n Journal for Contemporary History - The Battle of Cassinga, 4 May 1978 : a historical reassessment. Part 1 : the course of the battle and ensuing controversy

Volume 31, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 0258-2422
  • E-ISSN: 2415-0509



The battle of Cassinga between paratroopers of the South African Defence Force (SADF) and elements of SWAPO on 4 May 1978 was shrouded in controversy right from the start. These military hostilities in the south of Angola occurred against the background of specific events in South-West Africa (now Namibia). In this article, the controversy is examined in detail. The importance of oral tradition / accounts, currently the subject of discussion in South African historiography, is acknowledged in this article via verbatim transcriptions of interviews with the commander of the South African Parachute Brigade, Maj.-Gen. MJ du Plessis and other relevant role-players.

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