A historical perspective on South African military chaplaincy and Cold War ideologies during the Border War 1966-1989
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For most of the latter half of the twentieth century, Cold War ideologies dominated foreign relations and domestic state policies and, as such, it also touched the lives of ordinary men and women. Decolonisation and the Soviet offensive of anti-imperialism brought Asia and Africa into the realm of Cold War politics. The Border War (also known as the Namibian War of Independence or the Bush War, 1966-1989) in Southern Africa gave evidence of Soviet anti-imperialist propaganda. It was counteracted by justifications of western containment policies. In the South African context it elicited strong sociopolitical sentiments. With regard to the Border War it included accusations that military chaplains supported the state policy of apartheid and a call was put forth to demilitarise chaplaincy within the South African Defence Force (SADF). Ethical issues based on ideology are always multidimensional and open to different interpretations. This article gives an historical perspective on the timeframe and on the complexities of perspectives from the viewpoint of military chaplains.