This research investigates the ways in which Angolan ex-combatants of 32 Battalion have
been making a living since the disbandment of the unit in 1993. Moreover, it seeks to
understand the reasons behind the ex-combatants’ insistence in remaining in Pomfret (North
West) regardless of its deteriorating conditions as well as the South African government’s
attempts to relocate them elsewhere. Intensive semi-structured interviews and participant
observation were conducted in Pomfret with ten participants in Portuguese whilst making
use of a recorder and note taking. Archived materials from Wits University were also used in
order to supplement the interviews.
Through the ‘African nationalist literature’ on askari, migration and the concept of home and
‘sense of community’ literature; the main argument is that the Angolan ex-combatants were
always trying to find alternatives to secure their social and economic wellbeing away from
home (Angola). After the disbandment of 32 Battalion, it was found that whilst some
participants tried to find alternative jobs in the security industry, others did not and presently
are surviving with their pension grants complimented with support from their children and
assistance amongst themselves. The established bonds amongst themselves and the sense
of entitlement to the houses as well as attachment to the cemetery is what’s tying them to
The result suggests that the South African government needs to engage with the Pomfret
residents so as to find a solution that would better the living conditions of the Angolan
residents and the maintenance of the rehabilitation of the asbestos should be a priority to
avoid more health complications amongst the residents. Moreover, basic social services
such as water, electricity, mobile clinic and sanitation should be put in place.
Dissertation (MSocSci)--University of Pretoria, 2019.