Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Gokwe Kid – Mission Impassability

Well, I needed a bit of a break from writing and editing ad nauseum. I was starting to get stale and not very imaginative. As I await my chapters coming back from my reluctant editor, I did other things. BUT, thankfully my desire to write returned.

Today is Nigel Triggs’s birthday. Nigel has a huge part in my book, but also he has bent backwards to help me with input and information. I thank him for that. So, I dashed off this little anecdote which I dedicate to him. This is not in the book.

Mission Impassability

Gokwe POs singles’ quarters, winter 1977. The lads are having a game of poker. Things get excitable and finally the game is called over and out around 1 in the morning. The others wander to bed but not the infamous Gokwe Kid because he is a man on a mission of impossible stupidity. Feeling well pleased with himself after freeing at least 75cents from the wallets of Messrs PO Triggs, Golden and Brockbank, the great Dick of the Bushveld has more coin to score by order of the great police bwana of Gokwe, Chief Inspector Harvey.
With the government desperate for funds it seemed a good idea to lash out a few tickets on unsuspecting drivers and as such duty PO (me), was to place a road block ten clicks out of Gokwe on the main dirt drag to Que Que and knobble a few bucks. This, for some obscure reason, had been designated between the hours of 2 to 4am.
Shortly before ticketing time, I meandered sleepily into the charge office and asked for a volunteer. Immediately a small riot broke out as by now my reputation preceded my authority and most of the black staff turned white at the prospect of going any where with The Gokwe Kid. Strong men have known to break down in the Boss’s office and volunteer to go on a six months PATU tour rather than half a day with the greatest bush detective of all time.  
Still, I managed to bribe one with a promise of a bottle of Coke and as the town hall clock didn’t bong twice, I had a Police Ahead sign and a pole on some rickety legs spanning the middle of the road. Mindful that the place had more gooks swarming around than ticks on a ridgeback’s back, I turned the Landy lights and engine off and proceeded to chill out a bit. I was chilled all right- I was bloody freezing! Even with the heavy long grey coat, the temperature must have been barely above zero up there on the plateau.
After about 90 minutes of teeth chattering and spitting out loosened fillings – a car approaches! So exciting. I dash out and nearly get run over. The frightened driver had no chance and I really put the boot in. Did him for just about everything my fine little fine book could offer up. Horn and indicators not working, bald tyres, dodgy brakes, no soapy water in his windscreen wiper spray thingys, rear view mirror chipped – in fact I filled out the entire part allocated for the bad things. It came to a massive 153 dollars and 25 cents. I sent the poor man off with his copy. By that time it was 4am so I packed up, went home, threw the book into the Boss’s in tray and popped off for some sleepy eye.

I was allowed an extra couple of hours sleep in and wandered into the charge office at 10am, just in time for a nice cup of tea, when my name was roared out from the direction of Mike Harvey’s office. He sounded in pain.
“PO Greenberg, I see you have ticketed someone for various offences related to an unworthy road vehicle.”
“Yes Sah!” I beamed intelligently. “I got him for just about everything.”
“I see. Do you remember the driver’s name or where he lives?” asks the Boss.
Mmm, strange question indeed. I am not good with names and black peoples’ names were rather incomprehensible to my dyslexic brain. Besides, I was giving the man a ticket, not asking him to be my new best china and can I pop around to his pad for a party. I shook my head in the negative.
“I presume you know what he looks like?”
“Yes Sah, he was…er… black!”
“Very good Greenberg. Do you recall the vehicle’s registration number?”
Eish! That was tricky one. Maybe he hadn’t any. I should have whacked that onto the fine list as well. Again I shook my head in the negative. Tossing the open fine book in my direction, the Boss says
“Can you find any glaring mistakes you may have perhaps made whilst filling in this fine?”
I looked carefully and whistled softly under my breath. Oh-oh, the amount had been added up wrong, I had short changed the Rhodesian government out of 15 dollars. I apologised profusely and hoped to hell I wasn’t going to be forced to cough up the difference.
The Boss sighed in that same way my teachers did when they handed back my essays.
“PO Greenberg, if the driver does not turn up to pay the fine in seven days, are you going to fetch him in?”
I nodded enthusiastically in the positive.
“Pray, tell me, how will that be possible when you have neglected to fill out the entire part relating to his name, address, vehicle type and registration?”
Now that was a very good question and I suddenly thought that perhaps I had also forgotten to put my belt on because my shorts seemed to be now flapping around my ankles. Taking a pen, the Boss drew a line through the page and wrote ‘Cancelled’.

“You are dismissed.”

Saturday, December 17, 2011

The Gokwe Kid goes on the rampage

At the height of the riots in England this year, the desperate government appealed for help. Immediately Dr Who tele-transported the only man that could sort the problem out – The Gokwe Kid – Dick of the Bushveld.
After being dragged out of some target practise, ripped through time and space, the rather disorientated Gokwe Kid took aim at what he conceived to be horrible hoodie gooks looting some stores. Aiming rapidly, he let rip, missing Curry’s full of electric crap shop and marauding hoodie gooks, and fired straight into a WHS Smith bookstore.

The carnage was awful. Every copy of Wilbur Smith’s new book was incinerated along with every GCSE crib notes on how to become a celebrity by sitting on the dole. Not one hoodie gook was killed. Terrible! Sorry about that.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Don’t drink, do drugs and then post on Facebook – It could get you killed.

Well, it has been a hectic few days with me getting completely stressed and wound up. With Xmas coming up, everybody seems to be paying attention to their own lives and friends and family, and leave me and my book on the sideline. Poor little me. Not to worry hey.

Still, as ever, The Indefatigable Unimpressionable Gokwe Kid, messing about whilst his editor fires off comments like –

Yo, DOTB (Dick of the Bushveld)

When I started the project I soon rued the day I put my hand up, but you're growing on me (you are a fungi to know).

As I plough through, I'm getting a feel for when you were out of your head, vs when you were lucid. It's not hard to tell. That's why I have "flattened out" some of the weirder passages as no-one will have the vaguest idea what the hell you're on about and your reviews (read, future sales) will be bugga'd.
However, I have kept these to a minimum.

I had no idea there was so much material... it's seriously time-consuming and I'm doing it as my real job/life permits. You'll just have to wait till I'm done.

What do you refer to with the images? I thought you were putting it all together, or am I to design the book for nikisi, as well as editing it? If so, I demand a 100% pay rise.

Lots of love,
Your Editor

(I added that lots of love bit myself. You don’t really want to know what he really signed out with.)

Sigh, such positive feedback hey! Poor bloke. Still, The Gokwe Kid, now actually starting to take the impersona of the creature he has created, decides that he needs better attention than that and cleverly unleashes images and clever-clever accompanying chit-chat in the vain hope he will have millions of fans worshipping him. Instead, he gets a lynch mob!

Oh-oh.! I needed to create what is known as a reverse positive feedback loop. It works like this –
My ‘late’ (not late enough as far as I am concerned), father used to say to me (at least everyday) – ‘Every time you open your mouth, you put your foot in it.’

Fair enough. After that we take foot out of mouth and blab my way out of the fact of why I put my foot in my mouth in the first place. I think there is a scientific name for this problem – insanity.

Well, as can be predicted – firing off Gokwe Kid type witticisms, whilst heavily sedated by legal and not so legal substances, tends get some draw backs. Next thing you know, I have been accused of all sorts including a sociopathic rapist with a penance to write in gory detail the ‘conquests’ in the vain hope of making some quick bucks. Not bad!

I would have been better off calling Mother Teresa ‘A lying, thieving Albanian dwarf.’ (Christopher Hitchens). Bloody hell, me thinks, this is not too good. Time for damage limitation. So, we do all that, try to clear the airwaves. But lesson learnt - till the next time I am out off my skull. Still, being a very sensitive soul, I had to take to my bed for 14 hours and I was very unwell, but I am better now. As if any of you care! Oh man, just wait till you read the book – it is insane!!!

Meanwhile -


The Gokwe Kid Christmas Card

Digging around and sorting out pictures to scan yet again, so the quality will be good enough for the print, I came across a BSAP season’s greetings card. I sent it to my mum in the UK in December 1976. Hilariously, at the back it has a request for her to send four batteries for my Currys £20 digital watch which has a part in my story.

Anyway, I took the card, tweeked it a bit and here it is! My Christmas card for you. Simply copy, print, cut it out and glue the cover on – job done. It will take pride of place on the mantelpiece.

Best wishes, and hopefully I post again soon…

The Gokwe Kid - out.

Saturday, December 03, 2011

We Will Remember Them

Bang in the middle of the book is an extraordinary chapter. It is literally a turning point in my narrative. Something amazing occurs and incredulously most of it was airbrushed out of the Rhodesian press. I managed to get hold of the press coverage but since I knew more than what was reported, I decided that I should make a determined attempt to uncover the facts.

Now this is where the power of the internet comes in. I am sure that many of you have heard of the six degrees of separation. It refers to the idea that everyone is on average approximately six steps away, by way of introduction, from any other person on Earth, so that a chain of, "a friend of a friend" statements can be made, on average, to connect any two people in six steps or fewer. (Wikipedia). Recently I read that this had become four due to social networking.

So, as the Gokwe Kid, the greatest of bush detectives, I went about a’dickin and slowly but surely, started on getting the pieces of a rather large puzzle together. First off I needed input from fellow police officers. This didn’t throw up too much info as one of the main characters, Inspector Andy Gray, is now dead. My own Boss was on holiday at the time. One copper was around but wasn’t involved ‘directly’ but supplied me with valuable background and some interesting observations. Another copper was directly involved but so far has ignored my appeals to Email me.

I then needed input from the Rhodesian Airforce. Through my pal ‘Coolbeans’ an ex-chopper tech, an appeal was put out on their huge site ORAFS. I then received a copy of the same account I describe but it was missing many details and also in some respects inaccurate. I then was able through the ORAF contact to actually get hold of the actual pilot and he made a huge effort to clarify many points. But this still wasn’t enough because I needed input from the Rhodesian African Rifles (RAR). The web didn’t help me much so I contacted another china who puts me in touch with an ex-Brigadier from the RAR. He in turn puts me in touch with Major General Michael Shute who was CO of the RAR at the time.

By now I am bricking myself. Bloody hell, I am just a lowly ex Patrol Officer and I am talking to big guns! Mike Shute does the business and low and behold, I receive input from not one, but two RAR commanders involved in the incident! I still haven’t yet gone through forensically the amazing recollections as this means a rather large rewrite of the chapter.

But just going through what I have, it threw up even more missing bits, like, it turns out the School of Infantry were also involved! That group, along with National Park rangers has me a bit stumped at the moment. I doubt I will get their versions, so will have to make as accurate guesses as possible to fill in the missing bits.

I still have questions for some of my ‘informants’ before I finally wrap up one of the biggest incidents of the war inside Rhodesia that involved three branches of the security forces and National Parks, and has never been fully told. Sadly it has very tragic moments but what happens is a tale of immense skill, courage and tenacity that lasts for days and covers over 200 kilometres.

So, wait and see. Meanwhile - Mike Shute is raising funds for the construction of a memorial at the National Memorial Arboretum inStaffordshire to honour the fallen members of The Rhodesian Native Regiment and The Rhodesian African Rifles. As can be seen by the cover of the brochure he sent me, they want to build it based on the stone structure of the famous Zimbabwe Ruins. You can actually buy a stone. There is also a raffle with the first prize a framed painting by John Hopkins, ex 1RAR Officer, who was art teacher in Wales but now retired early to paint as a professional.

If you wish to donate or buy a ticket (£5) please Email –
Mike Shute, Chairman – Regimental Memorial Committee at

Finally, to wrap up this posting before I continue going over the book that everyone will love to hate…

Have you heard about the ruckus over the recent Nando’s advertisement ‘Last Dictator Standing’? The nice people in charge of Zimbabwe threatened to murder all the staff of Nando’s, so they had to pull it. Here it is -