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Hidden Destruction A story of Courage, Guile and determination


This novel tells a familiar story. Laurence, a farm boy from the then Northern Transvaal, finds himself at 19 years old conscripted into the South African Defence Force. From his parents he had learned the disciplines of ethical behaviour and hard work, and from the African bush, he learned to respect the value of living things through his experience of tracking and hunting for the pot.

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His first year in the military, he spent training as a combat engineer. As a qualified Sapper, he then volunteered as a paratrooper and soon earned his coveted wings. Then it was into the sweltering Angolan wilderness for his baptism of fire. He becomes the commander of a small group of Sappers whose primary duties comprised tracking the enemy to destroy transport infrastructure and the flow of weaponry being supplied by the Soviet Union, Cuba and East Germany.

For Laurence and his men, their efforts are to foil war by diminishing the wherewithal rather than to directly engage in the death and destruction. From this perspective, these young South Africans are often able to see the human side of war where all those involved are marked with joy, love, and visions of peace and in the next moment are flooded with heartache and trauma and a terrible drowning of their innocence.

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