Friday, February 05, 2010

The Namibian Border War: An appraisal of the South African Strategy (Part 1)

Taking a break from the never ending stories about crime and corruption in the New! Improved! South Africa! I had a look at some of the past political issues and found an interesting essay by Dr. Leopold Scholtz (Stellenbosch University) about the Namibian Border War. I'll be posting it in a series of 10 parts.

Introduction

From the sixties to the late eighties, the border war became a household term in South Africa. Hundreds of thousands of young white men were called up for military service, and many served in some or other capacity in Namibia – then South West Africa – often in the so-called operational area, often as combat troops. These young men were told that they were there to fight communism and that Swapo (the South West African People’s Organisation), the enemy, had to be bested for peace and freedom to come to the southern African subcontinent.

Nevertheless, when the UN-supervised elections came after years of international wrangling, Swapo won handsomely, obtaining 57 per cent of the votes. The South African Government and South African Defence Force (SADF) was taken aback, because they really had believed that the anti-Swapo coalition would get a majority. The question therefore is: How was this possible? Did the South Africans, who developed a sophisticated strategy to counter-revolutionary guerrilla warfare and really were convinced that they had Swapo on the run, make mistakes they were not aware of? Did they disobey in practice the rules they supported in theory? It will be the purpose of this analysis to answer this question.


To be continued....

4 Opinion(s):

Anonymous said...

Excellent idea. Thousands of "Border" troopies (on the loser side) will be asking the same questions, especially those families whose troopie sons died on the "Border." My younger bro's life was wrecked by booze at Walvis Bay and Rundu in the 1970s.

Anonymous said...

I don't trust anything the UN supervises - the UN should be abolished!

Dmitri said...

Cannot wait for the entire piece to be published. I see my old base there (Rundu).

Ex Sadf said...

I still can picture all bases and places I stayed at. Rundu, ondangwa, oshikati, Camp Alpha, Katima Mulilo, Grootfontein, Angola, Zambia and many other places. 12 years in the citizen force 1973 to 1985.Wish we knew then what we know now. We fought hard, played hard and sometimes boozed hard, with the occasional ballas bak. I had good times and wish I could be there again and do my thing. Try to block out bad things. Ons was die manne met ballas.