South Africa, a Wonderful Land

Published by Central News Agency, 1997.

Majestic South Africa

Published by Central News Agency, 1997.

The Crowded Desert, on the Kalahari Gemsbok National Park,

Published by William Waterman, 1993.

Kruger: Portrait of a National Park, with David Paynter,

Published by Southern Books, 1987.


To Doreen, for her faith, help and support.

And to Jayne, who taught me much.

Chapter One

May 25th, 2000

“What a strange monument,” the South African president whispered to his Foreign Minister standing next to him.

“Yes, is it not?”

The precise but Portuguese-accented English surprised them before she could reply. They turned to see the president of Mozambique smiling at them, a small, neat man who radiated authority like warmth from a fire.

“Not many people know what it is,” he said.

“The nose cone of a rocket of some sort?” his guest ventured. “It looks like those we saw at the May Day parades on Red Square.” He turned to his Foreign Secretary. “Remember?”

She nodded.

“Ah, of course.” The president of Mozambique inclined his head in acknowledgement. “This one is in fact Russian and some were on show there.”

The South African was intrigued. In the fight against the apartheid government, his African National Congress had used some pretty sophisticated light weaponry but never anything approaching a rocket that could carry a nuclear warhead. And he was certain Mozambique’s rebels, who defeated the Portuguese colonial rulers, never had them or would have dreamed of using them.

The Mozambican president read his thoughts.

“Now it is just part of the junk of war we want to forget, to commit to the past. But it also marks an incident few people know about that may well have started another, much bigger, war than ours.”

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