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date: 21 April 2019

Legacies of South Africa’s Apartheid Wars

Summary and Keywords

South Africa’s Apartheid Wars had a profound effect on shaping the postcolonial landscape of the region, as well as the country itself. This much is evident from the difficulties encountered by the liberation movements in making the transition to government. The armed struggle and the experience of exile left a deep imprint on these movements and shaped them as political organizations. They have not been able to divest themselves of internal hierarchical structures, as well as intolerant and authoritarian tendencies. On the other hand, the counterrevolutionary war waged by the apartheid state’s security nexus delayed decolonization and shaped the political culture considerably. The militarization of South African society undermined civil-military relations, contributed to a legacy of corruption in the defense sector, and proved detrimental to the practices of governance.

The integration of the armed formations of the state and the liberation movements into new national armies were fraught processes. Reconciliation became the byword in Zimbabwe, Namibia, and South Africa, but only the latter established a Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) as an exercise in nation-building. However, cohesion and consensus remain elusive as the fault lines of colonial and apartheid society are still very much in evidence. Moreover, the governments of the region harbor resentment about South Africa’s dominance of the region and remain suspicious of its intentions. Therefore, relations between these states, and groups within them, are still prickly. The conflicts might be over but the countries of the region are still having to deal with contestations over their remembrance and commemoration.

Keywords: armed struggle, liberation movements, militarism, authoritarianism, demilitarization, democratization, commemoration

The Impact of War

Wars cast a long shadow over society. No matter where, when, and how they are fought, they cause human and environmental damage and have far-reaching economic and political consequences. This is certainly the case with respect to South Africa’s Apartheid Wars that encompassed the entire subcontinent and spanned a generation. Indeed, this description hardly does justice to the complexity of these conflicts, and any treatment of their legacies is bound to be partial and provisional. With this caveat, this article will focus its attention on the impact of militarism, the subsequent efforts to demilitarize society and, finally, the remembrance of the conflicts.

Southern Africa is a geographical expression and so generalizations about the impact of the conflict on the region as a whole are of limited value. Accordingly, this article will delimit its territorial scope and place South Africa center stage. Given that South Africa was—and remains—the hegemonic power in the region, there is little doubt that it was a catalyst in the conflicts that ravaged the subcontinent. At the same time, the article will make passing reference to the other countries caught up in the cauldron of war, especially South-West Africa (Namibia since 1990) that was occupied by South Africa and Rhodesia (Zimbabwe since 1980). These states were the last on the African continent to be decolonized and engaged in protracted wars with their respective liberation movements within the geopolitical context of the late Cold War. This article will reference the history of the region between 1975 and the 21st century in order to advance its argument that these conflicts have shaped its political culture and memory irrevocably.

The Nature and Nomenclature of the Apartheid Wars

The large scale of war in Southern Africa is evident not only from the extent of the fighting but also by the great numbers of men—and some women—who donned military uniforms or simply armed themselves. The largest armed force was the SADF (South African Defense Force), which had a standing army of seventy-five thousand and a citizen force of five hundred thousand (mainly conscripts) in 1987, but this number was never mobilized all at once. Following training, many SADF troops were attached to units in South West Africa (SWA), where an estimated eighty thousand were deployed in northern SWA and Angola at the height of the war. Notwithstanding the fact that the Popular Armed Forces for the Liberation of Angola (FAPLA), the army of the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) government, obtained substantial backing from as many as fifty thousand Cubans (at its peak) and armaments from the Soviets, the SADF proved itself the equal of its enemies in most respects. But Operation Savannah (1975–1976), the codename for the SADF’s invasion of Angola, exposed certain shortcomings, especially with respect to the range of its artillery. While the SADF subsequently made many more sorties into Angola, the losses among white SADF soldiers were minimized because much of the fighting was done by surrogates. These included Savimbi’s National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA), as well as Battalion 32 that comprised recruits from the rump of the National Liberation Front of Angola (FNLA). But the battle of Cuito Cuanavale (1988), feted as the largest ever engagement on African soil since World War II and the culmination of the war in Angola in which the SADF confronted the combined FAPLA and Cuban forces, underscored that the risk of extensive casualties was not sustainable. While parties on both sides were inclined to attach great significance to battlefield outcomes, political elites more sensibly agreed that a negotiated settlement was preferable to the ongoing violence.

If the SADF met its match against the combined forces of FAPLA and the Cubans in Angola, it fought an asymmetric war against Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK) guerrillas of the African National Congress (ANC). The armed wing of the ANC was small by comparison to the size of the South African security forces. By 1987 MK had twelve thousand trained guerrillas and claimed to have deployed about half of this number in the country. The SADF and MK seldom clashed operationally on South African soil. This was partly because MK avoided direct confrontation with a superior-equipped army but also because many of their operatives abandoned their missions.1 In fact, MK were more likely to engage with SADF forces in Angola than South Africa. In some cases, guerrillas remained in exile in camps located in one or other sub-Saharan country for the duration of the war and resented the fact that they never “saw action.” But MK cadres were deployed (or not) at the behest of commanders who were subject to the discipline and political structures of the ANC, its parent organization.2 The armed struggle, after all, was part of a broad campaign to defeat the apartheid state. As such, it had not only local and regional imperatives but global ones too, for “the armed struggle was inscribed within the politics of the Cold War.”3

The various terms used to describe Southern Africa’s late-20th-century conflicts reveal something of their multifaceted nature, as well as the ideological orientation of those who employ these terms. Journalists and military historians have employed the term “Border War” to describe the war waged by the SADF and its surrogates against the South West Africa Peoples’ Organization (SWAPO) and its allies in Namibia and Angola between 1966 and 1989.4 Other scholars, wishing to avoid loaded terms, prefer to speak of the Southern African War, Namibian War of Independence, or the “thirty years war,” a label that covers the period from the commencement of the armed struggle in the early 1960s to the demise of white minority rule in the 1990s.5 Certain scholars have taken to using the term “Apartheid Wars” because they believe the underlying causes of the conflict that engulfed the region were prompted by the Pretoria government’s efforts to entrench white supremacy and colonialism.6 For their part, the liberation movements that have become the ruling parties in the region tend to favor the term “national liberation struggle.” However, the adjective “national” is something of a misnomer. The armed formations of the liberation movements of Southern Africa were almost always based in countries others than those they were aiming to liberate.7 The conflicts also had some of the characteristics of civil wars. They were never exactly ethnic or racial conflicts, but such groups were to different degrees pitted against each other as well as against themselves. Much of the fighting in the region took the form of low-intensity war of (counter-)insurgency, but there were also large-scale conventional battles. And in some instances it involved irregular militias like the so-called “self-defense units” (SDUs) in standoffs with the security forces. Thus these interrelated conflicts amounted to a “hybrid war” that was fought on many fronts and involved multifarious armed formations.8

Militarism and Authoritarianism

Militarism is the valorization of military life, values, and solutions, which look to an oversize investment in armed preparedness and a ready turn to war or the threat of military action as a primary mode of resolving conflicts.9 This ideology promotes the process of militarization in such a way that these values become part of the institutional structures and ways of thought that affect soldiers and civilians alike. Consequently, militarization can become a pervasive feature of a political culture. This process is not unique to authoritarian or totalitarian societies but also characterizes democracies such as the United States that are constantly at war.10

During the late 1970s and 1980s, militarism seeped into the DNA of South African political culture. The weltanschauung of the SADF (South African Defense Force) military hierarchy was informed by Cold War logic framed in terms of the “Total Onslaught,” the perception of a threat orchestrated by Moscow against South Africa’s vital interests, notably the shipping lanes of the Atlantic and Indian Oceans and the country’s strategic minerals. It was believed that the liberation movements were doing the bidding of the Kremlin—that African nationalists were stooges of the Soviet Union.11 This thinking was articulated in the 1977 White Paper that advocated a “Total Strategy” against the country’s enemies and informed the government’s national security thinking. The government also funded research units and think tanks that accorded the state’s threat assessments and strategic evaluations the veneer of academic credibility. These ideas gained such traction in (white) public discourse that the belief that the Soviet Union was intent on establishing a string of compliant Marxist regimes in Southern Africa has endured the demise of the apartheid regime.

In order to establish a national security state, the SADF generals advocated a modern, strong defense force to ensure a climate of political stability in which the National Party (NP) government could implement political reforms. Pieter Willem Botha bolstered the National Security Management System (NSMS) and turned it into a highly centralized bureaucratic-cum-military structure. The State Security Council (SSC) was accorded extensive decision-making powers and so became a parallel cabinet or shadow government. Under its watch, the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) was utilized as a vehicle for state propaganda. In this way, state-controlled media used all available resources to reach audiences and reinforce attitudes that were ingrained through socialization and indoctrination of white South Africans. Militarism was also cultivated in schools by way of cadets and youth preparedness programs. Moreover, the churches, and the Nederduitse Gereformeerde Kerk (NGK) in particular, justified the ruling party’s policies and made a virtue of necessity in the case of national service. Militarism insinuated itself into the everyday life of white South Africans and Afrikaners, in particular.

The embattled apartheid state under the NP government approved a massive increase in the South African defense budget as a proportion of GDP between 1975 and 1989.12 In the face of the mandatory arms embargo imposed on all member states by United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 418 of 1977, the country created a national arms industry that aimed to achieve self-sufficiency in the manufacture of weapons. This was done by way of collaboration between government and business in the burgeoning defense sector. The state-owned enterprise, Armscor, established subsidiaries that manufactured aircrafts, ammunition and bombs, computer technology, propellants and explosives, satellites and long-distance missiles, and so on. It also contracted large corporations such as Alta, Anglo-American, and Barlow Rand to deliver war materiel. The government’s collusion with private companies that profited from national security needs created what amounted to a military-industrial complex.13

A Special Defence Account (SDA) was set up as the primary source of funding for covert arms purchases and clandestine projects. The SDA facilitated massive money laundering schemes to circumvent the arms embargo and the acquisition of cutting-edge technology via foreign companies and third parties. Indeed, arms smugglers and other agents managed to source a plethora of war materiel on the black market to boost the apartheid state’s arsenal.14 The production of enriched uranium and development of missile technology in collaboration with Israel enabled South Africa to forge a nuclear offensive capability.15 Pretoria declined to sign the Non-Proliferation Treaty precisely because it fuelled speculation that the country had the atomic bomb and so the uncertainty served as a deterrent.16 While a range of offensive biological and chemical weapons were developed and tested in operational situations during the lifespan of Project Coast (1983–1993), the SADF’s capacity to deliver nuclear weapons was, fortunately, never put to the test.

The regimes in SWA and Rhodesia (until 1980) served to buffer the white minority regime from direct attacks. This reflected the views of the SADF leadership that it was best to “take the war to enemy” rather than “fight on our own soil.” Accordingly, Pretoria regularly violated the sovereignty of the frontline states. SADF Special Force units regularly conducted raids on so-called “safe houses” in neighboring states assumed to be harboring political activists and cadres of the liberation movements. The purpose of such operations was to teach those who aided and abetted them that Pretoria would extract a high price for doing so. Simultaneously, it pursued a policy of “destabilization” throughout the 1980s that caused an enormous amount of devastation and harm, with many civilians injured and maimed by mines. UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund) estimated that as many as one hundred thousand Angolans died from war-related famine between 1980 and 1985, and that 330,000 children died from unnatural causes in Angola between 1981 and 1988.17 There can be little doubt that Angola bore the brunt of the vortex of violence unleashed by the SADF, but it also took its toll on other neighbors. The assertion that “South Africa’s export of violence displaced the struggle over the country’s racial policy into neighbouring states” seems well founded.18

The leaders of the ANC (African National Congress) and SWAPO (South West Africa Peoples’ Organization) who escaped detention went into exile, from where they launched their respective—but intersected—armed struggles. The experience of exile had a profound effect on shaping the kind of political organizations that the liberation movements have become. SWAPO’s exile leadership was authoritarian and secretive, bordering on the paranoid and conspiratorial. Accusations were leveled against those suspected of being spies of the apartheid army and resulted in torture of those so named. Such behavior produced a catalogue of human rights abuses in SWAPO’s camps. The perverse logic used to defend SWAPO’s conduct amounted to a cynical manipulation of human rights discourse in that SWAPO was upheld as the sole custodian of such rights, and if there were to be some measure of accountability it should be postponed until such time as SWAPO came to power.19 Yet, such a day of reckoning has been postponed indefinitely on the pretext that it would undermine the policy of reconciliation. But the failure to address this matter has bedeviled post-independent politics. The ruling party’s cavalier disregard of the charges made by the “Breaking the Wall of Silence” movement has affirmed that the organization has not unlearned behaviors that were condoned in the camps. By comparison, the ANC did, at least, appoint its own internal commissions to investigate human rights abuses in its camps and eventually admitted a degree of culpability before the TRC (Truth and Reconciliation Commission). Nonetheless, condoning the non-democratic practices of the ANC in exile bequeathed authoritarian tendencies to the government-in-waiting.

The political culture of the ANC was conditioned by the exile experience. The relationship of exiled rank-and-file members to the ANC as a political organization resembled dependency.20 It is arguable that this contributed to a “dependency syndrome” among cadres following their return from exile to South Africa. Not only did the ANC provide refuge and sustenance for its cadres in a network of camps in African states with the aid of donors, it also established facilities such as schools, hospitals, farms, workshops, and factories.21 The political education received in exile was doctrinaire and aimed at creating revolutionary zeal rather than teaching life skills. To be sure, certain selected cadres underwent military training and some traveled to destinations in the Soviet bloc to acquire specialized skills. But these were seldom put to use, and enthusiasm for the armed struggle was thwarted by lengthy periods of inactivity as most cadres waited in vain to be deployed in operations to infiltrate South Africa and contribute to the campaign to overthrow the white minority regime.

The ANC’s relationships with political allies and rivals were also shaped by exile. Given its recognition by the Organization of African Unity as the vanguard of the South African national liberation movement, the ANC asserted its claim to primacy. The ANC adopted the view that the national democratic revolution took precedence over the introduction of socialism as advocated by the South African Communist Party (SACP). While the SACP may well have been instrumental in initiating and sustaining the armed struggle, the ANC was the senior partner when it came to the pronouncement of policy directives and the cultivation of close ties with the anti-apartheid solidarity movement. Although the relationship forged in exile between the two organizations was a symbiotic one, since 1994 the “SACP has struggled to survive as a “socialist force within an alliance that is led by a nationalist movement.”22 On the other hand, the Pan Africanist Congress (PAC), an organization that articulated an Africanist agenda and played a secondary role in the armed struggle, has become a spent force in post-apartheid South Africa. This is largely because the ANC has been successful in asserting an exclusive legitimacy conferred by its principal role in the defeat of the apartheid state.23

It has been argued that SWAPO created a putative nation in exile. Paradoxically, camps were not only sites for the abuse of power and other repressive practices but also models of liberating practices where residents imagined a postcolonial future as prospective citizens. Christian Williams adduces evidence to show that the abuses accentuated factional and ethnic tensions, and that hierarchies that emerged in the camps have been perpetuated in postcolonial Namibia. Although Williams is convincing when it comes to explaining the influence of the camps on SWAPO’s present political culture, he overstates the significance of liberation movement camps in defining postcolonial nationalisms and shaping historical narratives throughout southern Africa. For instance, it is unlikely that the camp or the experience of exile was quite as profound in the case of the ANC. Unlike SWAPO, the ANC was not defined by the exile experience, as much of its leadership spent many years as political prisoners on Robben Island, and during the 1980s an “internal wing” of the ANC comprising the so-called “inziles” developed under the umbrella of the United Democratic Front.

The UDF employed tactics of mass mobilization while SDUs (self-defense units) fought for control of the streets of South Africa’s townships during the 1980s. In the face of the insurrection, troops were deployed in the townships to bolster the security police. Elements of the SADF leadership questioned whether it was the function of the army to police the townships during the states of emergency. But when push came to shove, the military had few reservations about preserving what the government construed as “law and order.” The SADF hierarchy was committed to the idea that it served the national interest and owed loyalty to the government of the day. The national interest was defined narrowly as congruent with the defense of the power and privileges of the white minority. But the SADF’s reliance on white citizen-soldiers rendered the military leadership answerable to the politicians. Thus it was possible for Frederik Willem de Klerk, who had no ties with the military, to succeed Botha in 1989 and then promptly purge the SADF brass in the so-called “night of the generals.”24 While in office, Botha controlled and enjoyed the loyalty of the military. Thus the influence of the SADF generals was dependent on his patronage, and this evaporated when Botha was forced to resign by the NP in 1989.

About 65 percent of the SADF’s operational soldiers were black by 1988.25 These included Angolan soldiers and San (or Bushman) trackers recruited by the SADF into the ranks of Battalions 32 and 31, respectively. Many were extracted from Namibia following the ceasefire in that country as it was feared that retribution might be exacted upon them as they were regarded as “traitors”—as had happened with the harkis in Algeria. Battalion 32 were decommissioned and resettled in Pomfret, an inhospitable area near Kimberley where they were provided with rudimentary facilities with few prospects of employment save for security work and involvement in illegal or sinister activities. These units had been commanded by white SADF officers, and their loyalty to the old regime was such that their situation could be exploited by unrehabilitated members of the security forces who sought to derail the fragile peace. Suspicions were rife that de Klerk instigated “third force” activities or, at the very least, turned a blind eye to them. There was conjecture that right-wing elements of the SADF might stage a coup rather than submit to a government led by their erstwhile enemies. The ANC also hedged its bets before the negotiation process became irreversible. For instance, underground operatives who were part of Operation Vula were held in reserve in the event that the negotiations should stall or break down completely. In the end, neither the military establishment nor the white right-wing usurped the power of political and civil authorities.

Demilitarization and Democratization

Demilitarization should not be conflated with democratization. They are sometimes complementary but are not necessarily so. Demilitarization is an incremental process whereby society is made less reliant on military values and military worth for its support, its influence, or its sense of well-being.26 In other words, societies can be weaned off the ideology and values associated with militarism and embrace a post-war modality no longer characterized by militarization. There is little doubt that under the ANC (African National Congress) government the influence of the military has been curtailed. The changing of the guard was accompanied by the restoration of parliamentary oversight of the executive and holding the armed forces accountable to the legislature. Hence the successor of the South African Defense Force (SADF), the South African National Defence Force (SANDF), is charged with being the custodian of democracy. These measures have served to check the militarization of the country’s political culture but cannot guarantee to safeguard the constitution that respects civil liberties in the event of military intervention in politics—as has been the case in Zimbabwe.

The establishment of the SANDF was a challenging task. The disarmament and demobilization of the armed wings of the liberation movements, the phasing out of white conscription, and the integration of the statutory and non-statutory forces was a process fraught with difficulties. There were differences of opinion as to whether South Africa needed a large professional army after 1994 and, if so, how and where it might be deployed. In the event, it was decided that the armed forces would be downsized and comprise only seventy-five thousand members. It proved difficult to decide whether formal military training in a uniformed army was a requirement for joining the SANDF. There were obvious incongruities between the institutional cultures of the SADF and the liberation armies, which meant that there many incompatibilities to overcome. Compromises had to be made to settle issues such as whether or not the SANDF should maintain the customs, uniforms, insignia, and so on of the SADF or reinvent itself, as the latter’s institutional culture was racist. Certain sticking points hampered integration and occasional tensions erupted not only between former members of the statutory and non-statutory forces but also between cadres of the liberation armies. Indeed, the demobilization and reintegration processes were fundamentally flawed and so the SANDF is somewhat dysfunctional.27

The decommissioning of MK (Umkhonto we Sizwe) was a momentous event in the organization’s history and in the lives of its combatants. Although there were many late converts to the merits of a negotiated settlement, many MK veterans still believed that Nelson Mandela (and Thabo Mbeki) had betrayed them by negotiating with the apartheid regime, thereby denying them their victory and moment of triumph. Many returned from exile without fanfare and experienced nothing approaching the hero’s welcome that they had expected. They felt that they were owed something by the ANC for being prepared to leave their homes, families, and country for the rigors of military training and the hardships of a life in exile. Such veterans feel slighted because they have not been validated for their sacrifices. The armed struggle may have been vindicated by the nationalist narrative, but many from MK’s ranks have remained disempowered and disaffected. Many SADF veterans, on the other hand, feel that their erstwhile political leaders abandoned them to an uncertain future. The apartheid system that they had been asked to defend at considerable cost was revealed as a morally bankrupt “lost cause.” Thus many veterans have developed a strong sense of injustice and even victimization. Accordingly, advocates of victim empowerment strategies believe it is necessary to support veterans in their efforts to construct a positive self-image and new identity. Conversely, there are those who reckon that it is preferable for veterans to regard themselves as “survivors,” as this imparts a sense of agency and self-sufficiency rather than creating dependence on state welfare.28

There are an estimated 850,000 military veterans in South Africa. Most of this number comprise former SADF conscripts, as well as permanent members of the SADF.29 The statutory forces were augmented by “Homelands” armed forces that added another twenty-five thousand personnel to the total. The figure also includes the fifty-six thousand names listed on the Certified Personnel Register (CPR) that identifies ex-combatants of the liberation armies. The MK Military Veterans’ Association (MKMVA) deploys the term “veteran” to describe its membership and imbues it with a meaning that skirts the line between a (decommissioned) non-statutory guerrilla army of a defunct exile apparatus and a statutory force with expectations of state compensation.30 Demobilization programs tended to focus on providing some form of financial assistance to ease the burden of uncertain economic futures. Thus cadres who did not enlist in the SANDF were offered a once-off gratuity payment and the opportunity to receive some vocational skills training. But such programs were poorly resourced and largely unsuccessful, and so ad hoc state interventions during the Mandela and Mbeki eras did little to improve the lot of military veterans.

The prospects of MK veterans changed for the better under Jacob Zuma. The dramatic December 2007 Polokwane Conference, where undisciplined ANC members held the party to ransom, was a watershed moment for MK veterans under the ANC government. The occasion saw the “fall” of Mbeki and the election of Zuma as ANC President—and to head of state some months later. It also recognized the MKMVA as a voting bloc in the election of the ANC’s National Executive Committee and established a Ministry of Veterans Affairs (MVA). The previously factional MKMVA began to flex its newfound political muscle like its counterparts in Namibia and Zimbabwe and mobilized for a package of benefits for veterans. The new ministry pushed through the Military Veterans’ Act of 2011 that promised to deliver a range of benefits that included pensions, housing subsidies, subsidized healthcare at military hospitals, education and vocational training, and employment opportunities. Not much has materialized to date as the MVA is severely constrained by an inadequate budget. Even if granted the benefit of the doubt and we accept that the intentions of the Zuma administration were well-meaning, this has not translated into much improvement in the lives of most veterans. In fact, most non-statutory force veterans are no better off than the African population at large.

Combatants (including SADF conscripts) were often traumatized by the brutalization and dehumanization of basic training or from participation in combat and the perpetration of acts of violence. Others may have been traumatized as a result of imprisonment, torture, “turning” processes (recruitment into enemy ranks via brutalization), and harsh living conditions in exile. The susceptibility of combatants to traumatization depends partly on their predisposition to stress and whether they have developed the necessary coping mechanisms to ensure a degree of resilience or whether they can rely on adequate support systems. Neither former conscripts nor ex-combatants received much counseling following their departure from the ranks of the military. Subsequently, some have self-diagnosed PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) and sought professional assistance in the aftermath of the war.31 Readjustment difficulties of white veterans, especially former Special Force members, contributed to the attractiveness of paramilitary cultures outside the SANDF. These veterans became ready recruits for private military companies or mercenary firms such as Executive Outcomes, despite the passage of legislation seeking to end such activities.

Most veterans are not dysfunctional and have returned to civilian life. However, this is seldom a seamless process. Veterans cannot simply shed their militarized identities with their uniforms. Indeed, most veterans attest to the fact that military service and combat had a significant influence on shaping their sense of who they are, and for many their erstwhile membership of military formations provides a badge of identity and sense of belonging to a collective. Some veterans seek out companionship with former comrades in arms so as to revive the camaraderie of the military unit, while others (especially former SADF conscripts) utilize cyberspace to maintain connections with those who shared similar experiences—as such, they constitute a virtual community. The internet offers anonymity or an unregulated space where they can share anecdotes, recollections, and sound off without fear of being challenged on account of any political “incorrectness.” It has afforded SADF veterans an opportunity to tell their stories and so break their silences about their experiences.32

The TRC (Truth and Reconciliation Commission) provided an authoritative but far from exhaustive public record of human rights violations not only by the apartheid state’s security forces but also the liberation movements. However, it struggled to convince the ANC that it should acknowledge that the organization had committed crimes in the cause of a just war. In other words, the TRC upheld the standpoint that all parties bore some responsibility for human rights abuses. However, a lack of political will has meant that offenders on both sides of the erstwhile battle lines have not been held to account. The only exceptions were the charges preferred against the former head of the SADF and Minister of Defence in P. W. Botha’s cabinet, Magnus Malan, and the head of the aforementioned Project Coast, Dr Wouter Basson.33 However, these charges were not upheld by the courts. The prosecution of a few of the apartheid state’s functionaries such as Eugene de Kock have been upheld, but most perpetrators of human rights abuses or war crimes got off scot free.34 This was partly because charges that pertain to deeds committed outside the country’s borders cannot be prosecuted by South African courts. The pursuit of reconciliation at the expense of justice means that there is still much “unfinished business” with respect to the war. Arguably, these shortcomings have eroded faith in and inhibited the independence of the judicial system in post-apartheid South Africa. And the blanket amnesty granted in Namibia has compromised the capacity of that country’s courts to uphold a culture of human rights. The denial or deferral of justice has consolidated rather than challenged the culture of impunity that existed under apartheid. The absence of accountability did not augur well for a new democratic order.

The end of the Cold War terminated any real or imagined threat to the security of South Africa. In a move calculated to assuage international fears that these weapons might “fall into the wrong hands,” the nuclear program was dismantled and the country signed the Comprehensive Test-Ban Treaty. But the shady arms deals into which the country has entered under the watch of the ANC government would suggest the ruling elites have been unable to resist the bribes and incentives offered by corrupt players in the international arms industry. Consequently, the country has acquired state-of-the-art military hardware such as fighter jets and submarines, for which there are insufficient trained personnel. On the other hand, the ANC government has struck a better balance between defense spending and other sectors such as education and social welfare. The reduced budget has resulted in the SANDF’s loss of operational capacity and poor performance in supporting peacekeeping missions in Africa. Certain commentators lament the fact that the SANDF is a shell of the SADF, which was proclaimed the preeminent army on the African continent. Given that South Africa is no longer on a war footing, the decline of the country’s war readiness is understandable. The raison d’ȇtre for state security has changed, and so the ANC government has rightly shifted its priorities to human security.

Demilitarization might have been partly responsible for the dismantling of the national security state, but meaningful transition also necessitates attempting to change mindsets and transform institutions that typified the old order. The intelligence agencies were prime candidates as they suffered from an apartheid “hangover.” Notwithstanding changes of personnel that followed the political transition, these agencies still operate like their apartheid-era forbears who believed they were above the law. The skill sets of these “spooks” included sabotage, subversion, disinformation, and “dirty tricks,” and they still do. It is difficult to change their habits as “spooks” trade on secrecy and stealth, whatever the regime. This is well illustrated by the fact that Zuma’s security cluster infiltrated almost every aspect of the state apparatus.35 It seems that the intelligence services suffer from an “unreconstructed apartheid mentality” and remain immersed in obsessive secrecy, which “precludes accountability and oversight.”36

As the ANC went from government-in-waiting to assuming the reins of power, it was required not only to adjust to a global neoliberal order after the end of the Cold War but tackle the structural inequalities of the apartheid system. It also inherited the apartheid state’s debt. While Mandela generously authorized the cancellation of Namibia’s debt to Pretoria, such gestures of goodwill did not eliminate suspicions that post-apartheid South Africa was still intent on asserting its regional dominance of neighboring states. The ANC’s claims of solidarity with kindred liberation movements arising from their interdependence during the armed struggle has not translated into an appreciation on the part of the South African public of the sacrifices made by their neighbors in providing sanctuary to exiles. If anything, the periodic outbreaks of xenophobic violence aimed at foreign refugees suggests that the process of “othering” is ubiquitous in the new democratic order notwithstanding efforts to “correct” such recidivist behavior. The myth of liberation solidarity has accomplished little by way of the promotion of the common aspirations of the Southern African states and their supra-national organization, the Southern African Development Community (SADC).37 This affirms that the myth of solidarity serves the agenda of the political elites rather than ordinary citizens.

Remembrance and Commemoration

The cessation of hostilities does not guarantee peace and harmony between erstwhile enemies. Postconflict societies are often characterized by contestation over the ownership and meaning of the past, a “battle” that involves state officials as well as non-government actors. Such contestation tends to be particularly acrimonious after civil wars, when claims and counter-claims are made about the outcome of the conflict. In the case of a negotiated settlement where there are no clear-cut “winners” or “losers,” it becomes difficult for the former to legitimate the establishment of a new order and the latter to justify their defense of the defeated regime. Despite its romantic rhetoric of “an all-conquering army,” the ANC (African National Congress) never seriously militarily challenged let alone defeated the apartheid security forces.38 It did not march victoriously through the streets of Pretoria. It was mistaken to think, as some MK (Umkhonto we Sizwe) cadres did, that they had been denied the fruits of victory. But SADF (South African Defense Force) veterans, especially the officer class, suffered from their own delusions. Like the Germans after World War I who coined the aphorism im Felde unbesiegt (“undefeated on the field of battle”), white South Africans chose to construct a similar myth.39 The propagation of such irreconcilable versions of the past has fueled “memory wars” in which self-appointed custodians of the past—often veterans—as well as political elites and cultural brokers contest the meaning of history.

The TRC (Truth and Reconciliation Commission) sought to produce a consensual account of the apartheid era that might contribute to reconciliation. It also suggested that there should be some form of symbolic reparations for those who suffered during the apartheid years.40 To this end, it proposed a heritage site that would enable visitors to come to terms with South Africa’s divided history by providing a place where people could not only mourn the loss of loved ones but also celebrate the victory of democracy and freedom. Freedom Park was thus constructed for the dual purpose of being a war memorial and a place of propitiation. It is spectacular and grandiose in style. However, it was not modeled on monuments such as the Heroes Acre sites in Harare and Windhoek that pay tribute to a revolutionary fighting spirit and militarized masculinity of freedom fighters.41 The design includes a series of walls that pay tribute to casualties of the country’s earlier colonial wars of dispossession and resistance, the South African War, and the World Wars. The largest and tallest of these walls is S’khumbuto, which honors those “who died for liberation.” The names of struggle heroes are arranged in no particular order, thereby avoiding creating a hierarchy. It includes clusters of names comprising victims of state violence (e.g., the Sharpeville massacre), Cuban soldiers who died in Angola, but excludes SADF soldiers killed while on active duty.42 It does not explicitly pay tribute to fallen MK members as a group, as it does not acknowledge their affiliation.43

The Freedom Park site might suggest that the remembrance of the armed struggle has been surprisingly low key, but it has been commemorated in many other ways. Certain struggle heroes and stalwarts have been accorded tributes by way of statues and other forms of memorialization. One such is the MK cadre Solomon Mahlangu, who was executed by the apartheid regime. He has had a statue erected and a commemorative stamp issued in his honor. He embodies the “heroic failure” of the armed struggle and is a martyr figure.44 Other prominent figures—both living and deceased—have been immortalized in struggle memoirs.45 Such figures who have died for the cause of the nation are sacralized. But not many rank-and-file MK members have been elevated to the national pantheon of heroes. Still, the ANC needs the image of the “freedom fighter” to maintain its credibility among key constituencies during election years. The party conjures images of the “freedom fighter” to convince the public that it is still fighting, albeit on a figurative social terrain, rather than literal military one.46 Thus Zuma used the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the battle of Cuito Cuanavale to bolster MK’s tardy image by claiming (without substantiation) that MK cadres had participated in the Cuban victory over the “apartheid army.” Such obvious (ab)use of history confirms that the political elites have employed memorialization as a means to frame and shape the narrative of the armed struggle as part of the foundation myth that legitimates ANC rule.


South Africa’s failures as a developmental state owe much to the legacies of colonialism and apartheid. But the inability of the ANC (African National Congress) to manage its transition from a liberation movement to ruling party has compounded the problems of governance. After more than two decades of democracy and exercising state power, the ANC still sees a need to have to justify its credentials as the organization that was instrumental in achieving liberation. Indeed, the ANC still sees itself as the party of freedom fighters of the anti-apartheid struggle that has to live up to its past. It was easier, in many ways, for the ANC to fight a clearly defined enemy than to tackle challenges against which only a metaphorical war can be declared. This preoccupation with the ANC’s past achievements sometimes overshadows its willingness to face up to the challenges of the present and the future. This tendency for validation and legitimation on the strength of their achievements as liberators rather than their performance in government is equally apparent in Namibia and Zimbabwe.

The countries of Southern Africa have struggled to create national cohesion in their fledgling and fragile democracies. Indeed, the fault lines of the colonial and apartheid era are still evident, and the rhetoric of reconciliation has passed its sell by date.

This is precisely why the countries of the region need to appreciate what circumstances foster reconciliation and what impedes mutual understanding between former enemies and their descendants. As with other nation states that have experienced awful wars, especially civil ones, their impact is enduring and the healing process may be long and hard.

Discussion of the Literature

There is no single text that deals systematically with the legacy of Southern Africa’s late-20th-century conflicts. This is because this is a vast, complex topic and it is difficult to pinpoint exactly what constitutes a legacy. Even with the benefit of hindsight, we may identify some short-term effects but are hardly in a position to fully understand the long-term repercussions of conflicts that ended less than thirty years ago. We may be able to observe some of the war’s material effects, but the intangible ones are that much more difficult to determine. Thus the content of this article reflects the current state of the historiography that tends to focus extensively—albeit haphazardly—on the political and economic aftermath of the conflicts and hardly on the cultural legacy at all.

Differences of opinion exist as to the degree of influence that the military came to exercise over the apartheid state during the late 1970s and 1980s. Contemporaneous treatments of civil-military relations include works by Gavin Cawthra, Kenneth Grundy, Philip Frankel, and James Roherty.47 Certain scholars have characterized South Africa as a “garrison state,” a moniker that implies that all other priorities and activities are subsumed by the focus on military preparedness.48 Others have preferred the term “praetorianism,” originally used to describe military rule in ancient Rome but now used more generally to describe military intervention in politics that often follows the failure of political and social institutions. The section on militarization in this article describes the Botha regime as a “security state” in deference to the arguments articulated by Chris Alden and Annette Seegers.49 They make a strong case that the military establishment set the agenda of the government and controlled the apparatus of the state in apartheid’s heyday.

Good introductions to the many theatres and phases of the late-20th-century Southern African wars are provided by Timothy Stapleton’s A Military History of South Africa (2010) and Ian van der Waag’s A Military History of Modern South Africa (2015). Given their titles, it is fitting that they take their cue from traditional military histories that focus on tactics, strategy, and leadership. More extensive studies of the Angolan-Nimibian war include the works of Willem Steenkamp (1989) and Leopold Scholtz (2013) on the former, while Paul Moorcraft and Peter McLaughlin’s The Rhodesian War: A Military History (2011) is now into a second edition. These provide detailed accounts of operations but do not fetishize military weapons and equipment. However, they pay little or no attention to the intersection of the military with class, gender and race, nor are they concerned with examining the impact of the armed forces on society. This is the focus of the still-useful volume edited by Jacklyn Cock and Laurie Nathan.50

There are many histories of SADF units, especially the Recces and Battalion 32, that were involved in the heaviest fighting in Angola. Texts on Koevoet feature extensively in the writings on the Namibian War. There are a few accounts of the war published by retired SADF officers that come across as apologia for the “apartheid army.” The experiences of ordinary soldiers are described by David Williams, as well as by a host of memoirists and contributors to prosopographies.51 While the South African literature on the wars is extensive, there are, unfortunately, few published accounts of the Angolan War from an Angolan or Cuban perspective in English. An exception is Piero Gleijeses’ magisterial volumes on relations between Havana, Pretoria, and Washington.52 But given that the bulk of the literature focuses attention on the role of the South African army and treats other actors as incidental to the story, there is a need to be wary of promoting South African exceptionalism.

The literature on South Africa’s armed struggle is patchy. The most comprehensive treatment is to be found in the thirteen (at last count) volumes produced under the auspices of the South African Democracy Education Trust (SADET). Bernard Magubane was lead author of some volumes and editor of others.53 They provide a detailed chronological account of the period covered by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report, namely from 1960 to 1994. Notwithstanding the undoubted expertise of the scholars involved in the project, it is informed by a teleology and comes close to providing an “official” history of the liberation struggle. Accounts of the history of Umkhonto we Sizwe produced by Janet Cherry, Thula Simpson, and Steve Davis have added immeasurably to the pioneering study by Howard Barrell.54 Our knowledge of the armed wings of SWAPO (South West Africa Peoples’ Organization) and ZANU (Zimbabwe African National Union), namely PLAN (Peoples’ Liberation Army of Namibia) and ZANLA (Zimbabwe African National Liberation Army), is not nearly as extensive.

A plethora of papers were produced on disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration (DDR) in South Africa during the early 21st century. These works include studies by Sasha Gear (2002, 2005), Guy Lamb (2003, 2013), Lephophotho Mashike (2004), and David Everatt (2006).55 The DDR literature on Namibia is quite thin by comparison. Laurie Nathan has a useful chapter on post-apartheid military culture in the volume edited by Francoise Vreÿ, Abel Esterhuyse, and Thomas Mandrup (2014).56

Finally, there are chapters in Beyond the Border War (2008) edited by Gary Baines and Peter Vale that reflect on the representation of the “Border War” in literature, film, music, and other popular cultural forms. These should be read in conjunction with Baines’s South Africa’s “Border War” (2014) that examines the afterlife of the war, particularly how it is narrated and memorialized by SADF veterans.57

Primary Sources

South Africa’s National Archives in Tshwane house important government documents. These include those generated by the Office of the President and the Department of International Relations and Co-Operation (DIRCO). The holdings of the SANDF (South African National Defence Force) Documentation Centre, which includes material related to the operations of the SADF (South African Defense Force), have been relocated to a new archival facility in Irene, Pretoria. Much of this material previously deemed “secret” or “top secret” has already been declassified as a result of the assiduous work of the archivists in response to applications in terms of the Promotion of Access to Information Act (No. 2 of 2000). A fair amount of red tape has to be navigated to gain access to the ANC (African National Congress) Archives at Fort Hare University. The SWAPO (South West Africa Peoples’ Organization) Archives are closed to the public, but the Namibia National Archives have a fair amount of material related to the operations and conduct of the SADF in SWA and other aspects of the war.

Many of South Africa’s universities have their own archival collections. Those that have material related to the Apartheid Wars include the University of the Free State’s Archive of Contemporary History, which has a rich collection pertaining to Nationalist Party politicians and leaders.

Colin Bundy, “South Africa’s African National Congress in Exile.” Oxford Research Encyclopedia of African History, April 2018.Find this resource:

Further Reading

Alden, Chris. Apartheid’s Last Stand: The Rise and Fall of the South African Security State. Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1996.Find this resource:

Baines, Gary. South Africa’s “Border War”: Contested Narratives and Conflicting Memories. London: Bloomsbury, 2014.Find this resource:

Baines, Gary, and Peter Vale, eds. Beyond the Border War: New Perspectives on Southern Africa’s Late-Cold War Conflicts. Pretoria: Unisa Press, 2008.Find this resource:

Cherry, Janet. Umkhonto weSizwe. Jacana: Auckland Park, 2011.Find this resource:

Dale, Richard. The Namibian War of Independence, 1966–1989: Diplomatic, Economic and Military Campaigns. Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2014.Find this resource:

Davis, Stephen R. The ANC’s War against Apartheid: Umkhonto we Sizwe and the Liberation of South Africa. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2018.Find this resource:

Ellis, Stephen. External Mission: The ANC in Exile. Johannesburg: Jonathan Ball, 2012.Find this resource:

Gleijeses, Piero. Visions of Freedom: Havana, Washington, Pretoria, and the Struggle for Southern Africa 1976–1991. Johannesburg: Galago, 2013.Find this resource:

James, Wilmot, and Linda van de Vijver, eds. After the TRC: Reflections on Truth and Reconciliation in South Africa. Athens, OH: Ohio University Press, 2000.Find this resource:

Leys, Colin, and John S. Saul. Namibia’s Liberation Struggle: The Two-Edged Sword. London: James Currey, 1998.Find this resource:

Louw, P. Eric. The Rise, Fall, and Legacy of Apartheid. Westport, CT: Praeger, 2004.Find this resource:

Melber, Henning, ed. Re-Examining Liberation in Namibia: Popular Culture since Independence. Stockholm: The Nordic Africa institute, 2003.Find this resource:

Onslow, Sue, ed. Cold War in Southern Africa: White Power, Black Liberation. London: Routledge, 2009.Find this resource:

Southall, Roger. Liberation Movements in Power: Party and State in Southern Africa. Pietermaritzburg: University of KwaZulu-Natal Press, 2013.Find this resource:

Van Vuuren, Hennie. Apartheid, Guns and Money: A Tale of Profit. Jacana: Auckland Park, 2017.Find this resource:

Williams, Christian A. National Liberation in Postcolonial Southern Africa: A Historical Ethnography of SWAPO’s Exile Camps. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 2015.Find this resource:


(1.) Howard Barrell, MK: The ANC’s Armed Struggle (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1990), 64.

(4.) See, for instance, Willem Steenkamp, South Africa’s Border War, 1966–1989 (Solihull: Helion & Co., 2014); David Williams, On the Border 1965–1990: The White South African Military Experience (Cape Town: Tafelberg, 2008); and Leopold Scholtz, The SADF in the Border War: 1966–1989 (Cape Town: Tafelberg, 2013). Military histories sometimes use the term “Border War” interchangeably with “bush war,” but this causes confusion as the war fought by the Rhodesian security forces against the guerrillas of the Zimbabwean nationalist movements is also described as such.

(5.) Ian van der Waag, A Military History of Modern South Africa (Johannesburg: Jonathan Ball, 2015), 248; Richard Dale, The Namibian War of Independence, 1966–1989: Diplomatic, Military and Economic Campaigns (Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2014); and Colin Leys and John S. Saul, Namibia’s Liberation Struggle: The Two-Edged Sword (London: James Curry, 1995), 5.

(6.) For instance, Timothy J. Stapleton, A Military History of South Africa: From the Dutch Khoi Wars to the End of Apartheid (Santa Barbara: Praeger, 2010), 152.

(7.) Louise White and Miles Larmer, “Introduction: Mobile Soldiers and the Un-National Liberation of Southern Africa,” Journal of Southern African Studies 40, no. 6 (2014): 1271–1274.

(8.) John J. McCuen, “Hybrid Wars,” Military Review (March–April 2008): 107–113, cited in Scholtz, The SADF in the Border War, 436.

(9.) Cynthia Enloe, Bananas, Beaches and Bases: Making Feminist Sense of Politics, rev. ed. (Oakland, CA: University of California Press, 2014).

(10.) David Kieran and Edwin A. Martini, eds., At War: The Military and American Culture in the Twentieth Century and Beyond (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2018).

(11.) Herman Giliomee, The Last Afrikaner Leaders: A Supreme Test of Power (Cape Town: Tafelberg, 2012), 145.

(12.) Van der Waag, Military History, 270.

(13.) Philip H. Frankel, Pretoria’s Praetorians: Civil-Military Relations in South Africa (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1984), 34–35.

(15.) Sasha Polakow-Suransky, The Unspoken Alliance: Israel’s Secret Relationship with Apartheid South Africa (Jacana: Auckland Park, 2010).

(17.) Christi van der Westhuizen, White Power and the Rise and Fall of the National Party (Cape Town: Tafelberg, 2007), 149.

(18.) Adrian Guelke, Rethinking the Rise and Fall of Apartheid: South Africa and World Politics (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005), 139.

(19.) Christian A. Williams, National Liberation in Postcolonial Africa: A Historical Ethnography of SWAPO’s Exile Camps (Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 2015), 171.

(20.) Raymond Suttner, “Culture(s) of the ANC: Imprint of Exile Experiences,” in Limits to Liberation in Southern Africa, ed. Henning Melber (Pretoria: HSRC Press, 2003), 194.

(22.) Ellis, External Mission, 299.

(24.) Hilton Hamann, Days of the Generals: The Untold Story of South Africa’s Apartheid-Era Military Generals (Cape Town: Tafelberg, 2001).

(26.) Enloe, Bananas, Beaches and Bases, 12.

(27.) David Everatt and Ross Jennings, Only Useful Until Democracy? Re-Integrating Ex-Combatants in Post-Apartheid South Africa (Johannesburg: Atlantic Philanthropies, 2006).

(28.) Gary Baines and Sasha Gear, “Military Veterans as Victims?” in Victimology in South Africa, ed. Robert Peacock, 2nd ed. (Pretoria: Van Schaik, 2013), 263–273.

(29.) The status of SADF veterans has been hotly debated. The main issue is whether they qualify as such because they fought with the apartheid army and whether they are entitled to benefits. See Gary Baines, South Africa’s “Border War”: Contested Narratives and Conflicting Memories (London: Bloomsbury, 2014), 171–175.

(31.) Baines, South Africa’s “Border War, 81–84.

(32.) Baines, South Africa’s “Border War, 178–183.

(33.) Nicknamed “Dr Death,” Basson was in charge of Project Coast that experimented with biological and chemical weapons. See Chandre Gould, Secrets and Lies: Apartheid’s Biological and Chemical Warfare Programme (Cape Town: Tafelberg, 2002).

(34.) Nicknamed “Prime Evil,” De Kock was a former Koevoet operative who became commander of Vlakplaas, from where he supervised hit squad activities. See Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela’s sympathetic treatment of De Kock in her book, A Human Being Died that Night: A Story of Forgiveness (Claremont: David Philip, 2003).

(35.) Jacques Pauw, The President’s Keepers: Those Keeping Zuma in Power and out of Prison (Cape Town: Tafelberg, 2017), 54.

(36.) Laurie Nathan cited in Pauw, The President’s Keepers, 55.

(37.) Matthew Graham, “The ANC and the ‘Myth’ of Liberation Solidarity: ‘Othering in Post-Apartheid South(ern) Africa,” Africa Insight 44, no. 1 (2014): 176–190.

(38.) Louw, Legacy of Apartheid, 135.

(39.) Wolfgang Schivelbusch, The Culture of Defeat: On National Trauma, Mourning and Recovery (London, 2004).

(40.) Cited in Zayd Minty, “Post-Apartheid Public Art in Cape Town: Symbolic Reparations and Public Space,” Urban Studies 43, no. 3 (2006): 423.

(41.) Richard Werbner, “Smoke from the Barrel of a Gun: Postwars of the Dead, Memory and Reinscription in Zimbabwe,” in Memory and the Postcolony: African Anthropology and the Critique of Power, ed. Richard Werbner (London: Zed Books, 1998), 71–102; and Reinhard. Kössler, “Public Memory, Reconciliation and the Aftermath of War: A Preliminary Framework with Special Reference to Namibia,” in Re-Examining Liberation in Namibia: Political Culture since Independence, ed. Henning Melber (Uppsala: The Nordica Africa Institute, 2003), 99–112.

(42.) This created a fracas. See Baines, South Africa’s “Border War, 155–170.

(43.) Davis, The ANC’s War against Apartheid, 320.

(44.) Gary Baines, “Commemorating Solomon Mahlangu: The Making and Unmaking of a ‘Struggle’ Icon,” in Public Art in South Africa: Bronze Warriors and Plastic Presidents, ed. K. Miller and B. Schmahmann (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2017), 118–140.

(45.) For example, James Ngculu, The Honor to Serve: Reflections of an Umkhonto Soldier (Claremont: David Philip, 2009); and Mzwakhe Ndlela, For the Fallen: Honouring the Unsung Heroes and Heroines of the Struggle (Johannesburg: KMM Review Pub. Company, 2013).

(46.) Davis, The ANC’s War against Apartheid, 302.

(47.) Gavin Cawthra, Brutal Force: The Apartheid War Machine (London: International Defence & Aid Fund for Southern Africa, 1986); Kenneth Grundy, The Militarization of South African Politics (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988); Frankel, Pretoria’s Praetorians; and James Roherty, State Security in South Africa: Civil-Military Relations under P.W. Botha (Armonk, NY: Sharpe, 1992).

(48.) The concept of the “garrison state” was formulated by Harold Laswell, who characterized it as “a society in which the most powerful people are members of the defense establishment or are individuals closely linked with the military.” See Harold D. Laswell, “The Garrison State,” The American Journal of Sociology 46, no. 4 (1941): 455.

(49.) Chris Alden, Apartheid’s Last Stand: The Rise and Fall of the South African Security State (Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1996); and Annette Seegers, The Military in the Making of Modern South Africa (London: I.B. Taurus, 1996).

(50.) Stapleton, A Military History; Van der Waag, Military History; Paul Moorcraft and Peter McLaughlin, The Rhodesian War: A Military History (London: Pen & Sword Military, 2011); and Jacklyn Cock and Laurie Nathan, eds., War and Society: The Militarisation of South Africa (Cape Town: David Philip, 1989).

(51.) Williams, On the Border.

(53.) Bernard Magubane, ed., The Road to Democracy, 13 vols. (Pretoria: SADET, 2004–2018).

(54.) Cherry, Umkhonto weSizwe; Thula Simpson, Umkhonto We Sizwe: The ANC’s Armed Struggle (Century City: Penguin, 2016); and Davis, The ANC’s War against Apartheid; and Barrell, MK.

(55.) Sasha Gear, Wishing Us Away: Challenges Facing Ex-Combatants in the New South Africa, Violence and Transition Series 8 (Braamfontein: Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation, 2002); Sasha Gear, Now That the War Is Over: Ex-Combatants, Transition and the Question of Violence; A Literature Review, Violence and Transition Series 9 (Braamfontein: Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation, 2005); Guy Lamb, “From Military to Civilian Life: The Case of Retired Special Forces Operators,” Track Two 12, nos. 1–2 (2003): 37–60; Guy Lamb, DDR 20 Years Later: Historical Review of the Long-Term Impact of Post-independence DDR in Southern Africa (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2013); L. Mashike and M. Mokalobe, “Reintegration into Civilian Life: The Case of Former MK and APLA Combatants,” Track Two 12, nos. 1–2 (2003): 6–36; and Everatt, Only Useful until Democracy?

(56.) Laurie Nathan, “Forging the Post-Apartheid Military Culture in South Africa,” in On Military Culture: Theory, Practice and African Armed Forces, ed. Francoise Vreÿ, Abel Esterhuyse, and Thomas Mandrup (Claremont: UCT Press, 2014), 217–230.