A Skirmish in Africa – Daryl Sahli

Set in an almost forgotten guerrilla war in what is now called Zimbabwe during the 1970s, this is a journey into the world of young men fighting and dying at the behest of their political masters. The strain of having to survive close-quarter skirmishes preoccupy the combatants, who helplessly find themselves caught up in a conflict spinning out of control.

Mike Smith, an insecure nineteen-year old national serviceman, is immersed in a bloody insurgency witnessing horrors that seem too much for a young man to have to bear.

Tongerai Chabanga, a commander of the liberation movement, must withstand political pressure from his leaders outside the country to prosecute the war in a manner he disagrees with. At the same time, he is faced with atrocities perpetrated of a depraved Soviet Spetznaz military advisor who threatens to undo the work he has done.

2012 Independent Publisher Book Awards – Military/Wartime Fiction



Writing Style

I have tried, to the greatest degree possible (and still make the story exciting and interesting), to make it as authentic as possible.  I have used the military slang of the time (with explanations of course) and details of military tactics and weapons.  I have also used the original voice-procedure, as this was the main source of communication.  This can certainly be confusing for some readers, but I have left it in because it adds to the colour and authenticity.  In a way, the feeling of confusion and uncertainty (even frustration) experienced by the reader is deliberate because … that is exactly what it was like, chaotic, confusing, frustrating … and terrifying.


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“A thrilling action packed account of the Rhodesian Bush War fought by a group of National Servicemen – tales of their triumphs and tragedies.”
– Ian Livingston-Blevins

“Seen through the eyes of a reluctant conscript, only just out of school, it is possible to imagine oneself increasingly inured to the heartbreaking and brutal realities of guerrilla warfare.
– James Knox

“A tale of a Rhodesian Soldier at his imperfect best. It speaks to the heart of all who were part of that war.”
– Pat Taylor

“I really enjoyed the story. It rattles along at a frenetic pace. The background of recent historical events, that many of us have lived through, gives added immediacy.”
– Jeremy Martineau

“A riveting read. A great blend of action and well researched military history. The story contains several ‘laugh-out-loud’ moments. Suspenseful right to the end with many unpredictable twists and turns.
– Tom Dawe

“A fascinating insight into the hearts and minds of combatants on both sides of this tragic struggle. This gripping story helps the reader to understand the Africa of today by living through the events of yesterday.”
– Phil Morgan

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