MyNews24 is a user-generated section of The stories here come from users.

Stream of Gold
Comments: 36
Article views: 3810
Latest Badges:

View all Stream of Gold's badges.

A sleg troep's story

05 February 2013, 18:16
32 Bn, The bushwar and me: A sleg troep's (useless soldier) perspective.

I was sixteen when the call to arms arrived. Up to then I was blissfully unaware of the politics in my country. Facts are that I probably didn't really worry about it at all as I had started working a few weeks before and was more concerned with getting my Bike working than worrying about anything else.

I was at the time working under the supervision of George for the Dutchman in Eastleigh as an apprentice. The receipt of these documents changed many things for me. 

I wasn't overly concerned, but my cousin Punchy had been killed the previous year and I had no intention of joining  him.  I checked out the options and my choices were join the Police, not for me, go to Jail, definitely not for me or report for duty. The other option was cowardice and leaving everything I knew for a different country. 

This was a year that saw me getting fired for the first time. George resigned and the new bloke was Afrikaans and had no idea that an appy could have a brain, I had stripped a lathe before he arrived and he was busy trying to put it together and I kept telling how it came together, his attitude being that he would no better and he had me sacked for being cheeky. 

I then joined the Railways as an apprentice and failed to file a block perfectly square, still don't understand the need for that particular exercise as most filing I have ever done since then was to remove a burr or two. Anyway as I failed at this seemingly simple task along with about 40% of the others I ended up driving an overhead crane at Elandsfontein until the December before I had to catch the train.

The first skills I learned besides a little electrical and some mechanical stuff was how to use slings and hook a load to a crane. 
It was January 1983, I was 17, 4 ft 8 and 48kg when I arrived at Park Station and we embarked on the adventure. Until we arrived at Kimberley station everything was calm, not rushed, At Kimberley station we were subject to the first of the abuse we were to endure for the next 4 months or so. There were a whole lot of children running around like headless chickens. being screamed at by a little runt of a man with a very loud voice.

We were loaded onto the transport, These vehicles reminiscent of cattle trucks with seats then transported us to the base. This trip was known as the scab ride. The driver didn't miss anything that could bounce us about. He drove over side walks, speed bumps and anything else he could find. By the time we got to base there were bruises, a few custs and scrapes and even a blood nose or two.

Upon bailing out at the base we were given a welcome speech that went something like this. You no longer have a mother or father, you are now property of the South African defence force and your ass is mine, only it went on for a lot longer. In the middle of this welcome speech the RSM spotted me in the crowd and said, What the hell are you doing here son, Did you get lost when your mommy sent you to get some smokes.

There we were lost in silence staring at each other, with fear and trepidation in some and a few heroes bragging that they were going to go the border and kill some terrs. There were a few odd balls, There was the bloke that they couldn't find boots for with his size 13's, Lady Di was a glam queen with the hairstyle of Lady Dianna Spencer.

A few things that we wre told is that the chain we had brought with us and the padlocks were essential because you needed to protect your stuff. The chain was to loop through your clothes when you did your laundry. The next four months were spent marching, running, carrying poles and fetching the wrong damned leaf from the tree on the other side of the base.

I quickly sussed if something shitty was going to happen I could vist the medics and get  light duty for a day or two. The corporal however twigged and would really punish me after. Light duty was fun, you got to wear a white doiby (plastic hat) and march around pretending to be an ambulance. It beat the opfoks by a mile. Opfok is the term coined to describe activities destined to destroy all stamina, self reliance and thought, Whe puking and kannie meer nie korporaal was heard it would only last an hour or two more.

After dodging a bullet, jumping off moving trucks...(Did I mention my cousin Punchy and me not wanting to join him underground?) by visiting the medics and being give light duty for as few days, The Korporaal promised me I was in for a private opfok the minute my light duty expired.

This opfok consisted of me doing sit ups on and angled bench till I was puking and crying. The snot and trane flowed freely at about 7540 million push-ups, OK I can't remember how many I stopped counting at about 200 and concentrated on breathing and staying alive.

I learned a lot about myself during this phase of my life. I have never run a 2.4 again, i refuse to move logs without a forklift or a crane and I certainly have no desire to do another sit up in my life ever. I learned that I could overcome almost anything physical if I had to. I carried a full pack just like any of the other blokes with the requisite bricks and crap thrown in. My pack weighed more than half my body weight and when I thought I couldn't take another step my fett wouyld just keep going without any input from me.

The day basics ended I broke down and cried with relief, but I had picked up 8 kgs and grown a foot in that 4 months. Suddenly there wer other blokes the same size as me. I had survived the torture, the hell and the endless terror. 
This account will jump around as I remember things that I want to write about. The stories will not be in  sequence but every tale I tell is based on a real experience.

The fact is that the majority of the time I spent in the Army was a waste of time. I spent more time hurrying up and waiting than anywhere else. This is my story, Some of it will make you cry, some will make you scream with laughter, some will have you shaking your head, I will change names to protect the innocent and even the not so innocent.

I will try an write at least one episode a week. for the next year, sometimes I will write more. If you think you would like to see the complete works in book form tell me.    

Disclaimer: All articles and letters published on MyNews24 have been independently written by members of News24's community. The views of users published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24. News24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.

Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
5 crucial questions to ask before you take that job 2014-10-30 08:00

You choose your employer just as much as they choose you. Here are 5 of the most important things you should find out about a company before you sign up.

Read more from our Users

Submitted by
Merry Martin
Theists, please stop explaining!

SilverBack wrote a series of rebuttal articles recently, and one of the issues he raised was the scene where God instructs Abraham to sacrifice Isaac, only to rescind that instruction at the last minute.  Read more...

115 comments 1036 views
Submitted by
MyNews24 delay

We have been receiving your photos and stories but at the moment we're experiencing technical difficulties and are unable to publish them. But there is a way to get heard. Read more.  Read more...

0 comments 217 views
Submitted by
Luthando Taitai
Let's appreciate them while they ...

There is a tendency of only showing appreciation of someone when they are gone, how many people go to bed everyday deprived this important token. Read more...

1 comments 461 views
Submitted by
Joe Johnson789
Celebrity deaths bring violent cr...

The eyes of the world were on South Africa for about ten months the trial of Oscar Pistorius lasted. It was reported as one of the most watched media events in recent history. Read more...

10 comments 891 views
Submitted by
Manny Obi-Wan Meyer
The pleasure of finding things ou...

I have often wondered how the events of my past have structured my life in the present, my various skills and propensities, my way of reflecting upon the world at large. Read more...

12 comments 666 views
Submitted by
God is tangible

I am writing this to let every atheist know what happened to me when I was deeply concerned about my mother. Read more...

397 comments 4592 views

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now! - shop online today

It's Flash Sale Friday – one day only!

Buy 3 & get the cheapest 1 FREE: On selected DVDs, Blu-rays, series and music. While stocks last. Shop now!

Save up to R2100 on electronics! – As seen in the catalogue

Wishing for tech gadgets this festive? Save up to R2100 on hot tech products at While stocks last. Shop now!

TV Series – 2 for R299

Loads of hot titles to choose from. Shop now!

Hot offer: Up to 50% off irons

Save up to 50% on all Philips irons. While stocks last. Shop now!

Seen something you like in our catalogue?

Find the perfect gift and save up to R5000 – As seen on the catalogue. Hurry and shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25



E-mail Alerts The latest headlines in your inbox

RSS feeds News delivered really simply.

Mobile News24 on your mobile or PDA

E-mail Newsletters You choose what you want

News24 on your iPhone Get News24 headlines on your iPhone.

SMS Alerts Get breaking news stories via SMS.

Blogs Your opinion on you, me and everyone.

Calais Website keywords automated by OpenCalais.

Interactive Advertising Bureau
© 2014 All rights reserved.
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.