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ARMY BOOTS OF THE WORLD. REVIEWS

Currently, the military department of the new South Africa is known as "The Ministry of Defence and Military Veterans." Thirty years ago it was really impossible for the South African military to have such Minister of Defence as black woman with hardly pronounceable name Nosiviwe Noluthando Mapisa-Nqakula.

The Armed Forces and the governmental institutions of modern South Africa became mostly "black", but the mass expulsion and persecution of the "whites" didn't occur, in contrast to Zimbabwe. South Africa should be thankful to Nelson Mandela personally for the fact that, after the change of government, the whites didn't faced with the sad fate of the former South Rhodesia, where the oppressors and the oppressed simply changed the places of each other, and the country actually fell down into the "stone age". After all, Zimbabwe even had to cancel its money, because Zimbabwe dollars cost less than the paper of their banknotes.

On the contrary, South Africa today, by its level of economic development and the availability of natural resources, is included in the club of the most powerful developing countries - B.R.I.C.S. (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa), and is quite interesting country in all respects.

It is well-known fact, that Afrikaans is one of the official languages of South Africa. Actually, this language is a sort of old- southern dialect spoken by the immigrants to the Cape Colony, the "boers" ("farmers" in Dutch). Although during the years of its existence Afrikaans was influenced by a variety of languages, from the Flemish language to the Malay-Portuguese and English, this language is clearly understandable for the Dutch.

An interesting fact: the name of the South African army is "Weermag" in Afrikaans. One can see its direct correspondence to "Wehrmacht", the name of the Third Reich Armed Forces ...

The Armed Forces of South Africa and various paramilitary organizations left a bright trace in the military history, while the features of the South African uniforms are still very interesting to the researchers and re-enactors.

The climate and the most characteristic features of the South African nature defined the main colour of military clothing and boots - brown. So the uniforms and army boots of SADF were "Nutria"-coloured (a shade of brown colour).

Such "Nutria" colour fitted very well to the colour of the South African bush (the area covered by the African shrubbery), local soil and vegetation. The "Nutria" uniforms was similar to contemporary British army uniform in cut. For example, there was a special pocket for the first-aid medical package on the trousers, just near the upper right mortise pocket.

By the overall style, design and most characteristic features, the South African military boots were consistent with the contemporary boots of the NATO countries. With the exception of the upper part, the South African brown boots resemble French military boots "Rangers" BMJA Mle 61 (modification of the model 1952 boots, adopted in the year 1961). The appearance and design of the lather upper, especially the tread soles are very similar, though South African boots lack leather cuffs with two buckles on top

The grainy brown leather of SADF boots top is durable and flexible. There is no lining inside the boots, except for the additional rough-out leather "strip" in the upper part, intended to keep the pants inside the boots and to provide better grip. The flap of the boots top is "semi-closed" , the lacing system consists of nine pairs of simple round eyelets, the cotton laces are brown too. The counter of the boots is reinforced with an additional leather patch.

These boots out-soles are glued and stitched all along the welt of the boot sole, as well as in their contemporary army boots of Belgium, France, Germany of the 1970s. The out-sole tread pattern is shifted somewhat from the edge of the welt towards the centre of the out-sole for ease of stitching. The tread pattern of such boots provides good grip with most surfaces, the material of the out-sole is solid and durable vulcanized rubber. The SADF boots with such soles have been produced for decades and are still issued to the South African military even nowadays.

On the photos one can see modern South African military personnel in the "Soldier 2000" camouflage and the above described boots.

The "Soldier 2000" camouflage basic colours are the aforementioned "Nutria", i.e. earthy brown plus foliage green, dark green, beige and dark earthy-brown). For the first time "Soldier 2000" camouflage entered the army "en masse" in 1994. Before that this camouflage was issued in small batches for field testing, for example, to the personnel of South African Army 12th Engineer Battalion.

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