Application to the SA Army: Training Programme


Dear Madam,

I am certain you are a madam because the army would never allow a man to open the mail. However, with this new-fangled, touchy-feely, homo-friendly vibe going around, you may well turn out to be a man. In which case, I meant no offence. I am sure you are a real man in other ways.

Watching the Oscar Pistorius trial has reawakened my love of guns and violence. In fact, if it weren’t for Oscar, I would eventually have become one of those crazy people who think disputes are best resolved through talking. I didn’t even know I was becoming like that. It just creeps up on you, hey. One day you forget to go to target practice. The next day you forget to clean your gun. The day after that you forget where you put your gun. And from there it’s a slippery slope to watching reruns of Friends, helping your wife mow the lawn and using your camo makeup to paint a vase of flowers.

All this talk of cricket bats and Black Talon bullets and shots being fired into toilet doors and out of sunroofs and into restaurant floors made me realise that I was hopelessly unprepared for war. I went on to the department of defence’s website to see if I could buy some secondhand machineguns but I found something much better – the Military Skills Development System. I could hardly believe my eyes when I read that you are offering citizens an opportunity to be in the army for two whole years! This used to be one of the perks of being a white South African in the old days.

I have already done two years in the army and I can’t wait to do another two. I have a lot of unfinished business in Angola. I also left a pair of boots there. I won’t need to do basic training again because I can still remember many of the commands, like “Attention!” and “About turn!” and “Run away!”

Your advert says “the army’s mandate focuses on the provisioning of combat ready forces and plays a leading role in landward operations”. I don’t really understand what that is, but it sounds like you mean business.

I see one of your requirements is that applicants must have completed Grade 12. I don’t mean to be rude, but, quite frankly, that’s ridiculous. In my day, the army didn’t care how educated you were. I had people in my bungalow so stupid that they thought the earth was six thousand years old. You only have to pick up a newspaper and look at the date to know how old the earth us. I checked this morning and it’s two thousand and fourteen years old.

Before I sign up, I want to make sure of one thing. We are going to be killing people, right? I don’t want to get there and then spend the next two years practising how to kill people. I am not interested in military theory. I want to get out there and stick a bayonet through someone’s face. Preferably someone who doesn’t look like me.

Who is our enemy, by the way? Just so you know, I don’t mind killing white people. I am not a racist. If you want to send me to Paris to kill the French, I am happy to do it. Everybody is fair game. And when I say fair, I mean people in wheelchairs can get a head start.

There is no shortage of countries to attack. For instance, we need to stop pretending that Lesotho and Swaziland are real countries and take them for ourselves. Put me in charge and Maseru will be ours by next week. Mbabane might take a bit longer because the Swazis will make our troops smoke dagga and they might forget what the mission was. It wouldn’t be the first time.

It’s a pity Lindiwe Sisulu isn’t in charge any more. She’s such a babe. Fit, too. I would like to see her running for president. This other one on your website looks like she got her physique from running for the buffet. No wonder people are saying that right now the Salvation Army could kick our asses.

By the way, I want to volunteer for jungle training in Port St Johns. Shooting civilians is the best way to prepare for battle. I am very familiar with the vegetation that grows in that area. Give me the rank of brigadier and cut me loose.

Once we have the Transkei back under our control, we need to move on the Chinese. I am less familiar with these people, but most of us already know how to pronounce words like ‘chow mein’ and ‘chop suey’. It can’t be that hard to learn simple phrases like, “Stop bribing government officials and pillaging our resources.”

Once the Chinese are taken care of, we can turn our attention to matters closer to home. The government keeps cutting military spending. It is criminal that health, housing and education are getting a bigger slice of the budget than defence. What will happen if we spend all our money on the sick, the homeless and the stupid and then, when we least expect it, we are invaded by Zimbabwe?

As a disciplined and loyal soldier, I will never use the words ‘coup d’etat’. But I think we both know what I’m saying here. Anyway. Let me know when you want me to start. I have a camo-print shirt and matching broeks. I just need guns and a moving target. And, if I get the Transkei posting, maybe an SABS-approved bong.

5 thoughts on “Application to the SA Army: Training Programme

  1. Barry James says:

    I think that this wannabe Gensvegter is a fraud. The SA Army that I served in in the ’80’s never had any commands in English. In addition to that his memories of those commands never included any expletives or insults against his mother, his upbringing or his language group. 🙂 I think that he went to the poefte army.

  2. How about getting Zuma to do the old armys’ 20ks full-kit run or to run and pick a leaf from a tree only to find it was the wrong leaf or wrong tree instead of him finding ways of stealing money for Nkandla. Will probably continue building more Nkandlas after the election

  3. Mario says:

    Brilliant, Ben!!

  4. Candida Miller says:

    Ben, I hail from the Transkei. My family still owns much of the land around Lusikisiki and Port St Johns, so I am very familiar with the vegetation around those parts. I herewith volunteer to be your guide on your night time manoeuvres (provided your application to the army, promotion to brigadier and subsequent posting to the Transkei meet with success). I should also warn you that under apartheid my racial classification was “Other”.

    1. I shall certainly call on your services, Candida, when I’m next in the Transkei.

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