Scientia Militaria. 2011;38(1) DOI 10.5787/38-1-83


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Journal Title: Scientia Militaria

ISSN: 2309-9682 (Print); 2224-0020 (Online)

Publisher: Stellenbosch University

Society/Institution: Stellenbosch University, Faculty of Military

LCC Subject Category: Military Science

Country of publisher: South Africa

Language of fulltext: English, Afrikaans

Full-text formats available: PDF



Gert Van der Westhuizen


Double blind peer review

Editorial Board

Instructions for authors

Time From Submission to Publication: 6 weeks


Abstract | Full Text

Books by ex-conscripts detailing their experiences were few and far between<br />in the era of the Border War while more than 500 000 white males were called up<br />for what was described as “national service”. While books like these are not exactly<br />flooding the shelves of bookstores, they roll of the presses more regularly now.<br />These works mostly deal with ex-conscript's that actively experienced the war in<br />Namibia and Angola.<br />Stand at ease is different: there is no "cordite and conflict".<br />Green describes himself as a reluctant conscript (one wonders how many of<br />the erstwhile national servicemen were of the same view). He was a product of one<br />of the country's first multi-racial schools - in this case a school that did not subscribe<br />to the former government's apartheid policies.<br />Hence, his period of national service was seen as a necessary evil, something<br />that had to be done - to get it behind one. But he and a few friends were determined<br />to have as easy a time as possible. Their most important aim was to avoid the<br />"dreaded" call-up to the Border. Green was helped in this endeavour when he was<br />medically classified as G3K3. He was called up to 5 South African Infantry<br />Battalion in Ladysmith where he spent a few days before going to Kimberley. He<br />did guard duty at 93 Ammunition Depot in Jan Kempdorp in the Northern Cape<br />before being deployed to the Army Battle School in Lohatla where he spent the rest<br />of his days as a national serviceman.<br />He says his time in the military "could hardly be described as constructive or<br />enjoyable", but it was also "a period of unprecedented personal growth and selfdiscovery”.<br />“There is little doubt that during the two years of my conscription, I<br />stopped being a boy and at some point became a man." Green unfortunately does not<br />elaborate too much on this rite of passage.