Today, 12 February, we salute and honour the following men & woman who sacrificed their lives whilst standing in the defence of what they held dear at the time and against evil and tyranny.


12 Feb 1976: 70414123BT Rifleman Johannes Jacobus Bruwer from 6 SAI Died in 1 Military Hospital from gunshot wounds accidentally sustained while in Northern Owamboland. He was 21.

12 Feb 1980: 79011649PE Lance Corporal (Miss) Sophia Elizabeth Smit from 10 Air Depot in Voortrekkerhoogte died from injuries received when she accidentally fell from a 2nd floor flat in Queenswood, Pretoria. She was 26.

12 Feb 1985: 76907302SP Rifleman Musose Muema from 32 Battalion Died of Wounds after receiving multiple shrapnel wounds to the body from an RPG-7 Anti-Tank Rocket during a desperate action on 11 February 1985 against a numerically superior SWAPO/PLAN force in the vicinity of the Bale River in Southern Angola during Ops Forte. Evacuated for medical treatment, he sadly succumbed to his wounds on 12 February 1985. He was 32.

12 Feb 1985: 74402892PS Captain Robert Raymond Rodel from 4 Squadron was Killed in Action in Northern Owamboland in Atlas MB326KC Impala Mk II, Serial No.1096. Shortly after take-off from Air Force Base Ondangwa for an operational night sortie against enemy targets in Southern Angola, he radioed the Control Tower informing them that the canopy was still on the latch but was not closed properly and that he was going to attempt to close it while in-flight. It appears that as he released the latch, the canopy blew open with such force that he was severely injured and lost control the aircraft. The Impala flew into the ground a few kilometers from AFB Ondangwa. He was 26.

12 Feb 1985: 66524380PE Major Johannes Albertus Retief from Air Force Headquarters died from a self-inflicted 9mm pistol gunshot wound to the head while at AFHQ. He was 34.

12 Feb 1985: Five members from 102 Battalion SWATF and 1 SWA Engineer Regiment SWATF (attached) were Killed in Action in Western Kaokoland when their Buffel Troop Carrier convoy was ambushed by a numerically superior force of approximately 40 heavily armed SWAPO/PLAN insurgents near Etanga, approximately 100km West of Opuwa. The first Buffel detonated a landmine and the other three vehicles were systematically knocked out by Yugoslavian M60 HEAT STRIM Anti-Tank rifle grenades and Soviet RPG-7 Anti-Tank Rockets. The survivors were then subjected to heavy automatic rifle, machine-gun and mortar fire before the SWAPO/PLAN force withdrew. The casualties were:

  • 81966160SWH Corporal Mannie Muhenje. He was 22. (102 Battalion)
  • 83809517SCC Sapper Willem Vallien. He was 18. (1 SWA Engineer Regiment)
  • 83823369SCC Sapper Gerhard van Wyk. He was 19. (1 SWA Engineer Regiment)
  • 83825323SCK Sapper Bartholomeus Kapindi. He was 22. (1 SWA Engineer Regiment)
  • 80880460SCC Sapper Niklaas Johannes Ferris. He was 24. (1 SWA Engineer Regiment)

12 Feb 1986: 80021827PE Sergeant Ronald Alan Cook from 5 Reconnaissance Regiment was Killed in Action at Soutpansberg after being shot dead by an enemy sniper while tracking the spoor of two insurgents near Messina. He was 35.

12 Feb 1990: 80890015HG Rifleman Themba Christopher Zungu from 121 Battalion was killed in a military vehicle accident at Umhlanga Rocks. He was 30.

12 Feb 1990: 86581733BG Trooper Eugene Baker from 2 Special Service Battalion was killed instantly approximately 12km outside Swartruggens while riding on the back of a Samil 50 Truck. A civilian utility truck carrying scrap metal coming from the opposite direction passed his Samil 50 and he was struck by a piece of scrap iron protruding out from the side of the truck. He was 19.

12 Feb 1992: A civilian farmer, Roelof Johannes Fourie was shot and killed after being ambushed on his farm in Stormberg, Verkeerdevlei, Orange Free State by four APLA operatives. All four APLA operatives were later granted amnesty during 1998.


1970 – Sgt Kenneth "Ken" REYNOLDS, 3 Cdo, 1st Bn, RLI, was killed in an accidental 32Z rifle grenade explosion, in Sipolilo, Op Hurricane, at the age of 22.

1975 – Cst Sylvester MATIVENGA, Uniform, BSAP, died on active service.

1979 – Lt Andrea Frances "Andy" MASON, AHQ, RWS, died in the second Viscount (Umniati) disaster, aged 32 years.

1979 – Maj Neville Alastair "Spike" POWELL MBE, WB (The Sultan of Oman's Bravery Medal), WKhm(G) (The Sultan of Oman's Distinguished Service Medal (Gallantry), OC, Base Grp, 1st Bn, RLI, d ied in the second Viscount (Umniati) disaster. He was 2IC of 2 Cdo during Op Cauldron. His wife Beth designed the banana flag of 3 Cdo. He had also worked with the British pseudo gangs in Kenya during the Mau Mau uprisings of the 1950s, where he adopted a pseudo-terrorist role, mingling with the Mau Mau. He was awarded the MBE for his bravery during a Mau Mau contact.

1979 – NSPO Paul TASKER, Uniform BSAP, was killed in the second Viscount disaster, "Umniati," when this passenger aircraft en route from Kariba to Salisbury was shot down by ZIPRA CTs over Urungwe TTL, Karoi district, Op Hurricane. Died aged 19, Paul was about to complete his NS. Son of the BSAP Band Director of Music, Supt Derek Tasker. 

† Their names and sacrifices have not been forgotten †


  • February 12, 2019
  • Piet Fourie
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  • July 21, 2016
  • john costopoulos

Re Spike Powell.
He was 2i/c 3 Commando,.

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