Song of the Butterflies

The Zimbabwean War of Liberation, also known as the 2nd Chimurenga, ripped Southern Rhodesia apart for two decades as influential political leaders urged their forces to sweep across the land, wreaking havoc in their relentless pursuit to force the hated European colonialists from the country. As bloody and brutal were the terrorists, there appeared a man, an ice-cold killer prepared to do whatever was necessary to rid Rhodesia of the whites no matter how violent or atrocious. As his reputation spread, an ever-increasing number of villagers rallied to his call, and his chances of becoming the president of Zimbabwe grew. No one knew from whence he came; he was known only as iLunga. With the realization that they were losing the battle against an upsurge of guerrilla fighters, the Rhodesian High Command initiated an audacious plan; Create a counterterrorist unit consisting of black and white soldiers who would adopt the persona of their enemy. This elite force was known as the Selous Scouts. Sion Michael was a battle-hardened commander of a specialized squad of Zulu trackers named the UvemvaneThe Butterflies. He and his men operated outside the constraints of the regular army, and their mission was to find and terminate with extreme prejudice the man called iLunga.


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Action Fiction Young Adult

I would like this opportunity to give you an insight into my novel Song of the Butterflies
As a young man, I spent several years in what was then known as Southern Rhodesia, today we know it as Zimbabwe. It was a turbulent time the 60s, 70s and the early 80s
Influential African leaders were lobbying the United Nations to force the white minority government of Ian Smith to step aside in favour of black majority rule. However, Ian Smith stood firm, and in the act of defiance, declared that Southern Rhodesia was withdrawing from the Commonwealth, a Unilateral Declaration of Independence. A small land-locked country now stood alonealmost.
Frustrated that the Commonwealth was not going to turn their desires into reality, the black politicians rallied their followers, sought the assistance of communist Cuba and China and initiated a violent war, the 2nd Chimurenga or the Zimbabwean War of Liberation.
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Thousands of well trained and armed terrorists loyal to ZANLA and ZIPRA gathered on the borders ready to sweep into Rhodesia determined to drive the white settlers from the country.
I happened to be working in construction at the time, my duties, together with a team of African workers, was far out in the country, deep within the Rhodesian bush. It was coming onto dusk when without warning, a group of heavily armed, very hirsute men wearing a ragged assortment of clothes emerged from the forest. My team and I froze to the spot. We thought they were a marauding gang of terrorists and that our days were numbered.
To our amazement, however, and great relief, they walked past without a sound and disappeared back into the forest.
On our return to Salisbury, I told my superiors of our encounter. A few days later, they informed me it was a patrolling squad of Selous Scouts. That episode remained in my memory.
Years later, I purchased a signed, limited edition titled Selous Scouts. Top Secret War. By Lieutenant Col Ron Reid Daly, as told to Peter Stiff, published by Galago Publishing 1982. There were a thousand copies released, mine is number 733.
Reading that book regurgitated the experience I had all those years ago. I decided then and there to write a novel based on actual events contained within the book about the Selous Scouts. Song of the Butterflies is that novel.
Most of us are very familiar with the exploits of the US Navy SEALs. Their operations are well documented in films and books but, very few people know anything about the regiment of Selous Scouts, perhaps the title of Lieutenant. Colonel Reid Dalys book explains it. I hope that this book will change that.
My belief is all those who wish to immerse themselves in a compelling, gritty drama that takes place in a wild, rugged country filled at the time with the dangerous men will enjoy this book. Readers will engage with strong, driven men, black and white, determined to win at all costs. Regards
Robert M Leslie

Year Written: 2020

Robert Leslie

Robert M Leslie Email: Physical Adress: 49 Kingsbury Circuit. Bowral. 2576. New South Wales. Australia Mobile: 0499720301 I was born in Johannesburg in October 1941. My father, Andrew Rose Brown, a Scot, was a brilliant accountant and artist, and unfortunately, an alcoholic; He died before I ever got to know him. On her own, my mother moved us to Durban, where a few years later, she met my step-father. He was very much involved in the hotel industry. He, together with my mother, managed hotels for the South African Brewing Company. Growing up in the beachside city of Durban, swimming was one of my favorite pastimes, as was long-distance running. Over the years, I ran many marathons, half-marathons. My most significant achievement was completing the world-famous, ninety-five-kilometer ultra-marathon, Comrades, in the time of eight and a half hours. Upon completing my education, I set my compass north, where I lived and worked in both Northern and Southern Rhodesia. It was during this time in Southern Rhodesia that inspired me to write ‘Song of the Butterflies’ My wife and I now live in Bowral, a small country town in the idyllic surroundings of the Southern Highlands of New South Wales. Australia. Retired, I now devote my time to writing. Over time I have come to appreciate that publishers prefer establishing a long term relationship with their writers; hence, books that offer more than a one-off are selected. To that end, I am working on the sequel to my debut novel and nutting out ideas for the third book in the Sion Michael series. Some background on Sion was born into a wealthy family. His parents owned hotels in South Africa. Nature endowed him with above-average intelligence as well as stature and physical strength. His parents wanted him to study medicine, but he had other ideas. During one school vacation, he meets an Afrikaans family, farmers from the Mid-lands of Natal. They have three children, two sons, and a daughter. They invite Sion to spend the Christmas holidays on Wit Water, their farm. That changes his life completely. For several subsequent holidays, he is in his element, then tragedy strikes. While playing in the veldt, Sion, Boet the family’s youngest son, and James, a young African boy, encounter a giant rock python. Boet is caught up in the massive coils, Sion rushes to help, but even his exceptional strength does not save his friend even though he manages to kill the giant reptile. From that point on, nothing was the same; Sion stopped going to the farm, he completed his education and as was the case then, he joined the South African Defence Force to do his mandatory two years military service. Those years engaged in the South African Bush War in Namibia and Angola triggered a desire to remain in the Army; on completing his tenure, he headed north to Southern Rhodesia and joined their armed forces. With his experience, and accompanied by a Zulu tracker, he soon became a member of a unique regiment, the Selous Scouts.

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