Cuito Carnavale

CUITO CUANAVALE (1988) 7 minutes Directed by Simon Bright. Angolan/Zimbabwean crew. Distribution: TV sales to ITV News Channel 4, CBC News Canada. A Zimmedia Production.

Nelson Mandela said when he came out of prison in 1991:

‘‘Cuito Cuanavale marks the turn in the struggle to rid the continent and our country of the scourge of apartheid! The decisive defeat of the aggressive apartheid forces destroyed the myth of the invincibility of the white oppressor. The defeat of the apartheid army served as an inspiration to the struggling people of South Africa.” (1991). This short clip shows the end of the last battle in the Cold War. The battle for Cuito Cuanavale in Angola was the largest set-piece battle on the African continent since the second world war in North Africa according to Horace Campbell  (Campbell, H. p.1 1990) The South African Defence Force (SADF) and the US supported rebel Angolan UNITA forces were pitted against the Angolan Government supported by Cuba and Russia.

Invited by the Angolan government, Simon Bright filmed the immediate aftermath of the battle with the Angolan TV camera man Carlos Henriques whilst the artillery continued to fire from both sides. UNITA and SADF forces forced to retreat, left behind destroyed and captured tanks as evidence of their defeat. The Angolan government urgently needed to show they had won, contradicting claims by the well funded apartheid and UNITA propaganda machines which fed disinformation direct to BBC and other western news agencies (Onsloe, S. 2012). Strategically the news broke on Ch 4 ITN News and Canadian CBC TV three days prior to ceasefire negotiations in London giving the Angolan and Cuban negotiators considerable leverage in this negotiation.