n Journal for Contemporary History - Suid-Afrikaanse kapelane in 'n era van militêre konflik, 1966 - 1989 : enkele persoonlike ervarings en perspektiewe

Volume 34, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0258-2422
  • E-ISSN: 2415-0509



This article is based on oral history and it examines the personal reminiscences of military chaplains during the Namibian War of Independence (1966-1989), also known as the Border War or Bush War. The following aspects were investigated: can war, and the Namibian War of Independence in particular, be justified; what was the relations and the quality of co-operation between individuals and the different denominations within the South African Chaplain Service (SACHS); did chaplains further the policies of the National Party and, finally, were there any benefits coming forth from this military struggle? Interviews were conducted with both English and Afrikaans chaplains from all three branches of the South African Defence Force (SADF), as well as with members of the command structure of the SACHS. Evidence was found that most chaplains regarded their ministry as an ecclesiastical calling and that they made a difference to the spiritual welfare of the troops. It was also determined that personality, principles and culture influenced chaplaincy services. Most chaplains justified the war within the context of the Cold War, but the trauma they had to deal with, convinced them that war should always be a last resort.

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