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.
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....