Chimurenga II Chronicles: Ian Smith’s mean machine exposed

Source: Chimurenga II Chronicles: Ian Smith’s mean machine exposed | The Sunday Mail 24/04/2016

JUST been reading the book, “The Empire Writes Back” by Bill Ashcroft, Gareth Griffiths and Helen Tiffin and the book tickled me to critically think about the on-going and well-funded project by ex-Rhodesians. Borrowing from the title of the above book, I think the project should be called “Unrepentant Rhodies Write Back to Our Struggle.”
Zimbabwe’s liberation struggle is on the onslaught because after defeat at the battlefront, ex-Rhodies have in recent years revived their fight through publishing volumes and volumes of books that seek to portray the losers as the winners of the Second Chimurenga War. What they failed to win through the gun in the bush, they want to win it through text in the media. This is the tragedy that confronts us as Zimbabweans because the victors haven’t yet told their story.

Fortunately, in their bid to present themselves as victors in a war they lost in embarrassing ways, these ex-Rhodies are exposing themselves in shocking ways and also in the process revealing to the world what Zimbabwe’s gallant freedom fighters were up against. Reading some of the books by these ex-Rhodies, one can easily conclude that Zimbabwe is a miracle country because while the Rhodesian forces were armed to the teeth, they were fighting an ill-equipped guerilla force. On paper, there was no way these ill-equipped pockets of freedom fighters could defeat the heavily equipped Rhodesian army.

Maybe Zimbabwe’s Second Chimurenga clearly illustrates the point that weapons don’t fight a war. A war is fought by the heart of men and women.

One of the writers who is at the forefront of trying to portray the losers as winners is Peter Baxter and his 2011 book, “Selous Scouts: Rhodesian Counter-Insurgency Specialists,” published under the “Africa @ War Series is an interesting read. In the book, Baxter tries to present the Selous Scouts as a mean machine, but dismally fails to do so as he succeeds in exposing the numerous weaknesses of the Rhodesian forces.

Allow me to quote some sections from this book which is a loud call to veterans of the liberation struggle to come out and tell their stories because the distortions, misrepresentations and outright lies contained in the book are just too glaring.

On the cover page of the book, the Rhodesian Selous Scouts are described by one Lt-Col Robert Brown who is said to be a Soldier of Fortune, as “Undoubtedly one of the most, if not the most, effective counter-insurgency units in the history of warfare.”

Well, this “most effective” counter-insurgency unit was exposed by the gallant freedom fighters who outsmarted it to an extent that the Rhodesian forces foolishly concluded that the late Vice President Joshua Nkomo had some “muti” to disappear after they failed on several occasions to assassinate him.

In his foreword, Baxter starts by giving a context of how and where the name Selous came from. He writes about Frederick Courteney Selous as one of the “most fascinating characters of imperial Africa, and doubtless one of the greatest of the white sons of Rhodesia.”

Already, Baxter is trying to create a hero from a bloodthirsty colonialist who was at the forefront of plundering Africa’s resources. He goes on to describe Selous as someone who “epitomised to a generation of avid imperial youth the ‘Great White Hunter’ creed.” This supposed “Great White Hunter” was killed in very simple ways “by a sniper on the Rufiji River on 4 January 1917.” This great fighter? Dead, just like that?

Tracing the formation of the Selous Scouts, Baxter narrated how the Rhodesian forces succeeded for a while to keep the Zipra and Zanla forces in Zambia and Mozambique.

“To achieve this, the Rhodesian security forces relied heavily on a collection of unique and rather unconventional special force units. The army for example, made practical use of mounted infantry, versatile platoon-sized police reserve tracker units, conventional special forces in the form of the Special Air Service (SAS), the compact and deadly Rhodesia Light Infantry, and of course the enduringly iconic Selous Scouts…

“By the beginning of the 1970s, however, the situation had deteriorated significantly with the advent of fully fledged armed incursions beginning to take place from bases in Zambia and the Tete province of Mozambique…” writes Baxter.

He goes on to accept that the watershed year for Rhodesia was 1972 when, as reported last week by this publication in its Second Chimurenga Chronicles, Cde John Pedzisa and a group of other freedom fighters hit Altena Farm.

Baxter agrees that the new war strategy by Zapu and Zanu which was anchored on the “tried and tested revolutionary principles drawn from Mao tse Tung’s Red Book brought a new dimension to the liberation struggle and the Rhodesian forces were forced into action.

“As the 1960s drew to a close and the armed insurgency appeared to subside, an aura of apparent peace settled on the land. The Rhodesian security and intelligence services relaxed somewhat, allowing themselves to be lulled by the notion that the nationalists had been defeated.

“However, under the surface, Zanu political commissars had been very busy moving among the population of the northeast in an effort to inform the masses of the coming revolution. This process typically involved an intoxicating mix of Marxist orientation and extreme violence,” says Baxter in clear reference to the success of the Pungwe meetings that freedom fighters held during the night with villagers.

“The preparation for this new phase of the war went on right under the noses of the Rhodesian security services,” he said showing the effectiveness of the strategy by the freedom fighters. He continued: “The local population was siding with the revolution, hearts and minds were being lost and a drastic review of military strategy was urgently required.

“The solution was partly home-grown and partly borrowed. The borrowed element can be traced to the British counter-insurgency operations in Malaya during the uprising in that colony that began after the Second World War.”

Baxter reveals that although the Rhodesian Special Branch was in place, it was not enough to deal with the freedom fighters who kept sneaking into Rhodesia and causing all sorts of mayhem. He said facing with the continuous attacks by the freedom fighters, the Rhodesian forces resorted to “pseudo operations” which were an innovation of the civilian intelligence community.

Baxter goes further saying Rhodesian director general of the Central Intelligence Organisation, Ken Flower is sometimes touted as the midwife of the concept of the Seous Scouts but “no single organisation or person can realistically lay claim to the original idea of the Selous Scouts.” In a way, this is an acceptance that the Rhodesian security forces had been thrown into disarray and there was no time to properly think of how to counter the strategies by the freedom fighters.

“Concern at the higher levels of command suddenly became acute and the need for intelligence urgent. . . Meetings were held every evening at the Centenary Joint Operation Centres. . .

“On one particular evening the discussion centred around plans to deal with a local medium carrying the pseudonym Nehanda who was active in the liberation movement in Mozambique,” said Baxter. So even the Rhodesian forces acknowledged the role of the spirit mediums during the liberation struggle.

Some of the early recruits into the Rhodesian Selous Scouts were Andre Rabie and Stretch Franklin who were considered to be ruthless veterans of war. However, despite trying to portray these two as brave soldiers, the death of Rabie exposed the lies. He was killed in a shoot-out with freedom fighters after he walked straight into a trap. “A second tragedy occurred just a month later with the death in action of territorial officer Lieutenant Robin Hughes,” said Baxter.

What is interesting is that in all these deaths, Baxter writes with no reference to the fact that these Rhodies were shot by freedom fighters. It’s as if they shot themselves. The first commanding officer of the Selous Scouts was Captain Ron Reid-Daly, a close friend of Lieutenant-General Peter Walls who was the commander of the army at the time. The then Prime Minister’s Office and CIO came up with the terms of reference for this new unit.

The directive when it was complete read as follows:
“The unit came into being following a directive issued by the Prime Minister to the director-general of the CIO who in turn promised the full cooperation of the Commissioner of Police and the Army Commander to staff and equip the same. It was tasked to carry out operations of a clandestine nature wherever it may be called upon to serve, drawing manpower from the combined services and other less obvious channels while receiving instruction from the OCC, Director-General CIO, Service Commanders and operational JOCs. . .

“Ken Flower would remain overall commander of pseudo operations, undertaking to appraise the commissioner of police on all operations, while Walls would assume responsibility for military logistics and personnel. Mention was made of the role of proposed unit in the clandestine elimination of guerillas both within and without the country. Special branch liason officers were accounted for, most notably Winston Hart, who were to be commanded by Superintendent Mac McGuinness. . .

“The original Selous Scout home in an isolated corner of Trojan nickel mine near Bindura remained the home of the Special Branch Selous Scouts…

“Initial proposals were that the unit should be of company strength, perhaps 120 officers and men. The command element would be all white, with the highest rank to which a black soldier could aspire then being a colour sergeant.”

The principal modus operandi of the Selous Scouts, according to Baxter were to “effectively impersonate black, communist-trained guerillas operating within their own social medium. . .”

When all had been set, Baxter says “the party was held, the food eaten and the drink drunk, after which the first fellowship of the Selous Scouts stepped into the world to do maximum damage.” Maximum damage meant the ruthless and wanton killings of freedom fighters.

The Selous Scouts relied heavily on what they called Fireforce which according to Baxter in simple terms meant a “standby force located at various forward airfields scattered around the operational areas.

“It consisted typically of three Alouette III helicopters, or G-Cars, armed with door-mounted machine guns and configured primarily for troop deployment and support, and a fourth Alouette III, called a K-Car, which was armed with a formidable mounted 20mm cannon. . . As of 1977, an additional complement of 16 to 20 troopers could be deployed from the venerable C-47 Dakota transporters.

“Air support was usually available from one of the Rhodesian air force’s multi-functional Cessna Lynx aircraft and a squadron of Hawker Hunters should all this still prove inadequate. The key to the success of Fireforce was speed, accuracy and aggression,” said Baxter who went on to reveal how the coordination was done for Fireforce to be effective.

Clearly the Rhodesian forces had weapons that could flatten a mountain within seconds and understandably many didn’t give freedom fighters any chance to win, but using guerilla tactics, the war raged on. Baxter admits that the Selous Scouts were ruthless and even suggests that some of their operations went overboard. He quotes Ken Flower to illustrate his point. Flower said:

“Certainly, the unit contained individuals who performed heroic feats and fought with the greatest honour and distinction. . .but it also attracted vainglorious extroverts and a few psychopathic killers.”

According to Baxter, British historian and journalist, David Caute, commenting in his 1983 book, “Under the Skin” about the decline of white Rhodesia, the Selous Scouts were “upstarts in a hurry to describe themselves as legendary.”

As the freedom fighters kept pushing into the country, the Rhodesian forces came up with all manner of operations from Operation Hurricane, Operation Thrasher, Operation Repulse, Operation Tangent, Operation Splinter and Operation Grapple among other operations.

The Rhodesian forces even recruited some freedom fighters like Morrison Nyathi, a former Zanla fighter who they turned into a spie and accompanied Rhodesian soldiers as they massacred comrades at Nyadzonya and camp.

Baxter writes about another Selous Scout spie, Allan Brice saying he was “an agent embedded in Lusaka and surrounds, who had since the mid-1970s been responsible for generating a great deal of mayhem in the capital, including the March 1975 assassination of Zanu political chairman Herbert Chitepo. Allan ‘Taffy’ Brice, an ex-British SAS soldier and an extremely able and dangerous operative, had remained undetected to the extent that, until the publication of his biography in 1985 by Rhodesian war historian Peter Stiff, there had been no clear evidence linking anyone with the assassination.”

Baxter goes on to make several revelations exposing the inefficiency of the Rhodesian security system and the failure by the Rhodesian army to contain the freedom fighters as the war escalated. The Smith regime employed all dirty tricks in the book including mounting raids into Zambia and Mozambique but the struggle was unstoppable.


  • comment-avatar
    Piankhi 6 years ago

    Listen, stop replyig to these white devils. They are only pissed off because their priveledge was stopped. Do you really want to waste time listening to a group of white devils who have profited off other blood of native Zimbabweans for over 100 years, and today they have a story to write because something that was taken from them that they parents stole and murdered native Zimbabweans for? Listen white people, be glad you got all that you did from my people and still have your life. Take your spoils and get the hell out. Zimbabwe owes you nothing. There is no compensation to a thief. Any any Zimbabwean willing to listen to any madness you write in any book really has a lot of time to waste. Zimbabweans, how do you defeat the devil? Act as if he does not exist. Then he does not have your attention and now you can get to the real work of rebuilding your country without these devils having your attention. Stop listening to the children of murderers, rapist, robbers and thieves that brought nothing but chaos and madness, to your life even as it exist today. White people in the world have nothing if they did not come and invade your country, distroy your culture, give you their gods and images and way of life. It is the chaos and madness they have instilled in Zimbabwean that keeps this country and continent off center. A slave and a slave master cannot worship the same god. Remember that my African People worldwide. Time to let go of the madness that was left. And get the clear vision we need to move forward. Our ancestors love us. Look at the land we were born too. The richest in the world. That is real love. Show our ancestors how we respect them and get back to our culture.

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      You really are an ignorant racist by placing all whites under one banner.
      Due to the high corruption evident in Zimbabwe at present would it be correct to classify all blacks as thieves? Are you one?
      I think that you maybe embarrassed at your derogatory comments about “white Devils”if you made the effort to identify which race donates the most funding and personnel to attend to disease epidemics, food relief for starving masses and general care projects
      for the underprivileged in Africa. This is from both International and local sources.

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      Doris 6 years ago

      You sick sad soul. Do you even live in Zimbabwe? I wonder…..

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    Procuntspotter 6 years ago

    The greatest thing that ever happened to Rhodesia was Gabriel. He has succeed in killing more of the scourge than any number of white people could have dreamed of doing. He is doing the world a tremendous service. Why do you think the rest of the world leaves him to his activities. Anyone else did what he is doing would be in jail already. But you see a non swimmer killing a non swimmer is viewed as a great service to the world.
    Long live Robert Mugabe!!!

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    C Frizell 6 years ago

    LOL – Piano Key off-key as usual. Why don’t you use paragraphs? Is it because Da Dreaded Whites use them?

    Just look at Zim nown compared with say 1979? Is ANYTHING better now than then, especially for the vast majority? I think not.

    Is the economy better? No
    Are the people richer? No
    Is education better? No
    Is the health service better? No
    Are the roads better? No
    Are there less exiles? No
    Is there less corruption? No

    Are you a bigoted idiot? Yes

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      Planter 6 years ago

      Well Said C Frizell

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        Piankhi 6 years ago

        What did he say that was so spectacular dumb, dumb. Missing all your priviledges created by your people for your people. Means nothing to me. Non-Planter they should call you now. But you really where only using agriculture as a cover for stealing minerals and looting the country. You white fools are so dumb. The longer you try and hang on here the poorer you will become. You will get nothing more from this country. Or as a matter of fact from any country on this continent. So enjoy all the stolen wealth you have taken. Because soon it will run out and then you will have what you started with when your people came to this continent. NOTHING. Back to the cave you will go. What comes around goes around. The cycle of life. So enjoy your last days. Peace

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    Tjingababili 6 years ago


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    harper 6 years ago

    Who won? Certainly not the povo.

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      Piankhi 6 years ago

      What exactly did you win? Your time has been exausted. You can keep trying to convince yourself things and people here are going to go back serving you. You will need a job very soon. See how long your pale ass last in the hot fields. Burn time. You white Caucasians are so dumb. Wow!!!!! If I where you, I would have little concern about the country and its state. Good or Bad, however it goes you murderous demons will never sit above again. That is a fact. So forget about Mugabe his time is almost done. Change will alway come. Your time is up. 6000 years as it says in your bible right. The reign of the devil and his seed. We white devil, times up. And you can take those trained black devils with you. We have no need for them too. Peace

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        Oh you are just special. Can you tell us what you think about gay rights?

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        Nyarara, DimBruddah,

        The kids are all laughing at you again.

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          Piankhi 6 years ago

          Well, it what I wrote is funny from yesterday, your going to be in stiches with my next reply. Ask your kids how do they fill have a dumb, bumb for a parent, and they are following in your foot steps. You should be so proud to have little dumb, dumbs. What do they do most of the time. Watch DSTV most of the day for their daily programming. I love hammering you deluded fools and you thinking of the old days, that will never return. Your future is right in front of you. And unfortuntely is not going to get any better for yourself dumb, dumb. But you know most people are perfectly satisfied to walk around living in a fastasy world. But again your choice to be a dumb, dumb, and rise another generation of even dumber offspring. Good luck. Be ready for my next posting your going to really be amused. Ha, Ha, Later Down Syndrome

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          Piankhi 6 years ago

          I am happy to have your attention. Laughter means someone is listening. And now that I have your kids attention. Their going to love my next posts. So if the kids are laughing at my post, that means I have their attention too. So lovely getting into the minds of the readers. Stay alert now. Something even better is going to get your attention are laughter. Thanks dumb, dumb

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    C Frizell 6 years ago

    Piano Key, it is sad to see people so full of bigotry and with such a huge inferiority complex. It shines through every word you write.

    I think you should volunteer to join IS – or arfe you already with them? Seldom have I seen someone as incoherent with hatred as you.

    What caused it? Do you know? Did someone slag you off? Or steal your wife? Something must have set you off.

    But it is usually an inferiority complex that causes rampant racism.

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    harper 6 years ago

    The above article contains certain inaccuracies that would lead any serious scholar of history to dismiss it from his studies.

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      SERIOUS inaccuracies !

      Firstly, Andre Rabie was NOT killed by terrorists. Tragically, he was shot by another Security Force ‘stick’ when he mis-reported his map-reference, and the other stick spotted his RPD by a river from which he was drinking: and ambushed him.

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        PS. It was this tragic incident that led to areas where Selous Scouts were operating as ‘pseudo terrorists’, being ‘frozen’ to all other SF units for the duration of the SS operation.

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    Only Fools 6 years ago

    PIANKHI – You are a 53 year old African American racist, who’s mother immigrated to the United States, some years ago from Uganda. I suggest you go back to St Louis and sip your kool aid.

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    Richard 6 years ago

    Racist revisionism at its finest. The inaccuracies and lies in the initial piece and from Piankhi, who is simply trolling, are evidence enough that the author knows little or nothing about the time of which he writes. Stretch Franklin and Andre Rabie killed by terrs? AFAIK, Stretch is alive, well and leading safaris and Andre, a close personal friend, was killed in a blue-on-blue incident.

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    Procuntspotter 6 years ago

    The reality of life is blacks have a great propensity for killing each other. It doesn’t matter if it is in Chicago or africa. There is an inherent gap in the synapses no different to the conduct observed during the study of pan troglodytes. It isn’t a criticism, just a fact. The behavior can no more be controlled than trying to control a snake from eating its prey.
    To assign the responsibility of the day to day running of a 21st Century society to a genetically inferior intellect and expect great results is naive at best. That would be like putting a 1 year old child with adult physical capabilities in the pilot seat of a commercial airliner. Could you blame the child if it ended in a ball of flame?
    Post-colonial independent africa is in its infancy by historical standards. A better example of what inferior genetics leads to is to compare and contrast the difference between Israel, independence declared 1948 and Haiti independent since 1803.Ruled by blacks for 213 years.
    Israel has 8,019 mi² while Haiti has 10,714 mi². Population of the Jewish state 8.059 million in 2013 census. In Haiti 10.32 million in 2013.
    GDP per capita. Israel US$36,051, Haiti US$820. That translated to $290billion vs $8.46 billion. Opinions are subjective. Numbers speak for themselves.

    Like I said reality is reality. Or as Sixto Rodriguez said on his 1970 album, Cold Fact. “Cos a monkey in silk is a monkey no less”.

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      Tozvirevakupiko 6 years ago

      However Israel got a boost from US for the US’s strategic reasons. Just a fact.

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        Procuntspotter 6 years ago

        Money doesn’t = IQ. You can’t sow seed in a desert and get a crop. (unless you are the Israelis)

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    Angela Wigmore 6 years ago

    The Sunday Mail writer and Piankhi were not born, or were at least piccanins, during the time they profess to know so much about. Also obviously not very bright if they can be brainwashed by Zanu rhetoric. Certainly you will never contribute anything positive to our country.

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    At first I got hot and bothered about the total lack of perspective in the article. The guy was clearly not involved in the war. If he was he would know that the Rhodesian security forces never lost a military engagement, and that was black and white security forces. I know because I was involved. The Support Unit and RAR knew that they were up against maimers and women and child killers who only knew how to terrorise their own people, and still doing it to this day. The only reason we ‘Whiteys’ lost the war was because the entire world went against us to support the monkeys currently in control.

    As Nyerere said to Babboogabe at independence, “you have inherited a jewel, look after it”, or words to that effect. The exact opposite has happened. Starvation on a mass scale, looting on a mass scale, and no jobs, except for the bootlickers like this idiot at the Sunday Mail. His days are numbered. Only the whiteys will save the rest of the black asses. They always do. Hungry? There’s always a white hand there to feed you. Have a little war? There’s always a white army there to help you out of your squabbles. Have a natural disaster? There’s always a white donor to ease the burden. Why, because the genetic explanation given above explains it all. By the way, where are all your Eastern helpers? They’re too busy helping themselves to the loot that the rest of the world gave you.

    Piankhi – you are a genetic throwback. You may want to grovel in the dirt but the rest of your people don’t. They want what the rest of the world has been given by us whiteys. The internet, computers, good roads, food, an education, and an impossibly long list to describe here. You are such a f+++king idiot I don’t even know why I’m responding to your diatribe, you moron.

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    Joe Cool 6 years ago

    It’s getting too heated. Go for the new commandments:”Be cool – don’t be an asshole”. Don’t respond to Piankhi – you’ve heard the word – ‘Never argue with a fool, people might not know the difference.’.

    The article is very interesting, never mind the inaccuracies which prove nothing but ignorance, and I am personally retaining it to analyse and later use in calm detail.

    We are getting to a breaking point in Zim, so be calm and just wait it out. The white man’s enemy is not the black man – it is the pious hypocrites in the West (US partly excluded) who want to smugly congratulate themselves on their altruism and ‘humanity’ – these are the assholes. So relax – winter is coming, and you will likely be able to warm your hands on the flames.

    PS – today’s statement by the RB governor that there will be ‘no import controls’ means that within weeks there will be import controls, so you need to know how to read Shona English, and bring in what you need quickly.

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      Piankhi 6 years ago

      You just don’t get it do you. You have no opinion ghost man or one at least worth anything. I was listen to four white Rhodies today as they call themselves desparately trying to find a way to get a black land owner to use his land for their crops and have the black farmer cover for them while they sale the harvest to another white guy from Europe. One of the white guys said he was just trying too survive. Wow I said, white people here are really desparate. I wonder how former land owners felt about the blacks that had no decent land to barely survive. Did the over stuffed whites give a damn. No, not at all. So it is with great amusement I see white hiding under cover trying to do farming. Wow how the tables have turned. When the land was taken from white farmer they made sure that blacks didn’t have any markets in Europe or other countries that whites had been selling into more years. White people have this devilish nature about them. If they cannot have something, they surely do not want anybody else to prosper. I would say its looks humbling, but white people nature will not let them be humble. White people want to be right even when they know they are wrong. Time, natural nature, change always cleans away all bad things. And start a new. Thank you my ancestors. Peace.

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    Justice 6 years ago

    Piankhi seriously you need a brain transplant or to be put out of your misery, you are one very sick animal!

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      Piankhi 6 years ago

      Must have hit a nerve. For you to reply let’s me know I got your attention.. I got so much more. Peace you idiot!!!! When I am done. You will be done. Cooked M.F.