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May 24

Written by: Dino Estevao
2013/05/24 12:38 PM  RssIcon

as I stood next to my father looking at the biggest military build up rolling past us into the beautiful town of Chiede, i did not know the extend and the damage but I felt the earth shaking beneath my feet. Was I scared? Hell, no!

I stood next to my father looking at the biggest military build up rolling past us into the beautiful town of Chiede, i did not know the extend and the damage but I felt the earth shaking beneath my feet. Was I scared? Hell, no!

I stood next to my father staring across the field towards the road, the sandy road that crawled past the small church that my grandfather built. This road was rarely used, with the exception of few commercial trucks that went from Chiede to Milunga and to the border of Namibia. But that day in 1975 what we were witnessing was the biggest military convoy that ever drove into the small town, north east of the Namacunde. This was the first SADF invasion into Angola and I was five years old. The beginning of what is known today as the Border war or the infamous ‘bush war.’ When the SADF arrived at Chiede the town was empty, all the shops and buildings were cleared and the inhabitants withdrew from the town, leaving only what they could not carry… the buildings. This part of the country was a rural with strong tradition in cattle farming, known as the "heartland of cattle farming"(Chiedi she e ngobe). The town of Chiede was a small with a school, hospital and couple of residential houses on one side of the main road and the administration, justice and about four shops to the other side of the main road, the airstrip on the eastern side. There was only one vehicle next to the school that failed to start, the owner abandoned it and took off on foot and when The SADF members arrived in the town, they also tried to start that vehicle and after failing they set it alight. That was the only incident of violence that occurred in 1975 at Chiede. The convoy continued into the rest of Angola, leaving a handful of soldiers to patrol this part of countryside on horseback. The local community went on their routine, herding the live stock and working on their fields and interacting with the new authority only when the circumstances or out of necessity. With the arrival of the SADF in this part of the country, UNITA took the full advantage of the situation and regrouped and strengthen their position and rounding up those that were outspoken MPLA sympathizer, those that were know as the vanguard, "Cabeçarios." The community withdrew deeper to their farms, while UNITA build up, recruiting and holding rallies whenever there was a festival or gathering. Although the SADF were giving the guidance and training, they seldom intervened in UNITA’s activities. This part of the country was mainly MPLA dominated but because of the closeness to the Namibian border, the cultural and family tie and complexity of the relationship between SWAPO and UNITA especially in 1960s early 1970s. This relationship was to frustrate the SADF in this part of the world… that they will have to attack some of UNITA’s key positions in Cunene in 1980s(the attack at Chitumba is an example). This relationship was far complex in the province of Cunene, as such a nightmare in to the beautiful friendship between the SADF and UNITA. One of the architects and a man to be credited for this relationship was, Antonio Vakulukuta was a charismatic leader with a strong follower in the southern part of Angola(in my future posting I will try and analyze the subject and his fate)

In 1975, at the age of five

Early in 1976 the SADF withdrew and UNITA dispersed in small groups into the bush before MPLA arrived. If the Cubans arrived at Chiede then it must have been hush hush for their presence was not noticed. Meanwhile MPLA started with the new reforms being introduced in the rest of country, school was open, the shop. Those that left during the SADF/UNITA returned to take up their position in the new system, amongste them, the man who abandoned the landrover in1975... UNITA was to regroup in the northeast of Chiede in the area called Chitumba where they were to form a strong line of defence.

five years later at the dawn, in 1980 the SADF came down with two fighter planes, Helicopters and a company or more of men…this time at the age of ten I was scared, what followed was the worst, untold military on slaughter on the civilians.




1 comment(s) so far...


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   2018/12/16 07:14 AM

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Re: 23rd of August 1978 01h15 I remember it distinctly.
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Re: 23rd of August 1978 01h15 I remember it distinctly.
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Die beste is maar om vir my die fotos en jou stories per epos aan te stuur na johan@warinangola.com. Die WarBlogs is 'n heeltemal aparte portaal van die www.warinangola.com een, maar as jy daar geregistreer is kan ek altyd hier ook 'n rekening met dieselfde besonderhere skep... Laat my maar net weet. Ek kom net so eenmaal 'n maand hier om gou op te vang, terwyl ek elke dag op die War In Angola portaal is.
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Re: Photo Gallery of Operation Sceptic (Smokeshell) added
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Re: 23rd of August 1978 01h15 I remember it distinctly.
41years later. Remember Lorry Lesch my driver, Erasmus Alpa gunner. Scary and prepare us for more later.
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Re: 23rd of August 1978 01h15 I remember it distinctly.
Was a gunner in that attack . Was in 1SSB and slept in the isle on that night, in the bungalow .Ran out of the bungalow after first red eye was shot
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hi to all
just wandering if any of you served with my dad , Derick Anthony Beard on the Angola border in the 70s .
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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: Sunday, December 16, 2018
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.
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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: Saturday, September 08, 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.
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