Exile Armies pp 115-128 | Cite as

South African Exile Armies: Spear of the Nation and Other Weapons in the Anti-Apartheid Movement

  • James Higgs


A striking feature of South African history is the diversity of its military antecedents. One of the most celebrated of these is that of the Zulu people who visited such a crushing defeat on the forces of the British Empire in the battle of Isandhlwana in 1879.3 Within a few years those same forces were being opposed by an even more tenacious and tactically astute foe: that of the Boer commando.4,5 When the Union Defence Force was created in 1912, it was formed out of eight military traditions. Coincidentally, it would also be eight military units, which would eventually form the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) when it eventually came into being in the democratic South Africa.


African National Congress Apartheid Regime Armed Struggle High Command Liberation Struggle 
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  1. For a contemporary account consider D. C. F. Moodie, Moodie’s Zulu War (Cape Town: North and South Press, 1988).Google Scholar
  2. See T. Pakenham, The Boer War (London: Abacus, 1979).Google Scholar
  3. A remarkable insight into this conflict is offered by F. Pretorius, Life on Commando During the Anglo-Boer War 1899–1902 (Cape Town: Human and Rousseau, 1999).Google Scholar
  4. R. Kasrils, Armed and Dangerous (London: Heinemann, 1993).Google Scholar
  5. Cited in G. Mills, ‘The South African National Defence Force: Between Downsizing and New Capabilities?’, Paper delivered at the Australian National University, 15 January 1988.Google Scholar

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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 2005

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  • James Higgs

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