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Swellendam Commando
SADF era Swellendam Commando emblem.jpg
Swellendam Commando emblem
Country Flag of South Africa.svg South Africa
  • Flag of South Africa (1928–1994).svg Republic of South Africa
  • Flag of South Africa.svg Republic of South Africa
Service history
Role Light Infantry
Size One Battalion
Part of South African Infantry Corps
Army Territorial Reserve
Motto Waarheid oorwin (The truth shall win)

Swellendam Commando was a light infantry regiment of the South African Army. It formed part of the South African Army Infantry Formation as well as the South African Territorial Reserve.



Batavian eraEdit

Swellendam Commando can trace its origins back to around 1795 with the Republic of Swellendam and the unsafe situation for farmers on its eastern border with Xhosa tribes. An independent republic had been declared from the Dutch East India Company, declared with a National Assembly and Hermanus Steyn as president. It was a momentous event, but at the same time the British occupied the Cape and the new republic was called on to assist in battle. The republicans refused initially, but a commando of 70 soon left for the Cape. By 1806 with the Second British Occupation, at the Battle of Blaauwberg (6 January 1806), the Swellendam Commando again held the British off long enough for the rest of the Batavian army to retreat to safety.

Cape Colony Frontier Wars eraEdit

The Government dreading a Khoi rising, made peace with the Xhosas. In 1801, another rebellion began where farms were abandoned en masse, and Khoi bands under Klaas Stuurman, Hans Trompetter and Boesak carried out widespread raids. The Swellendam commando under Comdt Tjaart van der Walt, who was killed in action in June 1802, achieved no permanent result.

Union Defence Force eraEdit

SADF eraEdit



This unit, along with all other Commando units was disbanded after a decision by South African President Thabo Mbeki to disband all Commando Units.[1][2] The Commando system was phased out between 2003 and 2008 “because of the role it played in the apartheid era”, according to the Minister of Safety and Security Charles Nqakula.[3]

Unit InsigniaEdit

SADF era Swellendam Commando insigniaEdit

SADF era Swellendam Commando insignia


From Honorary Colonels To
From Commanding Officers To
From Regimental Sergeants Major To


  1. Col L B van Stade, Senior Staff Officer Rationalisation, SANDF (1997). "Rationalisation in the SANDF: The Next Challenge". Institute for Security Studies. Retrieved 5 March 2015. 
  2. "About the Commando system". Archived from the original on December 6, 2007. Retrieved 2008-01-17. 
  3. de Lange, Deon. "South Africa: Commandos Were 'Hostile to New SA'". Cape Argus. Retrieved 5 March 2015. 

See alsoEdit

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