South Africa - Gazankulu

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Gazankulu was a tribal homeland in the northeastern region of Republic of South Africa from 1971 until 1994.[1] The region was set aside for Tsonga-speaking people (Shangaan), out of part of the old province of Transvaal. KwaZulu was reincorporated into South Africa on 27 April 1994, merging with the old province of Natal to become the new KwaZulu-Natal province.

Although Gazankulu never organized a full-fledged Defense Force as did many of the other homelands, a Police Force organized in 1982 was fully-equipped for domestic law enforcement and counter-insurgency operations.

Gazankulu Camouflage

  • When formed in 1982, the camouflage uniforms issued to members of the Gazankulu Police Force were in fact surplus stocks of Portuguese m63 vertical lizard pattern that had either been warehoused for use by the SADF or possibly obtained from the Portuguese government itself.


  • In time, the stocks of already used uniforms began to dry up and a first attempt at reproducing the "red lizard" pattern was charged to one or more South African textile firms. The result was the two designs seen below, identical (and based on the original Portuguese drawings) but for the fact that one incorporates green stripes printed over reddish-brown, and the other has brown over green.

Gazankulu2.jpg Gazankulu3.jpg

  • As South Africa moved towards a new era in early 1990s, a last contract of Gazankulu pattern "red lizard" camouflage was produced, this time by the same companies who were producing textiles and uniforms for the SADF and other Homelands. The quality much improved and the colors mildly changed again, it is uncertain whether any full uniforms went into production as most of the suriving pieces in this pattern are hats.



  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.