The South African Border War - 1976, The end of a chapter and the beginning of a new phase.

in #war4 years ago (edited)

1976 was a very pivotal year in the decades of Southern African conflict from a South African perspective.

  • Operation Savannah escalated and cemented Cuban involvement in Angola.

  • PLAN or the military wing of SWAPO renounced its neutrality in the Angolan civil war and firmly threw its lot in with the Cubans and MPLA.

  • The poor handling of the Soweto Uprising at home and the meddling in Angola further served to Isolate South Africa internationally and draw even more harsh criticisms of its Apartheid policies.

  • Military conscription became compulsory for all fit white South African males.

  • The Shipanga Affair would lead to SWAPO relocating from Zambia to Lubango, Angola

  • The Soviet, Cuban, MPLA, SWAPO alliance was now firmly entrenched against the South African, UNITA alliance. South Africa would also begin more intensively recruiting South West African citizens to create specialized units.

  • Added to this alliance would be the Zimbabwe People's Revolutionary Army (ZIPRA) and Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK), insurgency forces that would be active in Rhodesia and South Africa.

  • The war for South West Africa was now in some respects brother against brother, as the civil war in Angola was countryman vs fellow countryman and the whole was compounded by global proxy against territorial proxy.

img source

SWAPO change in stance.

In September 1975, SWAPO issued a public statement declaring its intention to remain neutral in the Angolan Civil War and refrain from supporting any single political faction or party. With the South African withdrawal in March, Sam Nujoma retracted his movement's earlier position and endorsed the MPLA as the "authentic representative of the Angolan people". During the same month, Cuba began flying in small numbers of PLAN recruits from Zambia to Angola to commence guerrilla training. PLAN shared intelligence with the Cubans and FAPLA, and from April 1976 even fought alongside them against UNITA. FAPLA often used PLAN cadres to garrison strategic sites while freeing up more of its own personnel for deployments elsewhere.

The Shipanga Affair

Up till now PLAN had been operating mostly out of Zambia. This had resulted in reprisals against Zambia from South Africa. A number of PLAN mutinies blamed on Andreas Shipanga (SWAPO's Secretary for Information) lead to a crackdown by the Zambian National Defence Force (ZNDF)

Zambian president Kenneth Kaunda deported Shipanga and several other high-ranking dissidents to Tanzania, while incarcerating the others at remote army facilities. Sam Nujoma (head of SWAPO) accused them of being South African agents and carried out a purge of the surviving political leadership and PLAN ranks. Forty mutineers were sentenced to death by a PLAN tribunal in Lusaka, while hundreds of others disappeared. The heightened tension between Kaunda's government and PLAN began to have repercussions in the ZNDF. Zambian officers and enlisted men confiscated PLAN arms and harassed loyal insurgents, straining relations and eroding morale.

With things having gone so sour in Zambia PLAN relocated headquarters to Angola.

By 1977 Cuba and the Soviet Union established many new training camps in Angola to accommodate PLAN, ZIPRA and MK.

The Cubans provided instructors and specialist officers, while the Soviets provided more hardware for the guerrillas. This convergence of interests between the Cuban and Soviet military missions in Angola proved successful as it drew on each partner's comparative strengths. The Soviet Union's strength lay in its vast military industrial complex, which furbished the raw material for bolstering FAPLA and its allies. Cuba's strength lay in its manpower and troop commitment to Angola, which included technical advisers who were familiar with the sophisticated weaponry supplied by the Soviets and possessed combat experience. In order to reduce the likelihood of a South African attack, the training camps were sited near Cuban or FAPLA military installations, with the added advantage of being able to rely on the logistical and communications infrastructure of PLAN's allies.

Quoted text from Wikipedia

Other posts so far

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.
The South African Border War - Meanwhile back on the home front.
The South African Border War - Meanwhile over in neighboring Mozambique.
The South African Border War - Meanwhile back at the South West African Border and 32 Battalion.
From the stone age to modern warfare in a couple of years and the hunter-gatherer lifestyle lost.


This was way before my time so it's interesting to read about what happened up there. My mom's second husband served as a chaplain on the Namibian border and has some interesting stories to tell.

He tells one where they needed helicopter gunships but didn't have anything except a little Allouette scout chopper that they swiftly proceeded to mount 0.50 cal machine guns on.
He says it worked but you could see the little chopper bouncing backwards when they fired the 50's.
Apparently the French rep from Allouette had a minor heart attack when he saw what they'd done!
Still - score one for ingenuity!

That is a really interesting story @rahvin84. Back in those days they had to make do with what they had, but I think it may have been easier to adapt. Like think about cars for example. Good luck trying to DIY your 2017 Hyundai with all its computerized systems. There is this company in SA - I had a friend who worked there. They specialized in technology that ensures helicopters remain stable while firing. Kind of reminds me of the bot, anti-bot conundrum on steemit. What if we could design good bots that immediately cancel out the bad bots as soon as the bad bots do anything! Self learning police bots 😋

Liked your remark (where u mentioned it reminds u of the bot, anti-bot conundrum on #Steemit ) - Ha ! Indeed it does.

I concur.

Thank you. He says the funniest part was the little Frenchman jumping up and down swearing at everyone in French for messing with his helicopter! The thing with the little Allouette was that it was never designed to be a gunship so it probably never had the stabilization technology that something like the Rooivalk has.

But it's true what you say. Stuff used to be made so that you can take it apart and fix it yourself. I replaced my wife's laptop harddrive the other day and it's almost like they design stuff so it's as hard as possible to do. Same with software. Look at Windows 10 vs 7 even. The settings are getting harder and harder to find if you want to change from the default.

I think bots like cheetoh and sadkitten are the start of something like what you're mentioning. But I also think it's up to us as users to flag and report spam when we come across it. The bots can only do so much.

Thanks that's the word I was looking for, stabilization technology. The Rooivalk is supposed to be really advanced I have heard. Have you seen I Robot?

Supposedly it is. Or was back when it was designed. Not sure what happened since then. Our army isn't so hot anymore. No one even batted an eye when they went on strike and were fighting the police on the lawns of the Union Buildings in 2011. It was more entertaining than frightening.

I saw I Robot a few years ago, read the book it was based on about 20 years ago. What is the connection?

Thanks, often the books are better!

I Robot - we talked about sadkitten and cheetoh - Self learning robots like in I Robot could be dangerous if they are not encountered somehow.

In terms of politics, I often wonder whether it is not best to vote for the most anti-establishment party possible. Which in our case would probably be the EFF. Only problem is I don't agree with their policies regarding private property.

Self learning robots are the future. I'm involved with where we're building AI's that can function as teachers and doctors in places where there aren't any.

In terms of politics I think that people voting dor the most anti-establishment party possible is what got us Brexit and Trump. Just look how great that's going for the Brits and the Yanks...

I'm scared of the EFF. Malema seems to be maturing as a politician but their policies are likely to turn us into another Zimbabwe. We've seen how great things turn out when the government just takes people's farms.
People say, "But ours will be different." Like our government has a stellar record of running SOE's...

Yeah I say privatize everything like in the USA

This story would make an excellent scene in a movie about this war.

Perhaps, a movie financed on the Steem blockchain?

It would provide a funny moment in what would otherwise be a pretty gruesome movie. You read the bit in one of the previous posts where the SWAPO guys get massacred by artillery?

No, I have not. I will try to do so later.

Even Edward Zwick's 2006 Blood Diamond had the funny sad long sleeve or short sleeve scene that works well to remind us of the atrocities of that conflict.

Thank you so much for this gavvet. Many people don't know about this war. I have heard that it was more extreme and shocking than many dare to tell. A veteran has told me that real war is not like in the movies. He was on the front lines of this particular conflict. He said he lost his two best friends in battle. Imagine how many people are still stuck with PTSD today from this. And not only that, the ripple effects on individuals in all spheres of life must be tremendous. But I think the future for South Africa looks bright.

we all want the best for south africa

We sure do and the future looks bright.

We all know that 'war is hell' but does this mean that peace -- at any price -- will do?

Wars are really not good things to happen...but if you look in another perspective, these wars have help in having a change in the world with many countries getting their independence which is good.
Well that's my perpective!

Ah. I had missed these posts of yours, @gavvet. The Cold War may have been cold in Moscow and Washington but it sure as hell wasn't cold in Africa, that's for damn sure!

It's fascinating to read these articles and then look at the present day state of these places and realize that the past isn't really past, it's caught in an eternal moebius loop with the present. For instance, we all know about how communism and the black liberation struggles made strange bedfellows since their weirdly mutual enemy was (white) imperialist colonialist (capitalism) hence the presence of the Cubans who were of course mostly a Soviet catspaw at the time. What a lot of people don't know about the period is just how big a presence the North Koreans had at the time and how helpful they were to countries like Namibia (SWAPO guerillas received training in NK for example) in the struggle. Apparently Nujoma established a friendship with the Kim family and to this day, North Korea is providing construction assistance there. Quite a few other African countries can make similar claims.

Very strange indeed especially since I think apartheid South Africa was a lot like North Korea is now. 😀😀😎😎😏😏

Valid point - although, I suspect in NK, all are equally unequal under Great Leader. You know, as opposed to Apartheid SA with two sides and one oppressing the other -- but yrah, definitely some overlap.

Good point, thank you so much for your wonderful comment! 😀 😃 😄 😁 😆

wars are leaving a trace of a very sad trail and embracing our hearts like the story in your article 1976 was a very pivotal year in the decades of Southern African conflict from a South African perspective. I as the Acehnese people understand the conditions and sistuasi that happened south africa. but the question that munjul then whether the reconstruction of violations of humanitarian law in south africa has been completed the perpetrators have been on trial ... because in Aceh even to this day the human rights violators have not been in Adili

wars are a significant way to get one countries freedom however the results and devastation are hard enough to view at

Very nice post.. already i am upvoted your post,,i am new at here,,i'm following you,,,please follow me back N upvote my post, thanks

Muy buena información, en verdad súper recomendado. Gracias por compartir!

Interesting report, very readable!

very interesting article @gavvet..

its talk about war, from my point of view in war there is no lose or win on this aspect due to many live has been lost and many innocent people died on the said events...

in the other hand due to rise of power and the weaponry,advance technology on the army go strong.many soldier has been recruited on every country around the globe on defends policy.

the high technology chemical weapons are getting more sufficient on killing people just like in syria..people are dying there.

the weapon of mass destruction are on the super power hands like u.s and russia, and even china.

the weapon are waiting for the final time to kill any living person,any living creature on this world.

it's up to the people and the good leaders to stop war and go for peace.

let's go for peace and economic growth and national development recovery to all victims of war.

thats all i can share @mrblu ..thanks gavvet..

kindly support me on my poems..

In the last century, the Cold War was in the thick of events and a lot of facts to this confirmation. Some facts I learned right now. Thank you @gavvet

very indepth view of this historical war. nice post @gavvet. upvoted

I agree! Not just surface stuff, in depth investigation...

hope the civil war in Africa can be quickly completed.
war between one country is very painful, we in aceh have felt, twelve years ago we suffered, many innocent victims died in vain.
indeed the fate of bloodshed has begun at the beginning of the life of the world between Abel and Qabil.

War is part of human history, post like this are great to remember what really happened, great work from the author.
We should never forget.

Honour to the soldiers who served. Salute.

Very interesting post. Thanks for your south African border war article. it is great history.

really quite interesting story, you must do hard work to finish this topic,
feels me different that i was in that time recent, but thanks to god , it's not
appreciate work
please keep posting

work very well
I love it and love to follow you
vest plz follow me @mudatnad and give me want value from esteem.t
thank you

War ?? The word of war is really simple but the impact of it can cause innocent people die. War only gives profit for politicians and the victims always got nothing of it. I think that some politicians can be judged crazy if they only think how much wealth they can without concerning the victims of innocent people. I am really sad to see a dead body in that hole...

This all is horrible.... when I was my first time in South africa - and please don't laugh at me - I had the feeling your really can feel all the tensions in the air. Why the F*** are we exploiting this country aehm continent so much....

Do you want to see the full image? Click it!

nice poste !
Followed you Hope you'll do the same !! :D

good post

follow me..>>>>....

no war, we need peace !!!!

really good post, thanks for share.

Thanks for the great history INFO.

this post is very interesting, I like it and let me resteem this post. it's about war and wars in the past but it would be nice if you want to raise a post about the violation of the spirit community and by the government. at least will give a little reprimand or remembrance about the tyrannical residents.

When the voices of politicians are hushed up, machine-gun turns are heard

War is very miserable man.if it can be,how wonderful if war never existed,but what can make,it has all started by the world's first Adam prophet,Abel and Qabil,we just hope can alleviate the effect of war on which is not the target.
Thank you @gavvet.

It seems like the fight of brothers for nothing :/ that's a shame :/ Great history revealed my dear friend!


Like the Civil War in the US maybe...

amigo #resteemia at your service

'The Shipanga Affair' seems interesting for sa border wars. nice work @gavvet

'UpVote ReSteem Comment'

Daily Learn some new from your post. Love to read it.!!

@gavvet - oh my goodness, US & RUS militaristic strategies killed thousands of innocents for nothing. :( Love your work Sir. Therefore, I wish to ReSteem your post.

+W+ [UpVoted & ReSteemed]

It was Fidel Castro, My dream leader who fought for Cuba, he was the man of the country, if you know little about INDIA , he was like India's Bhagat Singh.
He was a legend who had all the skills , tricks and the power to scroll the world aside and bring revolution . And he saw this to the soviet Union.
I always salute to Raul Castro, Fidel Castro And che Guevera , They are really great inspiration to fight for right and make a stand if you dislike anything, doesn't matter who is standing in front of you.

Thanks for your comment. Fight against everything you dislike! 😎😎😀😀😂😂

I am another person from India who like you is a Fan of Fidel Castro. He was the one who wanted to fight the South African Apartheid regime and he sitting there in Cuba strategized the defense of Angola from the South Africans and the UNITA, he was so much involved in the war that they say that within a few months into it he knew every part of Angola by heart.

Great post

War is never the solution, it only changes the dynamics.We've had our own share of war in Nigeria and i wouldnt want a reoccurence. Wars, coups, bad leadership,sychophancy has really taken its toll on Mama Africa.Great post as usual.

In 1976 it was like our year of war (ACEH), but i dont know about war in africa. this is an informative post...thanks you

Yes, the war is the worst thing that can ever be ... :(

Nice challenge. As a teacher, i am feeling so proud of this competition and this is and apreciation for teahers, includes me. I personally feel so very happy of it. Thanks for everything..for your apreciation for Teachers.

Wars are really not good things to happen...but if you look in another perspective, these wars have help in having a change in the world with many countries getting their independence which is good.

Save south africa

@gavvet This demands somewhat more time and energy to Consider in excess of. Wonderful you provide it from a unique angle. Mhhh not really easy... and it had been previously Very hard. Many thanks for allow us to Consider.

Great post!

I hate war and i don't want to witness any. I always pray for my country Nigeria because we have been noticing some civil uproar between Nigerian government and Biafrans

Thanks for bringing this history to live as so many people would have forgotten about this. We have so many of this that friends needs to know about.

Well done on your awesome post.

@gavvet Thanks for your work sir.... Love it.

Terrible that you Can write About wars. I wish it never happened. But now we have to write About it to remember And not forget it for the future. Thx @gavvet. I Also want to Thank you for your upvote on my post Some weeks ago. This made my happy And gave me power to continue on this platform.
I hope you Also saw my updated post About the north Brabant museum in den Bosch

I agree, have you seen the movie Dunkirk @rival?

Well done great post


This sort of posting is easy to get to see.
It looks good to see your posts.
Thank you. For your great writing and for sharing

Uff que caleta

I came to know about the history of civil war conflict in Africa.
what is the first cause of the sparks of this war

colonial roots, tribal and ethnic motivations

Colonial roots..
Thanks for information..

The American Civil War I believe was one of the most deadly ever in terms of casualties.

@gavvet Really intriguing and insightful submit. Want you the most effective with all of your potential endeavors.

very good story!

@gavvet Wonderful put up And that i desire steemit experienced a sticky or pin selection due to the fact That is a type of Specific posts..

@gavvet Thanks for sharing :-)I am following
Best of Luck !.

The picture itself speaks thousand words! This is so pathetic to read. Why people are so cruel, i wonder!! Thank you for bringing to us. I was unknown about this. Lets be together and stop this rediculous things.. we want PEACE

great post
please visit my page and read my topics and if you like my post upvote or resteem my post thanks alot my friend

Hi @gavvet wow this is so interesting to read about the story of the African Border War of 1976,the end of a chapter and the beginning of a new chapter indeed it is such a historical encounter in this periodical narrative of which you have really put much effort to bring it out as a well explained content in the eyes of the reader,lastly i have really enjoyed that piece of history thank you for your post and keep posting such good content post.

thanks for sharing

Do not see your response :) But send 2 SBD

Nice post and i like post you my friend @gavvet

@ehiboss got you a $1.79 @minnowbooster upgoat, nice!
@ehiboss got you a $1.79 @minnowbooster upgoat, nice! (Image:

Want a boost? Click here to read more!

So Sad . . . I hate war

Hi @gavvet. I am very scare when I look your pictures, but those are the reality.

FACT BASED ! Good, thanks for that. Its a pity we have to learn so much about wars. But when the learning is in the positive way, and people think/act different before start another war,.. we managed with such post to make people aware. Good work, thanks again.

articles that are very unusual ,,,
I like it

this is a very great post @gavvet! Thanks for sharing this. human kind has embraced war as a way of living but war has not provided the means of sustainable development over time

humans pretend to be the smartest ones on this planet but still we can not use our ability to talk instead of weapons for solving our problems... shame on us :(

Very very great post,, Iam resteemit and share my facebook..
South African, the killer human..

@gavvet. Hi there, being from the Caribbean, I know exactly what you are writing about. Though this was long before my incarnation, I can remember Jamaican scholars writing about it. I can recall Reggae musicians singing about it. I grew up trying to make sense of it. Unfortunately, so many of us are forgetting these stories. Worst, so many have never heard about these things. Unfortunately, many continue to live with the residue; as Makeba said: A luta continua.

@gavvet Thank you for the function, I invite you to evaluate my function..

Coin Marketplace

STEEM 0.64
TRX 0.10
JST 0.074
BTC 56391.30
ETH 4542.59
BNB 621.90
SBD 7.22