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May 10

Written by: Dino Estevao
2013/05/10 02:53 PM  RssIcon

 

My journey through the border war: In Search for a home
Oshakati
One day as I limped around the hospital, I stopped at the door of the tent that was also a ward. I heard somebody calling me, when I went in I saw a group of men sitting around on the beds. They were also patient like me, the silence and the expression on their faces made me think that something was amiss.  They offered me a seat, “Dino, you must not go back to Namacunde.” One of the man said, “you were lucky to have survived… next time you might not be so lucky.”  This were men that I did not know from a bar of soap but the way they addressed their concern, even my ten years old could not disagree. Beside I did not know if my parent survived the massacre at Chiede. After a long debate between these men, different scenarios and possibilities were put before me, but there was of small details could not be overlooked. I was a ten years old with physical disability in a country unknown and no family or clue how to survive. The only persons that I knew here were the medics and suster venter who was a kind, caring woman. In her I found a motherly comfort, she nursed my legs and we would sat outside teaching me Afrikaans. But the idea of staying with her was overruled for reasons beyond my understanding. “Dino, you must come with us.” said one of the man in Portuguese. “at Buffalo you will be able to go to school and there are many children at your age. You will have many friends.” Soon this group of men were divided into two, the Oshiwambos of which Kwanyama tribe is part off and  my own tribe and the 32 battalion who identified with me by the virtue of being Angolan and spoke portuguese. The first group’s concern was what time of treatment was I going to encounter there. What if I became, “ophika.” And the latter insisted that I was well off at Buffalo.
Whatever the circumstances was, the time will soon come when I must be released from the hospital. “we need to find a home for this boy.” The group of strangers that I do not know from Adams cried. The matter was brought before the hospital superintendent.
The time for me to leave the hospital came one afternoon, I packed all that I had in a paper bag. Amongst my possession was a bible in Oshikwanyama. Most of other patients and medical staff came to bit me farewell. (A buffel, a military vehicle crawled into the hospital yard and came to a stop. Here was my ride, one man that was tasked to travel with me was lance corporal Tito Apolinario and one lieutenant that I do not know his name but he came to see me one evening in Buffalo to enquire on my well being after a year or so.) We climbed into the vehicle and he assisted me with the seatbelt, but before sitting I took glimpse of the sister waving goodbye, standing at the steps of the hospital. The vehicle crawled out of the hospital and what was beyond was the road with many twists and turns… each more sharp and slippery. So the search for a home continues.    

2 comment(s) so far...


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Re: My journey through the border war: In Search for a home

Amazing story, Dino. Can you tell us about why and how you came to be at Oshakati hospital. You mentioned being wounded as a ten-year old during an SADF attack on Chiede... what year was that?

By Johan Schoeman on   2013/05/10 04:53 PM
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Re: My journey through the border war: In Search for a home

What i have posted is a condensed part of the chapter. In search for a home is divided into chapters and phases. The massecre at Chiede happened in April or May 1980. This was merely on civilians, i will post this chapter soon. The exact date is unknown to me, but i am trying to get the records from the Angolan government. According to the Angolan news agency the number of people killed was 79. I was shot in both legs and have to undergo about four operations to Grootfontein to reconstruct. I wish i could get the SADF records.

By Dino Estevao on   2013/05/10 05:41 PM

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Recent Blog Comments
1980 camp in katimo
My last 3 month camp in Katimo in 1980 after doing stints all over swa was the best of all. Slept in a bunker next to the river spying on the pont that was crossing over the zambesi river.cathing tigers in the river .
Would love to return to that erea of the world.
By Gordon Rudman on: 16 October 2018
Re: The outbreak for the border war
This is a great information about the history you put in here. thank you go to website
By Chris on: 14 September 2018
Re: BUSH WAR VETERANS!
I used to be able to log in but can’t do so any more.
Johan can you assist.
Thank you
By Rocky Marsicano on: 08 September 2018
Re: An SADF Conscript Remembers the Early 70s – Part One
Very interesting read. I was also a Durban 1973 intake ( may 1973 to 4 SAI ) My experience of the whole 'boertjie - soutie ' thing was a little different. Right in the beginning there was a bit of " Wat kyk jy jou blerrie Engelsman" / " What's your problem clutchplate / dutchman" but I would say that by halfway through basic that had gone almost completely. The platoon I was in after basic was probably 70 % English 30 % Afrikaans but in reality there was no distinction at all among us. Our platoon had an Afrikaans lieutenant , the other two platoons in the company had English speaking lieutenants . There was not a man in either of those two platoons who would not have jumped at the chance to join our platoon. It sounds like a stupid war cliche but we really would have followed that man into hell and back. We loved that man and would have done anything he asked. He never shouted at us to do anything . Only ever asked and it was done. Just before we went to the border we lost him. He had to go home on compassionate leave and he never rejoined us. We all felt like we had lost a father. And here is the thing. He was also just a DP like us who started off the year before us and naturally being degreed was older than most of us. Anyway that was my experience. One other little thing. You mentioned that they were not allowed to hit you ?. No-one told the PTI's or PF instructors that at 4 SAL lol . I had the shit kicked out of me on the shooting range so hard I fell beneath the 'skietpunt'. When I clambered back the staff sgt inquired in a faux concerned way ' Het meneer seer gekry ?. Will meneer n klagte afle ?. Moet ek vir meneer n vormpie gaan haal. ??. I just managed to stammer 'Nee staff' to all three questions. I had stood up and turned around after getting a stoppage and got the man's point. Anyway this is your blog not mine. Thanks for your blog.
By john jones on: 06 August 2018
Re: Operation Savannah - The battle of the casualties of the war
Duncan, I remember you well!

Unfortunately I do not know about Maj Kruger. I've made enquiries in the past but wasn't successful.

Take care!
By Johan du Preez on: 17 May 2018
Re: Operation Savannah - The battle of the casualties of the war
Hi Johan
You mentioned 1 Mil in your story. I was there 15th Nov 1975 spent 9 mths-also very secretive. Lost both my arms. You mention a Major Kruger -Social Welfare. She was a wonderful person. Would you by any chance know if she is still alive and if so, how to contact her. I last met her in 1980 at 1 Mil.
Great site
Regards
Duncan
By Duncan Mattushek on: 16 May 2018
Re: The Battle of Mongua: From Ondjiva to Preira d’eça
Sorry to reply very late Lukas, but the story of the statue is a sad one. In short the money to make the statue was either stolen... There is lots of infighting in the provincial government.
By Dino Estevao on: 30 April 2018
Re: The Battle of Mongua: From Ondjiva to Preira d’eça
I must say i'm so happy to see my great grandfathers name being mentioned in the books of history. i grew up hearing of his names in stories (folk tails), know i have discovered myself his name and his contribution to the world history and the shaping of the Namibian and Angolan borders of today
By Thomas Mweneni Thomas on: 29 April 2018
Re: Photo Gallery of Operation Sceptic (Smokeshell) added
Hi Johan
I drove 72C in smokeshell, Kobus Nortje who has put up a number of Photos was in 72A
As you know from Hilton's email above I have written a book that Hilton is editing and I'm looking for good photos. How do I contact Kobus to ask him for permission to use the pictures?
Thanks Brian
By Brian Davey on: 02 April 2018
Re: Photo Gallery of Operation Sceptic (Smokeshell) added
Hilton, I could not find the exact reference in my notes, but I suspect it was Lt Paul Louw as I do remember reading about that report. As soon as I pint it down i will get back to you again...As to the photographs, none of them belong to me. Many come from the 61 Mech site and you may be able to obtain high res ones directly from them.There has been too many holdups and issues re the publication (mostly from my side) so I would have to re-approach the publisher to do it "my way" as previously they wanted me to reduce a 200-page manuscript to 64 pages to fit to the standard format of the publisher's series. It was not exactly what I had in mind, so I put it on ice...
By Johan Schoeman on: 16 March 2018
Operation Sceptic (Smokeshell)
Hi Johan,
Thank you for the wonderful service you provide for Bush War vets.

1. Can you tell me which officer said during the attack on Smokeshell, "My troops are bleeding!" It might have been Maj Fouche.

2. An old friend of mine, Brian Davey, is writing his memoir of National Service, including Smokeshell. He was driver of Ratel Seven-one Charlie. I am doing the editing, and would greatly appreciate permission to use some of the photographs you have here.

3. When do you think your book will be published?

Thanks again
By Hilton Ratcliffe on: 06 March 2018
Re: 23rd of August 1978 01h15 I remember it distinctly.
I was 10 years old and went to skool in Katima Mulilo, I will never forget that knight, siting in the bom shelter. Our house was against the Zambezi river next to the gest house.
By Jan Cronje on: 23 January 2018
Re: Operation Savannah - The battle of the casualties of the war
Thank you for the interesting information, Sandy.
By Johan du Preez on: 03 January 2018
Re: Operation Savannah - The battle of the casualties of the war
It seems we never accomplished anything in Angola you with your foot taken in a slippery place....I was part of 16 maintenance unit ...a soldier escorting convoys all the way to Silver Porto from Grootfontein on many occasions between Dec 1975 and Jan/Feb 1976 . Everytime a truck a truck broke down we were expected to run and take cover in a bush we did not know waiting to be blown away whilst the tiffy's tried to fix the trucks on route ,,,lastly we then had to ride shotgun on a diesel/petrol train up from Lobito on the Benguela train line ,,,up the steep escarpment at a snails pace waiting to be blown away which never happened .We then after two weeks having to guard it whilst daily pumping to trucks was done to fill the underground tanks kept at the monastery abandon the train as is whilst we had to hitch a ride back to the states. A high light was being a barman at one of Jamie Ys's movies beautiful people at Grootfontein. People do not know what a civil war can do and the comfort they have or had living in in SA..For some reason I never was called to do any camps or had made contact with the 9 others who were part of that "escort defence unit" a real mix breed of English/Afrikaners .Unfortunately I but did almost lose my leg from the knee playing soccer up in Jhb lying all tied up for over 2.5 months as they battled to save it in the Mill Park hospital in around 1983.This eventually effecting my whole body.I guess it keeps one humble and the glory be to the One and only God ...regards
By Sandy Carter on: 02 January 2018
Re: "Trying to destroy the Olifants"
Dankie Johan vir insiggewende artikel

Ek was daar saam RPS, moes die volgende oggend n' "tenk gaan recover", diesel refill...met my Samil 20 Lappiespomp. Daar aangekom was die track af aan die regterkant, n' paar jong UNITA "soldate" het daar rondgestaan, Nodeloos om te sê, moes maar omdraai en teruggaan na TB. Die sand was so dik die vooras van die Samil 20 het oppad terug gebuig en dit het my omternd die hele dag geneem om 13km terug te ry.
By Gerhard on: 21 December 2017