The South African Border War - Meanwhile back on the home front.

in war •  3 years ago  (edited)

While the South African Government had been busying itself with perceived communist threats all around its borders, it had been brewing internal threats of its own.

Apartheid had not been well received, for obvious reasons, by those who were severely disenfranchised thereby and discriminated against.

Various movements had been established in its wake representing various portions of the South African population, that were poorly catered for under the Apartheid dispensation.

One of these was the African National Congress.

In the aftermath of the Sharpville massacre in 1960 the ANC founded a military wing called uMkhonto we Sizwe (translated Spear of the Nation) or MK.

Nelson Mandela would describe the justification for the formation of the MK later in his trial for treason in such a manner:

At the beginning of June 1961, after a long and anxious assessment of the South African situation, I, and some colleagues, came to the conclusion that as violence in this country was inevitable, it would be unrealistic and wrong for African leaders to continue preaching peace and non-violence at a time when the government met our peaceful demands with force.

This conclusion was not easily arrived at. It was only when all else had failed, when all channels of peaceful protest had been barred to us, that the decision was made to embark on violent forms of political struggle, and to form Umkhonto we Sizwe. We did so not because we desired such a course, but solely because the government had left us with no other choice. In the Manifesto of Umkhonto published on 16 December 1961, which is exhibit AD, we said:

The time comes in the life of any nation when there remain only two choices – submit or fight. That time has now come to South Africa. We shall not submit and we have no choice but to hit back by all means in our power in defense of our people, our future, and our freedom.

Firstly, we believed that as a result of Government policy, violence by the African people had become inevitable, and that unless responsible leadership was given to canalise and control the feelings of our people, there would be outbreaks of terrorism which would produce an intensity of bitterness and hostility between the various races of this country which is not produced even by war. Secondly, we felt that without violence there would be no way open to the African people to succeed in their struggle against the principle of white supremacy. All lawful modes of expressing opposition to this principle had been closed by legislation, and we were placed in a position in which we had either to accept a permanent state of inferiority, or take over the Government. We chose to defy the law. We first broke the law in a way which avoided any recourse to violence; when this form was legislated against, and then the Government resorted to a show of force to crush opposition to its policies, only then did we decide to answer with violence.


MK, like most of the African liberation movements, naturally received support from the Soviets an other communist countries.

With the reasonably swift capture and trial of the South African based MK leadership and detention of them on Robben Island, MK had to operate mainly from outside SA borders.

img source

Tanzania was once again the springboard, and with effective suppression inside South Africa MK operated alongside the Zimbabwe People's Revolutionary Army against the Rhodesian Army as an Ally.

This alliance was another reason for the South Africa military and politicians to meddle in Rhodesian and Mozambican military affairs.

Other posts in this series

The piece of the cold war nobody told you about - Africa's forgotten war

The Air Battles
The SA Fighter Aircraft
The SA Bomber Aircraft
The conflicts deep roots and start
Regional Tensions
Africa's forgotten cold war - Angolan War of Independence.
Africa's forgotten cold war - Mozambican War of Independence.
Africa's forgotten cold war - Rhodesian Bush War
Africa's forgotten cold war - The Angolan War of Independence transitions to the Angolan Civil War
The South African Border War - The start of Operation Savannah and Large scale South African involvement.
The South African Border War - Operation Savannah - the wheels start coming off.
The South African Border War - Operation Savannah - Battle of Quifangondo
The South African Border War - Operation Savannah - Battle of Ebo
The South African Border War - Operation Savannah - Battle of Bridge 14
The South African Border War - Operation Savannah - Battle of Luso
The South African Border War - Operation Savannah comes to an end.
The South African Border War - Operation Savannah the withdrawal.

Authors get paid when people like you upvote their post.
If you enjoyed what you read here, create your account today and start earning FREE STEEM!
Sort Order:  

They say what goes around comes around ! But it doesn't seem to apply for Africa. Such a wealthy continent, culture, natural ressources, beautiful people .. but AFRICA is still suffering !!! What a shame !!

Africa's a tough continent, we have lions and everything

I'm so sorry that's happening to your nation. No wonder why a lot of Africans migrate to other countries. I hope that border war will be over soon.

Yes a tough and beautiful continent ! But I still see so many people starving ant tortured in African countries, I feel the pain ! Sorry I mention this today, but this is what TV in my region shows the most. Thank god am educated and I know AFRICA is the craddle of humanity ! There is always hope for a change.

I was a teenager during the time of the border war, and part of the uninformed white minority. Looking back, I cannot even imagine that I could not have known. Propaganda was alive and well then, as it is now...

That's a story I am looking to tell, cause its my story too.

Time for another leader to step up in Africa and lead a revolution.

  ·  3 years ago (edited)

Agreed. I don't see much difference between the ANC and NP, except of course open brutality and legislated racial discrimination. But in terms of how corrupt and they are and cronyism, the NP seems to have simply morphed into the ANC due to external economic pressures. The decision to end apartheid I do not believe was out of moral conviction. It was a purely economic decision. The country could not survive the sanctions.

Arguably it has always been, and continues to be, about white economic supremacy. The strange thing is that right now the white and western supremacy and inequality that is symptomatic of it, is hiding behind an equally corrupt mask of democracy and equality for all. That mask is slowly unraveling. I think that is also Julius Malema's point. Nelson Mandela did not finish the job. The Mandela that stepped out of prison was not the same person as the one who justified his treason with the words above in 1961.

Of course this may have saved us a civil war or a serious revolution. But it was in the best interests of the elite (both black and white) to find an amicable solution. Now, two decades later, the only thing that has changed really is that the country has opened up to the world economically and we avoided further sanctions.

Actually I think that is the difference between Zimbabwe and South Africa. You could easily argue that Mugabe stuck to his principles more and is therefore a more honourable man than Mandela. Mugabe did not sell out his own people to colonialists or the colonialists' ideology and way of life.

I guess what I'm really trying to say is that the racial prejudice and hate in South Africa is now stronger than ever, and it is still the weapon for economic dominance. The only difference is that now it is an inside job.

Following you.

  ·  3 years ago (edited)

The decision to end apartheid I do not believe was out of moral conviction. It was a purely economic decision. The country could not survive the sanctions.

very true that.

I don't think many would agree with you sentiment regarding Uncle Bob though...

Zimbabwe has unfortunately gone from being the breadbasket of Africa to the basket-case of Africa under Mugabe

Thank you so much for your comment @gavvet. I do not expect many people to agree with my comment about Mugabe. Partly because popular rhetoric has twisted the debate to such an extent that my sentiment as you call it can easily be misinterpreted.

That is true. It used to be the breadbasket of Africa. I also read somewhere that it is ranked number one in the world in terms of weather. And South Africa is number two.

Where are you from? I hope you have a wonderful day!! Following You!!!

Good Leadership is in short supply worldwide these days...

Good leaders are born once in a generation. Everyone is after money now.

A good reminder of the past and where we have come from as a somewhat traumatized nation. It is distressing to think that the Marikana massacre was created by the same government that Umkhonto we Sizwe created...perhaps violence ultimately does beget violence. I feel conflicted though, because I understand that umkhonto was created at a time when people felt they had no choice.

Life is always complex, no short and simple answers.

you are right but if you think easy, life will be easy seems to me.

I'm still coming to terms with apartheid and all its consequences. I just hope that we can peace and stability in South Africa some day...

We are not doing to badly all things considered. It was a miracle we avoided full scale civil war. Nelson Mandela and the other leaders of the time are much to be thanked for that.

Can't say the same for the current crop though.

So true. But I'm still optimistic we will improve after the next vote.

I was a far away from Africa know who is mandela. From Aceh Sumatra I love him, because I know Mandela is a very great man. His work in politics as well as racial equality makes him a role model for everyone. Twenty-seven years in a cold prison does not waver to keep fighting. Believing in what he thinks is right and advanced without fear of anything. Even if necessary, Nelson would give all he had, even life.Resilient personality and always unyielding, it seems no exaggeration dubbed the legend. Making it one of the most influential people in the world amid all the limitations. In the midst of all the unceasing pressures that hit him. Very interesting post,

True Mandela showed many characteristics to be admired and deserves all of the praise he gets at home and abroad.

He also by his own admission was not perfect.

Steady @rebatesteem

very good material 👍
support with your comment 👍

dear @gavvet, Cruelty and injustice and unfair treatment to the people, must be stopped and opposed any way, because man in the eyes of God is the same, there is no difference between whites and blacks. In fact, the people of Africa have lived a prosperous day. But this is very poignant and bitter. Fight ... for justice. I'm sure the victory is always on the right side.

Great educative post. i wonder how long Zuma would be able to hold onto office before it is prieed out of his hands, finally!

Hopefully not as long as Mugabe

Imagine from 1961 he had to wait another 33 years of suffering and torture at Robinson Island until he was released and finally South Africa got its independence and their long awaited President Mandela. I have never seen an amazing human being like him and one of a kind President the world has ever seen. Nice post btw, Thanks 👍

@gavvet military politics is very cruel.
Maybe you have not felt even if you have made a story of military political violence.
But already feel how the military politics. When that happens, we go awry. Both our sides must submit.
But that is very difficult again, when politics takes place internally. It's even harder.
Thank you @gavvet interesting post


I beg your pardon all of you, but I need to write in Spanish: Cuando escuché acerca de Nelson Mandela, era muy pequeño, no entendía como una persona podía padecer tanto por un ideal. Mi papá me decía: "Este señor es un héroe" Y no fue hasta que en una película de cine, escuche el mas hermoso discurso dicho por hombre alguno. Me gusto tanto que comencé a indagar quien era su autor hasta hace unos años, cuando el internet llego a Venezuela y hubo una computadora en mi casa, que comprendí que fue expresado por este maravilloso ser humano cuando fue electo como presidente de Śudáfrica y que aquí me gustaría publicar parte de el, porque llena de esperanza mi corazón, ya que aquí en Venezuela, pasamos una situación donde necesitamos darnos animo para salir adelante:

"Nacemos para hacer manifiesto la gloria del universo que está dentro de nosotros. Nuestro miedo más profundo es que somos poderosos sin límite.
Es nuestra luz, no la oscuridad lo que más nos asusta....No solamente algunos de nosotros: Está dentro de todos y cada uno.
Y mientras dejamos lucir nuestra propia luz, inconscientemente damos permiso a otras personas para hacer lo mismo.
Y al liberarnos de nuestro miedo, nuestra presencia automáticamente libera a los demás"

Nelson Mandela es mi inspiración y un digno ejemplo a seguir. Gracias, @Gavvet, por compartir en su post, tan interesante artículo. Me he deleitado al leer.

Me alegra que te guste

I wonder why nation leaders or group leaders always thinking war is the solution of there misunderstanding. Did these leaders or group of people once asked themeselve, do war end it up. They dont think about how many young people are going to die. Only one thing I know and sure about war. Its always a messy place.


your post with historical narratives is awesome...Mandela's reason for resorting to violent struggles was beautifully made... love his assertion below-
"The time comes in the life of any nation when there remain only two choices – submit or fight. "
Reminds me of the saying that you can beat a child but cannot stop the child from crying... In post colonial and post apartheid Africa, a lot of government policies are not citizens friendly which is why Africa is still struggling... there will come a time when Africans will rise against their bad leaders...
great posts worthy of my upvote!... keep it up!

Interesting post @gavvet. At least we know the conditions in south africa. Best regards know my best friend. My @nauval origin @aceh. In the past, there was also a prolonged conflict. And it's a gloomy history in our area.


It is very sad when considering the events that have been experienced before, the war will make the community's economy disrupted, many buildings that were destroyed by a deliberate accident. All humans certainly do not want the incident to happen again, many children become orphans.

Mandala had a vision when he started the army; it was to conquer apartheid and he did. The circumstances now are different and such army undermine democracy. It is also surprising how South Africa cower under zuma's whims

Congratulations on what you have achieved in the post, and your post is very interesting I like, this all can not be separated from your hard work in steemit, I also have made some posts but there has been no progress until now, may success always accompany you .thank you

Great Post. You truly capture the essence of South African / African politics and the tragic wars that were fought...and still brewing in our beautiful country. The border war of SW Africa was truly a massacre of innocent children, yes I say children - young boys taken from their mother's homes to fight a propaganda war in another country...
Thanks for sharing your insights!

The biggest lesson from Africa was that life's joys come mostly from relationships and friendships, not from material things. I saw time and again how much fun Africans had with their families and friends and on the sports fields; they laughed all the time.😊
I work on poetry have alook hope you like:)🌹

U know what ...we bloody need to wake up and stop these bad politicians from destroying our lands......They are piles of scum...LETS BUILD AFRICA...

  ·  3 years ago (edited)

wow,, in 25 secons your post in hot , amazing @gavvet
please come to my blog ,, nice to meet you :D

i resteem your post,, im support you :)

Oh, how I have missed your posts! I had limited internet access for much of the past week so this is the first time in a while I've really been able to spend hours on Steemit again.

Ooh, this is good. The Russian/Soviet/communist presence in Africa is a fascinating throughline of 20th Century history. On the one hand, most of the colonial powers were capitalist and thus, independence movements found communism a natural bedfellow for the fight.

On the other hand, communism was and is a far worse fit for black African mindsets than capitalism and moreover, the Russians made no bones about the fact that they gave zero fucks about Africa. All we ever were was a Cold War trench-line between the Kremlin and the CIA.

A lot happening around the world, and with that I mean; so much hate/frustration and people who would have power. I see that Africa has a lot hurdens to take, like many other countries. Decissions are not always the right ones, but at least something is decided. In general we could only hope for stable situation and respect for others by everyone.
Let people use their power on STEEM

Your articel is really great @gavvet
I like it

good post boss

Oh as new in this social network, it impresses me how fast people like you get good wishes :)

A very sad chapter in our history. It is over now though and Communism has a grip on the education with Blade Nzimande running the show...

hate violence stop war spread peace great post my brother

a good article to read, and shows some real writing chops. Good work.

Cool Island..

Spread peace everywhere... We should remove war word from our dictionary... Their should be no scope for war

amazing post .. mama africa
thank you
followed and upvoted !!

great article, i didnt know anything about this before, very informative!


Reading through the comments here it would seem that the situation continues to boil beneath the surface in SA.

I know how different the situation is here in the US compared to the rainbows and happy dancing that the propaganda machine likes to portray.

I am seriously trying to discover a place that will be out of harm's way when the inevitable economic house of cards the West has built collapses and thought that SA might be a candidate.

Congratulations @gavvet! You have completed some achievement on Steemit and have been rewarded with new badge(s) :

Award for the number of upvotes received

Click on any badge to view your own Board of Honor on SteemitBoard.
For more information about SteemitBoard, click here

If you no longer want to receive notifications, reply to this comment with the word STOP

By upvoting this notification, you can help all Steemit users. Learn how here!

Good work,welldone friend ,i think there is a uncertinety in all world every country wants his dominations on other countries

Nice post, i like that its good @gavvet
I will follow you
Regarsd @muliadilibra

Very informative it's time for a one United Africa and no more puppet leaders

I agree with everything you say here, a very good post!

nice post! very informative to me!upvoted you and following you now

Thank you very much for your series of posts. I find out a lot about the history of South Africa

Great post!

Writing that really helped me in understanding the conditions in south africa ..And this paper can give an overview of political conditions .. social and cultural ..

Many thank for you share this articel...



Peace From Aceh

Most African liberation movements were supported by the Soviet Union? Was this to undermine the western? How would they get supplies in?

yip, cold war... by sea

Governments are too keen on keeping their political enemies at bay than to unite the people and to heal the discord. If a more mature approach is taken and self interest is put to the backseat, Africa will have a better future. It starts with education.

good work and post

this is will be high conflict

Am I the only one who hate wars?

Hello. I really appreciate the African community, thanks for sharing your post.

Will not be easy, when money affects the leader @gavvet,

Best wishes for African people , I wish one day all the Africa became one , and they live in peace , and also away from hands of Evil Politicians of other countries, I know it's not easy but all I can do from here is just wishing a good future.

Congratulations @gavvet!
Your post was mentioned in the hit parade in the following categories:

  • Upvotes - Ranked 9 with 402 upvotes
  • Pending payout - Ranked 9 with $ 303,72

there is always irony and paradox in life. great piece of work @gavvet

If there are dreams about a beautiful South Africa, there are also roads that lead to their goal. Two of these roads could be named Goodness and Forgiveness.
He was right !

good post

.... goog information.. ťhanks

I feel very happy to upvote and follow you. Please help me upvote

Very nice post.. I learned a lot again today.. Unbelievable this existed...

You said your family long time ago was from Holland.. how many generations ago..

  ·  3 years ago Reveal Comment