Book Review: Masodja: The History of the Rhodesian African Rifles and Its Forerunner, the Rhodesia Native Regiment


by Alexandre Binda

Johannesburg: 30 South Publishers/Dulles, Va.: International Publishers' Marketing, 2010. . Pp. 480. Illus., maps, appends., notes, biblio., index, DVD. $90.00. ISBN: 1920143033

Masodja is a good regimental history of one of Africa’s premier colonial military organizations, by a Rhodesian Army veteran who has several other works on military history to his credit, written with the cooperation of the veterans'' association. 

A little more than half of Masodja is devoted to the early history of the regiment, from the service of the RNR in East Africa in the Great War, after which it was disbanded, to be reformed as the RAR in 1940, followed by campaigns in Burma and imperial service in the generation following World War II. The balance of the book is a detailed account of the regiment’s service in the Rhodesian Armed Forces during the protracted war that followed the “Unilateral Declaration of Independence” in 1965 until the establishment of Zimbabwe in 1980.  As such, the tone of the work is strongly supportive of the white-supremacist regime’s party line, even quoting Ian Smith on “The poor, gullible tribesmen” who fought the racist regime. 

Despite this political tone, and despite the lack of greater coverage of the regiment’s experiences in the Second World War, as a regimental military history, Masodja is a good book, with some excellent battle pieces, and certainly worth reading by anyone interested in small unit and special operations or insurgency.


Reviewer: A. A. Nofi   

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