IN DEFENCE OF VADERLAND
If you were born in the early 1990s and think apartheid and colonialism do not matter to you, think again.
Colonialism was a cruel, world order which shed a lot of blood as greedy colonialists scrambled for natural resources and left permanent scars on the colonised.
Author Granger Korff takes the reader on a personal journey into apartheid and colonialism.
Like all white South African males, Korff was required by law to serve in the army and to defend what his father and forefathers told him: Defend onse vaderland against the communists who wanted to take over the country.
The compulsory military conscription camps were institutions for indoctrination.
While watching TV in one of his visits home, Korff reveals how annoyed he was when he saw people protesting outside the South African consulate in Washington during the Release Nelson Mandela campaign.
"Stupid sh*t. Didn't they know that the ANC and Mandela had communist ties and that if the blacks took over they would welcome the Soviets into our backyards?" he writes.
The book is basically about South Africa's military involvement in Angola and Namibia (then South West Africa). It is also about the South African war of liberation.
Korff gives the accounts of his involvement in the counter-insurgency activities of the Fireforce operations, ambushes and patrols. He also writes about how he fought against Swapo in Namibia and about his part in the 19 With a Bullet, South African paratroopers, which fought against Fapla in Angola in the 1980s. He was part of operations code-named Protea, Daisy and Carnation where he faced the might of South African guerillas alongside Cuban soldiers.
I did not like the book in the beginning, but appreciated the author's honesty.
I thought Korff, who had grown up in the mining town of Benoni on the old East Rand at the height of apartheid in 1960, was a racist when he wrote that the ANC, which fought for liberation, planted bombs that killed more black people than the enemy - apartheid agents.
He also writes about black people killing one another and school children dancing around corpses of their own people who they killed in the name of liberation.
But the book gets more interesting when Korff gets into the training and operations aspects and how the apartheid soldiers were killed in the wars.
Grueling exercises they were subjected to in the camps turned them into merciless killers who were prepared to cross borders to defend what they thought was their entitlement - white supremacy.
19 With a Bullet is a South African book, which 15 years into democracy will shed light to those who are blinded by history.