Login |  
..:: Home ::..
You must be logged in and have permission to create or edit a blog.









Search the Blogs










If you would like to join this exclusive community and have your own WarBlog where you can post your personal stories about your experiences in the War In Angola, also known as the Border War, please go to the host site (www.warinangola.com) and register as a user.

Only Registered Users of War In Angola that have subscribed to the PREMIUM MEMBERSHIP will have access to their own WarBlogs. For more information on the Premium Membership, click here...



If you would like to join this exclusive community and have your own WarBlog where you can post your personal stories about your experiences in the War In Angola, also known as the Border War, please go to the host site (www.warinangola.com) and register as a user.

Only Registered Users of War In Angola that have subscribed to the PREMIUM MEMBERSHIP will have access to their own WarBlogs. For more information on the Premium Membership, click here...





View the selected Blog
Oct 2

Written by: Dino Estevao
2013/10/02 10:43 PM  RssIcon

To understand the story of the Angolan border war or the “Bush war” as is widely referred in the some military circle. I want to take you back, about fifty year prior to the outbreak of that war in 1966, the date that is widely accepted as the beginning of the border war. In 1911 King Nande, the aging king of the kingdom of Uukwanyama died and his successor, the new king was his 17 years old nephew, Mandume ya Ndemufayo.
Born in 1894, Mandume ya Ndemufayo was groomed by his maternal parent and academically schooled by a German missionary, pastor Adolf Wulfhorst. At the age of 17, he became the succession to the throne of the Kingdom of Uukwanyama. Although Mandume was not the direct heir to the throne, his ascension brought relief and stability in the kingdom. He was young, strong and demanded respect and discipline, than his uncle Nande who was old, weak and was loosing control within his ranks and delegated the power of arbitration to the chiefs and nobles who in turn became the law… as the new king, Mandume ya Ndemufayo started restoring the order, control and centralizing the power and decision within the kingdom. This was a tense period, with severe draught, conflict and high turbulence as the world drawn into the theater of the world war one.
The kingdom of Uukwanyama, one of the largest tribe, powerful and well organized within the tribes of Owambo. Stretching from the southern of Angola to the northern part of Namibia, until then enjoying enormous fertile land for agriculture, grazing and hunting.
Mandume ya Ndemufayo was the eighth king to have lived in Ondjiva as the royal capital of the kingdom of Uukwanyama. And by 1900, this part of the world felt very little impact of the Portuguese in the north or the German in the south. With the exception of the missionaries and the(comerciantes) traders, this region had very little interaction with either colonial powers. Portugal, until then had very little interest in this part of the world, faraway from the sea and often referred as the end of the world(a terra no fim do mundo) and offered very little in economy or otherwise… but soon with more need to have a grasp in the African continent, “scramble for Africa”. The colonial power to the soon realized that situation in south of Angola needed hands on. Mandume ya Ndemufayo inherited a thorn in his throne, the partition of the kingdom of Uukwanyama between the Portuguese to the north and German in the south. This new border suddenly brought confusion and bewilderment throughout the region. Suddenly, there was restriction on movements. After a number of incidents of violation of the border were reported to the colonial authorities. Mandume was called and requested for him and his subjects to abide to the international laws of the borders as set out in the Berlin treaty of 1888. This infuriated the King, who had to get travelling permission from either the Portuguese or Germany authority to travel within his kingdom. In retaliation he expelled the Portuguese missionaries and traders from Ondjiva. The border line between Angola and Namibia(South west Africa its colonial name) was drawn without the consideration of the natives, and as such should no be recognized, Mandume instructed his subjects from both side. Mandume ya Ndemufayo became defiant and started to build up a better army, and started trading cattle for guns. As spoil of the war, Mandume expelled the Portuguese “comerciantes,” from Ondjiva. Mandume ya Ndemufayo was young but determine to defend and die defending the kingdom. The border dispute drew in another Owambo tribe, the kingdom of Ombadja. King Shihetekela, the king of Ovambdja or Cuamati was an ally and confidante of Mandume ya Ndemufayo, his kingdom is situated north of the Owambo and south of the Cunene river.

Oshana ya Onfilo(the plain of death)
The Portuguese immediate response to the expulsion of the missionaries and traders from Ondjiva was to send an army to restore “order,” in the south of Cunene river. The first Portuguese military intervention were met at the kingdom of Ombadja where fierce battle was fought. The Portuguese were defeated and fled leaving the weapons and gears. King Shihetekela collected the weapon and equipped his army and send some to Mandume. However this victory was short lived, the Portuguese army returned, this time not only better equipped and large number but led by an experienced senior officer who has fought and won war in another part of Africa. Mozambique. And the man was general Preira d’eça.
In 1914, the Union Defense Force(UDF) invaded and forced the Germans to surrender in Germany in South West Africa(GSWA) as part of the World War I campaign to defeat and surrender the Germans.
The Union Defense Force(UDF) drawing its soldiers from the Rhodesian Regiment and the South Africans moved in territory north of the Orange river, with an army better equipped and superior training and experience acquired from the Boer war. The initial approach of the UDF was to observe without interfering in the affairs in the north of GSWA and south Angola. Also the new authority in Windhoek identified Mandume ya Ndemufayo as a formidable leader who should be an ally then foe, however this approached worried the Portuguese who were struggling to gain control in the south of Cunene river and feared that Mandume would find a supplier of weapons from the new authority in Windhoek. After a defeat at Ombadja. Portugal drew in one of the most experienced, respected military hero and war general in the Portuguese defense force.
General Preira d’eça rose through the military ranks to become a war hero, having successfully quelled the Shangaan uprising and apprehended king Ngungunyane in the southern Mozambique, General Preira d’eça became a force to reckon in the military and political circle within Portugal and its colonies(referred as the overseas provinces).
Mandume ya Ndemufayo, the eighth monarch in the kingdom of Uukwanyama to have been a resident in the royal house at Ondjiva was faced a dilemma of waking up every morning and face the flag of Portuguese and look at Ondjiva as the town of Preira d’eça. As a result Mandume moved out and set his royal house at Oihole, east of Namacunde.

The battle of Mongua
Although the battle of Mongua was only one of the few battles fought between the Portuguese and the Owambo people in this period and it only lasted three days, it is none the less a significant encounter that was to be told from one generation to the next. The documented history of this encounter is very limited and vague in many ways and the oral tradition from which is my point of departure and from where I based the record of this writing is influenced by zeal, time and myths. So I am guided by the caution rule.
In 1915, the first battle(a batalha do Mongua) that lasted few days between the Portuguese and Mandume’s army took place in the north of Ondjiva, although trying to hold back the Portuguese army from Ondjiva, his headquarter. The first meetings to between the UDF and the Portuguese Defence Force was held at Namacunde, although there slight mistrust from the Portuguese who suspected Mandume was being armed by the authority in Namibia The South Africans forces were moving through the northern Namibia towards the border of Angola When told to hand himself to the authority, that’s what he said, “se os engles me procuram eu estou aqui, eles pode vir e mondar-me um ardil. Nao farei o primeiro disparo, mas eu nao sou um cabrito nas mulolas, sou um homen e lutarei ate gastar a minha ultima bala. O meu curacao diz-me que nao fiz nada errado.”
At the age of 23 Mandume died while fighting while fighting the UDF and Portuguese forces… he was defeated and decapitated and his head was taken South West Africa(Namibia)where it was displayed throughout every town as the conquerors rode back south in a traditional barbaric that mankind has displayed since the cave days towards his enemy. Although it is not known where his head is or buried, his body was buried at Oihole about ten kilometers south east of Namacunde.
Mandume ya Ndemufayo’s day is commemorated in Angola and Namibia every years in the month of February, with the university of Mandume ya Ndemufayo in Lubango and Ondjiva.
Mandume’s successor was only anointed after Namibia gained its independence, almost seventy years after his death.

5 comment(s) so far...


Re: The Battle of Mongua: From Ondjiva to Preira d’eça

Thank you for this very insightful story, Dino! It is so important that we all learn about the history and events that predated our own Border War. When you read this you realize how these historical events eventually led to the situation we experienced with the SWA/Angola border cutting the Owambo nation in half. Also very interesting that Mandume died while fighting both the UDF (in SWA) and the Portuguese forces (in Angola)! I must confess that, other than knowing that the Owambo people were on both sides of the border, most of us in the SADF were unaware of the history behind it... Who was Mandume'a successor after independence?

By Johan Schoeman on   2013/10/03 11:04 PM

Re: The Battle of Mongua: From Ondjiva to Preira d’eça

Kornelius Shilungu was the successor...

By Dino Estevao on   2013/10/11 07:20 PM

Re: The Battle of Mongua: From Ondjiva to Preira d’eça

Hi Dino, do you know if the planned new statue for Mandume is erected already. Apparently he will be sitting on his white horse.

By Paul J Els on   2015/12/19 06:34 AM

Re: The Battle of Mongua: From Ondjiva to Preira d’eça

Hi Paul, I will be getting more clarity on the matter. I think the statue you referring in the one to be erected at the four stop at ondjiva. Will tell you more after the 3rd of February.

By Dino Estevao on   2016/01/23 08:29 AM

Re: The Battle of Mongua: From Ondjiva to Preira d’eça

Hi Dino, Are you now in a position to tell us more about the proposed erection of a statue for Mandume at Ondjiva, please

By Lukas de Waal on   2017/06/22 10:32 AM

Your name:
Gravatar Preview
Your email:
(Optional) Email used only to show Gravatar.
Your website:
Security Code
Enter the code shown above in the box below
Add Comment   Cancel 
Account Login

Forgot Password ?

Recent Blog Entries
Posted on: 31 May 2017
"Saturday Night Live"
Posted on: 30 May 2017
Posted on: 06 February 2017
The Road to Botswana
Posted on: 13 May 2016
Supper in Sá da Bandeira
Posted on: 05 September 2015
The red cross
Posted on: 28 August 2015
Operation Savannah
Posted on: 23 August 2015



Recent Blog Comments
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
Re: Various opfoks and rondfoks during Basics
Have got new info - NATO actions perhaps suspicious, but Russia also has a problem. Need more intel on Russia before helping it. BRICS and Zuma, Rusatom nuclear power (poor whites will pay again), Russian war veterans on the Freedom Park memorial etc. Very complicated topic, with lots of "fake" news.
By German volunteer on: 27 October 2017
Re: 23rd of August 1978 01h15 I remember it distinctly.
My memories are not as good as Hugh and Jims but I do think this was the scariest night of my life, waiting for the next explosion and hoping it wasn't me next.
By Craig Sharland on: 30 September 2017
Re: In search for a home: proof of life
Gud day my name is dionisia dos Santos. The daughter of the late Fernando dos Santos. My father was a medic soldier of FNLA in angola n later went to Buffalo 32 battalion. Then koevoet zulu delta were they ended up in south africa. My father n mother died wen we we're very young. Now we are old and want infomation abt my father so dat we can trace his roots. We want to know his family. Coz we don't have any family here in south Africa family so dat we reunite with them again. Plz if there is any info do not hesitate to contact me. My number is 0027765877705, we are based in south africa.
By dionisia dos santos on: 29 September 2017
Re: 23rd of August 1978 01h15 I remember it distinctly.
My sister is currently touring the area and her talking about the area and sending photographs has brought back memories of that horrific night. I was sleeping in the bungalow next to the one that was hit that night. 40 years later I still have vivid memories and count my blessings.
By Jim Tait on: 21 September 2017
Re: 23rd of August 1978 01h15 I remember it distinctly.
I still remember that night so well. I was with 3 SAI, B Company and based at Wenela at that time. We were out on a platoon patrol along the 'kaplyn' that night, probably 3 or 4 miles from Wenela, but had been warned of heightened activity in Zambia. We all awoke when the first missile was fired at Katimo and went into a standby mode. Within a short while we were instructed to pull back to an artillery base (4th or 14th Field Regiment) a few miles back. It was absolutely surreal walk as the South African artillery was laying down a barrage of 155mm fire just beyond the kaplyn and these shells were whistling a couple of hundred feet overhead. It was probably the noisiest night of my life. When we reached the base we were assigned as base protection while the Operation went ahead. Hard to believe this all happened about 40 years ago. I have set up a FaceBook page containing quite a few photos of our time in the Caprivi. All the best to those that still remember this event.
By Hugh Hudson on: 04 September 2017
Re: 23rd of August 1978 01h15 I remember it distinctly.
I was 12 years old on that date and I was in my father's residence next to Ngweze primary school and was just in the house with my brothers when the sound of a rocket that landed some four hundred meters from our residence was clearly heard as it shaked our house and other adjacent houses. I saw a vehicle that was moving from the urban settlement of boma heading towards the southern direction of town where the unexploded rocket was embedded. The voice from the speaker that early time was in Afrikaans and english saying stay in your houses SWAPO is beneKant. The next day we went to the cite where the rocket penetrated the ground and later moved to Mafuta with my brothers where we spent a night. Two days later we returned and I also witnessed a blue Bedford full of dead bodies that was paraded in front of the Legislative Assembly hall at Ngweze.
By Dr. Boniface MutumbaA on: 26 August 2017
Re: The Battle of Mongua: From Ondjiva to Preira d’eça
Hi Dino, Are you now in a position to tell us more about the proposed erection of a statue for Mandume at Ondjiva, please
By Lukas de Waal on: 22 June 2017
Re: Various opfoks and rondfoks during Basics
I don't comment much, have enough personal challenges to deal with.

An old Afrikaans proverb: Vra is vry, en die weier daarby/It costs nothing to ask, including the refusal.

I have always wondered...

Is there no way how the old SADF highly experienced officers, that is, those that still are alive (they are heavily chopping in our part of the woods nowadays), can somehow assist in defusing the situation with Nato/USA encroaching on Russias borders? It is just not right what is busy happening there right now.
By German volunteer on: 08 May 2017
Re: "Trying to destroy the Olifants"
Baie dankie vir jou terugvoer, Deon. Jou tenk met die mynvëer was 12A. Kontak my asseblief op johan@warinangola.com. Ek sal graag jou hele storie ook wil laai. Jy sal die volgende video wat etlike dae na die aanval gemaak is waardeer en ook jou tenk sien:

Videos - Cuito Cuanavale after the battle
blogs.warinangola.com /Videos/CuitoCuanavaleafterthebattle /tabid/278/language/en-ZA /Default.aspx (onthou om die spasies uit die link te haal!)

Hier is ook fotos van die tenks, 12A, 52, en 53....
Tank Data
blogs.warinangola.com/Forums /TankData/tabid/266/language /en-ZA/Default.aspx (onthou om die spasies uit die link te haal!)

Dan is daar ook besprekings oor die tenks by War In Angola General Forums - “Operation 53”
www.warinangola.com:8088 /default.aspx?tabid=590 &forumid=3026&postid=11851 &view=topic (onthou om die spasies uit die link te haal!)

Jammer ek sien nou eers jou antwoord... ;-)


By SuperUser Account on: 10 April 2017
Re: "Trying to destroy the Olifants"
Dag Johan,
Baie intersante komentaar en het eers vandag die site ontdek.
Ek was die gunner van die tank wat die myn-vee apparaat vooraan gehad het en ook in die mynveld gelos was - Ek kan om die dood nie die roepsein onthou nie. Jy is reg, die eerste tenk het ons in n mynveld verloor gedurende die opmars. Daar is toe - eers onsuksesvol, met plofadders n pad deur die mynveld gemaak. Ons was nog besig om vuur te rig op loopgrawe met ons co-ax en af en toe n HESH as ons gedink het daars bunkers, toe ons die bevel kry om terug te trek. Ons het terug gestoot, nie omgedraai nie. maw die mynveer was nie aan die kant waarheen ons beweeg het nie, ons het afgewyk van die geveede spoor en toe die myn getrap. Die ander tank was ook in die aanval beskadig en is ook gelos. Daar was ook spar tenks wat ons het ook n klein aanval gedoen op dorpie- Bambi as ek reg onthou, met een van die spaar tenks na ons ons sn verloor het by Tumpo.
By Deon Louw on: 21 February 2017
More, ek is 'n oud-joernalis wat 'n nuwe uitdaging nodig het. Ek is meer as bereid om die verhale deur te gaan en te 'edit'.
By Sandra Harding on: 08 February 2017
Dankie Sandra. Ek moet eers sien of die manne hulle stories hier gaan laai of nie. Almal gebruik deesdae net Facebook en wil nie graag op enige ander platform iets skryf nie. So ek is nog verdeeld tussen die twee platforms. Wat my betref kan hulle gerus op enigeen pos! Maar ek sal jou aanbod definitief in die toekoms goedgunstiglik wil oorweeg! Groete ;-)
By host on: 08 February 2017