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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!
In 2013, former U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden leaked secret documents revealing that state agencies like the NSA had spied on the communications of millions of innocent citizens. International outrage resulted, but the Snowden documents revealed only the tip of the surveillance iceberg. Apart from insisting on their rights to tap into communications, more and more states are placing citizens under surveillance, tracking their movements and transactions with public and private institutions. The state is becoming like a one-way mirror, where it can see more of what its citizens do and say, while citizens see less and less of what the state does, owing to high levels of secrecy around surveillance.
In this book, Jane Duncan assesses the relevance of Snowden’s revelations for South Africa. In doing so she questions the extent to which South Africa is becoming a surveillance society governed by a surveillance state. Duncan challenges members of civil society to be concerned about and to act on the ever-expanding surveillance capacities of the South African state. Is surveillance used for the democratic purpose of making people safer, or is it being used for the repressive purpose of social control, especially of those considered to be politically threatening to ruling interests? She explores the forms of collective action needed to ensure that unaccountable surveillance does not take place and examines what does and does not work when it comes to developing organised responses.
This book is aimed at South African citizens, academics as well as the general reader, who care about our democracy and the direction it is taking.
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.
From Cabinda in Angola to Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, 4 Reconnaissance Regiment conducted numerous clandestine seaborne raids during the Border War. They attacked strategic targets such as oil facilities, transport infrastructure and even Russian ships. All the while 4 Recce’s existence and capability was largely kept secret, even within the South African Defence Force.
With unparalleled access to previously top secret documents, 50 operations undertaken by 4 Recce, other Special Forces units and the South African Navy are described here in Iron Fist From The Sea. The daunting Operation Kerslig (1981), in which an operator died in a raid on a Luanda oil refinery and others were injured, is retold in spine-tingling detail. The book reveals the versatility and effectiveness of this elite unit and also tells of both the successes and failures of its actions. Sometimes missions go wrong, as in Operation Argon (1985) when Captain Wynand Du Toit was captured. This fascinating work will enthrall anyone with an interest in Special Forces operations.
Iron Fist From The Sea takes you right to the raging surf, to the adrenalin and fear that is seaborne raiding.
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.
This is the story of a brave warrior and “a formidable tactician, a masterly politician and a brilliant orator”; a Xhosa Nkosi who destroyed a British Navy troopship that threatened to annihilate his nation in 1852; the story of how the attack was carried out by a few African black Xhosa people.
This is the story of a lone abalone diver who spent scores of hours investigating the wreck of HMS ‘Birkenhead’ between 1958 and 1988. This is the story how the irrefutable evidence of sabotage was found. This is the story of Britain´s mindless invasion into Xhosaland.
This is the lamentable story how one of the bravest African Royals was buried in a pauper´s hole on Robben Island; a disrespect and disgust to the Xhosa Kingdom in general and the amaRharhabe in particular.
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.
It probably took a fraction of a second from the knock - a single bang - to the opening of the door and the entry of an unexpected visitor into the room. They had just finished their lunch. The unannounced visitor ...simply pretended that everything was normal. There he stood - unfazed and somehow gigantic in his presence. The room had suddenly been invaded by a man who was to be a landmark in the lives of the trainees...
The book opens in China, 1962. Andrew Mlangeni is one of a small select group undergoing military training. The unannounced visitor is Mao Tse-Tung. While still at school, Andrew Mlangeni joined the Communist Party of South Africa and also the ANC Youth League. These were the organisations that shaped his values. Decades of resourceful activism were to lead to his arrest and life sentence in the Rivonia trial. Mlangeni's lifelong commitment to the struggle for liberation reverberates with other biographies of leading figures. His perspective comes from a somewhat ambiguous position in the hierarchy of liberation leaders. Mlangeni was selected as one of the first-ever six members who received military training in China before the formation of Umkhonto we Sizwe. He seems to have been chosen because he was a dedicated, intelligent and dependable operative, rather than a leader.
Even after his release after 25 years on Robben Island, Mlangeni was not given a senior position in the post-apartheid democratic government. 'I was always the backroom boy,' says Andrew Mlangeni about himself. This story of an ANC elder is a rigorously researched historical record overlaid with intensely personal reflections which intersect with the political narrative. Above all, it is one man's story, set in the maelstrom of the liberation struggle.
This biographical project has been developed for, and published in conjunction with, the June and Andrew Mlangeni Foundation.
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.
It is the early 1990s and South Africa is on a knife-edge. Nelson Mandela is free at last, but a peaceful political transition looks impossible. In the midst of all this the NP government faced the ANC at the negotiation table at Codesa. As head of National Intelligence (NI), Niel Barnard was central to this process. He also reveals intriguing details of top-secret meetings between the ANC and the NI in hotel rooms in Europe, and writes about his encounters with the Russian KGB in Moscow.
Hierdie pragtige kleurboek bevat meer as 100 rare foto’s uit die Anglo- Boereoorlog waarop Nico die afgelope paar jaar in sy ‘speurtogte’ as leke-historikus afgekom het. Dit sluit in etlike glasnegatiewe uit die oorlog waarvoor hy ’n spesiale skandeerder moes laat maak het om dit te digitaliseer.
Die foto’s bied ’n baie intieme blik op Boerekrygers en Britse soldate te velde en in hul kampe en bevat wonderlike detail oor praktiese werklikhede van die oorlog. Tussendeur die foto’s vertel Nico die verhale van sy ontdekkingstogte oor die jare.
Van die dagboek van 'n Boerekrygsgevangene wat op die vullishoop van die DBV gevind is tot die oorlogslagveld wat hy herontdek het.
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.
Vulture soup, anyone? Or how about diesel-dipped dog biscuits as a side to some fried python? If you prefer something less severe, then how about having a braai on top of a submarine out in the middle of the ocean?
The South African Special Forces, or Recces, are known for being fearless and tough. Not only must they pass a notoriously gruelling selection course, but once they have qualified as operators, they often spend weeks in the bush living off rat packs and whatever else they can find. This cookbook with a difference combines stories about their experiences in the field during the Border War with recipes from the bush and the sea, and even a few from the kitchen. Fortunately, most meals are edible! These recipe stories offer insight into the scope of activities of the different reconnaissance units, including 4 Recce at Langebaan, 5 Recce at Phalaborwa and 1 Recce at Durban.
Readers will also learn about some of the important life skills needed to be a member of the Special Forces as well as Recce philosophy, such as staying in the moment and being adaptable. This book feeds into the public’s fascination with this elite unit and will help to break down some of the secrecy around the Recces.
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.
A young Namibian goes into exile to join SWAPO’s military wing, PLAN, in the late 1970s. After dedicating his life to the movement, a series of purges within the organisation lead to him being wrongfully branded an apartheid spy and traitor. So begins Oiva Angula’s terrifying story of betrayal and torture by his comrades, which culminates in imprisonment in the omalambo – the hidden pits in Lubango, Angola, into which he, along with many others, is cast and left to die.
SWAPO Captive threads together personal narrative and national history, including childhood impressions that hint at a racially segregated existence, the rising tensions sparked by the apartheid regime’s rule over South West Africa, his father’s role in early liberation movements, and Angula’s own politicisation and decision to join the struggle.
SWAPO Captive reveals little-known narratives from ‘the other side’ of the Border War: life in a PLAN training camp, political education in the Eastern Bloc, and a foot soldier’s role in the war for independence.
Angula also addresses the ‘wall of silence’ imposed after independence in Namibia with respect to possible war crimes committed by SWAPO, condemning the party that claimed to fight for freedom for all.
It was in 1972 when the seemingly ordinary Craig Williamson registered at Wits University and joined the National Union of South African Students (NUSAS). Williamson was elected NUSAS’s vice president and in January 1977, when his career in student politics came to an abrupt end, he fled the country and from Europe continued his anti-apartheid ‘work’. But Williamson was not the activist his friends and comrades thought he was. In January 1980, Captain Williamson was unmasked as a South African spy.
Williamson returned to South Africa and during the turbulent 1980s worked for the foreign section of the South African Police’s notorious Security Branch and South Africa’s ‘super-spy’ transformed into a parcel-bomb assassin.
Through a series of interviews with the many people Williamson interacted with while he was undercover and after his secret identity was eventually exposed, Jonathan Ancer details Williamson’s double life, the stories of a generation of courageous activists, and the book eventually culminates with Ancer interviewing South Africa’s ‘super-spy’ face-to-face. It deals with crucial issues of justice, reconciliation, forgiveness, betrayal and the consequences of apartheid that South Africans are still grappling with.
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.
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.
The first definitive history of the Mossad, Shin Bet, and the IDF’s targeted killing programs, hailed by The New York Times as “an exceptional work, a humane book about an incendiary subject.”
The Talmud says: “If someone comes to kill you, rise up and kill him first.” This instinct to take every measure, even the most aggressive, to defend the Jewish people is hardwired into Israel’s DNA. From the very beginning of its statehood in 1948, protecting the nation from harm has been the responsibility of its intelligence community and armed services, and there is one weapon in their vast arsenal that they have relied upon to thwart the most serious threats: Targeted assassinations have been used countless times, on enemies large and small, sometimes in response to attacks against the Israeli people and sometimes preemptively.
In this page-turning, eye-opening book, journalist and military analyst Ronen Bergman—praised by David Remnick as “arguably [Israel’s] best investigative reporter”—offers a riveting inside account of the targeted killing programs: their successes, their failures, and the moral and political price exacted on the men and women who approved and carried out the missions.
Bergman has gained the exceedingly rare cooperation of many current and former members of the Israeli government, including Prime Ministers Shimon Peres, Ehud Barak, Ariel Sharon, and Benjamin Netanyahu, as well as high-level figures in the country’s military and intelligence services: the IDF (Israel Defense Forces), the Mossad (the world’s most feared intelligence agency), Caesarea (a “Mossad within the Mossad” that carries out attacks on the highest-value targets), and the Shin Bet (an internal security service that implemented the largest targeted assassination campaign ever, in order to stop what had once appeared to be unstoppable: suicide terrorism).
Including never-before-reported, behind-the-curtain accounts of key operations, and based on hundreds of on-the-record interviews and thousands of files to which Bergman has gotten exclusive access over his decades of reporting, Rise and Kill First brings us deep into the heart of Israel’s most secret activities. Bergman traces, from statehood to the present, the gripping events and thorny ethical questions underlying Israel’s targeted killing campaign, which has shaped the Israeli nation, the Middle East, and the entire world.
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.
Shrouded in secrecy due to the covert nature of their work, the legendary Recces have fascinated South Africans for years. Now one of these elite soldiers has written a tell-all book about the extraordinary missions he embarked on and the nail-biting action he experienced in the Border War.
Shortly after passing the infamously gruelling Special Forces selection course in the early 1980s, Koos Stadler joined the so-called Small Teams group at 5 Reconnaissance Regiment. This subunit was made up of two-man teams and was responsible for numerous secret and highly dangerous missions deep behind enemy lines. With only one team member, Stadler was sent to blow up railway lines and enemy fighter jets in the south of Angola. As he crawled into and out of enemy-infested territory, he stared death in the face many times.
A gripping firsthand account that reveals the near superhuman physical and psychological powers these Special Forces operators have to display.
In the world of espionage, truth is the first victim and nothing is as it seems. Here, for the first time, South Africa’s most notorious apartheid spy, Olivia Forsyth, lays bare the story of her remarkable life. With remarkable courage and brutal honesty she attempts to set the record straight.
Olivia Forsyth was a romantic young woman in search of adventure when she joined the Security Police with visions of international derring-do. But Craig Williamson, her unit head, had other ideas. Olivia was trained to spy on students before being dispatched to Rhodes University, a supposed ‘hotbed’ of anti-apartheid radicalism. It wasn’t long before Olivia had infiltrated various student organisations, feeding vital information back to her handler.
She came to hold prominent positions on campus and, as reward, was promoted to Lieutenant. Having reached the end of her studies, Olivia set her sights on a much more ambitious – and dangerous – target: the ANC in exile. But what should have been her greatest triumph as a spy turned into disaster when the ANC threw her into Quatro, the notorious internment camp in Angola. This is a riveting story set in the final years of apartheid.
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