From Military Profession, to NO Profession: The Plight of Former White Military Veterans

Wednesday, 18 July 2018: 15:45
Oral Presentation
Lindy HEINECKEN, University of Stellenbosch, South Africa
Rialize FERREIRA, University of South Africa (UNISA), Pretoria., South Africa
In South Africa a special Department of Military Veterans linked to the Department of Defence was established in 2009 to oversee the welfare of military veterans. This came about after many former veterans from the revolutionary forces, who fought against the Apartheid state started to protest and demand compensation for the sacrifices they made during the liberation struggle. There has been considerable focus on this group of military veterans, significantly less so on military veterans who fought for the former Apartheid state. Although many former military personnel have found alternative employment, especially in the growing security sector, many who took early retirement severance packages are destitute. They have joined the growing number of poor whites in the country who are homeless and live in abject poverty. The aim of this research is to uncover what contributed to their inability to reintegrate back into civilian society by looking at the effect that the military institution had on their military habitus and identity. Beyond this, we hope to uncover what has contributed to their economic, social and political isolation in the new democratic South Africa in order to gain a better understanding of the degree of marginalization they experience. While much has been written on military veterans internationally, this has only recently been highlighted as a matter of national concern in the country.