SA Books – #New – February 2016 – 30 Degrees South



Chopper Down!

A Mercenary Pilot in Africa

Carl Alberts


ISBN 978-1-928211-78-5
SA Release: February 2016
RRP: R295,00

352 pages
234 x 153mm
50 colour & 100 b/w photos, 6 maps

After twenty years of armed conflict in Angola and political instability in
coup-ridden Sierra Leone going back to 1991, private corporate financial
interests became the catalyst that spawned the creation of possibly the
most successful private military corporation to date: Executive Outcomes
(EO). With its initial task of securing Angolan government control in
the Soyo oil-producing region, prompted by private oil interests, EO
subsequently became involved in the war against UNITA throughout
the country. With little more that 100 of its own combat personnel on
the ground in both the wars in Angola and Sierra Leone, the outstanding
success that EO achieved was in no small part due to the force-multiplying
effect and support given by its helicopter and jet pilots of the Air Wing.
This is the true story of the frustrations, personal sacrifices and too
often the extreme risks that the aircrews took while flying in support
of the ground offensives. Most of this was achieved with outdated
equipment and aircraft that were seldom airworthy. Living under
harsh conditions with the ever-present threat of enemy attack, as well
as great risk from their ill-disciplined allies, the contribution these
aircrews made to the overall success of the war effort was extensive.
Although EO costs were but a small fraction of the replacement United
Nations forces, which were generally unsuccessful, international
pressure to leave prematurely, led to renewed regional conflict
with great loss of life. The author describes the realities of ‘postwar
syndrome’, his subsequent failed business venture in Liberia
and his involvement in the conflict in the Ivory Coast that brought
about his arrest in South Africa for mercenary-related activities.


The War of 1893 and the 1896 Rebellions

Chris Ash

ISBN 978-1-928211-89-1
SA Release: February 2016
RRP: R295,00

320 pages
234 x 153mm
12 colour maps, 30 b/w illustrations


Sandwiched between the glamour and heroism of the Zulu War, and
the controversy and bitterness of the Boer War, the Matabele Wars of
the 1890s have long been southern Africa’s forgotten colonial wars.
There is no denying that the Matabele Wars are a lot less romantic
and photogenic than the Zulu War. The wonky, unreliable Gatlings
and ludicrous rocket batteries of the Zulu War had given way to the
highly effective Maxim guns that were seeing major action for the first
time. Nevertheless, the Matabele warriors showed every bit as much
heroism, determination and élan as had their kinsmen in the Zulu War.
With oft-claimed links to the infamous Jameson Raid, the origins
of the second Matabele War are as fascinating and controversial as
those of the first, and it was a dirty, hard-fought guerrilla war, more
akin to the African bush wars of the 1960s and ’70s than those waged
at the height of the colonial period. The brutal murders of women
and children committed by the insurgents and the widespread use of
dynamite to entomb rebels in their subterranean hiding places both
sparked fury and condemnation at the time, but aside from the butchery,
actions such as the Mazoe Patrol were as heroic as anything of the age.

This is the first history which covers both wars in a single volume,
allowing the reader to see how they flowed seamlessly into one another
and how they impacted on the southern Africa. Written in Ash’s typical
no-holds-barred style, the book thunders along rather than tiptoeing
round modern political niceties. Special attention is given to the many
outlandish characters of the period: old-school savage tyrant Chief
Lobengula, the ambitious and ever-scheming Cecil Rhodes, and the
rascally Dr Jameson, of course … but also men like Captain Lendy, one of
very few men in history to have died from putting a shot, Frederick Selous,
the archetypal great white hunter, Kagubi the infamous witchdoctor
who whipped up so much trouble during the rebellion, not to mention
the likes of Plumer, Forbes, Wilson, Colenbrander, Burnham, Baden-
Powell, Gifford and the extraordinary ‘Maori’ Hamilton-Browne. Indeed,
the cast is probably the most fascinating part of the tale: adventurous
young Anglo-Saxons from every corner of the empire and a few old
Indian fighters from the American West, who all found themselves
thousands of miles from home facing a valiant and terrifying enemy

The Caged Bird Sang No More

My Biafra Odyssey 1966 – 1970

Major General Philip Efiong


ISBN 978-1-928211-80-8
SA Release: February 2016
RRP: R295,00
Bulk Orders: R250,00
352 pages
234 x 153mm
50 b/w photos, 3 maps
Military History / African Studies /
Post-Colonial Conflicts / Memoir

This is Philip Efiong’s account of the Nigeria–Biafra Civil War (1967–
70). He was a key player during the event and second-in-command
to the Biafran leader, General Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu.
The story begins with the coup d’états of January and July 1966, and
recounts ensuing ethnic and regional conflicts. After the first coup,
Efiong is posted to State House as Principal Staff Officer and then to
Kaduna as Acting Commander of the First Brigade. But the second
coup is executed shortly after and he is forced to escape from Kaduna
following a failed attempt on his life. He makes his way back to the
East where he also relocates his family after officers have been directed
by the new military government to return to their regions of origin.

Efiong is in Enugu when talks break down between the new military head
of state, then Lieutenant Colonel Yakubu Gowon and the Governor of the
Eastern Region, Lieutenant Colonel Ojukwu. The result is a declaration of
secession by the Eastern Region (Biafra), which leads to the outbreak of war
in July 1967. In Biafra, after holding a number of positions, Efiong ends up
as Chief of General Staff and second-in-command to the Biafran leader.
With each incursion and onslaught by the enemy, the author moves his
family to a new town or village until they arrive in Owerri, their last place
of refuge before Biafra’s collapse. Ojukwu then flees and hands over power
to Efiong who performs the final task of leading a delegation to Lagos to
negotiate peace and deliver Biafra’s surrender. The war formally comes to
an end on 15 January 1970, after which former Biafran officers, including
Efiong, receive punishments ranging from dismissal to imprisonment.

Composite Warfare

The Conduct of Successful Ground Forces Operations in Africa

Eeben Barlow


SA Release: February 2016
RRP: R350,00
576 pages
234 x 156mm
100 b/w drawings & charts, 50 colour
& 100 b/w photos photos

Composite Warfare presents African soldiers and scholars with a true
African ‘Art of War’
As a continent, Africa presents her armies with a vast, dynamic and
multi-dimensional operating environment. It has numerous complex
and diverse ethnic, religious, cultural and tribal interests and loyalties,
along with many multifaceted threat-drivers coupled to varied and
infrastructure-poor terrain plus vast climatic variations. The continent
is, furthermore, characterized by numerous half-won conflicts and wars
fought by incorrectly structured, inadequately trained and ill-equipped
armies. For many reasons, these forces have difficulty adapting to the
complex, demanding and rapidly changing environments they do
battle in. Similarly, the armies have difficulty in decisively defeating the
various threats they face. Many of these problems stem from the fact that
numerous modern-day African armies are merely clones of the armies
established by their once-colonial masters, their Cold War allies or their
new international allies. Many of the principles and tactics, techniques
and procedures they were – and still are – being taught relate to fighting
in Europe and not in Africa. Some of these concepts are not even relevant
to Africa.
This book is intended as a guide and textbook for African soldiers and
scholars who wish to understand the development of hostilities, strategy,
operational design, doctrine and tactics. It also illustrates the importance
of non-partisanship and the mission and role of the armed forces.
Officers, NCOs and their subordinates need to, furthermore, understand
their role in defending and protecting the government and the people they
serve. They additionally need to know how to successfully accomplish
their numerous missions with aggression, audacity, boldness, speed and
surprise. The book provides the reader with valuable information relating
to conventional and unconventional manoeuvre. It also discusses how
African armies can, with structured and balanced forces, achieve strategic,
operational and tactical success. It covers the role of government along
with operations related to war, operations other than war and intelligence
operations and how these operations, operating in a coordinated and
unified manner, can secure and strengthen a government.
Composite Warfare draws on the author’s experiences and lessons in
Central, Southern, East, West and North Africa where he has served
numerous African governments as a politico-military strategist, division
commander, division adviser, battalion commander and special operations

What a Boykie


The John Berks Story

Robin Binkes


SA Release: February 2016
RRP: R295.00

320 pages
234 x 156mm
18 colour & 22 b/w photos


A story of determination and guts of a boy ‘born with a wooden
spoon’ in his mouth, who managed through perseverance and
sheer will power to turn that into one of silver. Born the third child
of hardworking, honest Jewish parents in Krugersdorp in 1941, a
nervy, hypochondriac who broke into a nervous rash whenever
he felt uncomfortable or stressed, the boy was a total disaster,
academically promoted to higher classes only because of his age.
From an early age John would listen to the radio at any opportunity
that presented itself, spending hours perfecting the mimicking of
great commentators, holding a tablespoon up to his mouth as he
spoke, setting his mind on a career in radio. Through a series of
coincidences his lucky break finally came and he was employed
by the fledgling commercial station LM Radio in Lourenco
Marques (Maputo). From a stammering, stuttering insecure young
announcer, he quickly blossomed and began to make his mark on
the station.

Sent to Australia by the legendary David Davies to study commercial
radio John brought back the secret and pattern of success of
commercial radio in Australia, which became the blueprint for
broadcasting in South Africa. His radio career spanned 40 years,
included working on LM Radio, SABC, Springbok Radio, Radio 5,
Capitol Radio, Swazi Music Radio and 702 is legendary. Pioneering
modern radio in South Africa, he broke new ground in radio
broadcasting through his hilarious parodies of situations, phone
calls to unsuspecting victims, his ‘characters’ such as ‘Jan
Sweetpak’ and others, his humour and development of talk shows
and techniques used by many today. He developed ‘Theatre of the
Mind’ and took it to new heights, with a vision to push for talk
radio at a time others said it would fail and changed the face of
broadcasting in South Africa. On any morning, his talent and
effect was measurable, one only had to look at other drivers in
Johannesburg’s rush hour traffic to see the smiling faces as he
brightened the day with his machine gun fire wit and humour. A
man of great humility and integrity, this book shows how much
can be achieved when the odds are stacked against you and all
you have is determination, passion and an unparalleled talent for