Obituary: Lionel Dyck, Military Contractor and Soldier (1944-2024)

Lionel Dyck (Edrea du Toit)
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Lionel Dyck, a Zimbabwean-born military contractor known for his extensive involvement in Southern African conflicts and peacekeeping efforts, passed away last week at his farm in Cape Town, South Africa, at the age of 80 after a battle with cancer.

By Lenin Ndebele

Early Life and Military Career

Born in January 1944, Dyck was educated at the then all-white Umtali Boys High, now known as Mutare Boys High, in Zimbabwe’s Manicaland province. His military career began in 1961 when he enlisted in the Rhodesian Light Infantry, coinciding with the rise of black resistance movements in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe).

During the height of the liberation struggle in 1976, Dyck transferred to the Rhodesian African Rifles (RAR), playing a significant role until Zimbabwe achieved black majority rule in 1980.

Post-Independence Role

At independence, Dyck was retained by Prime Minister Robert Mugabe to assist in integrating the RAR and the two guerrilla armies, the Zimbabwe People’s Revolutionary Army (ZPRA) and the Zimbabwe African National Liberation Army (Zanla), into a unified national military force. Dyck’s dedication to his role was encapsulated in his assertion: “I just wanted to be a soldier and do my job well. I did not care about the colour of the government.”

His military prowess and leadership during this tumultuous period earned him the Silver Cross of Zimbabwe. Dyck continued to serve as a training instructor and was instrumental in Zimbabwe’s military response to the Renamo insurgency in Mozambique before retiring in 1990.

Mercenary and Humanitarian Efforts

In 1989, Dyck co-founded MineTech International, a company specializing in explosive ordnance disposal and demining services. This laid the foundation for his later venture, the Dyck Advisory Group (DAG), established in 2012. DAG became a prominent player in specialized security, canine services, and counter-poaching operations across Southern Africa.

Dyck’s mercenary activities brought him back to Mozambique in recent years, where he led efforts against Islamic extremists in Cabo Delgado. In 2021, he made a public appeal for international assistance, emphasizing the dire need for sufficient troops in the region.


Lionel Dyck’s career spanned decades of conflict and peacekeeping, leaving a complex legacy marked by his dedication to military service and his controversial role as a modern-day mercenary. His contributions to the security and stability of Southern Africa remain significant, reflecting a lifetime committed to the causes he believed in.

Dyck is survived by his family, friends, and colleagues who remember him as a dedicated soldier and a formidable figure in the realm of military contracting. His death marks the end of an era for a man who lived through and shaped some of the most pivotal moments in Southern Africa’s recent history.

Source: News24