Not many people are aware of the Border War, also known as the Angolan Bush War, in which South African men fought against threatening communism. There is a sticky and involved history behind this war, betrayal and broken promises preceded the years of fighting. Other countries promising assistance and weapons only to pull out at the last minute and leave South Africa to fight alone – but this only helped to make them stronger and more self-sufficient. From 1966 to 1989 the enemy was SWAPO – their soldiers mainly being Cuban mercenaries. They were equipped with devastating weapons including the fearsome Stalin’s Organ, a monstrous rocket launcher.
SWAPO swept through southern Africa, killing and forcing the natives to build them underground tunnels in which they hid and continued their clandestine operations. Houses were forcefully taken from their owners and made into bases for the enemy forces – whole towns became no more than ghost-neighbourhoods. From the young age of 18, all South African boys had to sign up for National Service. At this young age they were trained and sent out to the border to protect South Africa from the approaching Communism.
The South African troops were trained extremely well, being known for their almost uncanny ways of sniffing the enemy out in their underground lairs. Each of our soldiers was a hero, protecting both his country and those he loved – my dad being one of them.
I am very proud of him and all the men who fought and gave their lives for their country.
He has agreed to let me borrow a couple of his pictures from so long ago. 🙂