It has been a while since I added any South African Defence Corps kit to my collection, so it has been nice to pick up another piece in the form of a sports vest:
These vests are made in the standard nutria brown shade of the SADF and would have been worn when soldiers were taking part in PT with a matching pair of shorts. The vest is made of an open weave Aertex type fabric and is as simple a garment as one could imagine. A label is sewn into the neck with a stores code and manufacturer’s details:
This example is dated 1988 and was made by a company called ‘Tru Knit’. Other manufacturers included Meritex. The original owner of this vest wrote his name across the bottom seam in permanent marker:
PT training in the SADF could be a harsh experience, as recalled by one former SADF soldier:
Whilst most of the running about was at the direction of our platoon corporal, PT instruction was given by more dedicated sadists called PTIs. These guys are supposed to know when to stop but I suppose their training was not so good either. One day two of us just could not go on during PT and they decided to make an example of us, so they sent us to the duty room to get shipped off to the M1 Military Hospital to have us checked out – and we waited in the guard room for hours but the gharrie (Land Rover) never came and so we were eventually sent back to our bungalow… The risk was that by the time you got looked at at M1, you had recovered somewhat and would thus be declared ‘fit’. This would have been like a death warrant because then the PTI would be entitled to do many hours of ‘corrective training’.