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. 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.
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What is it like to be born dirt-poor in South Africa? Clinton Chauke knows, having been raised alongside his two sisters in a remote village bordering the Kruger National Park and a squatter camp outside Pretoria.
Clinton is a young village boy when awareness dawns of how poor his family really is: there’s no theft in the village because there’s absolutely nothing to steal. But fire destroys the family hut, and they decide to move back to the city. There he is forced to confront the rough-and-tumble of urban life as a ‘bumpkin’. He is Venda, whereas most of his classmates speak Zulu or Tswana and he has to face their ridicule while trying to pick up two or more languages as fast as possible.
With great self-awareness, Clinton negotiates the pitfalls and lifelines of a young life: crime and drugs, football, religion, friendship, school, circumcision and, ultimately, becoming a man. Throughout it all, he displays determination as well as a self-deprecating humour that will keep you turning the pages till the end.
Clinton’s story is one that will give you hope that even in a sea of poverty there are those that refuse to give up and, ultimately, succeed.
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The ANC received a bloody nose in the 2016 local elections, when it lost three major metros to the opposition. Will the fractured ruling party be able to reunite under Cyril Ramaphosa and gain a majority at the polls in 2019? Or could the DA and the EFF overcome their vast ideological divide to oust the ANC?
The South African political landscape has changed dramatically since Jacob Zuma stepped down as president. Veteran political journalist Jan-Jan Joubert looks at all the possible scenarios, taking us behind the scenes into a world of political horse trading to analyse the options available to all the parties in the run-up to the next election. Will the oldest liberation movement in Africa have to form a coalition to stay in power? And what is the likelihood of the ANC’s turning to the EFF to bolster its support?
One thing is certain: deals will be done. By examining the results of the local elections, Joubert argues that the 2019 national elections may well be the first in 25 years in which no party wins an outright majority.
In exclusive interviews, political leaders also share their views on the major issues dividing – or perhaps uniting – South Africa today, and point the way to a new political future.
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Wilbur Smith has lived an incredible life of adventure, and now he shares the extraordinary true stories that have inspired his fiction.
I've been writing novels for over fifty years. I was lucky enough to miss the big wars and not get shot, but lucky enough to grow up among the heroes who had served in them and learn from their example. I have lucked into things continuously. I have done things which have seemed appalling at the time, disastrous even, but out of them has come another story or a deeper knowledge of human character and the ability to express myself better on paper and write books which people enjoy reading.
Along the way, I have lived a life that I could never have imagined. I have been privileged to meet people from all corners of the globe, I have been wherever my heart has desired and in the process my books have taken readers to many, many places. I always say I've started wars, I've burned down cities and I've killed hundreds of thousands of people - but only in my imagination!
From being attacked by lions to close encounters with deadly reef sharks, from getting lost in the African bush without water to crawling the precarious tunnels of gold mines, from marlin fishing with Lee Marvin to near death from crash-landing a Cessna aeroplane, from brutal school days to redemption through writing and falling in love, Wilbur Smith tells us the intimate stories of his life that have been the raw material for his fiction. Always candid, sometimes hilarious and never less than thrillingly entertaining, On Leopard Rock is testament to a writer whose life is as rich and eventful as his novels are compellingly unputdownable.
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