South Africa - Ciskei

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Republic of Ciskei

The Republic of Ciskei (IRiphabliki ye Ciskei) was a tribal homeland in the southeastern region of Republic of South Africa from 1972 until 1994.[1] The region was actually set aside for Xhosa-speaking people in 1961, allowed nominal self-rule in 1971, and in 1981 became the fourth homeland to be declared independent by the South African government. Lennox Sebe was the first president, ruling a one-party state from 1978, until he was deposed in 1990 by Brigadier Oupa Gqozo, who created a dictatorship. On 7 September 1992, the Ciskei Defence Force fired into a crowd (led by Ronnie Kasrils) of ANC (African National Congress) members demanding the removal of Gqozo, killing 28. The region became unstable in 1994, when Gqozo refused to agree to a post-apartheid constitution for South Africa and threatened to boycott any multiracial elections. When the Police mutinied on 22 March, Gqozo resigned. Ciskei was reincorporated into South Africa on 27 April 1994, becoming part of the Eastern Cape province.

The Ciskei Defence Force (CDF) was established in March 1981, formed out of 141 Battalion of the South African Defence Force (SADF). Formed with the assistance of the SADF, as well as the South African Police (SAP) and SA Prisons Service, a combined security force was ultimately formed, called the Ciskei Department of State Security, which comprised the Police, Prisons Service, Ciskei Intelligence Service, and the Ciskei Security Service (CSS). The latter consisted of three elements: the Ciskei Security Force (CSF) - the conventional armed forces; the Ikhele we Sizwe (Spear of the Nation) - a special forces unit; and a youth movement known as Pillar of the Nation. The Ciskei Police were relegated with internal security matters, and had their own airborne-trained Police Task Force similar to that of the South African Police (SAP).

Camouflage Patterns of Ciskei

  • Members of the CSF initially wore standard nutria uniforms, until a camouflage pattern was adopted for the in 1990 and worn by its members until 1994. This camouflage design was derived from the South African Railway Police (SARP) drawings, with some changes. Firstly, only the black elements of the Ciskei pattern mimic those of the SARP design when placed side-to-side; the green and brown elements appear to have an "upside down" orientation in relation to the black elements, which was caused by flipping the screens during the printing process. Furthermore, there were minor color differences in the Ciskei pattern, with the black tending to be less stark, and the green a much more olive shade. Collectors should note that the style of uniform was also different from the SARP issue clothing. The pattern is a horizontal lizard-style design featuring black, reddish-brown and dark olive green stripes on a nutria background.

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Notes

  1. The African Homeland, or bantustan, was a territory specifically set aside for black Africans of a specific ethnic or tribal group during the apartheid era.