The last two years have been a roller coaster ride for us here on planet earth, and for me. While the obvious need not be belaboured about difficult conditions, I must point out that it’s at a time of personal hardship that we draw on our strengths.
Being able to tell stories through the podcast series has been a saving grace.
First the Anglo-Boer War podcast which continues to garner support. Digital content lives forever (if you can afford the hosting fees) and podcasting appears to have a special place in people’s hearts.
Then Plane Crash Diaries continues to grow its listenership, particularly in the U.S.A. and Australia which is heartening for a South African producer. The stories of the improvement in aviation safety is core to our lives as aviators and the fact that two of the countries which have the most experienced and best pilots feature at the top of the list of listeners gives me much cause for optimism.
Battle of Stalingrad was a labour of love and a few thousand new listeners come on board every week. This was launched two years ago as a short series to tell the story from both the Russian and German points of view and has touched a global nerve. Since Putin’s Russia has invaded the Ukraine, some of the events of the Battle of Stalingrad have emerged as even more important.
The History of South Africa podcast is a deep dive into the past – and as usual the past provides a pointer to the future. Launched in 2021, the series has grown quickly and has even elicited sponsors over the past year. That has helped me pay for the hosting costs which top R2500.00 a year. Sorry to mention filthy lucre but there’s always a bill to be paid!
South African Border Wars took more than a year of planning and thought before it was launched in 2021. The main reason is personal. I am a veteran of conflict and when you’re describing things that you personally experienced, it takes more impetus to want to put these down for the world to hear. Fortunately, I’ve had the support of the SADF military vets, the Angolan Army and my friends at 61 Mechanised Battalion.
The Falkland’s War is another shorter series which is underway. The short sharp war fought in 1982 has almost disappeared from view except for those who fought. As with all conflicts over the ownership of islands or land, this story is not a simple matter of Britain’s colonial past and Argentina’s military junta. It’s also pertinent as we face the Chinese claim concerning Taiwan, and Russia’s claim to the Crimea and the Ukraine.
So all in all, this has been a year of extremely hard work when it comes to my podcasts. The reason is simple. While all of this has been going on, I remain a CEO of a small multimedia production company. The day job pays the bills, the podcasts pay forward.
A few more podcasts are in the pipeline. Suggestions are for other battles on the eastern front during the Russo-German war of 1941-1945, while others have said the Zulu War of 1879 needs another look. I’m in two minds going forward.
Others which have caught my attention include the Battle of the Somme which may unfortunately prove to be very important as the Russian’s refocus their energies on the eastern Ukraine region after failing in their attempt at storming the capital, Kiev. Both sides are going to dig in.
Perhaps the Siege of Leningrad needs another hard look? So many ideas, so little time.
In these troubled months as the world slips back into a major world war, I find some solace understanding how humans function in combat. This provides pointers about the future.
We know, as military analysts, that Vladimir Putin is in a long war position. What is less clear to me is whether or not other world leaders seem to understand this as they continue to play local politics instead of fully perceiving of the threat to their nation-states.