26 June 1960: #Madagascar was granted independence by France; visit by French Premier Michel Debre celebrating independence with first President Philibert Tsirinana https://youtu.be/6DQ3LC7iJsY via @YouTube
#SowetoUprising: a car overturned by rioters wit a mans body pinned underneath on 16 June 1976; the official death toll on 25 june 1976 was 176 killed (two whites) and 1,139 injured(22 policemen) and 1,128 arrested #YouthDay2021
#SowetoUprising: 'armed' policemen firing on rioters during protests outside Johannesburg #SouthAfrica that began as demonstrations against teaching of Afrikaans in schools and turned into riots on 16 June 1976 during which hundreds were killed #YouthDay2021
15 June 1986: in the aftermath of the Gaborone raid by South African recces, at a rally in Salisbury, Robert Mugabe called for formation of an African military force to overthrow the #SouthAfrica government
15 June 1977- Goch Street Shooting: two ANC/MK guerrillas killed two white men while fleeing the police in Johannesburg #SouthAfrica; Solomon Mahlangu would swing from the gallows in Pretoria on 6 April 1979 for the murders
2 June 1997: Nigerian Troops of ECOMOG battle putschists of Johnny Paul Koroma and RUF rebels, who invited Foday Sankoh to Freetown to join the AFRC junta the day before, in Sierra Leone #SierraLeoneCivilWar https://youtu.be/knpxnNb9JQw via @YouTube
12 June 1979- "We've got a bloody awful few months ahead of us. A hell of a lot more people are going to die": after news of US President Carter refusal to lift trade sanctions, COMOPS Supremo General Peter Walls interview in Salisbury #Rhodesia #RhodesianBushWar
Operation SCEPTIC: Soviet 23 mm and 14.5 mm AA guns used in a ground support role could penetrate the thin-skinned Ratels and accounted for most of the 13 South African KIA at Smokeshell; SWAPO lost 267 killed on 10 June 1980 #SouthAfricanBorderWar
9 June 1983: ANC guerrillas, the Moroka Three, went to the gallows in Pretoria #SouthAfrica, @executedtoday for high treason and the murder of four Black policemen http://www.executedtoday.com/2008/06/09/1983-moroka-three-anc-mk-south-africa/
9-11 June 1986: in a second round of mayhem at the squatter camps near Cape Town #SouthAfrica, a pitched battle between state-supported witdoekies and UDF-aligned comrades left 25 dead and 30,000 homeless
Operation SCEPTIC: the 151 vehicles of 61 Mech battle group left Umuthiya base, refueled at Eenhana and then crossed the cut-line into #Angola for the 50 km march to a TB at Mulemba on 9 June 1980 #SouthAfricanBorderWar
#BurkinaFaso was supposed to be a success story for US military assistance. Instead, it became a casualty of America’s war on terror and is buckling under an insurgency and humanitarian crisis while its army is carrying out extrajudicial killings (thread) https://www.nytimes.com/2020/10/15/magazine/burkina-faso-terrorism-united-states.html
The Rhodesian remembrance service included an understated talk that is far too topical in the world today. It was more “Now we” than “When we”. It touched on topics like PTSD, Combat Stress (delayed or otherwise) & the importance of talking & reaching out. There might be more awareness around these issues today compared to the Bush War era, but I get mail from people all over the world who struggle but are unlikely to reach out. If you are ex-services & reading this, please checkout the Rhodesian Ex Combatant interviews & the section on PTSD & let me know if you have anything to add that might be useful to others? Many people could use a hand in this regard, & veterans are the only people who might help.
This poem by Alf Hutchison brings home the sombre pride whenever it’s recited at these gatherings.
THEY WERE ONLY BOYS
They were only boys,
boys, straight from school, with neither skills nor trade,
One day on the playground, the next day on parade.
Gangly, snotty nosed, still wet behind the ears.
Most of them still in their middle teenage years.
“You’re in the army now” the first words they heard,
The playground bully he was there, as too was the nerd.
A motley band of misfits, snatched from mother’s care.
What lay in store for them, sleeping blissfully unaware.
Unaware that the sun would rise turning their lives to Hell,
Sergeant ‘Satan’ would stand silhouetted in the door and yell.
Yell obscenities that most tenderfoot boys had never known,
Panic would reign supreme as his military seeds were sown.
They were only boys, but their beloved country was at war,
Receiving their call up papers from the postman at their door.
They lined up for their uniforms, webbing, boots and cammo,
Soon would come their rifles, and their seven six two ammo.
Training was intensive, but they endured it with feigned smile,
For the flag, the ‘Green and White’, they would go the extra mile.
Trained to jump from moving trucks; to survive out in the field.
Crack Parabats and Special forces, tough discipline would yield.
Unmistakably the best fighting forces the world had ever seen.
They were only boys… Rhodesian boys… with the fighting gene,
Black and White, no colour bar, they were comrades side by side,
To keep the common enemy at bay; and do it all with pride.
They were only boys, yet they fought like men possessed,
The adrenalin rush on ‘contacts’ a drug to them obsessed.
They were cut down in their youth, scythed before mature,
Like green wheat in winter fields so poignantly premature.
Those of us who have survived, look back upon the war,
Photos of those lads we view with pride and with awe.
Robbed forever of their youth, some of their very lives,
They were only boys…but their stoic heroism survives.
They are etched forever in our hearts, minds and souls,
Their names forever engraved on our Rhodesian scrolls,
“Hamba kahle”, brave soldiers prematurely gone to rest,
“Sala kahle”, by your legacies Rhodesians are truly blessed.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
we shall always remember ‘Our Boys’
by Alf Hutchison
The service followed a festive weekend of camping & family fun. All age groups were catered for, & attractions included
Children’s Games Day
The lunar eclipse was a bit of a disappointment as it obscured by clouds, but nobody seemed to mind. Beautiful sunshine & wide open green spaces kept the children happy, while pet dogs kept their humans busy with long walks and battles over biltong.
The ZPSF do an amazing job with limited resources, & under challenging conditions. They have different campaigns running to raise funds for this volunteer driven outreach program. Please visit their site & donate what you can if you support their aims & work.
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