Sentinel Projects's main purpose is to collect and publish to the Internet personal accounts of the service experiences of former South African Defense Force Personnel between 1975 and 1994, the `Border War' year. (Okay, okay, I accept that the `Border War' ended rather dramatically :-) in 9 days in 1989, but we follow through to the end of the national service obligation ... ) The developing collection can be accessed through the

Sentinel Projects Index of Personal Accounts.

We started up just before it became possible for ordinary people to create their own websites, and initially we started to publish the collection in paperback book form, under the banner of `Sentinel SADF Monographs'. The first volume, `Pro Patria' was published in 1995, followed by `Grensvegter?' in 1996. Difficulties with marketing and distribution meant that these were not commercially viable, and with the purpose being the spreading of this information, it was decided to publish directly onto the internet to the Sentinel Projects website.

Sentinel Projects is not intended to me a money making venture, and is conducted very much on an `enthusiastic amateur' basis. The websites are simple lay out wise, because the time that might be put into making the pages `pretty' is put into colecting and publishing personal accounts to expand the collection.

The reason the project was started was that in the early 1990s, the SADF was rather demonised in the media, with the idea that somehow the SADF was fighting frantically to bolster Apartheid and to suppress (if not kill!?) the Black populations of Southern Africa. As former SADF personnel, we are wishing to make available to anyone interested enough to research the subject that the SADF comprised a very wide cross section of the Southern African population at different times, accepting the vast majority were male, but the Force included members of all the racial groups, and all male South Africans were conscripted to serve. Many did so reluctantly, but saw it as something that was required of them - or were reluctant to take the steps to avoid national service (skipping the country, spending 7 years in prison etc.) In this collection we hope to represent a cross section of the wide range of the stories of the people who served, from those determined to hate every minute, to those who took the opportunities to do interesting and exciting things.

When we started up the site in 1996, we were one of the first, but over the years many others have appeared. There is likely to be some duplication accross the different sites, but Sentinel aims to focus on publishing personal accounts as our perspective. Although there are several books written containing collections of anecdotes of SADF experiences, we hope to try to give the context of the person who experienced the anecdotes, including the time period served, the unit, the geographical locations etc, and with the `personal account' hopefully something of the personality of the contributors emerges from their stories - these were real people, most of whom are still around now-a-days, getting rounder, and losing our hair and teeth ... (or is that just me? :-))

The next paperback book which would have been published was to have been called `Bad Guys'. Why `Bad Guys'? It was mainly inspired by the following quotation, but obviously needed the twist to make it into a book title:

Scott, John. `We know we are the Baddies' in Focus on South Africa (RSA) August 1989, p. 3. Article originally appeared in Cape Times, Cape Town, July 17 1989.

It is my belief that most people, if they think about it at all, and excluding those who were involved or who have studied the activities of the South African Defense Force, will have the simplistic understanding that we were `THE BAD GUYS' who personally suppressed the black population, and with the apparent `Winners Justice' of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, not much evidence is likely to be produced to counter such an opinion. In this, and the other books, I am hoping to present the `human face' of those involved in the SADF, most of whom were not remotely evil, and who were just trying to make the best they could of a difficult or uncomfortable situation, without considering themselves to have been holding up the `Apartheid Regime'. Many of the people who have contributed to this book have happily adapted to the new dispensation in South Africa, and some have volunteered to continue to serve in the new South African National Defense Force.

SENTINEL PROJECTS TODAY

The site has been under active over the last 3 years or so due to employment difficulties in the salary earning parts of my life, but I think I'm getting this sorted, and I hope to be much more productive in the collecting and publishing of personal accounts.

If you have read what is of interest to you of what is already at the site, you could either contact me at the email address below and ask to be added to the distribution list of people I inform when there is substantial new material added (not just the correction of previously unobserved spelling and grammatical errors), or else keep a watch on the New Additions to the Sentinel Projects web pages.

We have strong links with the `ArmyTalk' SADF related email forum (ArmyTalk@yahoogroups.com)and all significant new additions are announced in that list.

SENTINEL PROJECTS: FUTURE DEVELOPMENTS

Although the priority will be the collection of SADF related material, we are hoping to expand to publish similar material of a more international basis.


"WHERE ARE THE PAPERBACK PUBLISHED BOOKS OF WHICH YOU SPEAK?"

The first run of `Pro Patria' is now sold out, but a new version has been published by Just Done Productions and you can email them at . (Very pretty cover, John!)

There are still copies of the paperback of `Grensvegter?' for sale, located in England. It is all published on-line, but if you would like a paperback copy, contact `Sentinel Projects' for costs etc etc. And at no extra cost, you can have it signed and dedicated by the author!!

Not SADF related, but the letters home from the First World War by a South African Cavalry officer; `Peace, war and Afterwards' by Brian Wade, is also available from `Sentinel Projects'.


WHY CALL THIS BOOK

"BAD GUYS"?

It was mainly inspired by the following quotation, but obviously needed the twist to make it into a book title:

Scott, John. `We know we are the Baddies' in Focus on South Africa (RSA) August 1989, p. 3. Article originally appeared in Cape Times, Cape Town, July 17 1989.

It is my belief that most people, if they think about it at all, and excluding those who were involved or who have studied the activities of the South African Defense Force, will have the simplistic understanding that we were `THE BAD GUYS' who personally suppressed the black population, and with the apparent `Winners Justice' of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, not much evidence is likely to be produced to counter such an opinion. In this, and the other books, I am hoping to present the `human face' of those involved in the SADF, most of whom were not remotely evil, and who were just trying to make the best they could of a difficult or uncomfortable situation, without considering themselves to have been holding up the `Apartheid Regime'. Many of the people who have contributed to this book have happily adapted to the new dispensation in South Africa, and some have volunteered to continue to serve in the new South African National Defense Force.


CONTACT SENTINEL PROJECTS

And we were very proud of the first Official recognition of Sentinel Projects!


SENTINEL PROJECTS: RESEARCH

On occasions we are contacted by people doing research on the SADF, and, trusting that we're not going to get hooked into negative propaganda, we will generally try to help out. We don't have much inside knowledge, and often we are asked specialised questions which we don't know the answer to, but generally we will try to forward the question on to people who might know the answers. We can't promise that we will be able to help, no matter how willing we may be!


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