n Journal for Contemporary History - Military chaplaincy in the South African Defence Force during the Namibian War of Independence, 1966 - 1989

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



Ghana's attainment of independence in 1957 initiated a period of decolonization in Africa which, in the case of South West Africa (SWA, later Namibia), manifested itself in the form of the Namibian War of Independence, commonly referred to as the ''Border War'' or the ''Bush War''. Hostilities started in August 1966 when the South West African People's Organization (SWAPO) and its military wing, the People's Liberation Army of Namibia (PLAN), intensified the liberation struggle of SWA by means of insurgencies across the Angolan border. By planting landmines, sabotaging telephone and electricity lines and intimidating the local population, they aimed to destabilize the South African administration of SWA. Initially, the South African Police (SAP) dealt with the insurgencies; but an escalation in the intensity thereof necessitated a transferral of the protection of the border to the then South African Defence Force (SADF). A full-scale war developed, which became closely linked to the Angolan Civil War and the Cold War. All branches of the SADF, including chaplaincy services, were involved in the military operations that lasted until June 1989.

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