The aftermath… After the dust had settled, the smell of gun powder had dispersed, the crashing sound of mortars and RPG7s had faded away … what ghosts returned with young South African soldiers of the border war generation who fought at the tip of the spear against the communist threat on South Africa’s border? Young ‘parabats’, manufactured by the formidable factory of 1 Parachute Battalion, had been rushed to the forefront of the action in the Border War.
Now in the same civilian clothes they had worn before, many returning troops found they were not the same young men as before. For many South African troepies from different military units and phases of the bush war, the dust and the smoke took years to settle; parts of their souls were forever connected to, and travelled back, to a time when birds erupted from trees in a smoke filled battle zone, like bats out of hell … to the smell of the ambush, the head count after the contact, visions of the conventional battle fields of Angola, chasing hot spoor trails in Namibia.
Forever standing guard over lost comrades, and even dead enemies. This is the aftermath, the beginning of a long personal battle … but now there is no help from a platoon buddy or a watchful platoon sergeant. In this new battle, on this new journey, you walk alone.