The French connection facilitated through the beehive on the Seine was central to Pretoria’s war efforts during the sanctions period, but these connections went much further back. PW Botha, South African Defence Minister and later Prime Minister, was central to this relationship. From an itinerary dated 8 to 10 June 1969 and entitled Journey of Mr Botha, we know that he joined French arms company Thompson CSF in the South of France to test missiles and taste wine. The visit, organised by Thompson, saw its chairman P Richard, PW Botha, and generals and ambassadors from both countries stay together at the Hotel La Reserve just outside Bordeaux. By day, they tested the new Cactus missile which Thomson CSF had developed with help from South Africa. By night they retired to wine tasting and celebrations of their collaboration. The apartheid government needed weapons and the French arms industry needed money – thus started a long-term alliance, the repercussions of which we still feel today.