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Shadows in the Sand: A Koevoet Tracker's Story of an Insurgency War [Paperback]

Sisingi Kamongo , Leon Bezuidenhout
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)

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Book Description

31 July 2011
This is the story of a Kavango tracker who served for six years with Koevoet (Crowbar), the elite South African Police anti-terrorist unit, during the South West AfricanAngolan bush war of the 1980s. Most white team leaders lasted only 24 months; the black trackers walked the tracks for years. Sisingi Kamongo tells the story of the 50 or so firefights he was involved in; he survived five anti-personnel mine and POMZ explosions and an RPG rocket on his Casspir APC vehicle; he was wounded three times; he tells of the trackers looking for the shadows on the ground, facing ambush and AP mines at every turn; he tells of the art of tracking, where dust can tell time.A unique, previously untold perspective of the bush war, Kamongos story is supported by two accounts from renowned Koevoet team leaders, Herman Grobler and Francois du Toit, and becomes a powerful collection of experiences from South Africas most successful counter-insurgency unit. About the AuthorsSisingi Kamongo was born in 1965 in the rural area of Ndonga Muramba in Kavangoland in northern Namibia. As child he learnt his tracking skills looking after his grandfathers cattle. After school he joined the police and was based with Koevoet at Rundu for six years. Leon Bezuidenhout was born in 1966. He did his national service in the South African Police, after which he lectured at the University of South Africa. He later entered the private sector and is a businessman and company director.


Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: 30 Degrees South Publishers (31 July 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0620474793
  • ISBN-13: 978-0620474795
  • Product Dimensions: 1.8 x 15.2 x 23.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 679,621 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Sisingi Kamongo was born in 1965 in the rural area of Ndonga Muramba in Kavangoland in northern Namibia (formerly South West Africa). As child he spent his time between the bush where he looked after his grandfather's cattle-learning his tracking skills-and school. After school he joined the police and was based with Koevoet at Rundu for six years. He became an elite tracker and car commander. In 1990 he came to South Africa where he worked in the security industry as a tracker until he lost the use of his legs due to a piece of shrapnel still lodged in his back, the result of his last POMZ incident. Leon Bezuidenhout was born in 1966. He grew up in Pretoria and attended Pretoria West High School and the University of Pretoria. He did his national service in the South African Police, after which he lectured at the University of South Africa. He later entered the private sector and is a businessman and company director.


Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spoors and mines 5 Jun 2012
By Scipio
Format:Paperback
The art of tracking, probably one of the oldest "techniques" of mankind, is generally confined to the field of game hunting. In fact, the close relationship between the emergence of the earliest hunting cultures and the development of the so called "primitive" warfare has seldom been illuminated, though its common nature is not far to seek: It's about being the predator and not the prey. An essential feature which shimmers through many military appearances and rituals up to the present time.

The book of Sisingi Kamongo, who actually grew up in a cattle raising society in the Bushveld of South-West Africa and became a tracker in his early youth by tracing lost livestock, is surely not about the underlying nature of military rituals. What Kamongo and his co-author Leon Bezuidenhout tell is history that seems to have come to a full circle, that is the efficient use of an ancient hunting technique in modern insurgency warfare. In times of satellite reconnaissance and armed UAVs the art of tracking seems to be outdated, a relic, but even the most sophisticated machine will never surpass the experience of an "old hand": the combination of keen senses which make the nearly invisible spoor readable only for the skilled eyes on the ground.
The first-hand account of Kamongo as a policeman in the most notorious as well as successful counterinsurgency unit of the African bush war named 'Koevoet' ("crowbar"), which mainly consisted of black operators recruited from the northern tribes of the country and a few white South African policemen, describes in detail the varying tactics to hunt down the guerrilla units of SWAPO in the vast African veld.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
Books about Koevoet, the special S.A. Police unit which operated in South West Africa (Namibia)are coming out. Most have been written by the white members of the teams;this is different as it records the memoirs of a black tracker.
Very exciting, but low key and not certainly a sensationalist approach. All through this book the sense of shared difficulties and hard work come through in every section and every action detailed.
See the bush war through a trackers' eyes and realise just WHAT they saw, how they did a difficult and dangerous job! Also find out why all the killed terrorists were stripped to their underwear and their uniforms flown on the returning Casspirs! It is really instructive to find out that both the black and white members of Koevoet thought little (if nothing) of the SADF's role in Namibia.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Truth 12 Mar 2014
By Lee
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
It is refreshing to read a trackers version that confirms and supports the other versions. Extreme respect to a very brave soldier and person.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent 15 Jan 2013
By Kat Z
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
My husband was in the South African army in the mid eighties. He appreciated how skilled these native trackers were at their craft. He liked this book very much and said it was interesting to read it from a tracker's perspective. Highly recommended.
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