Monday, July 19, 2010


You must remember that in the early 1980s South Africa was in a virtual state of war. Under PW Botha, we were a military state, waging a long-term war against the guerilla army of Swapo in South West Africa, and, in support of Unita against the Marxist MPLA in Angola. It was a messy corner of the Cold War, and as conscripts we were forced to be part of it. No matter that I was deemed a security risk and was, thankfully, not sent from 1 Intelligence Unit to do whatever intelligence gathering was to be done in SWA, while working in the media centre at the unit, we were paid a visit by two high-powered figures in the apartheid state.

When General Constand Viljoen, then chief of the army, and General Magnus Malan, head of the entire SA Defence Force, walked into our humble office during a visit to the base, we were totally taken aback. Fortunately they left after a few minutes and we could turn up Capital Radio again, which was our constant companion. These are not drawings from life, naturally. The guy, top left, would be Magnus, the one at the bottom, Constand. Top right I recognise as another top military man, but can't put a name to him. I probably did these drawings from the many military magazines they had floating around in the base.

"Vat hom Dawie, vat hom laag. Vat hom Dawie, laat die Boere slaag." I remember something like that from my youth in the 1960s, when the Springboks were captained by a blond scrumhalf called Dawie de Villiers. He trained as a Dutch Reformed cleric, but inevitably found his way into the National Party cabinet as Minister of something or other. I would have done these drawings from the TV.

More sketches from the TV. Done in a few seconds during those relentless interviews with NP ministers, I think the guy top right is Chris Heunis and the one below Senator Horack. Top left looks familiar, but I can't put a name to the face.

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