South African Military History Society

Tel (+27)(0)10-237-0676 Fax (+27)(0)86-617-8002
Web:http://samilitaryhistory.org
Email: scribe@samilitaryhistory.org

NEWSLETTER - MAY 2011

The April meeting was surprisingly well-attended, considering that it was also the Annual General Meeting, an affair which is generally avoided by members. In this case, the AGM served as the curtain-raiser to the main speaker and was completed within 30 minutes.

The AGM followed the usual format of all such meetings and the Scribe is pleased to report that the Society is healthy; financially sound; and growing in membership. In our own particular Branch, attendance at the monthly meetings is also steadily growing and it has become the norm to have a full lecture theatre. The Committee, which has been doing a sterling job, was re-elected en bloc and the Chairman was re-elected for another year.

The business side of the meeting thus concluded, the Chairman, Ivor Little, called upon Colin Dean to award the prizes for the best lectures of the year. The prize for the best curtain-raiser went to Terry Willson for his lecture "The Boer, his Mauser and the First World War." The prize for the best main lecture went to Kathleen Satchwell for her lecture "The Lost Boys".

A framed certificate of appreciation was also presented to Mr John Keene (the retiring Director of the Museum) for his support and encouragement of the Society.

Ivor then introduced the speaker for the evening. This was Helmoed Romer-Heitman, one of South Africa's leading military experts, recently moved from Cape Town to Pretoria, and the well-known editor of a number of defence publications. The subject of his talk was "Current Military Affairs in Southern Africa".

Using a set of excellent maps, Helmoed discussed current conflicts in Africa; the potential for future conflict on the continent and the impact of strategic developments outside the continent. Starting with modern geo-strategic trends concerning the United States and China, and the rise of new powers such as China, India and Brazil, he then discussed trends in conflict such as international terrorism and organised crime.

Taking an overview of current conflicts in Africa, which include civil wars and guerrilla wars, he moved on to coups d'états and popular revolts, such as in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya. Failed states such as Somalia and, very nearly, Liberia and Sierra Leone, present a problem in Africa as they prove a haven for the export of terrorism, piracy, secessionist groups and plain banditry. All these problems are endemic in Africa, but we also have the problems of discontent with the old colonial borders; illegitimate governments clinging to power; natural resources; ethnic dislike and religious intolerance.

Helmoed gave a list of seven possible future inter-state flashpoints, the closest to home being Botswana and Namibia, over the waters of the Kavango system (resources). Five countries in Africa will possibly be subject to internal problems and three of these are our neighbours, namely Lesotho, Swaziland and Zimbabwe.

This was an absolutely fascinating talk and thus ensured a lengthy question time before Ivor called on Malcolm King to thank the speaker and make the usual presentation, after which the meeting adjourned for refreshments.

Ivor Little
Chairman and Scribe.

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2010 Accounts

Any member wishing to have a copy of the accounts which were presented at the AGM is welcome to contact joan@trolleyscan.com or at SAMHS PO Box 59227 Kengray 2100 or fax at 086 617 8002 and you will be sent a copy. Minutes of AGMs may be similarly requested..

FORTHCOMING LECTURES

Johannesburg

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KZN in Durban:

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Cape Town:

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SAMHSEC in Port Elizabeth:

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For KwaZulu-Natal details contact Ken Gillings 031-702-4828 ken.gillings@mweb.co.za
For Cape Town details contact Ray Hattingh 021-592-1279(am) ray@saarp.co.za
For Eastern Cape details contact Malcolm Kinghorn 041-373-4469 culturev@lantic.net
For Gauteng details contact Joan Marsh 010-237-0676 scribe@samilitaryhistory.org

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