Division in the (Inner) Ranks: The Psychosocial Legacies of the Border Wars
During the apartheid era, a key component of the Nationalist government's strategy in combating both African nationalism and the perceived threat of communism was the compulsory conscription of young white men into the South African Defence Force (SADF) between 1968 and 1993. Conscription was one relatively small component of a system in which all South Africans' lives were profoundly affected by the political domain's imposition of racial, class and gender stratifications. This paper is based on ongoing research into the psychosocial legacies of the apartheid wars. It explores how some of the burgeoning publications about this period of South African history reflect the intrapersonal legacies and psychological stresses that were caused by the social and political discourses of this context. A particular focus in this discussion is the way in which the social and political fracturings that characterised South African society during the apartheid era have been mirrored in the psychosocial constructs that significantly shaped some conscripts' lives, both at the time and in the post-apartheid context, and continue to influence current South African society.