Posted by: Steve Coplan | September 2, 2006

Why everyone wants hire South African mercenaries

is the somewhat misleading headline of this pedestrian review of two new books about mercenaries — one a recounting of an aborted coup attempt in Equatorial Guinea and another on mercenaries in Iraq.

I can hazard a guess why South Africans (and Afrikaners in particular) are disproportiantely represented as guns for hire. Afrikaners have lived in a militarized society for about 350 years, starting off with their initial expansion from the Dutch East India settlement in Cape Town in the late 1600s where they faced predation in isolated settlements from the KhoiKhoi, to the confrontation of the Xhosa in the late 1700s in the eastern Cape and to the Great Trek into the interior of the country where they came up against the Zulu kingdom in particular, but battled the Pedi and Swazi kingdoms too.

You could argue that the US had a similar history of militarization, but where as once the US had largely neutralized the military threat from Native Americans in the early 1900s, the Afrikaners took on the might of the British Empire in the Anglo-Boer Wars and then a few decades later faced a renewed political challenge in South Africa for which the response was brutal repression. Imposing peace and order internally was then supplemented by full-scale military conflict in Namibia against Swapo guerillas and regular Cuban troops in one of the Cold War’s set pieces as well as incursions into Mozambique. The infrastructure that was created for training and the quality of the raw material meaned that South Africa ended up with an oversupply of dogs of war in the early 1990s. The success of Executive Outcomes (and messy conflicts throughout the world) has also helped make ‘mercenary ‘ a viable career choice for several thousand South Africans. I’ve never quite felt as conscious of my gene pool’s limitations in terms of physical stature (and brutality) as when I played rugby against a high-quality Afrikaans team. I was quite convinced of the intellectual depth of my gene pool against lesser teams, but that’s a different story.



  1. loop naai jou ma…. jy praat kak

    • Stephen jy praat kak, jou poes!

  2. Without South African mercenaries the African continent would have been a little bit different. Without them quite a few wars would have lasted longer; some of governments would have been overthrown; resources would have been kidnapped by barbaric rebels; and so on…
    We need more of them… Thank you Executive Outcomes! I deeply respect your great work…

  3. Stephen: Jy praat ook kak, jou moer!!!

  4. if the regular armies cannot do it then lets get the dogs of war to protect democracy and the good guys

  5. the only reason south africans are used as mercenaries is because they are some of the best trained soldiers under the old south african defense force. they also are exploited because they have no land of their own as the politics was wrong by the afrikaner politicians which lead to the people being branded as racist and giving the bad guys like castro and the rest of the world in the angolan war a foot hold to justify his act of war on a sovereign now without a country to defend being a mercenary is the only option for many ex soldiers to put bread on the table…which in itself never gets critisised,,,,the world harps on about apartheid…my opinion…racism is wrong but that could have been changed, taking over a country the way that it happened in south africa has meant to many of us that we are forced to be the brunt of all lawless acts , it is now a country of lawlessness and corruption , bad politics with no safe haven for a nation that has really only reacted to defend its own people against violence from other nations heathen natives etc…racism can never be justified but thats a very one sided look at life ,we forget the hatred and atrocities perpetrated agaisnt whites by blacks.only now we dont have the authority to defend our people.while the world cried out against apartheid the political devils were manouvering to get their pound of flesh quite willing to sell their souls to the devil for a chance to impose their godless morals upon a christian nation…and so it goes in the whole world only get more lawless,violent,immoral, and Godless…

    • i need some one to get my grand childern who are american born out of 3rd, world country my son father of children was fofced back to usa atthe threat of death and told he will be killed if he returens tosee children lcan give home worth over $100.000 to whover returns children to father in usa, iwill pay reward on return of children to father in usa only f,g scott hondrus is av ery bad place royan is the island girls are at 864-682-4462

      • I can do that mission, only if we set up and angry on one thing. I must have their names and pictures. Other stuff we will talk about them, later.

  6. Meer kak as ‘n fokken riool netwerk. As for Castro, fokkit, he is not half as bad as what RSA was supporting in Angola & Mozambique. And those two countries are still the most landmined countries on earth.

    As for the blogger’s racist bs: Sir/Ma’am (Tso take noodnik? Tak, gavaru po slovjanskoi yaziki/movi), most of the Afrikaner expansion was after the Mfecane – the places were depopulated by the Zulu empire. The major crimes were committed against San-related groups, not against Bantu – the war against the Xhosa was due to mutual cattle theft, not some plan to destroy them.

  7. ja fokke engls man look kak op jou kop ek kyk bietjie rond waar staan jy ..kak praat weet jy mooi van …

  8. Johan Meyer- Indien jy J.A.M. Meyer is kontak my

  9. it makes me sad to see that some white folks are still racist, i mean why can`t you let go of this immature hatred towards others..dit maak fokkol sin nie!!!

  10. let 4got abt racist let focus on a topic. Any knows that zulu and afrikaneers teaming up making a hardcore team ever in the world black n afrikaaners have similar things like being a hardcore and that a very common thing about african and afrikaaners

  11. I would like to make a diffrince I come from a milittary backround went 5 sye infantry after that did many tracking courses I feel I can be a contribution. I don’t have any familly and feel I can be an asset to. You pls inf with feed back

  12. Eerstens ek weet niks van SA voor democracy maar ek gee nie om nie dit is verby soo nou dat julle weet kom ons begin … As jy iemand will aan vat Dan moet jy eers leer spel en ook nie so baie vloek nie om te se jou fokken poes maak jou nie sterk nie dit maak net jou Mond groot genoeg om te klap en ja ons het die beste opgevoede militere veterane in die wereld en ons is n land met heavy oppretion history

  13. om vieslik te prat betekewn niksi. om rasisties te wees oki. ek het baie vriende veloor en vir wat? daar is niks wat ek daaraan kan verander nie. die swartes isi almal sleg nie. kyk biekie hoe party blankes aangaan soos die klomp morone wat net jou ma se p en wat wat. ek is 22 jaar al besig in die militere veld en ja ek is goed opgelei en dis hoekom ek ni sukkel om offers te kry vir search and rescue of opleiding aan te bied of selfs Vip Te doen nie. as die geld reg is doen ek dit.

    • Ek 45,lyk 30,fiks en gesond en ex SADF(Spesiale Diens Korps),soek enige tipe los werkies teen goeie betaling.Vat my eie tyd en werk alleen,maar 100 persent resultate.

      • Good day I’m in South Africa and have a small problem that needs attention. I have to get in contact with someone who knows what they are doing. The job I have is also in South Africa. Can send me a mail at

  14. Die feit van die saak was dat daar reeds goed op gelyde soldate beskikbaar was, manne wat reeds geweet het waaroor dit gaan. Die geskiedenes van Zulu’s en wat nog het geen verband met die opleiding wat die Suid Afrikaanse soldaat gekry het nie.Ons het ook baie geleer deur na ander lande se metodes te kyk en seker gemaak ons maak nie dieselfde foute nie en of ons vebeter op hulle metodes. Disepline en intelek het ook ‘n groot rol gespeel. Daar was groot manne wat geleenthede en ‘n aanvraag gesien het en dit het S A Mercunaries op die Map gesit nie die Voortrekker geskiedenis nie.

  15. I would like to hire south Africa security squad. Please contact me at

  16. Good day I’m in South Africa and have a small problem that needs attention. I have to get in contact with someone who knows what they are doing. The job I have is also in South Africa. Can send me a mail at

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