Transkei Special Forces Shoulder Flash

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Transkei Special Forces Shoulder Flash “Tupperware” Insignia.

The Transkei Special Forces was designed after the Rhodesian SAS, and Selous Scouts and was Commanded by Rhodesian Ex-Patriates. 

Each of the four nominally independent homelands - Bophuthatswana, Ciskei, Transkei, and Venda - maintained small defense forces that were effectively under SADF control, despite each government's claim to national sovereignty. (No country except South Africa recognized these homelands as independent countries.) The homelands were dissolved when the April 1994 elections took place, and their military forces were integrated into the new national military establishment in 1995 and 1996.

Transkei, the second Xhosa-speaking homeland, was declared "independent" in 1976. It had a population of about 4.4 million. The Transkei Defence Force (TDF) numbered about 2,000, including one infantry battalion and an air wing with two light transports and two helicopters. The Transkei government of the 1980s had a strained relationship with South Africa, largely because of the existence of armed strongholds of the ANC and other antiapartheid organizations in the homeland (which included within its territory the birthplace of ANC leader Nelson Mandela). In 1981 the newly formed TDF received a gift of equipment from the South African Defence Force. In 1982, the Minister of Defence and then Prime Minister, G.M. Matazima announced the employment of a group of expatriate advisers from the former Rhodesia. A group of about 30 former Rhodesian's had actually commenced employment in March 1981 under the auspices of the Security Services Transkei Company. The former Rhodesian Selous Scout General Ron Reid-Daly was appointed head of the Transkei Defence Force. President K.D. Matanzima retired as State President in February 1986 and was succeeded by his brother, G.M. Matanzima.

In 1987 Major General Bantu Holomisa - a staunch ANC activist - led a bloodless coup against the Transkei government; he then suspended the civilian constitution and refused South Africa's repeated demands for a return to civilian rule, insisting that a civilian government would be a puppet controlled by Pretoria. When the homeland was dissolved in 1994, Holomisa was named deputy minister of housing in President Mandela's cabinet.

Information via The Library of Congress Country Studies and the CIA World Factbook, May 1996.


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