Based on actual events and facts, the story tells the life and adventures of a man caught up in the changing face of Africa. It is a story of conflict, aggression, friendship and love.
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Books bu Ken Tilbury
Based on true life events and facts, this book tells the story and adventures of a man who joins the Rhodesian police force at the time of the breakup of the Federation. The ‘Winds of Change’ are blowing through Africa and he is caught up in political unrest and rioting. He leaves the police to go farming and joins the Police Anti Terrorist Unit. For 12 years he is actively involved in the Rhodesian ‘Bush War’. During this time he suffers great personal loss and crosses paths with a terrorist leader.
After independence he finally gets his dream farm in Zimbabwe. But ten years later and just as things are coming right, the troubles begin again. War vets, land invasions and an old enemy eventually force him to leave his farm.
This story depicts the typical life of many farmers and their families who have endured two major conflicts and survived - some regrettably have not. It is intended as a tribute to all those thousands who have suffered under the dictatorship of Mugabe.
Bruce Brislin review
Ken Tilbury’s book, ‘Black Mamba White Settler’ is a superbly executed piece of work. I found it thoroughly engrossing. He has used his own experiences as the basis for the book from a boyhood in Swaziland through various moves around the southern African sub-continent, dictated as much by an ambition to have his own farm as by the uncertainty of living through the Rhodesian ‘Bush War’ and worse, the repossessions of farm land in Zimbabwe after 1980, to finally having to realise that there was no future for an European in Zimbabwe.
The passages relating to the ‘Bush War’ are particularly fascinating and will be surprising to many in that he demonstrates the high degree of cooperation that existed at the time between black and white Rhodesians, a fact that is often overlooked by most. As a glimpse into a very misunderstood period in history it is most enlightening.
Doubtless there will be those who will be shocked at the levels of brutality Ken describes, but if anything, he has really only touched on just how bad things could be for supposed informers caught by the ‘freedom fighters.’
He hints at the accelerating polarisation of the two opposing societies that existed and gave rise to atrocities committed and to the legacy of brutality that has been left behind; a legacy that Zimbabwe has to live with to this day. Without him saying anything to the effect, the book is also an indictment on the British Governments of the time between UDI and the birth of Zimbabwe for precipitating the transfer of power to the majority well before they were in a position to even understand what had been handed to them.
I can thoroughly recommend this book to all who have an interest in Southern African history and politics and to all who simply enjoy well written novels that are exciting from beginning to end but are also based on true life experiences.
September 1st 2012.
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