Arn Durand, author of Zulu Zulu Foxtrot: To Hell and Back with Koevoet, has shared a number of photographs from his time with Koevoet, a fighting unit that operated under the South African Defence Force in the Border War.
These photographs from the Zulu Zulu Foxtrot Facebook page give you a small glimpse into the soldiers’ lives:
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Business Day‘s Stephen Timm interviewed Arn Durand about his latest book, Zulu Zulu Foxtrot. This is the second book by Durand about his six years as part of the police counterinsurgency unit Koevoet. They discussed Durand’s motive for writing the book as well as the reception of his first book, Zulu Zulu Golf.
For almost six years, Arn Durand was part of one of SA’s biggest killing machines, attacking villagers, mowing down guerrilla fighters in the dense bush of northern Namibia and southern Angola and executing prisoners.
Twenty-five years on, with the release of Zulu Zulu Foxtrot (Zebra Press), his second book detailing his experiences with police counterinsurgency unit Koevoet, he remains unapologetic, despite his claims of having been involved in the killing of about 300 people.
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Random House Struik has published a lengthy excerpt from Zulu Zulu Foxtrot, the follow-up to Arn Durand’s Zulu Zulu Golf:
It was another cold morning at Okatopi. We were deploying with Zulu Hotel, which was becoming common practice. Frans came out from the ops room. There was a last-minute change of plan: Frans wasn’t going to be deploying with us; he was going off to train new Koevoet recruits. Warrant Officer Jack McMaster was second in command of Zulu Foxtrot and was still away on a well-deserved break, which left Alf and Zulu Hotel’s Small George in command. At this stage of Koevoet’s life, it had been decided that an officer should command each fighting team. There were not enough officers to go round, so most of the officers were put in command of two teams. Frans was technically in command of both Zulu Foxtrot and Zulu Hotel, but Zulu Hotel did have its own commander, Sergeant George Lourentz. Some teams decided to operate together while others did their own thing. George chose to operate for the most part with Frans, who ultimately called the shots.
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Zulu Zulu Foxtrot is the explosive follow-up to Zulu Zulu Golf, covering Arn Durand’s next few years in Koevoet, the most deadly fighting force involved in the Border War.
After moving to the unit Zulu Foxtrot, Durand went deeper into Angola than before and was involved in more contacts with the enemy, which he describes in nerve-shattering detail. Balancing the action is a dramatic human story, as Durand faces the tragic death of his commander, Frans Conradie, one of the pioneers of Koevoet, who had become a mentor to him.
Written in the same gripping, novelistic style as its predecessor, Zulu Zulu Foxtrot recreates the experience of being in the heat of battle and delves more deeply into the psyche of the modern warrior.
About the author
Arn Durand was born in Chloorkop near Kempton Park in 1961 and grew up in Durban. In 1982 he became a member of the notorious Special Ops K (‘Koevoet’) at Oshakati in northern Namibia. During the six years that he served, he engaged in 127 contacts with the enemy, SWAPO. He was ambushed many times and survived three anti-tank mine explosions. Today he works as a tour guide, and he is the author of Zulu Zulu Golf.
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Troepie: From Call-up to Camps is a collection of excerpts from interviews with former conscripts in which they recall their time in the South African Defence Force.
The chapters are structured according to the general sequence of a conscript’s experience: receiving call-up papers, klaaring in, the first week of Basics, keuring, bush phase, second-phase training, general service, the Border, Angola, the townships, klaaring out and camps. Appendices give additional information on a range of matters, from the context of the Angola War to National Service medals. A comprehensive glossary explains military terms.
Cameron Blake lives in Cape Town. He works at The Africa Star, a shop that sells coins, medals and surplus military items, where he conducted most of the interviews that appear in this book.
Troepie: From Call-up to Camps is also available in Afrikaans as Troepie: van blougat tot bosoupa.
Vir meer as ’n halfmiljoen wit Suid-Afrikaanse mans wat voor 1994 opgeroep is, was Nasionale Diensplig ’n verpligte, veeleisende en intense ervaring wat ’n kragtige uitwerking op hulle lewe gehad het. Hierdie boek is ’n versameling vertellings waarin meer as veertig voormalige dienspligtiges hulle herinneringe aan hulle dienstydperk in die Suid-Afrikaanse Weermag met ons deel.
Die hoofstukke lei jou deur die fases wat die loopbaan van ’n Nasionale Dienspligtige gevorm het: oproepinstruksies, inklaar, Basies, keuring, bosfase, tweedefase-opleiding, algemene diens, die Grens, Angola, die townships, uitklaar en kampe. Met die klem op die humor sowel as die swaarkry, verskaf hierdie vertellings ’n verskeidenheid perspektiewe op inspeksies, dril, wagdiens, Grenspatrollies, kontak, en die alledaagse lewe in die SAW.
Ook ingesluit is amptelike dokumente soos oproepinstruksies, uittreksels uit die Basiese Opleiding-handleiding, en ’n uitklaarsertifikaat. Bylaes verskaf meer inligting oor die geskiedenis van Nasionale Diensplig en plaas die Grensoorlog en ander kwessies binne konteks.
Troepie: van blougat tot bosoupa moet gelees word deur enigiemand wat Nasionale Diensplig gedoen het, of iemand ken wat dit gedoen het. Dit is ’n insiggewende en fassinerende verslag van wat dienspligtiges in werklikheid ervaar het.
Cameron Blake het in Johannesburg grootgeword en aan die Michaelis Skool vir Beeldende Kunste in Kaapstad gestudeer voordat hy sy Nasionale Diensplig in die vroeë negentigs gedoen het. Hy werk tans by The Africa Star, ’n winkel in Kaapstad wat muntstukke, medaljes en militêre items verkoop, waar hy die onderhoude wat in hierdie boek gebruik is, gevoer het.
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