In March 1988, the army of South Africa’s apartheid regime was dealt a crushing defeat by Cuban, Angolan, and Namibian combatants at the battle of Cuito Cuanavale in Angola. That triumph, South Africa’s future president Nelson Mandela proclaimed, marked “a milestone in the history of the struggle for southern African liberation.”
With the victory at Cuito Cuanavale, Angola’s sovereignty was secured. Namibia’s independence was won. The deepening revolutionary struggle in South Africa received a powerful boost. And the Cuban Revolution too was strengthened.
Between 1975 and 1991 some 425,000 Cubans volunteered for duty in Angola in response to requests from the Angolan government to help defend the newly independent country against multiple invasions by South Africa’s white-supremacist regime, backed by its allies in Washington and elsewhere. Here this history is told by those who lived it and made it.