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Thursday, November 07, 2019

Remembering some of my Best Times in the SA Army - A Photo Album

In an Oryx Helicopter over De Brug Training Area

Loading up on ammo before a military exercise

My friend Riaan Vermeulen and I before a military exercise

Simply on parade

My old platoon sergeant ensuring the troops are ready for inspection

Using binoculars during a military exercise

Order group after a hard day in the bush

In a chopper again

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Ending my career as a soldier in the SANDF



















Tomorrow I will end my career as a soldier in the South African National Defence force after twenty-five years of service.

During these twenty-five years, I have deployed to some of the most dangerous places in the world, including deployments inside South Africa. I have slept in bivvies and in trenches, in mud, rain and ice-cold conditions. I have walked many kilometres in very heavy kit under the burning African sun and yes and I have spent long times away from loved ones.

And yes, I have also complained because I am still human.

But in the end the good outweighed the bad for most of my career and I have become a stronger man because of all the hardships I went through. I am therefore very thankful for this experience. I have also made some great friends and met people who have made my life and experiences so much richer, including my wife, Lien. She is an absolute angel and helped me stay in this organisation as long as I have because in the last couple of years I have become more and more unhappy, and so did she in her job as a nurse.

We needed change and this is why I am letting go of this career and attempting to start another. With my farewell function yesterday I was not emotional and that is a definite sign that it is time to go.

I have no regrets, because all decisions I made I made with the emotions and the knowledge I had available at the time of making them.

Farewell to all my brothers and sisters in arms. Most people will never understand us.

I salute you.




Sunday, October 06, 2019

We are Going to New Zealand

























This blog may be called Soldier of Africa, but big changes are afoot. My wife and I have made the decision to emigrate to New Zealand as soon as possible.

There has been a lot of talk lately in the media about increased South African emigration and a large chunk of those people are going to New Zealand. The reasons being that in so many ways New Zealand currently offers more than South Africa, and I say this with a heavy heart as I do not want to leave my country and I want it to succeed for everybody.

South Africa obtained its freedom on 27 April 1994 when for the first time ever the government was elected by all South Africans, not just by a minority based on race. What a wonderful day that was when Nelson Mandela became the country's first representative president and the idea of true freedom and equality, at last, seemed like a reality. But alas, a quarter of a century later South Africa is not living up to the ideals of the Rainbow Nation and it makes me feel frustrated and disappointed that in the space of a quarter of a century we still cannot build our country together.

The recent xenophobic attacks gave this country a very bad reputation, not just outside of Africa, but especially in Africa where nations like Nigeria had to evacuate their nationals from our country. The latest crime statistics paint a picture of a country that is not changing in terms of criminality, especially violent crime. In fact, it is becoming worse. Tax revenue is being utilised to bail out large companies like South African Airways, Escom, and the SABC. These are failing enterprises and despite constant bailouts, nothing seems to be improving there and the money seems to be utilised for paying out large salaries instead of fixing whatever is broken. To make this worse taxpayers are leaving the country. Something should have been done a long time ago to prevent emigration, but either nobody cared or the strategy did not work.

Not only am I tired of the negative things happening, which may influence my family, but I am also concerned with the high unemployment rate, which affects especially poor South Africans the worst. Unemployment shatters the dreams of those people and leads to more crime.

My stepson Marcelle is now twelve years old and we want him to grow up in a safer environment. In fact, I want my wife to grow up in a safer environment. Here that is becoming less and less possible not to mention the lowering of professional standards in all spheres of South African life. Lately there is talk of lowering the age when pupils may leave school to fifteen. Not yet law, but there are other issues as well.

New Zealand is not perfect, but I would rather cash out here and try to build something there than to try to make a living in a society that is not getting better for anybody when the possibilities are there. Therefore we have started getting our paperwork together to apply for our visas. Lien is fortunate that she is on a critical skills shortage list in New Zealand, but I am unable to join the New Zealand Army as they only accept citizens. My objective, therefore, is to spend our first two years studying for a diploma in draughting, architectural technology or project management and apply for a job then. In that time Lien will have to supply most of our income, but after that we should have more comfortable lives. Our aim is to obtain permanent residence and maybe one day we will become New Zealand Citizens, who knows.

Here is to our next adventure. Please root for us and if you are a New Zealander who wants to appoint a military veteran with good communication skills, leadership abilities and a team worker with integrity, intelligence and energy in your company then talk to me.  You can leave a message here or email me.

Here is my Linkedin page if you want more information.










Wednesday, March 29, 2017

South Africans must concentrate on the Center and avoid Loser Politicians




















In South Africa we roughly have three groupings. Those on the far right, those on the far left and the majority who are in the center and want a country that works or who are simply neutral.

Not the far right or -left provide any kind of realistically good future for South Africa because equality and equity is missing from their basic philosophies. Their confused way of looking at things will end in disaster eventually or simply go nowhere.

We as South Africans should also have thicker skins and stop taking the losers who claim to be leaders seriously. Let their ideas of what is right and wrong simply roll off your backs like water off the back of a duck. Remember, many of those so-called leaders are simply in it for the money and power.

South Africans must learn to distinguish between leaders with a loser mentality of taking and start to recognise the leaders with a giving mentality. Loser politicians rack up R1 million hotel bills or R1 million takeaway bills at Steers or KFC. Winner mentalities try to save money wherever they go.

Be careful of the men and women who wear ridiculously expensive clothing and jewelery. They are mostly part of the problem. Recognise the true leaders who go out of their way to create a society free and fair for all South Africans no matter colour or creed.

We should also try to recognise everyday South Africans who are unfortunately influenced by loser politicians. These people are not bad, they are simply influenced by a smooth-talking suit. Try to forgive them because they know not what they are doing.

Do not place other South Africans in a box from where you can judge them. This is typical of loser politicians. Once you place somebody in a box you judge them according to your pre-decided ideas and look for justification why you are right. You do not see them as people.

South Africans need to understand that in the end it is all about love and seeing individuals for who they are, accepting them for their mistakes just like you accept your loved ones for their mistakes.

When you cannot love you have a incorrectly programmed mind. The problem lies with you and if you think the problem lies with others remember that you are seeing them in the box you and others have created for them.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Friday, February 17, 2017

The Ten Most Beautiful Places in South Africa

1. Sabie waterfalls route.

Berlin Falls


The Sabie area is home to no less than seven spectacular and beautiful waterfalls, which is a lot of beauty packed together in such a relatively small area. Let’s face it, nothing gets as much beauty brownie points as a stunning waterfall. The mist, the sound, the clear water and the surrounding nature.

The seven waterfalls on the route include the twin 70m high Mac Mac Falls, named after the feisty Scottish miners who panned for gold in the area in the 1870’s, the 94m high Lisbon Falls named after a farm in the area and probably the most spectacular falls in this cluster, next are the 80m high Berlin Falls named after German prospectors, then the 70m high Bridal Veil Falls, the 68m Lone Creek Falls and the smaller, but no less impressive Horseshoe Falls and Forest Falls.

The area these falls appear in is spectacular in itself and includes the Pinnacle, God's Window and Bourke's Luck Potholes. No visit to South Africa would be complete without seeing this little treasure.

2. Blyde River Canyon.

Blyde River Canyon


Imagine a winding green river canyon with 800m sheer drops in places. Imagine round dolomite hilltops against the backdrop of the canyon and breath-taking viewpoints such as at a spot called God’s Window. If you can imagine that then you may almost have an idea what this area looks like but it is probably even more spectacular in person.

The Blyde River Canyon is the third largest canyon in the world and the biggest green canyon. It stretches over a distance of 25km and is an average of 750m deep. It forms the northern part of the Drakensberg Escarpment.

The only way to describe this canyon is “spectacular”. Definitely worth a visit in your lifetime. At least one adventure company offers microlight flights over the canyon. Imagine what an incredible view and experience that could be, wind in the face with amazing dead drop green cliffs.

3. Namaqualand during the flower season.

Namaqualand Flowers


Known as South Africa’s Outback, Namaqualand is an arid area, but in spring it hosts one of the most beautiful wild flower displays. The semi desert is transformed into multi-coloured carpets of stunning contrast which you have to see to believe.

The area in question lies about five hours North of Cape Town which in itself is an area with more flower and plant diversity than you can imagine. Included in the flower route as it is known are the Richtersveld National Park, Goegap Nature Reserve, and Skilpad Wild Flower Reserve.

The area of Namaqualand stretches from the Atlantic Ocean in the West to the little town of Pofadder in the East. This is definitely Big Sky country and spectacular in a way that warrants its place as one of the most beautiful places in South Africa..

4. Hogsback.

Madonna and Child Waterfall in Hogsback


Hogsback is recognised by its three flat-topped mountains in the Amatole Mountains in the picturesque Eastern Cape Province of South Africa. The area has some amazing views, beautiful green indigenous forests and animals such as Cape Parrots, Samango Monkeys and the stunning Knysna Loerie bird.

Intrepid travellers and tourists will find a number of beautiful waterfalls in the area. It is ideal for a romantic breakaway, hikes, extreme sports and for the art connoisseur this area has some very unique and beautiful art, which should elicit complimentary “oohs” and “ahs”.

Not only is Hogsback such a beautiful area, but it will touch your soul in ways you could not imagine possible. Based on my own experience you can visit here and three days later you will be stress-free when you drive back to civilisation. What a way to de-stress!

5. Tsitsikamma.

Views on the Otter Trail


Tsitsikamma is a Khoisan word meaning “place of much water” and has a high rainfall and temperate climate. It is located slap bang in the middle of the area known as the garden Route, which hosts some beautiful scenery and amazing views along the Cape South Coast.

The area is characterised by deep gorges leading to the Indian Ocean and includes 180m high cliffs. There are various outdoor activities available in the area including canoeing into deep water-logged gorges and zip lines. The Storms River has a couple of cable suspension bridges spanning it near its entry into the Indian Ocean.

The area is also known for the Otter Hiking Trail, which is a once-in-a-lifetime hiking experience. The hiking trail is tough and one crosses various rivers. It is impossible to time the hike to such an extent that you can cross all rivers at low tide, so be prepared to get wet. The trail is a five day experience stretching over 43km and includes phenomenal views and a closeness to nature you pay money to experience.

6. Sodwana Bay Reef.

Sodwana Bay Reef


Sodwana Bay is a World Heritage Site and the reef there is the most southern coral reef in the world. It is situated on the South African East Coast and forms part of the St Lucia Wetlands Park and is rated by divers as one of the ten best diving spots in the world.

More than 1100 species of fish have been identified in the area and the lack of silt caused by no rivers flowing into the areas means visibility stands at an average of 12m with up to 40m on good days. A perfect diving area for scuba enthusiasts with water temperatures averaging 26 degrees Celsius.

In winter visibility is less due to all the Plankton in the water, but this again causes perfect conditions in which to view Whale Sharks and manta Rays. Humpback Whales are a common site from June to November and is a preferred aggregation sites of the pregnant ragged-tooth shark from November to March.

7. Cape Point and Chapman’s Peak Drive.

Chapman's Peak Drive, Cape Point


Chapman’s Peak Drive is one of the most spectacular roads in the world snaking around one of the most iconic capes in the world from Noordhoek to Hout Bay. In fact Chapman’s Peak Drive has been the backdrop for many shiny car television advertisements and can be found in various movies. Hardly a month goes by without some film crew filming on it.

The road is characterised by towering cliffs overhead and sheer drops to the Indian and Atlantic Oceans. When rounding Cape point one can actually see where the Oceans meet. When you have completed the 9km route you will realise you have just done something best described as iconic and you can definitely write home about it.

Chapman’s Peak Drive is now a toll road so to better preserve it and is seen as a venue of strategic economic importance to Cape Town, which is one of the iconic cities of the world. Cape Point is a World Heritage Site and nature reserve with about 7750 hectares of indigenous vegetation and animals such as baboon and Cape Mountain Zebra.

8. Cape Vidal Beach.

Cape Vidal


Cape Vidal is a beautiful beach nestled between Lake St Lucia in the West and the Indian Ocean in the east. It is a snorkelling and sport fishing paradise and falls within the St Lucia Marine Reserve. The shores of Lake St Lucia are home to Reedbuck, Crocodile, Buffalo and Hippos to name but a few and the Indian Ocean Coast boasts a wide white beach.

On the Eastern side it hosts fifty or more campsites in the forest next to the beach for those visiting to get the most out of the experience. This experience includes fishing and access to the beautiful and wild beach. On a good day you can see Dolphins as well.

Cape Vidal is near the site of the Dorothea shipwreck, a wooded barque which was lost in heavy weather on 31 January 1898. This vessel was said to be carrying gold from the old Transvaal. The whereabouts of the wreck is apparently unknown however snorkelers may come across a chain in the bay which is said to have come from the wreck.

9. Whales at Hermanus.

Whales at Hermanus


Hermanus on the South African South Coast along Walker Bay is said to be the best land-based Whale watching site in the world. In fact many will go as far as to say it’s the Whale watching capitol of the world. Southern Wright Whales visit Walker Bay from July until December. 60 To 100 of these amazing creatures come to Walker Bay annually and can swim to within 10m of the coast!

Hermanus is geared towards tourism and includes horse riding, paragliding, kayaking, shark cage diving, fishing, hiking, plane trips or you can simply go shopping in one of its upmarket shops or go swimming and sunbathing.

You can enjoy a meal on the shore and watch Whales breaching a short distance away. No other place in the world offers that type of experience and very few things are as stunning or impressive as a massive whale breaching. Definitely something to experience and to remember.

10. Baviaanskloof.

Baviaanskloof


Another World Heritage Site in South Africa the Baviaanskloof can best be described as unspoilt nature at its best. It lies about 120km West of Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape Province and comprises an area of roughly 270 000 ha and the route through it is about 203km in length.

The road through it snakes between green hills and in the rainy season you can see many small waterfalls. The area is known as the scenic wonderland of the Eastern Cape and hosts hiking trails, camping areas etc.

It is difficult to describe one aspect of the Baviaanskloof because one has the experience the full drive to totally comprehend it, but if you can drive through this area then take the opportunity. The spectacular scenery, silence, nature and clear starry nights will get you hooked at you will be back for more.


Wednesday, February 15, 2017

The Bowling Green Massacre - A day that will live in infamy (or not)



















On 30 February 2016 one of the most heinous crimes ever was perpetrated upon the American public by four Extremist Chimpanzees from Syria (Virginia) when they went on a no-shooting spree killing absolutely nobody, but destroying the dreams of thousands of refugees wanting to enter the USA.

Waye, Kelli, Anne and Connie wanted to teach the students of Bowling Green University a lesson because the Dean, Chester Fancypants, decided to withhold all bananas from the four monkeys described by locals as intolerably cute. So cute in fact that it turned out to be dangerously cute.

On the morning of 30 February various students described hearing the terrifying sounds of "absolutely nothing happening". Apparently the no-shooting spree started at approximately the same time as when a taxi angrily blew its horn at an inconsiderate pedestrian probably named Percy and ended about twenty minutes later at precisely the moment nothing else happened.

Police were not notified and did not show up. The local university security guard, Dickie Cox, found the four monkeys directly after the incident in their cage. Waye was humping Kelli and Connie was grooming Anne. The air was thick with the sound of bored monkeys.

The day has been described by the Trump Administration as a day that no American should ever forget and that no refugee should either be made to forget - for their own good and for the good of all Americans. SCROTUS (The So-called Ruler of the US) attempted to find 30 February on a map, but failed miserably and blamed it on Chimpanzees everywhere.

The end - or is it?

Friday, February 10, 2017

How Telkom treats its customers like the heartless monopoly it is




















The way Telkom makes me wait for the installation of my new line is unacceptable. Six weeks later and I have to wait another two weeks now.

So, we moved into a new house and on 3 January I went to Telkom Potchefstroom and asked for a line installation. The person who helped me was very helpful and after ordering the line I received a confirmation SMS.

On 6 January I receive an SMS that my installation is scheduled for 18 January.

On 16 January I receive an SMS that my installation has been re-scheduled for 9 February, three and a half weeks later! No explanation is given so I phone Telkom and after hanging on for twelve minutes the person who helps me informs me that Telkom has a backlog and that is why this has happened. I have no choice but to accept this. Three and a half weeks more of buying cellphone data.

I had also taken leave for 18 January and am unable to cancel it because I have scheduled a garden service to come and give me a quotation on the same day.

I go back to work and ask my employer for leave again on 9 February 2017. Yesterday was 9 February. I waited at my house the whole day and nothing had happened by 15:30 at which time I phone Telkom and the lady I speak to phones the technician called Andries and assures me he will reach my place that same day and by about 16:30.

At 16:55 I receive an SMS that a technician had been dispatched. At 17:08 I receive the same SMS. By 18:10 nobody had yet arrived. For the first time I am able to leave the house to go and buy food without fearing the technician showing up while I am gone. I have given up on the technician arriving.

This morning 10 February at 07:28 I receive an SMS that my installation is scheduled for 28 February. Two and a half weeks later!

What I do not understand is how I went from being informed that a technician had been dispatched to having to wait another eighteen days!? I am unable to take leave again as well, so what must I do to get a simple Telkom line!? Will they even arrive on 28 February!?

Telkom must find a way to communicate effectively with its customers and to not blatantly lie to them!

Effective Conflict Resolution





















The Arbinger Institute has been around for a while now. This world leading conflict resolution company was founded by C. Terry Warner PhD in the 1970's to help heal the world, based on what he learned when doing his PhD at Yale.

On the front page of Arbinger's website it states breakthrough results are only possible through a change in mindset we change mindset. And changing mindset is what they do to such an extent that conflict resolution is within grasp for their well-trained facilitators.

The premise of their conflict resolution method is based on a very simple concept:

When people discriminate it is because they are fulfilling a need. That need is to justify their feelings about another person or group of people.

When anybody sits down and systematically evaluates his/her feelings about another they find most of their fears are ungrounded. Once you have decided how to see others your set in place a method of checks and balances to meet your justifications. You are not evaluating others, you are trying to find as many square pieces to fit your square puzzle and you ignore other shapes.

What has happened is that you have placed yourself in a box as soon as you seek justification for your ideas about another. At Arbinger they talk about "getting out of the box". This is attained by cultivating an Outward Mindest.

The Arbinger Pyramid of Influence above is a broad indication of the steps to be followed. Cultivating an Outward Mindset means you have to decide to get out of the box first and then you have to start seeing others as human beings and not as objects, which is what lead to your inward mindset in the first place. Following these steps should lead to effective conflict resolution in all facets of life.

The Arbinger Institute has published three books. These are Leadership and Self-deception, The Anatomy of Peace and the latest offering is The Outward Mindset. The latest book offers practical ways to cultivate this outward mindset. I should mention that their methods have been effective in many spheres of life and that includes even resolving conflict between Palestinians and Israelis. More about this is available on their site.


Conflict resolution in as far as we have been practicing it has never been fully effective. Here the Arbinger team are changing things effectively and easily. Maybe we should start utilising these methods. This book is a life changer.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Sukhoi SU-35 - Mean Machine

Not only is the Sukhoi Su-35 probably the most beautiful looking fighter aircraft in the world, but it is one mean machine as well with impressive performance.

The Flanker-E (NATO designation) is a single seat twin engine supermaneuverable multirole fighter. It was built to bridge the gap between legacy fighters and the fifth generation Sukhoi PAK FA.



It's primary air to air missiles include the R-37 with a range of 30km. The R-37 is a highly maneuverable heat seeking missile. The pilot can lock onto a target by simply looking at it. This gives him/her a significant advantage in a dogfight where he can lock on with ranges as low as 300m. The R-27 has a range of 130km and are radar homing. The R-77 is a fire and forget missile with a range of 80km. The R-37 has a range of up to 400km.

It can carry stores which include rockets and missiles and has a 30mm cannon.



Its thrust to weight ratio is 1.13 with 50% fuel, which means it can climb vertically. The F-22 for example has a thrust to weight ratio of 1.08 and the outdated F-15's is 1.07. All of these actually do worse against the Eurofighter Typhoon with a thrust to weight ratio of 1.15.


With the Su-35 performing this well one can only wonder how the new PAK FA will perform. While we wait for the PAK FA to enter service we can enjoy the sleek lines and superb performance of the Su-35 so long.