Linda de Jager, a well know producer of TV programs eg Carte Blanche and others for Kyknet, international productions, etc, has produced a very balanced 26 episode series pertaining to the Border War for Kyknet.
This series started Sunday, 6 July 2008 at 20h30 on Kyknet.
Linda, interviewed a very wide spectrum from the top generals to the privates on both sides of the war. A preview of the series proved to be honest and to the point. A must see!
Attached, the heading and summaries of the episodes - NOW AVAILABLE AS A 2 VOLUME DVD SERIES, each with 2 DVD's: NOW ALSO AVAIABLE IN ENGLISH WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES.
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BUSH WAR (GRENSOORLOG)
Episode 1: HEAD TO HEAD
We find the first SWAPO cadre ever to cross the border with a weapon. A tale is told of the first clash between South African forces and insurgents in Northern Namibia in 1966. Some of those who fought on either side forty years ago, tell their stories. We sketch the background: Harold MacMillan gives his “Winds of Change” speech. Africa wins independence – except in the south. SWAPO is born out of resistance to migrant labour.
Episode 2: TWO WORLDS
While white South Africa supports apartheid against the background of the Cold War and boys of eighteen do not question conscription, Radio Freedom broadcasts a message of freedom to young people in Namibia. They too take up arms, leaving rural Ovamboland to go and train in snow-covered Moscow. A guerrilla war starts. We sketch the two worlds soldiers on opposite sides of the Bush War came from.
Episode 3: SPECIAL FORCES SPECIAL TASKS
An unconventional war demands an unconventional reaction. South Africa founds a unique counter to the guerrilla onslaught. We paint a portrait of the elite soldiers who would become known as the recces. The founder of these units, Jan Breytenbach, and ten others who could never before speak about their work deep in enemy territory, tell their stories.
Episode 4: THE COMMUNISTS ARE COMING
SWAPO and the MPLA were supported by Moscow. We meet a number of Soviet soldiers who fought in Angola. We investigate the conviction shared by so many South Africans in the seventies and eighties, that we were threatened on every side by communists. Photo comics had Russians as bad guys. The church published anti-communist literature. “Rooi Gevaar” was an everyday term. On the other side we hear the story of a Moscow family whose grandfather fought in the Anglo-Boer War.
Episode 5: POWER PLAY
How does a man from the Cape Flats end up in the Cuban army in Angola? November 1975. Angola gains independence. Civil war breaks out. America, the USSR, Cuba and South Africa get involved – the beginning of a drawn-out battle for especially the latter two. We get the perspective of Generals Jannie Geldenhuys and Constand Viljoen, American negotiator Chester Crocker, former Russian president Michael Gorbachev, former Minister Pik Botha and SWAPO’s Charles Namoloh. A South African-led task force covers 3 000 km in southern Angola in 33 days. We see the bloody battles around the village of Ebo through the eyes of soldiers and commanders who were there.
Episode 6: BRIDGE 14
An innocent term like “clean out” still haunts some of the soldiers. In this episode engineers build a bridge under heavy fire, and hundreds die in the African sun.
Episode 7: A DARING RESCUE
The guerrilla movement FNLA gets a bloody nose. Twenty six South African soldiers are stranded at Ambrizete, very far from the Namibian border and safety. The navy enters the bush war to pick them up, thousands of kilometres north of Cape Town.
Episode 8: ’76: THE END OF THE BEGINNING
An unexpected withdrawal from Angola, and the beginning of resistance at home. The CIA loses the battle in the American Congress and the money tap is turned off. In South Africa someone refuses conscription for the very first time.
Episode 9: 32 BATALLION
Controversial, respected, admired, hated ... under cover of secrecy the story of 32 Batallion with their buffalo insignia remains one of the most unique in the history of the bush war.
Episode 10: THE GOLDEN HOUR
A live bomb is cut from a man’s chest ... the doctors tell the story. War means contact with the enemy, which means wounded and injured soldiers. In 1979 the SA Medical Service became the fourth leg of the Defence Force.
Episode 11: 435 (CASSINGA)
Cassinga remains one of the most controversial attacks in the 23 years of the war. We hear the story from all sides, told by people who were there. It also almost derailed the precarious negotiations around Resolution 435, a road map to independence for Namibia.
Episode 12: AT THY CALL WE SHALL NOT FALTER
A mother loses a son. One of so many mothers. One of so many sons. He was a parabat, who won the sought-after parachute wings with great pride. We hear his story from his mother and from the soldier in whose arms he died.
Episode 13: FOOTPRINTS IN THE SAND
The bush craft of SWAPO cadres is juxtaposed with that of Bushman soldiers. In an on-going quest for new answers to the challenges of the bush, dogs are employed against landmines and sophisticated military vehicles are developed. Science is complemented by another kind of knowledge: that of people for whom the bush is an open book.
Episode 14: HOT PURSUIT
A former Soviet official outlines the inflow of Soviet instructors and weaponry to SWAPO and Fapla. Added to Cuban support, this amplified their ability. 32 Batallion’s Portuguese-speaking Angolan members tell the story of the toughest battle in the history of the unit: Savate. And with Pres. Ronald Reagan taking over in the USA, “linkage” is introduced into the negotiations. The withdrawal of the Cubans is on the table.
Episode 15: HEAVY METAL (PROTEA 1)
On both sides of the divide heavier and beter arms are introduced and developed. South Africa plans the biggest conventional offensive in the whole of the bush war against the combined forces of Fapla, the Cubans and SWAPO.
Episode 16: FRONT VS STATES (PROTEA 2)
Soldiers who were there, describe the precise planning, the courage of individuals and the chaos which is war. Women at home give an insight into the chasm that opened up between the home front and the front line.
Episode 17: OF REBELS, OBJECTORS AND DEFECTORS
One white boy chooses umKhonto we Sizwe over conscription, is trained in East Germany and ordered to plant a bomb. Another relates with bitterness and selfblame the impossible choices forced upon him by military service on the border.
Episode 18: SOMEWHERE ON THE BORDER
In the early eighties an average of 30 000 troops were “somewhere on the border”, at a series of camps deep in the bush, very far from home. At Fort Doppies they tamed a lion. Wenela had Gabi the zebra. At Calueque lived a tame crocodilte known as the flat dog.
Episode 19: BROTHER AGAINST BROTHER
In Ovamboland it was brother against brother: some chose to serve in the SADF, others fought for SWAPO. Among white people in South West a bitter political battle raged, among other things about opening amenities to all races. South Africa kept its fifth province on a short rein.
Episode 20: KOEVOET
Ex-Koevoet members speak openly about being paid per head for every “terrorist” killed, about bodies draped over the wheels of a Casspir, and about the unit’s chilling efficiency.
Episode 21: FORCES’ FAVOURITES
Sonja Herholdt, André Schwartz, Karin Hougaard, Ollie Viljoen en Anneline Kriel were among artists and celebrities who visited the border to cheer and inspire the men. They tell their stories.
Episode 22: OPERATION CANDLE LIGHT
Come along on the special forces operation: sixteen highly trained operators go into the enemy’s lair to blow up the oil refinery in Luanda harbour. They lose one of their colleagues in an explosion, but the others return. They tell us their story.
Episode 23: BROTHERS IN ARMS
What happened when Wynand du Toit was captured at Cabinda? Why did UNITA always claimed all sabotage operations, if it was South Africans who executed it? Why did the Cubans really come to Angola, and who paid the bill? We unravel the questions around who was on whose side, and why.
Episode 24 : TWO FRONTS
1985. The townships are on fire. 35 000 troops are sent in to support the police. Large scale resistance against conscription gains traction. At the same time, Fapla launches an attack in southeast Angola, which is repelled by the Air Force. Pressure is building, inside and outside the country.
Episode 25: CUITO CUANAVALE
What exactly happened in 1987 and ’88 in the battles around the village of Cuito? Did anyone win? We follow the clashes week after week and month after month, looking both at the big picture and at the intensely personal point of view of two soldiers at the centre of the chaos. Bloody battles rage. Complicated deals are negotiated. Wynand du Toit comes home.
Episode 26: ENDGAME
Kuba lands a last punch in an attack at Calueque in southwestern Angola. Intense negotiations lead to a peace agreement. SWAPO makes an almost fatal blunder in starting a nine-day war … but Namibia is born.