The Silent Ones

One of my last sojourns into filming, with the Diehards...

The last shots in our border war in Namibia and Angola were fired in 1989, maybe even 1990. Many of us were there. Many of us were not there. The hundreds of thousands of us that were there, and did not write a book about it, are still here. Many of us live in utter deprivation in little rooms and on street corners and are being cared for by favourite granddaughters or unwilling children. Many of us are saved from an ignominious end, living on pet food in some little shack in a “care centre” run by our own people.
There are many, many vets in dire need of support, medical or otherwise. They suffer a slow end in a country uncaring of their plight. Their comrades past and present are often their only salvation, and this had been proven over and over again. Every once so often, some unknown and forgotten hero dusts off his nutria and writes an epistle about service he should have refused, or medals he should have won.
In today’s Beeld, there is such an article. Why do we still write this bullshit so long after the fact…? Do these pen swingers have something to prove…? There are thousands of us who served silently, who died silently, and you do not read about us. No, you only read about the lead-swingers and the bastards who wanted to join the End Conscription Campaign and others of the same ilk. You only read about the psychological trauma bandits and the sufferers galore.
Why do you not read about the guys who did their job, National Service or Permanent Force, who finished the battles, who bled for Pretoria, who are now only names on marble monuments..? Men and women who now seek insurances from the company of past comrades, and who fight for the dignity of friends who are hors de combat..?
It is time to get writing about the real winners of this war. Us, the silent ones.
Silent no more. Let the corridors of power start listening…

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