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The South African Special Forces achieved exceptional results with small groups of elite soldiers instead of larger, conventional teams. The Team Secret shows that the same principle applies in the business world – a small team has a much better chance of completing projects efficiently, on budget and on time.
Teams, rather than individuals, form the DNA of many companies and they play a pivotal role in achieving strategic and financial success. Like Special Forces teams, they must function as a well- oiled machine firing on all cylinders.
Koos Stadler tells in captivating detail about a real-life Special Forces operation and the lessons learnt about team dynamics and achieving the goal. His story, combined with anecdotes from Anton Burger’s experiences as a team leader in different work environments, show the many lessons the business world can take from the Special Forces.
The book identifies the key characteristics of an effective team, how to select the right team members, how to inculcate an ethos centred around team principles and how an effective team should be led. It speaks to both team members and team leaders across all managerial levels – from a team leader in a call centre to a project manager or CEO.
In short: To fast-track your business, shape up your teams!
Charlie Squadron – the iron fist of 61 Mechanised Battalion Group (61 Mech) – led the way on 3 October 1987 during the climactic battle between the South African Defence Force and the Angolan forces on the Lomba River in southern Angola. Ratels On The Lomba places the reader in the midst of the squadron of young conscripts who were taken off to the Border War to fight in this battle.
Not only were they up against a vastly superior Angolan force in terms of numbers and weaponry, but they also had to deal with terrain so dense that their sight was severely impaired and their movement restricted. Also, even though SADF tactical doctrine clearly stated that tanks had to be countered by tanks, these conscripts had to take on the Angolan tanks in armoured cars with inferior low-velocity guns and thin armour, designed to keep out nothing more than small-arms fire. Yet, during the battle on the Lomba the 47 Brigade of the Angolan forces was nearly wiped out.
Scholtz’z blow-by-blow account of a David vs. Goliath battle takes the reader to the heart of the action. It is honestly told and vividly described, thanks to interviews with veterans and diary entries that help to recreate the drama of the battle. It is an intensely human story of how individuals react in the face of death and how the war never left them, even when they returned home.
The Last Hurrah describes in vivid detail a pivotal moment not just in the history of South Africa, that far-flung imperial outpost, but of the British Empire itself. The year 1947 marked the high-water mark of the British Empire in Africa, but also the very moment at which it began to unravel, ahead of the Afrikaner Nationalist victory in South Africa in 1948, which led inexorably to the Republic of South Africa in 1961 and its departure from the Commonwealth.
Graham Viney's book not only superbly captures a moment in the life of a fractious, recently formed 'nation', before its descent into nearly five decades of darkness, but also gives us an intimate and revealing portrait of the royal family - King George VI, Queen Elizabeth and the Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret - hard at work in support of the national interest. It seems clear that the present Queen Elizabeth must have learned a great deal from her father, but perhaps particularly her mother, about duty and statecraft in the course of this three-month tour, during which the then princess celebrated her twenty-first birthday.
Viney evocatively details the background to the 1947 royal tour of southern Africa, which took in not just the length and breadth of what was then the Union of South Africa, but its neighbours, too: Basutoland (now Lesotho), Bechuanaland (Botswana), Swaziland (very recently renamed the Kingdom of eSwatini), Southern Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) and Northern Rhodesia (Zambia). The royal family travelled ceaselessly, from February to April that year, on a specially commissioned, white-painted train, meeting thousands of people at every stop along the way.
The tour was a show of imperial solidarity and a recognition of South Africa's contribution to the Allied cause during the Second World War, specifically that of South African prime minister Jan Smuts, who, though once an adversary in the Boer War and Churchill's jailer, had served in both British war cabinets and been nicknamed 'the handyman of Empire'. Despite concerns and ongoing controversy, wherever the tour took the Royal Family, South Africans of all kinds turned out in their thousands to cheer and welcome them. But India was to gain independence later that same year and just one year later, Smuts had been ousted from power and South Africa set on the path to becoming a republic.
The Last Hurrah draws skilfully on many diverse sources, including the Royal Archive at Windsor, to explore not just the troubled politics of the time, but also local society and the royal visitors in richly textured, telling detail. The book includes many photographs of the royal family on tour not previously published, including stills from film footage unearthed in the South African Railway Museum archives.
A riveting, action-filled account that sheds light on the realities of working in a war-torn country, this is the first book on the war in Iraq by a South African.
Johan Raath and a security team were escorting American engineers to a power plant south of Baghdad when they were ambushed. He had first arrived in Iraq only two weeks before. This was a small taste of what was to come over the next 13 years while he worked there as a private military contractor (PMC). His mission? Not to wage war but to protect lives. Raath acted as a bodyguard for VIPs and, more often, engineers who were involved in construction projects to rebuild the country after the 2003 war. His physical and mental endurance was tested to the limit in his efforts to safeguard construction sites that were regularly subjected to mortar and suicide attacks. Key to his survival was his training as a Special Forces operator, or Recce.
Working in places called the Triangle of Death and driving on the ‘Hell Run’, Raath had numerous hair-raising experiences. As a trained combat medic he also helped to save people’s lives after two suicide bomb attacks on sites he then worked at.
In A Man Apart Richard Steyn once again brings to life a South African icon. Louis Botha was the first Prime Minister of the Union of South Africa, a union he did much to create in the decade after the devastation of the Anglo-Boer War. During the war Botha was a brilliant young Boer general who through his battlefield strategy won significant victories over the British in the early stages of the war. When the weight of British arms overhelmed the Boers, Botha along with Smuts did much to encourage peace between English and Afrikaner and led the country to Union in 1910 and dominion status.
Botha was a big-hearted and generous man who showed magnanimity in his dealings with all, including former enemies. He led the South African troops to victory and the capture of German South West Africa – prior to this he had to put down a revolt of pro-German Afrikaners. At the Peace of Versailles, representing South Africa, he pleaded unsuccessfully for magnanimity towards the Germans. Botha was a globally respected figure – he and Smuts effectively operated as a double act in South Africa and on the international stage before Botha’s untimely death in August 1919 at only 57. In A Man Apart this tragically short life is illuminated in full.
Steve Joubert had always wanted to be a pilot and the only way he could afford to do so, was to join the South African Air Force in the late 1970s.
As an adventurous young man with a wicked sense of humour, he tells of the many amusing escapades he had as a trainee pilot. But soon he is sent to fight in the Border War in northern Namibia (then South West Africa) where he is exposed to the carnage of war. The pilots of the Alouette helicopters were witness to some of the worst scenes of the Border War. Often, they were the first to arrive after a deadly landmine accident.
In the fiercest battles their gunships regularly supplied life-saving air cover to troops on the ground.
When the Boer Republics invaded Natal on the north-east coast of what is now South Africa in 1899, they could have been driven out with nominal casualties. Instead, Britain was to lose nearly 9,000 men killed in action, more than 13,000 to disease and a further 75,000 wounded and sick invalided back to Britain. The war ended in 1902 with an unsatisfactory Peace Treaty. The Boer commandoes represented a new challenge to the British Army, practising a mobile form of warfare equipped with smokeless Mauser rifles and modern European field and siege artillery. The British forces did not have the training to deal with this new form of warfare. Perhaps the greatest blunder was the failure in the beginning to take advantage of local advice and capability. The organisation of locally raised Volunteers was designed to meet the threat. They soon demonstrated how the Boers might be defeated and when finally given their heads, they chased the invaders out of Natal at the gallop, while suffering only nominal casualties. When the Siege of Ladysmith was finally raised, the relieving force found the garrison and civilian population suffering from malnutrition and disease. This book uses primary source material to chronicle the experiences of the people of Natal - soldiers and civilians, black and white, men, women and children - during the Natal Campaign.
A companion volume to the highly successful Field Guide to the Battlefields of South Africa, this features the pivotal sieges that characterised the Cape Frontier, Anglo-Zulu, Basotho and Anglo-Boer wars in one volume.
Accounts of 17 sieges over the last two centuries explore in detail the historical context in which they occurred, the day-to-day military actions that sustained the investments and the conditions both soldiers and civilians faced while defending their territory against a hostile force. The siege descriptions are animated by maps and a variety of information boxes and human-interest stories, gleaned from diaries, letters and eye-witness accounts, while longer features focus on the practical aspects of siege warfare, such as artillery, medicine, food, and the psychological effects of besiegement. The book also provides practical information for visitors who wish to explore these historical sites.
A fascinating read that will appeal to anyone interested in the volatile history of the country – armchair historians and travellers alike.
The remarkable, and often touching, friendship between Winston Churchill and Jan Smuts is a rich study in contrasts.
In youth they occupied very different worlds: Churchill, the rambunctious and thrusting young aristocrat; Smuts, the ascetic, philosophical Cape farm boy who would go on to Cambridge. Brought together first as enemies in the Anglo-Boer War, and later as allies in the First World War, the men forged a friendship which spanned the first half of the twentieth century and endured until Smuts’s death in 1950. Richard Steyn, author of Jan Smuts: Unafraid of Greatness, examines this close friendship through two world wars and the intervening years, drawing on a maze of archival and secondary sources including letters, telegrams and the voluminous books written about both men.
This is a fascinating account of two remarkable men in war and peace: one the leader of the Empire, the other the leader of a small fractious member of that Empire who nevertheless rose to global prominence.
Op 3 Oktober 1987 het Charlie-eskadron – die ystervuis van 61 Gemeganiseerde Bataljongroep – die kritieke geveg tussen die Suid-Afrikaanse Weermag en die Angolese magte op die Lombarivier in die suide van Angola gelei. Dié boek plaas die leser in die midde van die jong dienspligtiges wat na die Grensoorlog weggevoer is om hierdie geveg te gaan voer.
Langs die Lomba het hulle te staan gekom teen ’n Angolese mag met ’n getalsoorwig en beter wapentuig. Boonop was die terrein so dig bebos dat hul sig en beweging aansienlik ingeperk is. Die SAW se taktiese doktrine het duidelik gestel dat tenks teen tenks aangewend moes word. Tog moes die dienspligtiges die Angolese tenks aanvat in pantservoertuie met minder kragtige kanonne en dun pantser wat nie veel meer as gewone geweervuur kon afweer nie. Steeds is 47 Brigade van die Angolese magte amper uitgewis tydens die geveg aan die Lomba.
Scholtz se beskrywing van hierdie David-teen-Goliath-geveg neem die leser na die hart van die aksie. Danksy onderhoude met veterane en dagboekinskrywings dra hierdie eerlike, intense hervertelling die volle drama van die geveg oor. Dit is ook ’n diep menslike verhaal oor hoe individue reageer in die aangesig van die dood en hoe die oorlog hulle nooit uit sy kloue gelaat het nie, selfs nadat hulle teruggekeer het.
Daar is nie ’n grondpad te sinkplaat, plaasdraad te hoog of aanwysings te gebrekkig om Jackie Grobler te keer nie. As hy eers ’n monument in sy visier het, sal hy dit vind.
In hierdie boek reis hy oor berge en dale van Lichtenburg in Noordwes tot die heuwels van Tabankulu in die Oos-Kaap. Grobler reis onder meer op die spoor van Voortrekker Carel Trichardt deur Mpumalanga en in KwaZulu-Natal gaan hy na die slagvelde van die Anglo-Zoeloeoorlog. In Gauteng vind hy monumente ter ere van twee van Suid-Afrika se grootste leiers: Nelson Mandela en Jan Smuts. In die Vrystaat soek hy na oorblyfsels van twee konsentrasiekampe en in Limpopo kom hy af op monumente aan ’n Anglo-Boereoorlogkanon (die Long Tom). Sy reise na die Oos-Kaap neem hom na gedenkplekke vir Steve Biko en in die Wes-Kaap gaan hy op die spoor van die Portugese ontdekkingsreisigers.
Elke provinsie sal ’n kaart hê wat die monumente aandui.
It is September 1987. The Angolan Army – with the support of Cuban troops and Soviet advisors – has built up a massive force on the Lomba River near Cuito Cuanavale in southern Angola. Their goal? To capture Jamba, the headquarters of the rebel group Unita, supported by the South African Defence Force (SADF) in the so-called Border War.
In the battles that followed, and shortly thereafter centred around the small town of Cuito Cuanavale, 3 000 SADF soldiers and 8 000 Unita fighters were up against a much bigger Angolan and Cuban force of over 50 000 men.
Thousands of soldiers died in the vicious fighting that is described in vivid detail in this book. Bridgland pieced together this account through scores of interviews with SADF men who were on the front line. This dramatic retelling takes the reader to the heart of the action.
From the secret SAS archives, and acclaimed author Ben Macintyre: the first ever authorized history of the SAS.
In the summer of 1941, at the height of the war in the Western Desert, a bored and eccentric young officer, David Stirling, came up with a plan that was radical and entirely against the rules: a small undercover unit that would inflict chaos and mayhem behind enemy lines. Despite intense opposition, Winston Churchill personally gave Stirling permission to recruit the toughest, brightest and most ruthless soldiers he could find. So began the most celebrated and mysterious military organisation in the world: the SAS. Now, 75 years later, the SAS has finally decided to tell its astonishing story. It has opened its secret archives for the first time, granting historian Ben Macintyre full access to a treasure trove of unseen reports, memos, diaries, letters, maps and photographs, as well as free rein to interview surviving Originals and those who knew them.
The result is an exhilarating tale of fearlessness and heroism, recklessness and tragedy; of extraordinary men who were willing to take monumental risks. It is a story about the meaning of courage.
A fresh, nuanced look at an extraordinary woman and her lifelong fight for justice. Defying the constraints of her gender and class, Emily Hobhouse travelled across continents and spoke out against oppression. A passionate pacifist and a feminist, she opposed both the 1899-1902 Anglo-Boer War and World War One, leading to accusations of treason. Elsabe Brits travelled in her footsteps to bring to life a colourful story of war, heroism and passion, spanning three continents.
As kampvegter vir vrouestemreg en in haar uitgesproke teenkanting teen onreg is Emily Hobhouse ’n ikoon wat vandag nog inspireer. Ontdek die onbekende sy van ’n verbasend moderne vrou in hierdie volkleur pragboek propvol foto’s, interessante dagboekinskrywings en briewe. So gee sy ’n genuanseerde, vars blik op ’n buitengewone vrou wat voortdurend in die spervuur was. Van kleintyd het Emily haar verset teen haar lot. Vir vroue was daar min geleenthede en sy moes boonop haar siek pa oppas. Tog raak sy wereldwyd betrokke by die stryd teen onreg en oorlog. In twee oorloe het sy duisende lewens gered, en tog is sy – ’n ware patriot – in haar eie land onbekend en alleen dood.
1-Recce was the sharpest, most versatile and deadliest specialist unit in the entire South African army. These men were super fit, unbelievably tough and stopped at nothing. Time and again they put their lives at risk in the execution of highly secret operations behind enemy lines.
For decades these missions have been kept secret. Now, for the first time, the Recces' most famous generals (including the legendary colonel Jan Breytenbach) reveal their involvement in many highly sensitive political operations.
Explosive revelations are made of a collapsed mission to blow up key ANC figures in the final years of the apartheid era. They tell of 1-Recce's involvement in the controversial Border War and reveal the existence of a top secret squadron in the then Rhodesian army.
After years of myths and secrecy, this book gives a new perspective on the Recces and the way they operated invisibly behind the scenes.
Now a major motion picture directed by Clint Eastwood.
From 1999 to 2009, U.S. Navy SEAL Chris Kyle recorded the most career sniper kills in United States military history. His fellow American warriors, whom he protected with deadly precision from rooftops and stealth positions during the Iraq War, called him "The Legend"; meanwhile, the enemy feared him so much they named him al-Shaitan ("the devil") and placed a bounty on his head.
Kyle, who was tragically killed in 2013, writes honestly about the pain of war—including the deaths of two close SEAL teammates—and in moving first-person passages throughout, his wife, Taya, speaks openly about the strains of war on their family, as well as on Chris. Gripping and unforgettable, Kyle's masterful account of his extraordinary battlefield experiences ranks as one of the great war memoirs of all time.
Includes new material by Taya Kyle about the making of the American Sniper film.
The armed struggle waged by the ANC’s military wing, Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK), was the longest sustained insurgency in South African history. This book offers the first full account of the rebellion in its entirety, from its early days in the 1950s to the inauguration of Nelson Mandela as South African president in 1994.
Vast in scope, this story traverses every corner of South Africa and extends throughout southern Africa, where MK’s largest campaigns and heaviest engagements occurred, as well as to the solidarity networks that the rebellion mobilised around the world. Drawing principally from previously unpublished writings and testimonies by the men and women who fought the armed struggle, this book recreates the drama, heroism and tragedy of their experiences. It tells the story of leaders like Nelson Mandela, Oliver Tambo, Joe Slovo and Chris Hani, whose reputations were forged in the crucible of the armed struggle, but it is also a tale of martyrs such as Looksmart Ngudle, Ashley Kriel and Phila Ndwandwe, as well as of MK cadres such as Leonard Nkosi and Glory Sedibe, who would ultimately turn against the ANC and collaborate with the state in hunting down their former comrades.
Written in a fresh, immediate style, Umkhonto we Sizwe is an honest account of the armed struggle and a fascinating chronicle of events that changed South African history.
Historian Karen Horn painstakingly tracked down a number of former POWs in which their interviews reveal rich narratives of hardship, endurance, humour, longing and self-discovery. Instead of fighting, these men adapted to another war, one which was fought on the inside of many prison camps.
In their interviews, all the POWs expressed surprise at being asked to share their experiences of almost 70 years earlier.They returned home in 1945 to a country which soon afterwards tried its utmost to promote national amnesia with regard to the country’s participation in the war.
With great insight and empathy, Karen Horn shines a light on a neglected corner of South African history. Karen Horn is a lecturer at Stellenbosch University.
In the first half of the nineteenth century, Southern Africa was a jumble of British colonies, Boer republics and African chiefdoms, a troublesome region of little interest to the outside world. Into this frontier world came the Reitz family, Afrikaner gentry from the Cape, who settled in Bloemfontein and played a key role in the building of the Orange Free State.
Frank Reitz, successively chief justice and modernising president of the young republic, went on to serve as State Secretary of the Transvaal Republic. In 1899, he stood shoulder to shoulder with President Paul Kruger to resist Britain’s war of conquest in Southern Africa. At the heart of this tale is the extraordinary life of Deneys Reitz, third son of Frank Reitz and Bianca Thesen. The young Reitz’s account of his adventures in the field during the Anglo-Boer War (1899–1902), published as Commando, became a classic of irregular warfare. After a period of exile in Madagascar, he went on become one of South Africa’s most distinguished lawyers, statesmen and soldiers. Martin Meredith interweaves Reitz’s experiences, taken from his unpublished notebooks, with the wider story of Britain’s brutal suppression of Boer resistance.
Concise and readable, Afrikaner Odyssey is a wide-ranging portrait of an aristocratic Afrikaner family whose achievements run like fine thread through these turbulent times, and whose presence is still marked on the South African landscape.
Die Nederlandse historikus, Martin Bossenbroek, het in 2013 die Nasionale Nederlandse Geskiedenis-prys gewen vir sy nuwe kroniek oor die oorlog wat Suid-Afrika gevorm het, en die boek is ook in 2013 op die kortlys vir die AKO Letterkunde-prys geplaas. Beide hierdie toekennings is vername Nederlandse letterkundige pryse. Hierdie Afrikaanse hardeband, wat in 2015 as 'n Engelse en 'n Afrikaanse sagteband uitgegee gaan word, sal die lof en byval bevestig wat Bossenbroek reeds ontvang het, en aan Suid-Afrikaanse lesers die geleentheid bied om sy unieke storieverteltegniek te ervaar. Die Anglo-Boereoorlog (1899-1902) is al verskeie dinge genoem: die oorsaak van apartheid, die voorganger van die Eerste en Tweede Wereldoorloe, en die eerste media-oorlog (waar joernaliste vir die eerste keer by 'n oorlog ingebed was). Dit het gehelp om die nasiestaat van Suid-Afrika te skep en meer as 'n honderd jaar nadat die oorlog geeindig het, lei dit steeds tot vurige debatte. In Die Boereoorlog bied Martin Bossenbroek vir die eerste keer aan lesers die volledige storie met ongeewenaarde insig en detail. Bossenbroek volg drie kleurvolle hoofkarakters: die Nederlandse prokureur, staatsprokureur van die Suid-Afrikaanse Republiek, staatsekretaris en uiteindelike Europese gesant Willem Leyds; die Britse oorlogsjoernalis Winston Churchill, en die Boerekryger en toekomstige Suid-Afrikaanse politikus, Deneys Reitz. Bossenbroek se fassinerende nuwe blik op die oorlog troef Thomas Pakenham se klassieke topverkoper, en is 'n moet-lees vir alle Suid-Afrikaanse geskiedenis-entoesiaste.
This is the story of a Kavango tracker who served for six years with Koevoet ('Crowbar'), the elite South African Police anti-terrorist unit, during the South West African -Angolan bush war of the '80s. Most white team leaders lasted only two years; the black trackers walked the track for years. Sisingi Kamongo tells the story of the 50 or so firefighters he was involved in; he survived five anti-personnel mine and POMZ explosions and an RPG rocket on his Casspir APC vehicle; he was wounded three times; he tells of the trackers looking for shadows on the ground, facing ambush and AP mines at every turn; he tells of the art of tracking...where dust can tell time. Kamongo's story is supported by two accounts from renowned Koevoet team leaders, Herman Grobler and Francois du Toit- a powerful collection of experiences from South Africa's most successful counter-insurgency unit. The first-ever account of the bush war by a non-white member of the South African security forces. A unique, previously untold perspective of the bush war, by an on-the-ground tracker. A powerful, harrowing read; the tension is palpable.
Posterity has not been kind to Douglas Haig, the commander of the British Expeditionary Force on the Western Front for much of the First World War. Haig has frequently been presented as a commander who sent his troops to slaughter in vast numbers at the Somme in 1916 and at Passchendaele the following year. The Good Soldier re-examines Haig's record in these battles and presents his predicament with a fresh eye. More importantly, it re-evaluates Haig himself, exploring the nature of the man, turning to both his early life and army career before 1914, as well as his unstinting work on behalf of ex-servicemen's organizations after 1918. Finally, in this definitive biography, the man emerges from the myth.
The SS Mendi is a wreck site off the Isle of Wight under the protection of Historic England. Nearly 650 men, mostly from the South African Native Labour Corps (SANLC), lost their lives in February 1917 following a collision in fog as they travelled to serve as labourers on the Western Front, in one of the largest single losses of life during the conflict.
The loss of the SS Mendi occupies a special place in South African military history. Prevented from being trained as fighting troops by their own government, the men of the SANLC hoped that their contribution to the war effort would lead to greater civil rights and economic opportunities in the new white-ruled nation of South Africa after the war. These hopes proved unfounded, and the SS Mendi became a focus of black resistance before and during the apartheid era in South Africa. One hundred years on, the wreck of the SS Mendi is a physical symbol of black South Africans’ long fight for social and political justice and equality and is one of a very select group of historic shipwrecks from which contemporary political and social meaning can be drawn, and whose loss has rippled forward in time to influence later events; a loss that is now an important part of the story of a new ‘rainbow nation’.
The wreck of the SS Mendi is now recognised as one of England’s most important First World War heritage assets and the wreck site is listed under the Protection of Military Remains Act. New archaeological investigation has provided real and direct information about the wreck for the first time.
The loss of the Mendi is used to highlight the story of the SANLC and other labour corps as well as the wider treatment of British imperial subjects in wartime.
Die eiesoortige vriendskap tussen Winston Churchill en Jan Smuts is ’n studie in kontraste. In hul jeug het hulle uiteenlopende wêrelde bewoon: Churchill was die weerbarstige en energieke jong aristokraat; Smuts die asketiese, filosofiese Kaapse plaasseun, wat later aan Cambridge sou gaan studeer. Daar sou hy die eerste student word wat albei dele van die finale regskursus in dieselfde jaar neem en al twee met onderskeiding slaag.
Nadat hulle in die Anglo-Boereoorlog eers as vyande, en later in die Eerste Wêreldoorlog as bondgenote byeengebring is, het die mans ’n vriendskap gesmee wat oor die eerste helfte van die twintigste eeu gestrek het en tot Smuts se dood in 1950 voortgeduur het. Richard Steyn, die skrywer van Jan Smuts: Afrikaner sonder grense, bestudeer dié hegte vriendskap deur twee wêreldoorloë aan die hand van ’n magdom argiefstukke, briewe, telegramme en die omvangryke boeke wat oor albei mans geskryf is.
Dit is ’n fassinerende verhaal oor twee besonderse individue in oorlog en vrede – die een die leier van ’n groot ryk, die ander die leier van ’n klein, weerspannige lid van daardie ryk.
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