Chris Cocks (editor)
ABOUT THE PUBLICATION
The Cheetah is the regimental association magazine for the Rhodesian Light Infantry (RLI). It was last published in hard-copy format in 1980 at the disbandment of the RLI following the cessation of the bush war in the embryonic republic of Zimbabwe. Prior to this, the magazine, renowned for its witty and informed content, was a much sought-after and eagerly-awaited publication for civilians and servicemen alike, being sold commercially through the southern African book trade. (Today, original copies change hands for ridiculously high prices, being regarded as collectables.) With the revival of the RLI Regimental Association (RLIRA) in 2007, the magazine has been published on a quarterly basis since then, in electronic format, also being viewable on the RLIRA website www.therli.com. To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the founding of the RLI on 1 February 1961, and 30 years after the disbandment of the regiment, the RLIRA has decided to bring out this hard-copy commemorative glossy edition that takes a nostalgic journey back in time, as well as highlighting the association’s efforts of today in keeping the regimental esprit de corps alive.
The Cheetah, Jubilee Edition, published to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the Rhodesian Light Infantry (RLI) on 1 February, 1961, derives its name from the original regimental magazine put out by the then RLI Association during the latter part of the Rhodesian War. The title for the original publication appears to have been derived from the cheetah mascot of the 1st Battalion, the RLI. This glossy edition, produced by the current Rhodesian Light Infantry Regimental Association (RLIRA), under the auspices of editor Chris Cocks to coincide with their 50th anniversary reunion dinner held in Pretoria recently, is the first to appear in print since the souvenir edition was published almost 31 years ago on 31 October, 1980. Prior to this however, the title had been resurrected in cyberspace by the RLIRA for their digital newsletter, the eCheetah. This edition of The Cheetah, however, is primarily designed to mark an auspicious occasion on the Association’s calendar while allowing the existing branches of the RLIRA to keep in touch. As such it will prove of great sentimental value to many former members and their families. There is, however, more to the publication than this. It is also a collection of new information on the history of the unit and its traditions, gleaned from a host of former members in the form of contributions and photographs. As such it should be of much interest to all students of the conflict and anyone interested in the RLI. The RLIRA would do well to make The Cheetah an annual publishing event.
African Armed Forces Journal, April 2011