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South Africans are no strangers to war. They are born of Boers who, in defense of their farms and Republics, met and blunted the might of England’s armies in a conflict that bred and refined guerrilla warfare. And they are born of the English who opposed them. Welded together into a nation homogenized by the influx of a dozen nationalities, and tempered by the displaced white tribes of Africa. Regardless though of this complex heritage, the modern South African is fundamentally of Africa, any tenuous link with other continents dissolving in the drift of time. Allied to her former foe, South Africa has this century fought two world wars, leaving her dead in German Africa, Europe, Asia and beyond. And now it is that she faces yet another war, not this time a global conflict, but in defense of her own borders, her back to the sea, her face to Africa. No simple territorial dispute is this. It is a matter of survival: of a nation, of a people; a defense that transcends all permutations of internal differences, whatever they may be, for South Africa has what others seek – in a shifting game of chess where giants play. Witness to the winds of change through Africa, and also to the force that steers it, South Africa stands caught in the entanglement of a still greater conflict; sandwiched; ostracized. Alone, she is condemned to relinquish or resist. For the men who wear her uniform, the fine detail of this scenario forms a distant background to their task, wider issues losing perspective in the heat and bushveld isolation. Stretched across the breadth of Africa, flanked by two oceans, they stand along her border – a broad band of nutria astride the rivers of the north. For them the border war, sometimes more or less intense, is a daily fact of life – be they National Servicemen, Permanent, Citizen or Commando Force. For most, it is a supporting role in varying degree. For some, though, it is a state of high alert or even combat. But for all, it is an intensely human war where, technology apart, man holds the key, his level of endurance setting limits to the struggle. It is the purpose of this book to explore that experience, examine the spectrum of emotion it generates, and chronicle the days it consumes. White, black or brown, their’s is a common experience, but one foreign to those who wait at home, unknown to those who have not served. Through the complementary media of drawing and verse, I have attempted some small insight to that experience, without political position, without conjecture. It is one man’s view, I believe an honest one. Regrettably, many units are not included among these pages, but their omission is not deliberate; it would be impossible to provide a balanced coverage of all forces without some sacrifice to depth. If this book serves to bridge the gap of understanding between those who serve and those who love them, then I have achieved my goal.