Peter McIntosh, founder and editor of the African Armed Forces Journal (AAFJ) for more than 35 years, has passed away.
He died of natural causes in Cape Town on Tuesday at the age of 89, just short of his 90th birthday on 5 October.
McIntosh started the independent monthly in 1975 as the Armed Forces Journal and maintained a print circulation until 2012. The well-respected Journal’s mandate was to stimulate debate around defence issues for African military professionals in South Africa; sub-Saharan Africa; the United Kingdom, Europe; USA; and Australia. At one point the journal was on the desk of every major unit within the South African Defence Force. Soon after South Africa’s first democratic election in 1995 McIntosh changed his publication’s title to the African Armed forces Journal to ensure a wider circulation. He travelled extensively across the continent visiting military colleges as far afield as Libya and Morocco and was in regular contact with foreign military attaches based in South Africa and was also active in ensuring South African Reserve Force members had the opportunity to meet their counterparts in other countries.
McIntosh was widely praised for his passion for and knowledge of defence, something he honed while serving as a Union Defence Force member and while observing the Portuguese Special Forces training in Mozambique in the 1960s.
One of his contributions to defence journalism was the establishment of an African military writing competition, open to any and all worldwide, but focusing specifically on African military affairs.
Defence journalist Erika Gibson said of McIntosh, “Your passion for all things military was always an inspiration as was the vigour you continued to work with at an age where most others have long been sitting in the sun.”
John Stupart, former editor of the African Armed Forces Journal, said that, “I think we can all agree that Mr Mac was always one to speak plainly and frankly about every aspect of African military affairs. His depth of knowledge and history was the most profoundly-rewarding experience I have ever had while working for Mr Mac.”
Journalist Norman Chandler said he was “So terribly sad to hear the news. He was a real friend and a huge help in my career as Defence Correspondent of The Star for 13 years”.
“I have nothing but fond memories of and respect for Peter. He was a veritable encyclopaedia of knowledge on matters military and was ready to assist in any initiative if it had a positive effect on soldiers, their welfare and equipment,” defenceWeb writer Kim Helfrich, who first met McIntosh when he was covering the defence beat for the Pretoria News in the early nineties, said.