Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Some Background

In 1987 I was in the SADF as a rifleman.  A conscript at the bottom of the military pile.  In early September I had been on the Namibia/Angola border for about 9 months.  It was then that my unit was sent into Angola to support UNITA, the rebels, against the army of the Angolan goverment, FAPLA.  I was with a mortar platoon in a mechanised infantry unit.

This blog isn't intended to provide a history lesson on the Angolan bush war, or to document the experiences of a lowly infantryman in that war.  There are plenty of accounts now published on the internet and in old fashioned book form about that.  This is intended to record a project rooted in the present.  My planning, thinking and hopefully carrying out of a journey through Angola.

My journey is part personal quest:  to go back to the place that has, in some ways, mildly haunted me for the last 23 years or so in the hope that the one or two remaining ghosts be put to rest.  And part putting something back, doing some good for those who live in Angola today.  In this spirit, I hope to raise awareness (and hopefully some money)  for one of the NGO's that are lifting landmines in Angola so that people can move about the land, farm and play safely again.

This is a journey rooted in the present. It is about Angola today and about how my experiences there have informed my present.  It is about making meaning as a white male South African who feels deeply part of this continent.  Even if I fought on the wrong side of a grubby local war.

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