Rooikat: the Cat from South Africa

Most history books on post-war armor development focus on the clash between NATO and Warsaw Pact designs – but there were other conflicts around the globe. Many were essentially proxy wars in former colonies where both sides were supported by one superpower or another. One example of this was seen in South Africa.


There was conflict in the South-West Africa region, ruled in the early sixties by South Africa. A resistance movement called South-West African People's Organization sprung up (it was founded by Andimba Toivo ya Toivo and Sam Nujoma) and its militant wing, the People's Liberation Army of Namibia (PLAN), started conducting raids on South-African troops from its bases in Zambia from 1966 as part of an ongoing guerrilla war. In 1968, the region was renamed Namibia and with the 1975 independence of Angola, the guerrilla movement gained more and more power in the area until the war ended in 1990. South-African units struck back by attacking PLAN bases in Angola and the war, at times, became rather bloody. However, at no point were large heavily armored formations involved. The conflict was mostly in the guerrilla war category but the intensity grew during the seventies and eighties and it was then that Rooikat development began.

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