SADF Propaganda and Psychological Warfare

No frills Propaganda

Propaganda was a means of Psychological Warfare was employed by all sides in the SWA/Angolan ‘Bush War’ Conflict – blunt and strait-forward in communication and tone so the message was clear.

Usually symbols of death (or images of death) accompanied this type of printed propaganda and they served to underpin the threat and drive fear – this is an example of a SADF leaflet distributed to warn the local population in South West Africa/Namibia and neighbouring states not to join SWAPO (the South West African People’s Organisation) against whose armed wing – PLAN the SADF and SWATF forces were in combat with.

The message is crude and strait forward, the image used is easily assimilated and understood, it’s a “brutal” communication designed to get the point across to the lowest common denominator, no need for frills, pretty fonts and logos.

Propaganda is a “weapon”

Please note, this is of historic importance as to the propaganda used in the Bush War. It is not intended to glorify either the SADF or SWAPO – the intention is to capture and keep alive a little of South Africa’s military history so often forgotten.

Propaganda by its very nature preys on emotions – its intension and its goal is an emotive response – in military terms it’s classified as a weapon, as that response can influence the fight, either by spurring it on motivating the combatants or by stopping it and demotivating the combatants.  In many ways Propaganda can influence the outcome of a battle or war as much, if not more that the actual use of bullets.  Believe it or not – all this power – and it can simply be boiled down to a crude message like the one shown here.

When reviewing propaganda from a historical perspective (or even military perspective) it must be dealt with objectively without emotion. If it triggers an emotional response then it has simply done it job and wins, that’s how this particular weapon works…

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