Readers might be interested in the story of my efforts to obtain aerial photos of Namibia, specifically the areas in which I was hoping to be able to locate the Modular Bases of 54 Bn, which is a particular interest of mine.

My thinking was that with Namibia having achieved independence, they would then have control over their aerial photos. I knew that I was able to buy aerial photos of non-sensitive areas in South Africa from the South African government printer from when I took an interest in such things in geography in High School. From my writing to Namibian authorities, there is a sense that they have inherited almost no information about the South African presence in Namibia, and they don't seem to be particularly squeemish about such information being available now - as the South Africans still are - its just that they don't have any. I'd hoped that South Africa would have handed over the negatives of the aerial photos to the Namibian government, who would not mind anyone looking at what had been.

That was that plan. In 1992 I wrote to the appropriate Namibian government department;

Surveyor-General Ministry of Lands, resettlement and Rehabilitation Private Bag 13182 Windhoek Republic of Namibia

They were willing to sell me ordinance survey maps - 1:250 000 maps at R 4.00 each, and 1:50 000 at R 3.00 each. They put me in touch with the forwarding agent:

Messrs Kuhne & Nagel (Pty.) Ltd. P.O. Box 288 Windhoek Namibia

The forwarding agent apparently went and fetched them, wrapped them up and posted them to me at an additional, though reasonable charge.

The Aerial photographs was a slightly different story:

Again, I wrote to the Namibian Surveyor-General who gave me a letter giving his authorised permission to obtain copies of the aerial photographs which interested me, but saying that I would have to contact the South African:

Chief Directorate Surveys and Land Information, Van der Sterr Building Rhodes Avenue Private Bag X10 7705 Mowbray

Phone: (021) 685 4070 ext. 107 (attn: M J Hall)

I contacted them, sending the letter of authorisation, and they were able to supply me with the photos I wanted - contact prints 230 mm x 230 mm for R 8.00 each, excluding postage etc. I could have had enlargements made and had the choice of matt or gloss finish, which I liked.

I went ahead and got both the maps and the aerial photographs, but the twist in the tale is that I could gain no information from either about the modular bases of 54 Bn, and I did not have dates at which the photos were taken or the maps compiled.

This information is as it was in 1992. If anyone has tried something similar with better results, I would be delighted to hear from them.

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