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Jun 6

Written by: Dino Estevao
2013/06/06 03:58 PM  RssIcon

I arrived in the west Caprivi in the late windy August afternoon of 1980, the place that was to become my home for the next nine years was built in three geographical areas with natural boundaries. At one side was the crocodile infested water of the Kavango river and the other side was the dense forest with some of the most dangerous animals. Because we came from Katima mulilo instead of the usually route from sector 20 in Rundu... all the arrivals and departures to Buffalo have to go through sector 20 at Rundu where a thorough inspection and administration have to be completed but for unknown reasons to me we could not secure seats in the military plane from Grootfontein to Rundu, so we boarded the next best flight. Grootfontein to Katima mulilo and then by road to Buffalo, west Caprivi. As I mentioned earlier that lance corporal Tito Apolinario was responsible for my safe arrival to my adopted parents, must also mentioned here that one lieutenant whom I failed to record due to the language or age or both, he was responsible for our safe passage or transportation. The first vehicle that we boarded only took us near Cuando river but Tito Apolinario and I were not allowed to go in, so we have to stay on the side of the road while the lieutenant went in to request for further transport to our destination. After a long wait under the tree, our companion returned with the transport and off we went.

We arrived late afternoon, tired but anxious to see my new home... for days on the road I day dreamed of my future and what I was to find and was looking forward to arriving. The first sign of arrival was at the gate, after a slight hesitation the guards opened the gate and the vehicle crawled in Buffalo but what I did not know was that there was one more mode of transport that we needed to use before my arrival.

The transport brought came to halt at the front of green bungalows with the similar structure and size. Our companion, the lieutenant climbed off the vehicle and spoke to Tito Apolinario and wished me well. Climbed back into the vehicle and sped off. I marched after Tito Apolinario to Alpha company where he was attached and have to hand his gears. Here we met some of his colleagues and after much of excitements of greeting we walked to the river. Alpha company had a beautiful view and few paces to the kavango river. Without any protocol and ceremony we splashed into the water... the waters of the river of the man eaters, crocodiles. After bathing we prepared for the final leg to our destination, this time the mode of transport was a bicycle. This was a common mode of transport for the soldiers to move from the residential area(Kimbo) to the companies(base). We cycled for about seven kilometres through a stretch of the area, the home of elephants and buffalos to Kimbo my new home. Although my adopted family have been anxiously waiting for me, the exact day or time of our arrival was not known. Since we arrived when it was getting dark I had to spend the night at Tito Apolinario’s house meeting his family and neighbour. In the small community, news travelled faster, very fast that my version of the story or who I was hardly mattered and my arrival did the rounds. " the arrival of Tito Apolinario with a young boy shot at both legs by helicopter created wild emotions, a sensational story and commotions that is reserved for the hunchback of Notre-Dame."

 

 

 


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Recent Blog Entries
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Recent Blog Comments
Re: Photo Gallery of Operation Sceptic (Smokeshell) added
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.
By SuperUser Account on: Friday, October 25, 2019
Re: Photo Gallery of Operation Sceptic (Smokeshell) added
Hi johan ek het probeer regestreer.Kan nie inkom nie was ook daar saam vegroep 3 ons bev was j Jacobs het ook n paar fotos wat ek graag sal wil opsit het ook n foto van ons bev. laat weet wat ek moet doen is nie rekenaar vaardig nie kan my sel net net help. groete
By A H Du Plessis on: Monday, September 30, 2019
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.
By Danie Rousseau on: Friday, August 23, 2019
Re: Operation Savannah
Will there be another reunion .?
By Jack on: Thursday, April 04, 2019
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
Slept in a bunker after that attack.Still have nightmares about that attack.
By Barry Callaghan on: Tuesday, April 02, 2019
Re: An SADF Conscript Remembers the Early 70s – Part One
hi to all
just wandering if any of you served with my dad , Derick Anthony Beard on the Angola border in the 70s .
he was in the Kaffrarian rifles unit according to my mom
My Dad passed away in 2016 August and would like to find out more about his amry days
thanks
By Bruce Berad on: Thursday, January 10, 2019
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.
By Gordon Rudman on: Tuesday, October 16, 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: 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.
By john jones on: Monday, August 06, 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: Thursday, May 17, 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: Wednesday, May 16, 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: Monday, April 30, 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: Sunday, April 29, 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: Monday, April 02, 2018