On this day, at 17h00 the guns fell silent in Southern Angola, when on the 8 August 1988 a ceasefire came into effect effectively ending hostilities between South African statute forces and Angolan/Cuban Forces.
The Tripartite Accord was to follow, an agreement between the People’s Republic of Angola, the Republic of Cuba and the Republic of South Africa. It in essence granted independence to Namibia on the proviso that Cuban forces left Angola and South African Forces would leave Namibia.
The offer made by Pik Botha, who convinced Jorge Riquet, to quote Botha “…We can both be losers and we can both be winners…”. Cuban Forces could return to Cuba victorious with the idea that they had ended South African rule in Namibia and South African Forces could return victorious with the idea that they had turned back the greatest Communist threat of arms in Southern Africa and stabilised the region for democracy by the ballot and not the gun.
There is some truth to H.G. Wells’ quote “If we don’t end war, war will end us” and without this accord South Africa (Africa’s Super-power) and Cuba would have been set for a protracted war between two foreign powers in a foreign country, and it would most certainly have left a devastating impact on all humanity in the region for many more years to come.
Let us remove our headgear, bow our heads, and observe a minute of silence to remember all those that paid the supreme sacrifice in this war.
Photo copyright Stephan Bothma, from 101 Battalion Romeo Mikes. Written by Peter Dickens