My writing on SOFREP has been limited to Rhodesia and its Special Operations Units during the Bush War. Trying to understand the conflicts in Southern Africa require a historical setting and an understanding of the history and culture of those nations. Most Americans see the end of the Vietnam War as a détente of sorts with the Soviet Union. In essence, the Cold War went cold.

For the people of South Africa, the combined efforts of the Soviets, East Germans, North Korea, China and Cuba extended the Cold War into a very hot fight for the expansionist ideals of Communism. In Rhodesia, Communism took on the mask of Black Nationalism. The Soviets and Chinese sought to exploit the West’s decision to withdraw from Colonialism and absentee governance of nations on a far off continent.

The nation of South Africa watched Rhodesia closely and offered assistance in aircraft, material and personnel to an extent but as early as 1966, encroachment on and within their borders began with terroristic activities of a whole host of insurgent groups. South West Africa / Namibia’s border with Angola started to produce similar activity as in Rhodesia. SWAPO (South West Africa People’s Organization) began attacking white farms and civilian targets. All of this festered along with a long running civil war in Angola against the colonial rule of Portugal until in 1975. That nation packed up and left. While warring groups sought control, the Communist powerhouses used the opportunity to strike against the South Africans.

SWA/Namibia was given to South Africa to administer after WW1 and many settlers farmed the territory. As the United Nations came into being, disputes over who would run the country arose and were not settled until the late 1980’s. In the meantime, South Africa believed that should the country be ruled by Russian and Chinese military powers, the next domino to fall would be South Africa itself. It was a fight against Communism.