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

 

Categories
 

 

Tags
 

 

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...

 

 

 

View the selected Blog
Aug 28

Written by: Dino Estevao
2015/08/28 10:13 PM  RssIcon

while doing a research for the "in search for home" I could not ignore this institution and how the managed to infiltrate this unit. Although their stay a Buffalo was short(After few hours they were expelled), they managed to make contact and link many families back in Angola
The International Red Cross for refugees at Rundu where knocking at the doors of Sector 20 every week. They wanted access to the group of refugees that escaped from the outbreak of civil war in Angola and were being trained as soldiers at the banks of the Okavango river in the west of Caprivi. This humanitarian watch dog were very serious about their work and were crying foul, treading carefully in a very dangerous, slippery ground in the jungle where you are either a communist or you with the other guy. There was no in-between. Sector 20’s spin doctor denied that such a group existed. He denied all allegations with a straight face, “there are no refugee here! There is only a group of free, brave soldiers who were abandoned by their coward leaders and now are defending democracy at all cost with very little means.” The Red Cross insisted further and became persistent, every time knocking harder and harder at the proverbial door of Sector 20, until the door almost broke. Then one day the Red Cross decided to drive to Buffalo base and see for themselves. Empowered by the letters obtained at Windhoek signed by the highest office in that capital city, stating that they are allowed to visit any part of South West Africa/Namibia for the purpose to identify the vulnerable, refugees as mandated by the UN convention of, “19 I don’t know.” They quoted all the chapters and articles read with other chapters and articles as outlined in the legal documents governing that institution to confuse the RPs at the gate of Buffalo. They drove along the Okavango river, crossing over the bridge at Bagani and turning slightly to the right through the winding gravel road until they found the board with the head of a buffalo and the writing on it, “Royalty, Honesty, Justice.” Few meters from this board was a checkpoint manned by a well-trained, highly equipped and experienced regimental police(RP) that were selected within the unit’s finest rank. The Red Cross team presented their credentials at RPs at the gate, nervously scanning at the board with the head of buffalo, the only board with the head of a ferocious buffalo to scare away unwelcome visitors. The regimental police listened very carefully. They examining or at least pretending to examine the credentials, documents and identification of the visitor. After scanning and squinting many times one of the RP decided to refer these visitors to the senior rank. “the Latin terminology in this documents are high grade,” the RP on duty said to his colleague. The senior member of the RPs was sergeant Lusaka a mean, tall, dark handsome man who policed Kimbo with the iron fist, he solved every case timeously and his conviction rate was second to none. With sergeant Lusaca on the helm of the RP squad, smuggling of alcohol to Kimbo through the river was reduced to 75% and the other 25% of the liquor was smuggled within the official transport that brought in goods from Rundu to the unit. Sergeant Lusaka’s task was to reduce the smuggling of liquor His team was further re enforced by Cota Gringo and Cota Tomas, two characters copied from the movies of Bud Spencer and Terence Hill that sergeant major Koos Krokodil use to show every Wednesday at the community hall. Sergeant Lusaca’s policing experience was gained from the Direcção-Geral de Segurança(DGS) training manual that was found in the abandoned Portuguese army barracks during the outbreak of the civil war in Angola. This training manual, an important secret document that was to guide training programme at Nove de Marco was smuggled through M’pupa, Chitato and Calae, eventually it arrived Buffalo under heavy torrid rain of early 1976 in that part of the world. In the formation of the unit this manual became indispensable. This highly guarded, secret manual was to be kept and access to it limited to few privileged men. Those who accessed and studied this training manual were to excel in their field. Lusaca was one of them, even the holding cells at the unit were named Lusaca, this sergeant whose rank in the official document was lance corporal was approached with the utmost respect by one of his RP that fateful morning. Sergeant Lusaca listened carefully, digesting every word as one of his trusted RP or “Bofu” as he referred to the RPs when they are not around. He shifted slowly and thought, “this was a tall order… way beyond my head.” he mumbled, almost conceding. Man like Lusaca hardly concede, but the DGS training manual was very clear about the international communities with immunity. They are nuisance but should not be touched. “If possible mislead them but do not touch a hair on their head.”he remembered one of his intructors at Kinkuzu saying. “Escort this people to the OPS room,” Lusaca instructed his man and decided to lay low as he searched for an excuse to disappear. The Red Cross team were escorted under heavy guards to the OPS room, a beautiful green bungalow with three doors, each door had steps painted in black and yellow strips. Across the narrow street was the OPS tent, a green tent with no walls, 200 liters drum hanging on the heavy duty chains on the steel frame bolted in the concrete floor that was used to administer punishment. The infamous OPS tent, the sad chapter of our beautiful history. Here at this descent, a short distance from the river surrounded by thick green trees and singing birds… the team of the international Red Cross were paraded before Major Duppie, who was acting as Commanding Officer(CO) in the absence Unit Commander. Major Duppie was a good leader who thought out of the box and he applied his mind when presented with a problem instead of referring to the training manual from Oudshorn for he did not have access to the other manual. If a request was well motivated he will make a decision accordingly, as was the request before him. Major Duppie listened to the head of this humanitarian organization explaining how the tracing of the next of kin and reuniting the refugees to their villages and families. He analyzed the request and tried to read through the document from Windhoek, he too did not understand what the chapters and articles referring to, the document was written in a foreign language. Maybe it was French for he too came from the French lineage. His ancestors were famous wine maker, as he went through the documents, aligning himself with the document with his ancestry lineage it started making since to him, taking his time by offering coffee and biscuit to the personnel of the Red Cross. He has come to know this men, some of them he knew their names and was once or twice invited at their humble homes. Major Duppie understood the dilemma that most of this soldiers and their families from Kimbo faced. Some of them were orphans, others have fled from Angola leaving part of the family behind. And now this people before him were going to help and reunite, “my troops with the lost relatives, wonderlik.” The major was excited, he scribbled the word, “goedgekuier” and signed letter of request, ignoring the instructions that for anything he was to consult Sector 20. He handed the letter to the head of the delegation as he stood up, “wonderlik… goodluck!” escorting them from the OPS room. The major, a short stout man with a round face stood tall and saluted the delegation as they drove away to Kimbo. It was a short, painful drive from Ops room to Kimbo, the eight kilometers drive was my daily routine to and from school but then that’s a story for another day. As the convoy maneuvered between the grazing elephants and herds of buffalos, driving into the potholes here and there before finally reaching Kimbo full of dust as if they leopard crawled all the way from the OPS room. Finally after “burraco de lixo” on the right and over the hill like ascend was tents and wooden houses with dusty streets and children playing futebol barefoot before them. A beautiful designed on a concrete wall by the community’s famous artist and painter, Santo Junior. The writing on the wall read, “WELCOME TO VILLA CARPINTEIRO.” He was later chastised for writing Villa Carpinteiro instead of Villa Breytenbach and refused to acknowledge that the name of the great Comandante whom he met personally at Novo Rodondo should be replaced with some unknown colonel who probably never been at the Caprivi strip, “maybe just pen pusher for the state.” Many more troops took his side and others decided to debate the matter a Chuva, the canteen. The Red Cross convoy came to a full stop and hoisted their white flags with a red cross in the center on the poles that was attached on the side of the vehicles. One flag’s cross was in the middle, the two flags’ cross were in the center of the flag. “Same thing different places,” one eyewitness later commended. Few minutes later they rolled into Kimbo, flags higher and victorious. After years of knocking at the door of Sector 20 and numerous lobbying, it finally paid off. The Red Cross rolled into Kimbo, occupying one, two or more classrooms at Pica-pau school. Without further introduction they started handing out application forms. Almost every household have left one or more of their immediate families back in Angola during the fleeing from the out break of the civil war. From the soldiers(solteiros) at company lines to the child who escaped alone were queuing in hope of tracing their siblings, mother, father or anyone who could be called family from every corner of the war torn country. I too was trying my luck and I filled in the form to the best of my knowledge but there were some informations that I did not know, but nonetheless I tried my best. I did not know the name of the soba(chief) of Chiede so that made my application not worth giving a try. I knew the chief as tatekulu Simon but they needed the full names. The signal from Buffalo arrived sector 20 at about 12:00, the message was short but straight to the point and that how it read. “Die besoek van rooi kruis gaan voort soos beplaan...” The troop at the communication post read the message and registered as normal, skipping the tray for urgent/priority mails and placed it in “not urgent,” tray. First he did not see the urgency in that message, but after an hour of sitting there staring at the dead fax machine, the state of art communication system was also quiet. Even the BBC shortwave radio attached to a transcript at the corner was quiet. The soldier on duty after writing the third letter to his friends and girlfriend back home at the “states” he looked around the empty trays on the table except for the fax like transcript that he an hour ago classified as “not urgent, hoping that something exciting would happen. His shift was coming to an end, The instructor back at the college who was also his uncle lied to him, saying that this was the most exciting field in the military. The soldier, a trained intelligence operator and a specialist in the art of interpretation, coding and decoding, classification and declassification of the documents and messages, in short he was trained to create chaos with a military precision whenever there was boredom. And that day out of boredom and curiosity he started slowly turning boredom to chaos. He decided to reclassify the only mail received that day from “not urgent,” to “very urgent.”


Your name:
Gravatar Preview
Your email:
(Optional) Email used only to show Gravatar.
Your website:
Title:
Comment:
Security Code
Enter the code shown above in the box below
Add Comment   Cancel 
Recent Blog Entries
IN SEARCH FOR A HOME
Posted on: 31 May 2017
"Saturday Night Live"
Posted on: 30 May 2017
BUSH WAR VETERANS!
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
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