These barbed wire badges were worn by those South Africans who, during the Second World War, has been detained at the Koffiefontein Internment Camp in the Free State. The camp mainly house Italian and German POWs but some 800 South Africans suspected of endangering the war effort were interned there in a separate part of the camp. Most were members of the Ossewabrandwag (oxwagon sentinel), a far-right group of Afrikaner Nationalists, unreconciled to a South Africa loyal to Britain. The group had about 50,000 members but those interned belonged to the Stormjaers, the para-military wing responsible for acts of sabotage.
The Ossewabrandwag became marginalised after the Afrikaner Nationalists won the general election in 1948. However, many members went on to become prominent leaders of the National Party government, notably John Vorster (Prime Minister 1966-1978) and PW Botha (Prime Minister 1978-1984; State President 1984-1989.