forces of my country… This was the man I would have died for and he was lying through his teeth. I knew he was lying. We all knew he was lying and he must have known we knew. His lies were totally pointless in the circumstances and he lost my respect at that moment."
Lemon spins a highly readable yarn, using good humour to describe his career from 1971, when he returned home to
Never Quite a Soldier – A Rhodesian Policeman`s War 1971-1982
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