oa Scientia Militaria : South African Journal of Military Studies - Ongulumbashe : Where the Bushwar Began, Paul J. Els : book review

Volume 36, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1022-8136
  • E-ISSN: 2224-0020



Ongulumbashe: Where the Bushwar Began, comprises 18 chapters and tells the story of Operation Blouwildebees, the joint South African Defence Force / South African Police attack on the South West African People's Organisation (SWAPO) base at Ongulumbashe on 26 August 1966, which is generally accepted as the beginning of South Africa's 23-year 'Bush War' in South West Africa (SWA) / Namibia and Angola. The first five chapters sketch a haphazard background to the beginning of the 'Bush War', dealing with the origins of South Africa's involvement in SWA / Namibia, the establishment of SWAPO and the latter's insurgent activities up to August 1966, including the establishment of their base at Ongulumbashe. Chapters 6 to 11 descriptionbe the South African security forces' reconnaissance of the SWAPO base, their preparations for Operation Blouwildebees and the course of the battle at Ongulumbashe. Chapter 12 then interrupts the discussion with a superficial account of the sequence of events after the battle at Ongulumbashe up to the independence of Namibia in 1990. Chapter 13 jumps back to the consequences of Ongulumbashe, followed by a loose potpourri comprising discussions on the personae dramatis (Chapter 14), monuments / memorials (Chapter 15), a collection of photographs and newspaper clippings (Chapter 16), a conclusion (Chapter 17), an unnumbered epilogue by General J.J. Geldenhuys and an elucidation (Chapter 18) comprising explanations of force compositions, equipment used, particular incidents, etc.

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