Thursday, 20 June 2013

The Beginning (5)

We came from all over South Africa. Every white male over 17 had to do his 2 years basic SADF service. It was broken into a 6 month basic training, then depending on how things went another 6 months specialised further training, then 12 months full active service.

Once you got that out the way you then were eligible for up to 3 months a year call up for more retraining and active service till you were 55 years old. The South African army and training was one of the best in the world at the time and we were all proud to be part of it.

We were all just thrown together on that first day on arrival into basic training camp, 30 per platoon, 4 platoons in a company. We had 4 companies doing basic training at our camp in Pretoria.

It was pretty crazy thinking back, 30 complete strangers from diverse backgrounds all just thrown together under the control of a bunch of absolute lunatics who`s sole task was to break every individual down into someone who was willing to work togther for the good of the group and that was able to follow orders without question.

It was the first time in my life I actually had to deal with other Afrikaans kids as Apartheid did not just seperate blacks from whites but English from Afrikaans as well. I went to English schools and Afrikaans kids went to Afrikaans schools. They were kind of the friendly enemy, for a lot of people the Boer war memories still burned deep.

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