The more the world changes, the more war stays the same. As the nations of the world continue to seek and exploit new sites of extractive resources at home and abroad, the corporatocratic state, replete with corporate stakeholders and corporate interests, has become increasingly comfortable with contracting out private military companies and freelance mercenaries to do the dirty work that national armed forces both cannot be seen, nor are incapable of doing. This is nothing new, and will simply continue.
        During apartheid, South African mercenary forces were renowned for their skill and professionalism. Even after a 2006 South African legislative ban on civilian involvement with foreign conflicts, and a gradual reduction in arms research and production, South African mercenaries can still be found worldwide, and the domestic military arms and equipment industry is still strong.
        In the face of our extractive trends, the South African state stands to gain from an intersection of its long extractive history, and storied private military and arms production legacy.

ASHES Grounds

Lenasia, Johannesburg

The grounds of the former 21 South African Infantry Battalion military base are expanded and transformed into a 120 km2 installation for the South African private military company Africa-South Holistic Extraction Security.
        Onsite facilities include a central command & control centre, a large airbase, multiple military training areas covering different types of potential combat scenarios, ordnance proving grounds, and more.

ASHES Base Lenasia

Central Command & Control

The more the world c The ASHES Base Lenasia is not only an airbase, but also the hub of all ASHES operations worldwide. The bulk of assets are stored and maintained here. Potential clients are flown-in and given a tour of the facilities and assets. The runway can accomodate the take-off and landing requirements for the largest of planes, and the aprons can support hundreds of parked aircraft.
        The subterranean nature of much of the base facilities means that ASHES can keep much of its operations hidden away from multiple forms of surveillance, as well as minimize its visual profile within the surrounding context.


Sanne van den Breemer
Filip Geerts
Ilmar Hurkxkens

Director of Studies

Salomon Frausto


Nigel Alarcon(MX), Pooja Bhave(IN), Mariano Cuofano(IT), Fabiola Cruz(PE), Alonso Díaz(MX), Xiaoyu Ding(CN), Ines Garcia‑Lezana(ES), Sandra Garcia(ES), Martino Greco(IT), Sebastian Hitchcock(ZA), Alejandra Huesca(MX), Yesah Hwangbo(KR), Takuma Johnson(US), Yi-Ni Lin(TW), Paola Tovar(MX), Cristhy Mattos(BR), Preradon Pimpakan(TH), Adi Samet(IL), Raymond Tang(US), Kulaporn Temudom(TH), Danai Tsigkanou(GR), Jesse Verdoes(NL), Rongting Xiao(CN)