I was invited by the SA
Naval Museum to attend the firing of the historical 9
inch Muzzle Loading Cannon at Middle North Battery in
Simon’s Town at 12 noon on Heritage Day.
Unknown to me, but planned
as part of the Navy’s joint exercises with some South
American countries, was the arrival of 3 warships from
Agentina, Brazil and Uruguay. We were fortunately in
time for the arrival of the Uruguayan warship (the other
2 ships having docked earlier).
The ensuing display of 21 gun salutes by both the guest
warship and the host nation was awesome to witness.
What a blast!
24 September (Heritage Day)
“The day is one of our
newly created public holidays and its significance rests
in recognising aspects of South African culture which
are both tangible and difficult to pin down: creative
expression, our historical inheritance, language, the
food we eat as well as the land in which we live.
Within a broader social and
political context, the day’s events are a powerful agent
for promulgating a South African identity, fostering
reconciliation and promoting the notion that variety is
a national asset as opposed to igniting conflict.
Heritage is defined as
‘that which we inherit: the sum total of wild life and
scenic parks, sites of scientific or historical
importance, national monuments, historic buildings,
works of art, literature and music, oral traditions and
museum collections together with their documentation.”
While we were waiting for
noon, we were treated to a display of a mini-mortar
firing. This mortar takes approximately 18 grams of
gunpowder to produce a spectacular burst of flame from
the muzzle. At last it was speech time by Harry Croome
of the Cannon Association of South Africa (Harry is also
an active member of the Navy and serves as Warrant
Officer in Charge of the SA Naval Museum), followed by
the countdown. Cameras at the ready and...5 4 3 2 1 ...