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.
Chairman and Scribe.
Any member wishing to have a copy of the accounts which were presented at the AGM is welcome to contact email@example.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..
CR Sir Charles Ross and his notorious rifle Terry Willson
ML HMS Dorsetshire: Flagship Africa Station 1933-35 and WW II John Parkinson
KZN in Durban:
KZN in Durban:
DDH Letters from the Front Charles Whiteing
Main Talk Cecil Rhodes's role in Southern African military history Maj-Gen Chris le Roux
The Battle of the Alamo (February 23 - March 6, 1836) was a pivotal event in the Texas Revolution. Following a 13-day siege, Mexican troops under President General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna launched an assault on the Alamo Mission near San Antonio de Bexar (modern-day San Antonio, Texas). All but one of the Texan defenders were killed, which included such famous names as Jim Bowie and Davey Crockett amongst the fatalities. Santa Anna's perceived cruelty during the battle inspired many Texans to join the Texan Army. Seeking to revenge the wanton slaughter of the Alamo's survivors, the Texans defeated the Mexican Army at the Battle of San Jacinto, on April 21, 1836, ending the revolution. The 75th anniversary of the ending of the siege was commemorated in March.
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