Great photo of South African infantry troops in the distinctive ‘brown’ nutria combat fatigues of the period. Here SADF troops return to their Ruacana base. March 26 1989. The nutria uniform was affectionally and officially known as ‘Browns’ and over time, sun and extensive washing and ironing exposure it became a ‘lighter’ brown with ‘houding’ (attitude) – browns with extensive exposure turned a milky brown eventually and this became the hallmark of a ‘ouman’ (old man) who had been serving for a while. The distinctive browns issue bush hats are also seen with a little ‘bush houding’ – a grenade ring pull and ‘toggle’ attaching it to the owner (and the stitch line was always worn at the back, never the front).

Camouflage fatigues – as part of the SADF’s “Soldier 2000” program began to replace “browns” in 1992/3

Photo copyright and courtesy: John Liebenberg

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