Home Gaming Halo Reach: A Strange Link To South Africa, Durban and Apartheid

Halo Reach: A Strange Link To South Africa, Durban and Apartheid

2 min read


This week I noticed a comment on our site from a reader (for the life of me I can’t find it anywhere now) that mentioned that one of the lead characters in Halo Reach, Commander Carter, is in fact a South African.

At first I was confused, but intrigued. Is the voice actor South African, or the character himself? Turns out that Commander Carter, according to the Reach information released, was in fact born in Durban.

I know what you are all thinking, and no, his Warthog doesn’t have chromed 22’s and neon underglow. I hit the internet to do some investigating and the results were interesting to say the least.

According to the information that I found, which has now also been neatly packaged on the Halo Wiki page, Commander Carter, who you might also know as that guy in the “Birth of a Spartan” Halo live-action short, was born in Biko, Durban.

Upon further investigation, I found out that Durban wasn’t the same Durban that we know from Kwazulu-Kinect. Sorry, I mean Natal. This is what the site had to say:

“Biko was a colony world of the United Nations Space Command, located in the Outer Colonies. It was one of the first planets to be glassed by the Covenant, in 2525. It was home to the major population center Durban.”

What I do find interesting, is that even though a South African city’s name was chosen, the fact that the colony world it’s on is called Biko proves that it is, in fact, a South African theme. For those of you who don’t know or need a refresher, Steve Biko was a very famous anti-apartheid activist who died as a result of torture while in the custody of the South African police force.

The fact that Commander Carter’s birthplace is named after a South African city, and is a part of an outer colony (like, you know, South Africa was) cannot likely be a coincidence.

`What also interested me greatly, is that the info says that Biko was said to be one of the first cities “glassed” aka destroyed by the Covenant. Now, I’m no South African historian but this really reminds me of the early colonization of South Africa and the effect that it had on the people who had already been living here.

Again, I am no historian but I would be really interested to see if any of our readers could shed some light on the matter and let us know if you think Halo Reach has in fact, taken inspiration from South Africa’s history.

At the end of end of the day, it could just be that the World Cup put a bit of a spotlight on our country, causing one of the story writers to think about our sunny nation on that particular day at work. The use of Biko’s name though, makes me think otherwise.

Interesting none the less. What do you guys think?

Last Updated: September 6, 2010


  1. This is an epic find… Let’s get some historians on this!


  2. Sir James of Loop Street

    September 6, 2010 at 14:40

    That is pretty cool actually. :happy:


  3. Potty391

    September 6, 2010 at 14:54

    Now if only he has a South African accent…. 😀
    That would be enough evidence to prove your theory.


  4. spl0it

    September 6, 2010 at 15:02

    Those fokken convenant better watch out Boet.


  5. Sir James of Loop Street

    September 6, 2010 at 15:07

    Ja Broe! Die fokken aliens are going to be lank introduced to my boot, broe! GLADYS!!! Waar’s my bier?


  6. Sir James of Loop Street

    September 6, 2010 at 15:08

    Maybe he went to the States for a weekend? 😎

    PS: What is it with South Africans who go to the US for a month or two and then they sound like a bunch of tossers. :getlost:


  7. Nick de Bruyne

    September 6, 2010 at 15:16

    I actually know after being there for E3, it’s not that you want your accent to change, but if you don’t start changing certain ways you pronounce letters as well as your tone for specific things (like heightening your pitch at the end of a sentences question), then people don’t easily understand you, so you end up doing it whether you like it or not.

    I think that as South Africans who are exposed to so many different cultures on TV, the internet or whatever else, we are a lot better at understanding people with accents other than our own.


  8. Sir James of Loop Street

    September 6, 2010 at 15:26

    I remember someone once told me that since most South Africans are bilingual or even multilingual, our accents tend to be extremely mutable. I have an Aussie friend, and whenever we chat for prolonged periods, my accent starts to shift to the Aussie end of the scale. It’s a bit disconcerting, because you can hear it happening.


  9. Christo Le Grange

    September 6, 2010 at 15:32

    “don’t point your f@kken energy pistol at me!”


  10. Aussious

    September 6, 2010 at 17:50

    Lol, yeah i posted dt comment under the halo reach killzone 2 article dt Nick posted. It seems i had the wrong end of the stick interms of the Durban and biko mentions in reach. I do believe that the refernces are South African though, it wouldnt be the first game to use RSA for reference I mean Far Cry 2 the languages used are South African, in Mass Effect 1 during Sovereign’s the Attack on the Citadel one of the Alliance ships sacrificed is the SS Cape Town. So ja like in movies South Africa is popular frame of reference.


    • Nick de Bruyne

      September 6, 2010 at 18:20

      There you are! Wanted to thank you but couldn’t remember where I saw it.


  11. GoldenSilver

    September 6, 2010 at 20:07

    OMG!!! Just had a vision of a warthog cruising along with Jack Parrow blazing from the speakers driven by a Spartan with an extremely long sun visor. :blink: :pinch:


  12. Sir James of Loop Street

    September 6, 2010 at 20:36

    Even though the SS Cape Town went down in a heroic display of fire and blazing lights, one can assume that most of the crew went down “kak duidelik, my broer” or at the very least “like lank chilled, bru”.


  13. Sir James of Loop Street

    September 6, 2010 at 20:42

    That or “Ommph Oomph Ooomph Ooomph Ooommmph…” … “Ooomph ooomph ooomphh” .. MOWWBRAYYY… KAAPPP!!!


  14. Aussious

    September 7, 2010 at 07:54

    Just doing my part for SA gaming,since we are on the subject of RSA, anyone know whatever happened to I IMAGINE, last I heard they worked on a mediocre tank game for the GameCube havent heard anything about since then. It would really be sad if the studio went under, I always hoped they’d become like a South African Rare or Rocksteady.


  15. koldFU5iON

    September 7, 2010 at 09:42

    They’re still around and developing games, I hear they have another xbox & PS3 game in the works


  16. Generic ZA

    September 13, 2010 at 11:27

    2 thumbs up lazygamer!

    kiff find.


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