The current South African government has done nothing but discredit the soldiers of 32 battalion ever since they cut a deal with the National Party (NP) and demanded the disbandment of 32 Battalion as part of the package on the road to reconciliation and to end apartheid, which is quite Ironic considering that 32 Battalion was 98% "Black" African and probably only represented less than 0,5% of all Foreign Nationals residing legally or illegally in South Africa. It seems that in an effort to "pay them back" the government is deliberately trying to break up the community by destroying the current village without providing an alternative communal village for all the families abandoned in the asbestos infested village of Pomfret where they were dumped in the first place, thus leaving the families destitute once again while at the same time trying to deny the bread winners the opportunity to work in commercial security roles that are internationally acceptable and not classified as mercenary related activities.
Besides genocide this is probably the cruellest manner of ridding an ethnic community.
There was a spirit of reconciliation displayed by the minority (White Africans) in abolishing apartheid, disbaning the liberation movements, accepting & absorbing them into the SA Military, accepting one man one vote fully knowing what the outcome of that would be and freeing all political prisoners in an effort of reconciliation and goodwill but then the very same people who gained from this genuine gesture of goodwill are now the same people applying reverse discrimination and actively colluding against the minority groups of our society.
Some of the people held in a Zimbabwe Prison
Not all the members in the Photo or involved in the group are ex- 32Bn members.
The events covered by the media regarding "reviewing the citizenship" of certain members
released from a Zimbabwe prison, is directly aimed at the ex-members of 32 Battalion in the group
who served sentence in a Zimbabwe jail and whether guilty or not guilty they have been
punished, so what is the SA Governments agenda? THEY ARE SOUTH AFRICAN CITIZENS who were
possibly susceptible and gullible to any offer of employ but certainly desperate to provide for their
families. They were already punished for their naivety so why do they have to be PUNISHED AGAIN
In South Africa even hardened criminals in prison are afforded better opportunity than the betrayed and abandoned members of 32 Battalion, in that prisoners participate in vocational training to equip themselves with the skills needed to secure employment once released, but absolutely nothing has been done to give vocational training to the ex-members of 32 battalion nor their families which is further proof of the governments ill intent to rid itself of this specific community (not to mention the Bushmen of 31 Battalion) rather than spend the time and effort to train the members for legitimate civilian roles.
Even the old and inept members of the so called Liberation Movements that could not pass the lowered grade to be absorbed into the new SANDF were sent to the Service Corps at Hammanskraal to be given vocational training and were even given financial rewards at the expense of the tax payer without ever having served in the SA Military, so why has there been no effort to provide vocational training for the Soldiers of 32 Battalion?
The best I ever experienced during the transition to the new SANDF was a man that was awarded the rank of Major and send to the School of Infantry as one of the Elite based only on (In his own words) his successful slaying of a white farmers family in the Messina district by planting a LANDMINE and then being locked up in jail as a terrorist on death row until he was released and absorbed into the SANDF. In the end justice played its role and alcohol eventually claimed another useless member of society .
If as much effort to try rid the country of our so called "undesirable" community was spent on addressing the current crime rate and other political issues more worthy of abusing tax payers money, then maybe South Africa would once again be listed in the "Paradise" category.
Please STOP to reconsider!
Any member of the public who can provide free vocational training, study bursaries or any form of legitimate employment to the 32 Battalion Portuguese community are kindly requested to contact the 32 Battalion VA committee on the link provided.
With the above in mind I would like to quote a poem written by John McCrae a Canadian sickened by what he had seen during the "Boer War" he none the less signed up in August 1914, and headed for France where he wrote this poem " In Flanders Fields".
In Flanders Fields
By: Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918)
IN FLANDERS FIELDS the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
(Special thanks to my Father for referring me to this relevant piece)
It is now a few years after they were sacrificed on the altar of expediency, and who would have thought that when they moved into Pomfret in the Northern Cape in 1989 that their lot would be what it is now.
The new town that they moved into after South West Africa was given to Swapo was called Esperanca, which
means hope in Portuguese. This town consisted of 800 new houses for the families of 32 and was opened by
Lieutenant General Georg Meiring "32 Battalion and its Soldiers have found a permanent home. This is a place of
hope - not hope on illusions but hope on facts. We promised you a place in the Republic of South Africa - you
are now South African citizens and also an integral part of the South African Defence Force. Praise to the Lord
who led us through so many dangers to this your permanent home. Please accept these houses as a token that
we care for our Soldiers" This was part of his speech.
"Once you have become a part of 32 and it's Black Soldiers it is impossible to tear away from them, 32 is the
Black Soldiers. There is a certain kind of mystique round about 32, for us it's a way of life" - Colonel M.B. Deport,
the Officer Commanding when 32 moved in.
Early in 1989 32Bn was moved from Buffalo in South West to Pomfret, an old mining town in the North Cape. The
facilities that Pomfret could offer were better than that at Buffalo but still left far to be desired. 800 new
houses were built starting in September 1989 and the last house was complete in November 1990. In total there
were 1156 houses and approximately 5500 inhabitants. Initially 32Bn and their dependants lived in a camp
consisting of 760 tents in heat, drought and sand storms but the people who lived there took it all on the chin
because they believed that the town that was rising out of the North West Cape Desert was proof that the
South African Government was keeping to its word, to stand by them as they had stood by South Africa.
Buffalo where 32 Battalion lived before moving to Pomfret was an idyllic place full of traditions and mysteries. Most of the traditions could be kept alive in Pomfret as any Unit tends to bring their traditions with them, and it's only the surroundings that change or are different. Traditions and culture go hand in hand and one must cherish ones culture. This these Portuguese Soldiers who fought and died for South Africa did. The streets in Pomfret were named after previous Commanders, Regimental Sergeant Majors and those Operations in which 32 Battalion fought and died in. There were four suburbs in Pomfret;
Savatè - which referred to Operation Savatè, which was the biggest Operation that 32 took part in and lost the most men.
Dos Combatentes - which translates as The Fighters.
Esperança - Hope, this was derived from a letter "the letter of Hope" that a Corporal wrote just before he committed suicide in 1977. In the letter he said that all the changes, the lack of being able to put roots down somewhere had made him very depressed. He ended the letter with "I declare that this suicide is because of the suffering endured by the troops up to now. However, the rest of my colleagues should continue with the Battalion - hoping in the future, I'm certain that the suffering will end sometime."
Nove de Março - "the ninth of March" a reference to the training area at Buffalo.
When 32 and their dependants moved in a furniture show was held for them and they were shown all the
modern electrical wonders that were on offer. In Pomfret there was a fully equipped Base hospital with
four Operating Theatres, a Dentist. A Delivery Theatre, X ray Units, Chemist, Social Worker and Health
Inspector and also 40 - 60 patients would attend the Out Patient Clinic on a daily basis. When more serious
cases occurred the patients were stabilised and airlifted to 1 MIL in Pretoria. There were three Schools in
Pomfret which catered for all races and the children were taught in Portuguese up to Standard 1, age 10,
and then in English, Portuguese and Afrikaans. The pupils averaged about 1350.
The Soldiers dependents averaged about 3.7 whereas most other Units had up to 10 dependants per head
of family. Leisure time was a bit of a problem as 32 was an Operational Unit and were on standby 99% of
the time. The sports that they preferred were Soccer and Volley Ball. Most of the wives and dependants
became an integral part of the Unit and were involved with camping, field trips, shooting at shooting
ranges and even did "Vasbyt".
32 Battalion always created the perception that it was only one Battalion, normally a Battalion would consist
of three companies and a support company, in reality there were far more than one Battalion in 32. I would
like to end this by repeating Meiring's speech
"32 Battalion and its Soldiers have found a permanent home. This is a place of hope - not hope on illusions but hope on facts. We promised you a place in the Republic of South Africa - you are now South African citizens and also an integral part of the South African Defence Force. Praise to the Lord who led us through so many dangers to this your permanent home. Please accept these houses as a token that we care for our Soldiers"
Does he remember these words in the wee hours of the morning when the demons come ...?
By Keith Evens
Please use the links below for more relevant information