From 1890 and throughout its history, the men of Rhodesia's Internal Affairs (Intaf) were bound by an intense loyalty to each other and a deep understanding of the tribal people in their charge. Their greatest strengths were individuality and self-reliance, strengths which were called upon to the fullest during the rebellions of 1896-7, and again in the Bush War of the 1970s. This book chronicles Intaf's rapid, forced conversion from the original dedicated and efficient district administration to a paramilitary force tasked with carrying out normal administrative functions in abnormal situations. Despite inadequate weaponry and insufficient training, Intaf was all too frequently the only armed presence. There were just not enough military forces to go around.
Many of those directly involved at all levels in the war have contributed their reminiscences in the pages of this book. These accounts have been supplemented by extracts from official documents and wide-ranging comment, melded to give a picture of one of the least-known and least-understood aspects of Rhodesia's war against the guerrilla insurgents: the role of Intaf. This book serves to set the record straight. Intaf's first priority was to defend the tribespeople and maintain the administration. In this task Intaf should have been supported by the military forces which, in common with much of the hierarchy in Salisbury, did not understand Intaf's true role. Eventually Intaf found itself in operating in support of the military or, in the absence of the army, acting independently in a military role. Intaf's was a very personal war. All staff and their families, many of whom lived in continual danger in the tribal areas, were known to each other. As with the BSAP, the police force, they were unable to withdraw periodically to the 'bright lights' of the towns. Their homes, wives and families were in the operational areas, often within earshot of contacts with insurgents.
This book is a tribute to the tenacity and loyalty of all who served in Intaf, and their wives and families: the national servicemen, the vedettes, community advisers, Field and ADF staff, the regular members. The Roll of Honour in this book bears testimony to this paradox, as many poorly trained and inadequately armed members of staff paid the ultimate price.
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