I recently got a very nice review from a reader regarding the latest book, GMJ 49, Code Name July 27. In the review on Amazon, the reader says: “In this book the author once again returns to the subject of covert and special forces operations in Sub Saharan Africa, the new counter-terror battleground where he is an expert. And he again asserts that his own nation, South Africa, has one of the world's finest Special Forces Units. I wonder how his readers react to that. Does the American reader dismiss that claim as mere baseless boasting and say they surely can't be better than the SEALs? Will the Briton dismiss that statement with his own patriotic defense of the SAS? And I ask myself if our rush to judgment is a simple dismissal of anything African being of lesser quality.”
The answer, in short, it is also on the voice clips on YouTube as well as my website (https://www.georgemjames.com/cast.html), I found mostly white South Africans flatly refusing to believe anything good of the new South African National Defence Force. They just don’t want to know. Sadly, their views are almost exclusively based upon racist ideas. No matter what facts & statistics you mention as a counter-argument they just will not believe it. In reverse, I found many black South Africans enjoying the GMJ books and especially those from the Zulu Nation thanking me for honoring their traditions through the character Geelslang Peter Ndebele (the characters are based upon real people, all of them). A recurring character, Mike Delta 38, a colored man (mixed race in South African terminology), receives a lot of inquiries. I describe this fellow in many books since he plays an important role: “He spoke Afrikaans with the characteristic accent of a colored man and he had to work miracles to get to his commissioned rank. Like Geelslang more than twenty years before, he had to fight every inch of the way in the new South Africa where he is generally considered to be too ‘white’ to be ‘black.’ In the old days, he would have been too ‘black’ to be white and so it is. Some pigs are more equal in the new dispensation than others.”
In Code Name Bella Dawn, a book on South African Right-Wing Terrorism, his background is established:
“Mike Delta Three Eight!” She called his name and he answered politely.
“What do we call a platoon in South African Army Parachute Battalions? You were a platoon commander in the Pathfinders before you made Special Forces Selection were you not? After you graduated first in your class at the Military Academy down at Saldanha. The failure rate at your Selection was 98%?”
He answered proudly if a bit bemused. “Yes, Madame. I graduated first in my class at the Military Academy eight years ago. I had the highest academic scores in the history of the place. I then asked for the honour to join the Parabats, made their selection, joined the Pathfinders, made selection again, and now I am here, a platoon commander in South African Army Special Forces, after yet another selection, this one taking a year to pass as did all my men here. Indeed, only three of us made it from the 140 who tried and they tried hard, they were good men. I was the only commissioned officer left after two weeks and took command. To answer your question, we call a platoon in the Parabats a ‘Valk’ Madame, not a platoon.” (Afrikaans, Falcon, unique to the South African Paratroopers, the first trick question they always ask to lift the Walter Mittys, and then they ask when, who was your platoon commander, who was the company commander, who was the RSM and so forth. They have endless walls of shame on fakers and wannabees claiming their maroon beret illegally. The Parabats are seen as an elite infantry unit as are most paratroopers worldwide, but they are in no way Special Forces. Taken from Code Name Bella Dawn.)
My point was that South African Army Special Forces are mostly black men, always were in history and always will be in the future (the major difference with the Rhodesian SAS) and the men are there on merits only. One of the first orders given by the late Nelson Mandela when he became president was to never relax the standards in South African Army Special Forces and so it was. They are as good today as then except that they have much better equipment. As I explained in almost every book, over a 40-year history, 100,000 men tried out for South African Army Special Forces, 432 made it. They know each other and it is a useless exercise to pretend to be one of them - you will be shamed after being caught out. I also made the point that they are the best inside their theatre which is an important caveat, I was very specific. Because of the high standards, never less than a 90% failure rate, I made some comparisons which irked a few readers, I am sure. I stated that the acknowledged average failure rate of the British SAS, US Green Berets, and French Army Special Forces Selection is 64%. The US Navy SEALs are at 80% failure rates and thus if you put 10 SA men on a forced march against 10 of the rest mentioned above then logically all 10 SA men will be at the end post whilst the British SAS, US Green Berets, and French Army Special Forces will be reduced by almost 40% and the SEALs by 20%. That is what happens when you lower your standards, somewhere down the line the lad will be unable to keep up and become a risk to his mates, the worst possible scenario to all involved. It is better to have fewer men and keep your standards than to lower them. A little-known fact is that the South Africans & Rhodesians increased their standards after qualifying originally in the British SAS Regiment, they considered the SAS to be low standards. These men ought to be respected. They have all the usual Special Forces skills and then the crucial factors, local knowledge, local language abilities and an absolute tradition of winning at any cost payable by the enemy. Okay, so that is the South African viewpoint. Let me say again, if white, sad to say, mostly negative but not always, let me stress that too, many are very supportive.
The international viewpoint is one of shock and disbelief as well as outright dismissal of the warnings contained in my books. But even this has a caveat, that is the first reaction and based upon nothing else than an astonishing lack of knowledge and religious patriotism to their own. Those that bother to research what I say, and there are many, frequently agree with me when my facts check out. There are also those that learn something of our history and traditions by reading my books. Once they realize I am not deliberately insulting their national honor but pointing out serious problems they become concerned enough to take good note. I am grateful for such readers. Many became good friends and my life is better because of them.
As a strict rule I never publicly comment online on reviews because it is a road to perdition which no author wants to walk. In fact, you will not believe the shenanigans that authors are subjected to. Not a week passes without an email of someone wanting to write a review for a small fee – I refuse, that is dishonesty in motion to me. Then you get those that threaten bad reviews if not paid to write a good review – yes, blackmail – I refuse and let them be damned. Then you read a review which is noticeably from someone that never read the book or if he did, could not understand it, and thus he becomes insulting. Such is life, we live with them too. I don’t write to please anyone but myself. My books are meant to educate, they are written like that, to save life and to advise in this theatre, the new counterterrorism battleground to where the militants fled. I cannot, this is frustrating to me, force anyone to read my books and if I could have I would not have done so anyway, but I can express the hope that they give my readers as much pleasure and knowledge as I had writing them. More than that I cannot do, it is not in my hands. Where they are suppressed by mainstream I feel good, I know I am onto something if they have to go to such extremes. Yet, I also wonder how many will die because of the lack of knowledge, that is the sad part. Lastly, women, mostly, love the books because females play the leading roles - that is something I observed in the shadows, they are there and they have command and you better respect them. They tend to kick ass for a living.