Regrettable as war must be, it’s one advantage is battle tested units and equipment. South Africa went through a period of developing a lot of its own battle tested vehicles, weapons and equipment which was specifically suited to the harsh African bush warfare.
Although it is good that active warfare is no longer a reality for us, it does show in severely lower funding for the armed forces and how our vehicles and equipment is ageing. In peacetime, we become more dependent on purchasing equipment and the parts needed to maintain it. At the height of the bush war South Africa was innovating around local improvements to weapons and equipment, producing parts locally to maintain everything, and even selling it’s expertise to foreign countries.
The irony was back in the 1980’s most of us dreaded the inevitable national service call up papers that arrived, but like many hardships in life, when you look back (with enough years of separation) you realise that those severe hardships and suffering together eventually moulded you into a team, and you learnt to discover your own inner strengths and survivability. "Tough times maketh the man" or so it goes (my adaptation), but there were a few that also cracked. You learnt a lot about who you were, and also how people behaved when subjected to extreme pressure, as well as dolling it out. The bigger test is often when you’re not the one under pressure. During times of reflection books like Viktor Frankl’s ‘Man’s Search for Meaning’ started to make a lot of sense.
Being under pressure is what made me pull my fingere out and decide to forge ahead back in 1986. I wonder sometimes if today’s youth miss out on character forming experiences like this… Not that I’d voluntarily want to ever go through that again myself
A ballad in honour of the Maroon Berets of the Republic of South Africa. The song is based on the famous Ballad of the Green BeretsFootage provided by Aquavi…