My life with the SA Defence Force
By Magnus Malan
Protea Boekhuis, 2006
As a schoolboy at the age of thirteen, Magnus Malan had already run away to join what was then the Union Defence Force. This was to no avail, of course, but ever since he was permitted to join the Physical Training Battalion in 1946, for a period of some 45 years, his career and life has been closely entwined with the South African Defence Force. Malan's military career took him to many places in Southern Africa: Robben Island, the former South West Africa, where the Territorial Force was charged with protecting the South African Mandate territory, to the Military Academy in Saldanha and the Castle in Cape Town.
As Chief of the Army and later Chief of the Defence Force he was closely involved in South Africa's incursion into Angola in 1975 and 1976, and also in many cross-border operations in the years thereafter. Malan then entered politics, and will be particularly remembered as Minister of Defence during the troubled 1980s. Malan offers a brief account of the influence that political developments in Southern Africa since 1960 had on the structures and functions of the South African Defence Force; on the successes of Armscor, and on South Africa's nuclear arms capability. He also provides valuable context for a period of many political and military events; a period of immense importance to the present generation and their descendants, but which has become almost forgotten. The title pays tribute to all those who contributed to the successes of the South African Defence Force and Armscor in a critical era of our history.