Inside the hut it was blindingly dark compared to the white heat and glare outdoors.
In a split second, his eyes frantically adjusting to the darkness which was punctuated by bullet holes through its mud walls, like laser lights piercing the gloom, Jacob Daniels took in the scene.
A woman crouched against the wall. Fear was visible in her eyes as two or three beams caught her face.
Her eyes were wide open and glistening tears mingled with the dust on her cheeks.
Backed into a dark corner of the hut on her haunches, she looked like a fragile buck awaiting the hunter’s final death-bringing bullet.
She was already wounded, perhaps more emotionally than physically.
The whites of her eyes and her teeth almost glistened in the subdued light – a sudden contrast to the harsh Southern African sunshine and glare outside.
Her chest heaved and her mouth was drawn back in a grimace, mixing her fear with anger. Anger at being violated.
The South African soldier was towering over her, strobes of light catching his blond, almost ginger hair.
He was unaware of Daniels’s approach, his broad rugby player’s back was to the door as he re-buttoned his combat trousers.
The man was tall, well over six foot and, as he reached for his R4 semi-automatic rifle propped against the wall of the mud hut, he muttered, in Afrikaans and more to himself than the woman: “If I shoot you now, no-one will know what happened and they will think you were a bloody terrorist, too.”
He pointed at the corpse of the older black man lying crumpled and discarded to the left of the woman, part of his face blown away by the shot that had left a small hole at the back of his head, just above the nape of his neck.
On the wall of the hut where the body lay, highlighted by one of the rays, was a reddish-yellow smear - as if someone had struck the wall with an over-ripe peach. There was a pervading, rusty smell of blood, sweat, semen, death and fear.
The young woman would not look at the corpse. Too scared, perhaps, to take her eyes from the huge white man looming over her.
As his eyes adjusted to the gloom, Daniels realised, instinctively, he had to act – even though the man was bigger and, presumably, stronger than he was.
Frantically, he lunged at the soldier. He hit him between the shoulders with his elbows and forearms, his own rifle held high and parallel to the ground, pushing him away from the weapon he was reaching for against the wall.
The man gasped, winded and taken by surprise at the assault.
He tumbled against the mud wall, cracking its brittle strength with his weight and allowing even more light in which counted in Leonard’s favour.
As the soldier turned, stumbling to his knees, cursing and dazzled by the added light, Daniels swung his rifle, striking him across the broad cheek and bridge of his thin nose with the butt.
The soldier’s head jerked backwards, his eyes rolling upwards at the same time as Daniels heard the dull crunch of his cheekbone or nose crumbling and he fell stunned, in an untidy heap.
His chest heaving with the exertion and shock of it all and his heart thudding in his chest, Daniels realised everything had taken place in a few seconds and in comparative silence - the loudest sound being the curse by the man and then the crunch of the rifle hitting his face.
Gasping, his breath raw in his throat, Daniels turned to the woman.
Her fear was now mingled with confusion.
Was this man to be her next rapist? Or was he trying to protect her?
She turned her back to him and curled into a self-protective foetal ball, trying to hide her exposed flesh by pulling the torn remnants of her clothing around her.
Taking her now unconscious assailant by the collar of his sweat-stained shirt, Daniels dragged him to the doorway of the hut and into the bright sunlight and heat beyond, saying to her soothingly in English: “Don’t move. I’ll be back with help. Don’t worry.”
A few minutes later and after much haggling with Captain Du Preez (the platoon leader for the raid on the remote village) who was of the opinion that the “terrorist bitch should be left to rot”, he returned with the platoon’s assigned medic.
Daniels was struck by the look in the young woman’s eyes, gratitude mixed with fear as the medic tended to her.
She looked at Daniels with huge dark-brown eyes, this ravaged Ovambo woman, as if memorising his features.
Later, her assailant, a corporal Frans Jonker, was now conscious and under guard for a later court martial.
His cheek had already swollen and his hatred for Lieutenant Daniels palpable as the officer walked past the prisoner at the military vehicles 500m away from where he his young victim had lain.
“I’ll get you, you bloody English rubbish,” he promised, ignoring he difference in rank and his pale, icy blue eyes glinting with anger as he looked down at the shorter officer.
Four days later, a hastily-convened court martial was held at the regiment’s bush headquarters.
The officer commanding the regiment presided over proceedings in the huge tent which also doubled as the officers’ mess.
He seemed keen to get the whole mess out of the way as quickly as possible.
With no-one prepared to give evidence on Jonker’s behalf, the rapist was found guilty of gross misconduct.
Daniels’s evidence and that of the medic about the woman’s injuries were enough to earn Jonker a dishonourable discharge and some time in military prison.
As he left the court martial, his nose swollen and the bruises under his eyes starting to go yellow, he looked at Daniels with his piercing blue eyes and muttered menacingly in his strong Afrikaans accent through thin, cruel lips: “I’ll get you for this. I do not forget.”